A Guide on How to Obtain an H-2B Visa in the United States

Learn about what an H-2B visa is, who it's for, the requirements, and process for obtaining one to temporarily employ a foreign worker in the U.S.

The H-2B visa is a temporary non-agricultural work visa that is available to foreign workers who meet specific regulatory requirements. The United States has granted these visas to non-specialty occupational workers because of domestic labor shortage.

Generally, H-2B work visas are used for temporary non-agricultural jobs such as beach resorts and amusement parks. The category may seem broad, but several restrictions are put on H-2B visas.

Additionally, there is a numerical limit on the total number of individuals who may receive H-2B visas for each fiscal year. This number changes frequently so going to the government’s website is essential, however, certain types of workers may be exempt from the H-2B cap.

The law continues to become more complex with the rules and regulations on immigration law, especially for H-2B visas, asking a lawyer for further information is highly recommended. Lastly, the United States allows H-2A visas, which are temporary agricultural worker visas, simply the opposite of the H-2A.

Requirements for an H-2B Visa

H-2B visas are limited to citizens or nationals of only a certain number of designated countries with a few exceptions the U.S. has deemed of interest. The employer can establish one of two things in order to satisfy the requirements of an H-2B visa.

The first requirement for an employer is that there are not enough U.S. workers who are willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.

Secondly, that the employment of H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

Lastly, U.S. employers will need to satisfy the requirement that the job is “temporary,” for which the government has defined this term in several ways on the USCIS’s website. An H-2B visa grants a access to the U.S. for the authorized period of time on the temporary labor certificate.

Typically, this visa is seasonal, but may be extended for qualifying employment needs on a yearly basis. An extension can only be granted up to three years for which the immigrant must deport for at least three months before re-applying for another H-2B visa.

Other Popular Work Visas in the United States:

H-1B Visa - Specialty Occupation Worker (skilled worker)

H-2A Visa - Temporary agricultural worker

L-1 Visa - Intra-company Transferee

B-1 Visa - Business visitors

J-1 Visa - Exchange Visitor Program

Green Card - Permanent Residence to live and work in the U.S.

 

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