The H-2B visa allows employers to bring in foreign workers to perform temporary or seasonal labor in non-agricultural positions such as construction, healthcare, landscaping, manufacturing, crafts and trade, food services, as well as hotel and hospitality services.
This visa is only available for employment that is temporary in nature and an employer may sponsor multiple employees in one petition. Prior to sponsorship, the employer must first conduct a search to establish that no domestic workers are available for the offered position. There is a numerical limit of 66,000 H-2B visas per fiscal year (33,000 for the first half and another 33,000 for the second half) and this quota is applicable for first-time applicants.
Spouse and unmarried children under age 21 can accompany or join the H-2B visa holders on H4 visa status.
H-2B Quick Facts
- H-2B visa allows foreign workers in the non-agricultural field to perform temporary or seasonal work in the U.S. for a period of one (1) year or less. If more time is needed, then the employer must file a new temporary labor certification with the Department of Labor.
- The maximum period of stay for H-2B visa is 3 years (granted in one year increments).
- The H-2B job offer must be for full-time position because only full-time positions may be certified by the Department of Labor.
- The sponsoring employer must prove that the need for the worker’s skill is temporary (one-time occurrence, seasonal, a peak load, or intermittent) and there are no U.S. workers available for the position. Employers must apply for the labor certification application at least 60 days prior and no more than 120 days before the proposed date of employment.
- H-2B visa holders may also change status by applying for other nonimmigrant visa categories if applicable.
- H-2B visa holders may travel in and out of the U.S. freely as long as the visa is valid (has not expired).
- Spouses and children under age 21 are eligible for H-4 visa but are not allowed to work. H-4 visa holders may attend colleges and schools.
H-2B Visa Process
- The employer must first conduct a domestic search of workers for the proposed job and demonstrate that there no U.S. workers available for the position.
- Our firm then applies for a temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on behalf of the sponsoring employer.
- After DOL approves the labor certification petition, we file the petition along with supplemental documentation and fees with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at least 60 days prior to the proposed date of employment.
- Upon approval of the petition, the employer receives a Notice of Approval and the employer notifies the worker/workers.
- If the employee is outside the country, he/she may apply for H-2B visa at the U.S. consulate in his or her country of origin.