H-2B Visa: Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers

What is an H2B Visa?

An H-2B visa is a type of temporary non-immigrant visa granted to foreign workers who enter the United States to perform “temporary, nonagricultural labor or services.” It has a maximum duration of three years and is renewable once. This visa is subject to quotas depending on the number of available slots and labor needs. In order to qualify, applicants must demonstrate that they are coming to the U.S. to fill a need that cannot be met by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Additionally, employers must prove that hiring the foreign worker will not have an adverse effect on wages and working conditions for similar U.S. workers.

Who Qualifies for H2B Visa?

An H2B Visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows you to temporarily work in the United States. It is valid for up to three years and can be extended. In order to qualify for an H2B Visa, you must meet the following criteria:

1. You must be a citizen of a foreign country who is willing to work in the United States on a temporary basis.

2. You must have a job offer from a US employer that is temporary, seasonal, or intermittent in nature.

3. You must have a valid passport.

4. You must demonstrate that you have the qualifications, skills, and experience needed to perform the job offered by the US employer.

5. You must demonstrate that you are not coming to the United States to stay permanently, and that you have ties to your home country that will ensure your return once your visa expires.

6. You must demonstrate that the job you are offering is not available to US workers and that you are not displacing any US workers by taking the job.

How to Apply for H2B Visa?

Applying for an H2B visa is a complex process that may require the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney. To begin the application process, you will need to submit a petition for a nonimmigrant worker (Form I-129) to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Along with the form, you will need to include supporting documents such as evidence of the job offer, proof of the employer’s financial ability to pay the offered wage, a statement from the employer detailing the job duties and qualifications, and additional evidence related to the job offer.

Once the USCIS approves your petition, you will need to proceed through consular processing. This involves obtaining a visa interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country. During this process, you will be required to submit evidence that you meet all of the eligibility requirements for a nonimmigrant worker under the H2B visa program. This includes proof that you possess the appropriate qualifications for the job and that you are capable of legally entering and remaining in the United States. In some cases, additional documents may be required as well.

After you have successfully completed your visa interview, the U.S. consulate or embassy will issue you an H2B visa. This visa will allow you to travel to the United States for a temporary period of time in order to complete your job duties. Upon arrival in the U.S., you must present your H2B visa and related documents to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in order to be admitted into the country.

It is important to note that if your employer fails to comply with certain regulatory requirements related to the H2B visa program, your visa could be revoked and you may be required to leave the United States immediately. Therefore, it is critical that both you and your employer fully understand all of your responsibilities under this program before beginning the application process. Additionally, if you have any questions or concerns throughout this process, it is strongly recommended that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can provide legal advice and assistance.

What is the H2B Visa Interview Process?

The H2B Visa Interview Process typically involves two steps: an application stage and a face-to-face interview.

The application stage begins when the prospective visa holder submits their application, including all required documents, to the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. During this stage, the applicant should make sure all documents are accurate and up-to-date. Once the application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the State Department and a decision will be made as to whether or not the applicant meets the requirements for obtaining an H2B visa.

If the initial review is successful, the applicant will be invited for a face-to-face interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. During this interview, the applicant will be asked questions about their background, purpose of travel, and employment history. It is important to provide truthful answers to all questions asked during this interview as any false information provided could result in the denial of the visa or even criminal charges.

After the face-to-face interview is successfully completed, if approved, a visa will be issued allowing the applicant to travel to the U.S. as a temporary nonimmigrant worker.

What are the Required Documents for H2B Visa?

The following documents are required for an H2B visa:

1. A completed Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker;

2. A valid job offer from an employer in the United States;

3. Proof of your qualifications and experience for the job you are applying for, such as copies of diplomas, certificates, and/or letters from previous employers;

4. A copy of your passport;

5. Proof of financial support while in the United States, including bank statements and proof of assets in your home country;

6. A labor certification application from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) or a temporary labor certification from the DOL if applicable;

7. An application fee; and

8. Evidence that you do not intend to stay in the United States on a permanent basis, such as proof of family or social ties to your home country.

What is the H2B Visa Fee?

The H2B Visa fee is $190. This fee is paid to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by the employer who is sponsoring the foreign worker. The fee covers the cost of processing the application and issuing the visa. Additionally, employers may also be required to pay a Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee of $500.

What is the H2B Visa Processing Time?

The H2B visa processing time varies depending on a variety of factors, including the workload of the local USCIS processing center and the current demand for H2B visas. The average processing time for an H2B visa petition is approximately 4 to 6 months. Petitioners should plan accordingly and file their petition as early as possible to increase their chances of receiving an approval in a timely manner.

H2B Visa Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an H2B Visa?

An H2B visa is a non-immigrant visa issued by the U.S. government to foreign nationals who wish to work in the U.S. temporarily in a specialty occupation, or for a specific employer or project. The H2B visa allows employers to hire workers from abroad to fill temporary job openings when U.S. workers are not available.

2. Who is eligible for an H2B visa?

To be eligible for an H2B visa, the applicant must demonstrate that they have the qualifications and experience necessary to perform the job they are applying for, and that their role is of a temporary nature. There are also additional requirements that must be satisfied, including a valid job offer from a U.S. employer and a labor certification from the Department of Labor.

3. How long can I stay in the U.S. on an H2B visa?

H2B visas are typically valid for up to three years, but may be extended for up to an additional three years if the employer renews their labor certification with the Department of Labor. The total amount of time an individual can stay in the U.S. on an H2B visa is limited to six consecutive years.

4. Can I bring dependents with me on my H2B visa?

Yes, spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be able to accompany you to the U.S. on an H4 dependent visa, provided that they meet all the necessary criteria and application requirements for such status. Dependents will not be allowed to work in the U.S., but may attend school or college while in the country.

5. Can I apply for permanent residency while on an H2B visa?

Yes, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency (a green card) while in the U.S. on an H2B visa, provided that you meet all the necessary criteria and application requirements for such status. It is important to note that obtaining permanent residency while on an H2B visa requires careful planning and preparation, so it is best to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer before attempting to do so.