H-2B Season Employment Visa

H-2B Season Employment Visa

Visa For Temporary Non-Agricultural Work In The United States.

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The H-2B programme allows U.S. companies or employees to temporarily hire a national for non-agricultural occupations. A prospective workers employer must complete Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, on their behalf.

H-2B Visa Eligibility

To be eligible for H-2B nonimmigrant status, the petitioner must show that:

  • There arent enough capable, willing, qualified, and available employees in the United States to fill the temporary positions.
  • Employing H-2B employees will have no negative impact on the pay and working conditions of similarly hired Americans.
  • It has a transient requirement for the potential workers skills or labour, regardless of whether the underlying employment is also temporary.

Family of H-2B Workers

The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of any H-2B worker may apply for H-4 nonimmigrant status. While in H-4 status, family members are not eligible for work in the United States.

H-2B Visa Application Process

Step 1: Petitioner files DOL application for temporary labour certification. Before petitioning USCIS for H-2B classification, the petitioner must get temporary labour certification for H-2B employees from the U.S. Department of Labor (or Guam DOL if the employment will be in Guam). * Visit the Foreign Labor Certification, Department of Labor and Foreign Labor Certification, Guam Department of Labor websites for further information.

Step 2: Petitioner sends USCIS Form I-129. The petitioner must submit Form I-129 with USCIS after getting an H-2B temporary labour certification from DOL or Guam DOL (if applicable). The original temporary labour certification must be submitted with Form I-129 (See the Form I-129 instructions for additional filing requirements). If the temporary labour certification application was completed in DOLs FLAG system, the petitioner must attach a printed copy of the one-page electronic “final decision” with Form I-129. A printed copy of the final decision is the authorised temporary labour certification. If a petitioner submitted the initial temporary labour certification with a prior Form I-129, send a copy and include the receipt number, if available.

Step 3: Foreign employees apply for visas and/or entrance. After USCIS approves Form I-129, prospective H-2B workers outside the U.S. must: Apply for an H-2B visa with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad and then seek admission to the U.S. with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. port of entry; or Directly seek admission to the U.S. in H-2B classification with CBP at a U

H-2B Visa Processing Time

Processing times for H-2B visa petitions may range anywhere from four to six months, as a result of the high volume of applications received. Even while it may seem like a long period, this is really on par with the processing timelines for many other types of US work visas. Within sixty to one hundred and twenty days of the day that you are scheduled to begin working for the company, your employer must submit the necessary petitions. This allows for the application to be reviewed and handled without rushing the process.

As a result of the amount of time that is required to complete the procedure, it is recommended that you start your search at least a few months before you want to relocate to the United States. Before you can even begin the process of obtaining a visa, you will need to find a sponsor and ensure that you satisfy all of their criteria.

H-2B Capacity

The total number of noncitizens who may be issued an H-2B visa or otherwise granted H-2B status within a fiscal year is subject to a statutory numerical limit, or “cap.” The H-2B cap is currently set at 66,000 every fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who start work in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 – March 31) and 33,000 for employees who start work in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 30). (April 1 – September 30). Employers wanting to hire H-2B employees in the second half of the fiscal year will be able to use any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year. Unused H-2B numbers, on the other hand, do not carry over from one fiscal year to the next.

Once the H-2B cap has been reached, USCIS may only accept applications for H-2B workers who are not subject to the cap. See the Cap Count for H-2B Nonimmigrants Web page for more information on the current H-2B cap and workers who are exempt from it.

Duration of Stay

In general, the USCIS may issue H-2B status for the time period specified on the temporary labour certification. For eligible employment, H-2B classification may be extended in one-year increments. Each request for an extension must be accompanied by a new, valid temporary labour certification covering the requested time. The H-2B classification allows for a maximum stay of three years.

Before applying for readmission as an H-2B nonimmigrant, a person who has held H-2B nonimmigrant status for a total of three years must leave the United States and stay outside the country for three months in a row. Time spent in other H or L classifications is also counted toward total H-2B time.

Exception: Time spent outside of the United States may “interrupt” an H-2B workers approved stay and not count toward the 3-year limit.

Other USA Visa Types

Other Ways To Be Eligible For H-2B Status

One-time occurrence — A petitioner alleging a one-time occurrence must demonstrate that the event occurred:

  • The requirement for a temporary worker has arisen as a result of a permanent job arrangement that has been disrupted by a short-term event.
  • Not previously hired workers to conduct the service or labour and will not require workers to do the service or labour in the future;


Seasonal need – A petitioner claiming a seasonal need must demonstrate that the service or labour for which it is looking for workers is: Traditionally related to a season of the year by an event or pattern; and Recurring in nature.

Note that you cannot claim a seasonal necessity if the time period during which you do not require the service or labour is as follows:

  • Unpredictable; subject to change; or a vacation period for your permanent staff.


Peak load need – A petitioner claiming a peak load need must demonstrate that it: Employs permanent workers to perform services or labour at the place of employment on a regular basis; Needs to temporarily supplement its permanent staff at the place of employment due to seasonal or short-term demand; and

The employers regular operations will not be affected by the temporary personnel additions.


  • Intermittent need — A petitioner claiming an intermittent need must demonstrate that it: Has not hired permanent or full-time workers to conduct the services or labour; and Occasionally or occasionally requires temporary workers to perform services or labour for short periods of time.

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