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H-2B Visas for Seasonal Non-Agriculture Workers

 H-2B Visas for Seasonal Non-Agriculture Workers

Temporary Employment of Foreign Workers in the United States

The H-2B program allows employers to hire temporary foreign workers in non-agricultural occupations – generally for up to 9 months for seasonal jobs.  If the job is a one-time occurrence, an H-2B visa holder may be permitted to stay longer.

If the H-2B program is the right fit for you as an employer or foreign worker, then time is of the essence to begin the process due to the limited number of H-2B visas granted every year. To learn more, call 212-203-4795 to speak with one of our experienced immigration lawyers today.

H-2B Visa Requirements for Employers and Workers

  • For Employers:
    • Must have a need to hire workers one-time, seasonal, or peak load.
    • Extensions may be allowed and must be supported by compelling evidence.
    • Must prove that no qualified and willing U.S. workers are available for the job.
    • Must pay foreign workers the same wage offered to U.S. workers for the same job.
  • For Foreign Employees:
    • Must have a job offer from a U.S. employer to do temporary work.
    • Must have the appropriate background, experience, skills and ability to perform job.
    • Must intend to leave the U.S. before the expiration date on the visa.

H-2B Visa Application Process

To prove that there are no qualified and willing U.S. workers available for the job, employers must advertise the position in an attempt to find U.S. workers. If none can be found, here are the next steps to begin the H-2B application process:

  • Step 1: Apply for a temporary labor certification for H-2B workers with the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Step 2: File form I-129 with the original temporary labor certification to the USCIS.
  • Step 3: Prospective workers outside of the U.S. apply for visa and/or admission. After Form I-129 is approved by USCIS, the H-2B prospective worker must:
    • Apply for an H-2B visa with the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
    • Seek admission to America with U.S. Customs Border Protection at a U.S. port of entry.

To learn more about the H-2B visa application process, consider contacting an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer in New York who has helped thousands of employers and workers prepare all of the necessary paperwork to submit before visas run out.

H-2B Questions and Answers

Q: How long can an H-2B visa employee stay in the US?

A: The period of stay in H-2B status must coincide with period of temporary need, as approved by the Department of Labor on the labor certificate.  Workers can potentially extend their stay in one year increments. Three years is the maximum extended time an H-2B visa holder is allowed to stay in the United States. When three years are up, the H-2B visa holder is required to leave the U.S. for an uninterrupted 3 months before seeking readmission into the H-2B program.

Q: Can an H-2B visa holder bring their family to the United States?

A: Yes. An H-2B visa holder may bring their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old through the H-4 nonimmigration classification.  Family members under an H-4 status are not eligible for employment, but family beneficiaries can stay up to three years in America. Also, children of the H-2B visa holder are permitted to attend a U.S. school.

Q: Can I hire foreign workers from any country I want?

A: No. Employers are allowed to hire foreign workers that hold a passport from countries approved by the United States Secretary of Homeland Security.  For a complete list of eligible countries, please contact our office for further information since the published eligible countries may change from year to year.

Q: When should I begin the application process?

A: We strongly recommend starting the H-2B application process at least 9-6 months prior to the employment start date.

Have an H-2B visa question? Ask a lawyer by filling out the form below.

Legal Help for U.S. Employers and Workers

With the H-2B program, your U.S. business now has a solution to prevent staffing shortages during recurring seasonal demand.  To schedule a consultation with an immigration lawyer that is experienced with the intricate process and can determine what is best for your business, contact us by filling out the form below or by calling our immigration department at 212-203-4795.


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