You are currently viewing What is H-2B visa in USA

Do you not know what it is and how to obtain the H-2B visa for temporary non-agricultural workers in the USA? In this article we will explain in detail everything you need to process this visa.

If you, a relative or colleague require legal advice to process this visa or any other, the immigration lawyers in New Jersey at Curbelo Law can help you. Call us today to discuss your case through a private consultation. 

How To Get The USA H-2B Visa In 2024

To obtain the H-2B visa, the following steps must be carried out:

  1. The US petitioner or employer must file an application for Temporary Employment Certification for Foreign Labor with the US Department of Labor (DOL).
    1. If the employment will be on the island of Guam, the petitioner must apply for and receive certification from the Guam DOL.
    2. The petitioner or employer must expect to receive certification from the DOL. Once you have received it, you can proceed to step 2. 
  2. The US petitioner or employer must file with USCIS Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
    1. Filing Form I-129 has limited exceptions. Consult our firm so that we can explain this step in detail.
  3. Foreign workers outside the United States must apply for their H-2B visa and/or admission to the country. This step can only be done once USCIS approves the I-129 form.

Petitioners applying for this visa as one or more Canadian musicians to be employed within a 50-mile radius of the US/Canadian border for 30 days or less may skip Step 1. 

For more information on how to obtain an H-2B visa in the USA, contact Curbelo Law today. Applicants will be able to obtain personalized information according to their facts surrounding the case.

production assistant with h-2b visa

Documents That The Alien Must Bring To Their Visa Appointment

  • Paper copy of Form DS-160 that you completed online.
  • Notice from USCIS showing approval of Form I-129.
  • Valid passport of the holder and each accompanying family member.
  • Passport-style photo of each applicant.
  • If the spouse and children accompany the holder, they must submit documents that show the relationship of the relative. For example, birth and marriage certificates.
  • Documents establishing intent to leave the US when H-2B status expires. This can be a copy of the property deed, a lease, or letters from an employer.

In the process to know how to obtain the H-2B visa, a temporary labor certification is required. You have extensive information in our article on the PERM labor certification steps.

Additionally, the requirements for an employer to apply for such a permit with the DOL are extensive. You can get all the information in detail by reviewing the general requirements imposed by DOL

How Much Does It Cost To File An H-2B Visa?

The filing fee for Form I-129 is $460. This fee is non-refundable, so if USCIS denies the application or the sponsor decides not to continue with the process, the money cannot be recovered.

On the other hand, the foreign national will have to pay a cost of $190 to apply for the H-2B visa once USCIS has approved the I-129 form.

How Long Does It Take To Get The H-2B Visa in the USA?

The estimated time it takes to process an H-2B visa is between 60 and 120 days. However, it is possible to file Form I-907, application for premium processing to reduce the time to obtain it.

Please note that this form is optional, so filing is not required, and there is a $1,500 filing fee.

h-2b visa workers

Is It Faster To Get The H-2B Visa If You Have Worked In The United States Before?

Under the current processing times, it is faster to obtain the H-2B visa if you are eligible for a visa renewal.

How Long Can I Work In The United States On An H-2B Visa?

The maximum period of stay in the United States on an H-2B visa is up to 3 years. After spending 3 years in the US, the beneficiary of this visa must leave the country for a period of 3 months without interruption. 

Note that:

  • The H-2B visa in the USA is granted for a period of one year, but can be extended up to one more year with a maximum of 3 years in total. This means that it can only be extended twice.
  • Extension applications must be submitted prior to the expiration of the H-2B visa. 
  • Foreign national workers who receive an extension of this visa will not have to apply for a new visa. If the alien returns to their country of origin, they must apply for a new visa to enter the United States.

The previous time that the alien has used for an H or L classification counts towards the total period of the H-2B visa. Certain periods may interrupt the authorized stay of the alien, we invite you to contact our firm for more information in this regard.

L-1A visa requirements

Not sure what the L-1A visa requirements are and the L-1B visa process? Don’t worry, we have two blogs focused on explaining these visas.

Who Qualifies For An H-2B Visa?

To qualify for an H-2B visa, the petitioner must show that:

  • There are not enough trained, willing, qualified, or available US workers to fill the job on a temporary basis.
  • The hiring of H-2B workers will not affect the wages and working conditions of US workers in similar positions.
  • There is a need for services or jobs from temporary workers. Such a need may be considered temporary if:
    1. It happens only once.
    2. It is seasonal.
    3. There is a need for maximum load.
    4. There is an intermittent need.

Contact our firm to learn in detail about each specific element. 

Please note that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2018 exempts certain H-2B visa petitions in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) from the requirement to evidence the need for a worker be temporary.

Can H-2B Visa Holders Bring Their Family Members To The United States?

H-2B visa holders may bring their spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 to the US. These relatives will receive H-4 classification. However, family members with H-4 visas will not be able to work in the US.

