H-2A Visa for Agricultural Workers

H-2A visa is a non-immigrant work visa designed for seasonal or temporary agricultural workers in the US. It is issued to foreign nationals from selected countries who are qualified for seasonal agricultural works.

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However, if you are not from any of the selected countries, you can still be issued an H-2A visa. This article explains everything you need to know about the H-2A Visa for Agricultural Workers.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 initiated a temporary unskilled worker category known as the H2 category. This category was divided into two categories (H-2A and H-2B visas) in 1986.

This Visa category was designed for temporary agricultural workers while the H-2B Visa was for temporary non-agricultural workers. Temporary or seasonal agricultural workers are workers needed at certain seasons of the year, mostly related to the production and/or harvesting of a crop for a short period of time less than a year.

H-2A Agricultural Workers are entitled to a lot of privileges such as inbound and outbound transportation, free housing, and meals. The H-2A employers are heavily monitored to ensure they provide these amenities for their employees.

There is no cap on the number of visas under this category issued annually. However, you must meet certain requirements to qualify for an H-2A Visa.

Who is Eligible for H-2A Visa

To be eligible for the H-2A Visas for Agricultural Workers, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Secure a US job for temporary or seasonal Agricultural Workers
  • Prove that you will return to your home country after the completion of the job.
  • You must be a Citizen of one of the selected countries for an H-2A Visa.

What are the Selected Countries for H-2A Visa

The following countries are selected for the H-2A Visa program:

AndorraArgentinaAustraliaAustriaBarbadosBelgium
BrazilBruneiBulgariaCanadaChileColombia
Costa RicaCroatiaCzech RepublicDenmarkDominican RepublicEcuador
El SalvadorEstoniaFijiFinlandFranceGermany
GreeceGrenadaGuatemalaHondurasHungaryIceland
IrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanKiribati
LatviaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgNorth MacedoniaMadagascar
MaltaMoldovaMexicoMonacoMontenegroMozambique
NauruThe NetherlandsNicaraguaNew ZealandNorwayPanama
Papua New GuineaParaguayPeruPolandPortugalRomania
San MarinoSerbiaSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon Islands
South AfricaSouth KoreaSpainSt. Vincent and the GrenadinesSwedenSwitzerland
TaiwanThailandTimor-LesteTurkeyTuvaluUkraine
United KingdomUruguayVanuatu

What to do if my country is not selected for H-2A Visa

If your country does not appear in the above list, you should inform your employer to contact the Department of Homeland Security. They will request for your name, date of birth, country of birth, and country of citizenship.

Your employer will need to prove that the US will benefit from issuing you the H-2A Visa. Then your request will be evaluated. If approved, you will be eligible for the H-2A Visa.

How To Apply for H-2A Visa

Before you can apply for H-2A Visa for Agricultural Workers, your prospective employer must file a petition on your behalf. A petitioner or employer must meet the following criteria before filing a petition:

  • Must have a temporary job opening for Agricultural Workers
  • Must prove that there are not enough US workers who are willing or qualified to fill the position.
  • Prove that by employing the H-2A workers, the wages of other US workers will not be affected
  • Must submit a temporary labor certification application to the US Department of Labor (DOL)
  • Must also submit Form I-129 to USCIS

If your prospective employer meets the above criteria, you can apply following these steps:

  • Fill and submit the Form DS-160 online
  • Pay the application fee
  • Schedule your interview
  • Go for your visa interview
  • If your application is approved, you need to apply for your visa stamping.

How Long Does it Take to Process H-2A Visa?

The US Government prioritizes the processing of H-2A visas because they are for seasonal Agricultural activities. However, employees are advised to file a petition 60–120 days before they need the temporary Agricultural workers.

The processing time may differ in applicants due to the nature of the Agricultural work applied for. Generally, it could take up to 3 weeks to process an H-2A Visa.

Validity of H-2A Visa

The H-2A visa for Agricultural Workers is valid for 1 year after which the employee is expected to return to their home country. However, an employee can apply for an extension if the work has not been completed or has found a new employer.

This extension is only for another year but he or she can apply for 2 more extensions afterward. The employee must return to his home country after 3 years maximum in the US.

If you’re qualified for this category of Visa and need help with applying, immigly.com is here to guide you through all the procedures.

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