H-2B Temporary Visa for Non-Agricultural Workers

H-2B Visas for Non-Agricultural Workers are non-immigrant visa. This program permits US employers to bring foreign nationals to fill temporary or seasonal jobs in the US in all sectors excluding agricultural works.

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Did you know that the Department of Homeland Security increased the H-2B nonimmigrant visas by 22,000 additional visas through the end of fiscal year 2021? Learn more about this and all you need to know about the H-2B Visa in this article.

The H-2B Visa category was introduced by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The United States Secretary of Homeland Security is required to consult with appropriate agencies before issuing the H-2B Visa.

There is a restriction on the total number of applicants who may be issued an H-2B visa in a fiscal year. Presently, the H-2B Cap has been set at 66,000 per year; 33,000 for the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 – March 31) and the remaining 33,000 for the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 31). 

On May 25, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security increased the H-2B nonimmigrant visas by 22,000 additional visas through the end of fiscal year 2021.

However, this is only available to employers who are likely to experience great loss, if they cannot employ all the H-2B Non-Agricultural workers requested on their Form I-129 petition.

Who is Eligible for H-2B Visa

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

  • Secure a US job for temporary or seasonal Non-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-2B Visa.

What are Eligible Countries for H-2B Visa

The following countries are eligible for H-2B Visa program: 

AndorraArgentinaAustraliaAustriaBarbadosBelgium
BrazilBruneiBulgariaCanadaChileColombia
Costa RicaCroatiaCzech RepublicDenmarkEcuadorEl Salvador
EstoniaFijiFinlandFranceGermanyGreece
GrenadaGuatemalaHondurasHungaryIcelandIreland
IsraelItalyJamaicaJapanKiribatiLatvia
LiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgNorth MacedoniaMadagascarMalta
MexicoMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMozambiqueNauru
The NetherlandsNicaraguaNew ZealandNorwayPanamaPapua New Guinea
PeruThe PhilippinesPolandPortugalRomaniaSan Marino
SerbiaSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSouth Africa
South KoreaSpainSt. Vincent and the GrenadinesSwedenSwitzerlandTaiwan
ThailandTimor-LesteTurkeyTuvaluUkraineUnited Kingdom
Uruguay

What to do if my Country is not Eligible for H-2B 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-2B Visa. Then your request will be evaluated. If approved, the secretary of Homeland Security may consider adding your country to the Eligible Country List.

How To Apply for H-2B Visa

Before you can apply for H-2B Visa for Non-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:

  • Their need for the prospective employee is temporary, seasonal or a peak-load need.
  • Must prove that there are not enough US workers who are willing or qualified to fill the position.
  • Prove that by employing the H-2B workers, the wages of other US workers will not be affected.

If the petitioner meets the above criteria, he or she can apply by following these procedures:

1. The petitioner must apply for temporary labor certification

The petitioner or employer must apply for and receive a temporary labor certification from the US Department of Labour (DOL).

2. The petitioner must submit Form I-129

The petitioner or employer should submit Form I-129 to USCIS after receiving the temporary labor certification.

3. Prospective H-2B workers must apply for H-2B Visa

If USCIS approves Form I-129, prospective H-2B workers must apply for an H-2B visa with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad.

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

The processing time depends on the number of applicants USCIS needs to process at the time of application. Generally, it could take up to 3 weeks to process an H-2B Visa. However, employees are advised to file a petition 60–120 days before they need the services of the H-2B Non-Agricultural workers.

Validity of H-2B Visa

The H-2B Visa for Non-Agricultural Workers is valid up to the period your employer requires your service which is usually for a year. However, after one year, an employee can apply for an extension if the work has not been completed.

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, we at immigly.com is here to guide you through all the procedures.

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