Limits On The Issuance Of The H-2B Visa

The H-2B visa has an established numerical limit which is 66,000 visas per fiscal year. Nevertheless:

  • There will be 33,000 visas for workers beginning employment during the middle of the fiscal year (October 1 to March 31) and
  • 33,000 visas for those starting during the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 and September 30).

Any amount of visas from the first half of the fiscal year that is not used during that period will be available to employers who wish to hire H-2B workers during the second part of the fiscal year.

The portion of H-2B visas that is not used during one fiscal year cannot be carried over to the next fiscal year.

What Is The Difference Between An H-2A And H-2B Visa?

The main difference between an H-2A visa and an H-2B visa is that the H-2A visa is only issued to temporary agricultural workers to fill jobs in agriculture. On the other hand, the H-2B visa is granted to workers for temporary non-agricultural jobs.

h-2a visa program

To learn more about the H-2A visa, how to apply and its characteristics, we invite you to read our article on the H-2A visa program.

What Is The Difference Between An H-1B And H-2B Visa?

  • H-1B visas are for skilled labor jobs. This means that the beneficiary must have a university degree and have the necessary experience in a certain domain.
  • Beneficiaries of an H-1B visa will have a period of 3 to 6 years in the US. Very unlike the period of stay that the H-2B visa grants.
  • H-1B visa holders are not required to leave the US after their work ends. Instead, H-2B visa holders are.

For more information regarding the H-1B visa, we invite you to read our article on what are the H-1B visas for the United States.

Can The H-2B Visa Lead To A Green Card?

The H-2B visa does not lead to a Green Card. This is because H-2B visas are nonimmigrant visas that only allow the foreign national to stay in the United States for a limited time. 

However, there are other visas that allow adjustment of status or consular processing. Through these pathways, the alien can become a permanent resident.

Check our publication on how to obtain a Green Card for residence in the United States. 

What Is The Age Limit For The H-2B Visa?

There is no age restriction to apply for the H-2B visa. But generally, this program is open to aliens between 18 and 45 years of age.

What Can I Do With An H-2B Visa?

Alien beneficiaries with a USA H-2B visa may perform non-agricultural employment positions. Some examples of jobs that H-2B visa workers can perform include:

  • Landscape Laborer.
  • Forestry Worker
  • Merchandise Driver.
  • Production Helper.
  • Construction Manager.

The list of permitted jobs is much longer. To know in detail what are the jobs in which you can work with this visa, access the following link.

how to legally enter the united states

Still don’t know how to legally enter the United States? Discover them on our website.

What Are The Eligible Countries For The H-2B Visa In 2024?

  • Andorra.
  • Argentina.
  • Australia.
  • Austria.
  • Germany.
  • Barbados.
  • Belgium.
  • Brazil.
  • Brunei.
  • Bulgaria.
  • Canada.
  • Chile.
  • Colombia.
  • South Korea.
  • Costa Rica.
  • Croatia.
  • Denmark.
  • Ecuador.
  • El Salvador.
  • Slovakia.
  • Slovenia.
  • Spain.
  • Estonia.
  • Philippines.
  • Finland.
  • Fiji.
  • France.
  • Greece.
  • Grenade.
  • Guatemala.
  • Honduras.
  • Hungary.
  • Ireland.
  • Iceland.
  • Solomon Islands.
  • Israel.
  • Italy.
  • Jamaica.
  • Japan.
  • Kiribati.
  • Latvia.
  • Liechtenstein.
  • Lithuania.
  • Luxembourg.
  • North Macedonia.
  • Madagascar.
  • Malt.
  • Mexico.
  • Monaco.
  • Mongolia.
  • Montenegrin.
  • Mozambique.
  • Nauru.
  • Nicaragua.
  • Norway.
  • New Zealand.
  • Panama.
  • Netherlands.
  • Papua New Guinea.
  • Peru.
  • Portugal.
  • Poland.
  • Czech Republic.
  • Republic of Cyprus.
  • Dominican Republic.
  • United Kingdom.
  • Romania.
  • San Marino.
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
  • St. Lucia.
  • Serbian.
  • Singapore.
  • South Africa.
  • Sweden.
  • Swiss.
  • Taiwan.
  • Thailand.
  • East Timor.
  • Turkey.
  • Tuvalu.
  • Ukraine.
  • Uruguay.
  • Vanuatu.

There are certain considerations you should keep in mind regarding these countries. For more information, do not hesitate to contact us.

In this article we explain how to obtain the H-2B visa. But do you already know what are the different types of US visas available? We have a publication where we explain in detail each type of visa. 

How Curbelo Law Can Help You Obtain The H-2B Visa

Some employers can help the national foreigner in the process of applying for this visa. However, they will most likely hire an attorney. 

With the help of an attorney, you can help determine which visa category is best suited for employment. Attorney Carolina T. Curbelo will not only help you prepare the paperwork, but she will also advise you on the entire process in general.

Contact us today. In Curbelo Law you will be able to know everything you need for this visa or any other.