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What is an H-2B Visa program: Temporary Non-agricultural Worker?

The H-2B visa is a non-agricultural temporary worker visa issued by the United States of America to allow them to temporarily work in or carry out service for an eligible American employer. A maximum of 66,000 such visas can be issued per year.

The H-2B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to import foreign nationals into the country to fill low-skill, temporary, or seasonal employment in all industries except agriculture, where U.S. workers are unavailable. These jobs may include seasonal employment in industries such as seafood processing, hospitality, construction, landscaping, and forestry.

Eligibility Criteria and Other Requirements for obtaining an H-2B Visa

The H2B visa is available for employers who need a foreign worker not working in the agricultural field, and it’s only valid if work will be temporary.

In order to qualify H-2B visa, an employer must meet the following requirements:

1) Employers must demonstrate that they have looked for employees in the United States, but that there are not enough of them

2) Employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers

3) Its need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary. The employer’s need is considered temporary, if-

  • Recurring Seasonal Need: Employment that is regularly related to a season, such as amusement park work in the summer or ski resort work in the winter
  • Intermittent need: work for which the employer has not employed full-time staff, and occasionally needs temporary workers
  • Peak-load need: work during busy periods for which the employer needs temporary staff in addition to their permanent employees
  • One-time occurrence: work needed during a short, one-time period of need.

Employees must meet the following requirements:

1) They must have a job offer from a U.S employer

2) They have to prove their intent to return to their country of origin once their visa expires

3) They have to be eligible for an H-2B visa by proving that they are skilled workers in the job position that they are offered

The Department of Homeland Security has determined the citizens of countries that are eligible to get H-2B visas.

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Application Process for H-2B Visa

To obtain permission to hire foreign workers for temporary labor under the H-2B program, firms must go through the following application procedure:

Process for Employer –

1) Get DOL Certification: The employer must apply for a temporary labor certification with the Department of Labor (DOL).

2) Apply to USCIS: The petition must then be filed with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition is filed by filing Form I-129 no more than six months and no less than 45 days before there is a need for the employees.

3) After USCIS approved Form I-129, prospective H-2B workers who are outside the United States must:

Process for Employee –

  • Apply for an H-2B visa with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad and then seek admission to the United States with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. port of entry; or
  • Directly seek admission to the United States in H-2B classification with CBP at a U.S. port of entry in cases where an H-2B visa is not required.

Read Also ThisComplete Guide for US Work Visa

Required Supporting Documents for H-2B visa 

The employee or foreign worker can apply for the H-2B visa after the employer has received all necessary approvals and certifications. They’ll require the following paperwork:

  • Online Form DS-160 and the receipt
  • Form DS-156
  • Form DS-157 (if male between 16 and 45 years old)
  • Visa application fee receipt
  • Passport
  • One photograph meeting the Digital Images Requirements for a US visa
  • Job offer from U.S employer
  • Copies of approvals from USCIS (Form I-797 and Form I-129)
  • Proof that they intend to return to their home countries such as a property deed, apartment lease, or future job contract.

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Period of Stay/Extension of Stay for H-2B visa 

The visa is only valid for as long as the employer needs temporary workers. The maximum length of authorization is one year.

The employer, on the other hand, has the option of extending the visa for up to three years in one-year increments. If the company requests an extension, they must provide a valid justification for why the temporary foreign worker is required.

It should be mentioned that in many situations, you will not be granted an H2B visa for a period of one year.

After the 3 years, H-2B visa holders are allowed to stay in their home country for 3 months before they can again apply for the H-2B visa.

Is it possible for H-2B visa holders to bring their families to the United States?

An individual is eligible to apply for an H-2B visa without a family, but if the temporary worker has a spouse and/or minor children(age under 21 years), then he or she can also qualify to bring his/her relatives.

Under an H-4 visa, they can enroll in academic courses, but they are not allowed to be employed or get paid by an employer. If someone on the H-4 has found employment with an employer willing to sponsor their application then you could change status if all necessary conditions have been met and your spouse’s job offer was accepted.

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The H-2B Visa is a temporary visa for non-agricultural workers. It’s not primarily used by employers to hire full-time employees. This article was meant to help you better understand what it means and how it differs from other visas in order to more accurately answer your questions about the H-2B Visa.

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