Everything You Need to Know About the H-2B Visa
Also known as a ‘non-agricultural worker visa’ or ‘guestworker program’, the H-2B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign nationals to seek employment in the US on a seasonal or temporary basis. It’s a popular choice for skilled or unskilled workers in a wide range of non-agricultural sectors.
In this easy-to-read guide, our legal team will explain everything you need to know about the H-2B visa. From eligibility guidelines to visa fees, we’re covering it all.
Eligibility for an H-2B Visa
The H-2B visa status is managed by the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). This visa allows employers to hire non-agricultural foreign nationals to secure jobs in the United States on a seasonal or temporary basis.
To qualify, non-agricultural employers must verify the following:
- There are not enough employees available in the United States to do the jobs.
- Employing a foreign national to perform the tasks will not adversely affect US employees.
- The job is temporary.
Employers can verify that the jobs are temporary in several ways, including showing that the tasks are seasonal, the tasks are to be performed within a given timeframe, the work is to be done on an intermittent basis, or that there are peak workloads at a given period.
As with many other visas, the H-2B visa has an annual limit of 66,000 noncitizens, so the USCIS will only accept applications only for people who are exempt from the cap once the limit has been reached.
H-2B Visa Petition
Once the Department of Labor approves the work permit, the employer must file an I-129 petition for the worker within their jurisdiction.
Once the INS Service Center approves the petition, the prospective employees can apply for an H-2B visa at the US consulate in their home countries.
If the employee is already in the US, they can file in the US under particular conditions.
H-2B Visa Duration of Stay
The H-2B visa is valid for a period of three years. Once the three-year duration has elapsed, the employee cannot apply to change or extend status unless the individual has resided outside the US for the previous 6 months.
Individuals must obtain the H-2B visa in annual increments with optional extensions of up to one year acceptable until the three years have elapsed.
H-2B Visa Application Process
Employers must first apply for a temporary labor certification with the DOL. Once the labor certification has been approved, employers must submit the I-129 form to the USCIS. Once the USCIS approves this form, the employee is required to apply to the State Department to enter the United States.
H-2B Visa Fees and Cost
The H-2B visa fees include filing fees paid for the H-2B Visa Petition by the prospective employer. The employee must also pay a visa fee at the U.S consulate. As of January 2021, the current USCIS processing fee for the H-2B visa is $460, however, this number is subject to change. For current figures, visit the USCIS website.
Skilled Phoenix Immigration Attorneys in Phoenix, AZ
If you or a loved one are considering applying for the H-2B visa, consulting with an experienced attorney can offer you your best shot at success. At the Milovic Law firm, our team of Arizona immigration attorneys is experienced in representing individuals seeking the H-2B visa.
Contact our legal team today to schedule a free consultation with one of our Phoenix immigration attorneys or to find out more about what we can do for you.