Work Visa: What is the H2B Visa Process?

Each year, USCIS issues thousands of H2 work visas to experienced and inexperienced immigrants who wish to work temporarily in the United States. This category is divided into two types of visas: H2A for agricultural workers and H2B for non-agricultural workers.

Don’t face the complicated H2B visa process alone. At Jaskot Law we can help you. With our extensive experience in work visas we can guide you through the process so that you can start earning a living in the country you have chosen as your home as soon as possible. Contact us to receive the legal advice you deserve.

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    What is an H2B visa?

    An H2B visa is a type of temporary work visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers to perform temporary non-agricultural work. This visa is designed to fill a shortage of available and qualified U.S. workers for certain temporary jobs.

    These non-agricultural jobs can cover a wide range of industries and occupations, such as hospitality services (e.g., jobs in hotels, restaurants, and amusement parks), construction, landscaping, janitorial services, manufacturing, tourism industry, among others.

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    Non-agricultural jobs covered by the H2B visa process cover a wide range of industries and occupations.

    H2B Visa: Requirements

    To initiate the H2B visa process, several requirements must be met. Below is a list of the main requirements:

    • Temporary offer of employment: You must have a temporary offer of employment from a U.S. employer that requires your services for non-agricultural work of a limited duration.
    • Labor Certification: The employer must obtain a Temporary Foreign Labor Employment Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This certification demonstrates that there are not enough U.S. workers available to perform the work and that hiring foreign workers will not adversely affect U.S. workers in similar jobs.
    • Demonstrate temporary need: The employer must demonstrate that the need to hire foreign workers is temporary, i.e., that the work is of limited duration and not permanent.
    • Training and qualifications: You must have the necessary training and qualifications to perform the required temporary work. The employer must demonstrate that it has not found qualified, willing and available U.S. workers for the position.
    • Meet admissibility requirements: You must meet the general admissibility requirements for entry into the United States, such as having no criminal record, being in good health, and meeting security requirements.
    • Comply with numerical limits: The H2B visa has annual numerical limits set by Congress. You should make sure that visas are still available for the fiscal year in which you wish to apply.

    It is important to note that this list of requirements is only a general summary and there may be other specific requirements depending on each situation and country of origin. It is advisable to consult with experienced immigration attorneys for accurate and up-to-date information on H2B visa requirements.

    What documents do I need in the H2B visa process?

    In order to have a successful H2B visa process, you will need to submit the following documentation:

    • Form DS-160You must submit a copy of Form DS-160. You can do this through the website of the U.S. Embassy in your country.
    • Form I-129 (Nonimmigrant Worker Petition): This form must be completed and filed by the employer with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
    • Temporary Employment Certification: The employer must obtain a Temporary Foreign Labor Employment Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This certification demonstrates the need to hire foreign workers.
    • Identification documents: Both the employer and the foreign worker must present valid identification documents, such as valid passports, to prove their identity and nationality.
    • Labor Supporting Documents: The employer must provide additional documentation supporting the need for the temporary employment and the lack of available U.S. workers such as:
      • Detailed job descriptions.
      • Training and experience requirements.
      • Proof of position advertising.
    • Financial Support Documents: The employer must demonstrate its ability to meet the wages and benefits offered to the foreign worker. Among other things, this may require:
      • Financial statements.
      • Tax returns.
      • Payroll records.
    • Worker’s supporting documents: The foreign worker must submit documents supporting his/her work experience, skills, and training relevant to the temporary work requested. Among other things, this may include the following:
      • Curriculum vitae.
      • Certificates of education or training.
      • Employment references.
    • Medical Support Documents: In some cases, a medical examination may be required to demonstrate that the foreign worker is in good health and does not pose a risk to public health in the United States.
    • Evidence of intent to leave the country upon expiration of the H2B visa: As this is a temporary work visa, you will need to present documentation proving your intention to return to your home country upon expiration of your visa. This may be:
      • A copy of the property deed.
      • A lease agreement.
      • Letters from an employer.
    • Supporting documents of compliance with additional requirements: Depending on the specific situation, there may be additional requirements to be met that may vary on a case-by-case basis, such as, for example:
      • Criminal background checks.
      • Safety evaluations.

    It is important to note that there may be additional requirements or variations depending on each case and current immigration regulations. Therefore, it is advisable to seek legal advice in order to submit the necessary documentation for the H2B visa process.

    What is the H2B visa process like?

    Step 1 – Request for Labor Certification

    The employer must file an application for Temporary Foreign Labor Employment Certification with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This certification demonstrates the need to hire foreign workers and that there are not enough U.S. workers available. The DOL will evaluate the application and issue a decision.

    Step 2 – Filing Form I-129

    Once the approved Labor Certification has been obtained, the employer must file Form I-129 (Nonimmigrant Worker Petition) with USCIS. In this request, the employer will provide information about the temporary work, the foreign worker and other relevant details.

    Step 3 – Admission Process

    If USCIS approves the Form I-129 petition, the foreign worker must follow the H2B visa process. This involves applying for this visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country and then applying for admission at a U.S. port of entry. The worker must submit the required documentation, including approval of the Form I-129 and other supporting documents.

    Step 4 – Arrival in the United States

    Once admitted to the United States, the foreign worker may begin working for the petitioning employer. It is important to respect the terms and conditions set forth in the approved petition, such as the duration of employment and job responsibilities.

    Step 5 – Fulfillment of Obligations

    Both the employer and the foreign worker must comply with all obligations established by the U.S. immigration authorities. This includes maintaining visa validity and legal status, complying with labor laws, and any other requirements imposed during the period of temporary employment.

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    Once the H2B visa process is approved, the foreign worker may enter the United States and work for the petitioning employer.

    I have an H2B visa, can I apply for residency?

    If you have an H2B visa, you cannot apply directly for permanent residency (Green Card) based on that visa. The H2B visa is a temporary work visa and does not provide a direct path to permanent residency in the United States.

    However, you can look for options to obtain residency in other ways. For example, if you meet the requirements and qualify for another visa category or immigration program, you could explore those options to apply for permanent residence.

    Can I bring my family with the H2B visa process?

    H2B visa holders may bring their spouse and/or unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States. These family members will receive the H-4 classification. However, you should be aware that family members with this type of visa are not allowed to work in the United States.

    Do I have to pay any fees for the H2B visa process?

    Yes, the H2B visa process requires payment of the Form I-129 filing fee($460). In addition, foreign workers must pay a fee of $190 to apply for the H2B visa upon approval of Form I-129. Please note that these fees are non-refundable, so if your application is rejected or your employer decides not to proceed with the process, you will not be able to recover the money.

    How long does the H2B visa last?

    An H2B visa gives a maximum period of stay in the United States of up to 3 years. Once this period has expired, the beneficiary must leave the country for a period of 3 months without interruption.

    Is there a visa limit in the H2B visa process?

    The H2B visa has a quota limit of 66,000 visas per fiscal year. However, please note the following:
    – The following will be assigned 33,000 visas for workers starting employment during the first half of the fiscal year (from October 1 to March 31) and 33,000 visas for those starting during the second half of the fiscal year ( April 1 to September 30).
    – Any number of visas from the first half of the fiscal year not used during that period will be available to employers wishing to hire H2B workers during the second part of the fiscal year.
    – The amount of H2B visas not used during a fiscal year cannot be carried over to the next fiscal year.

    Seek legal advice for the H2B visa process.

    Don’t wait any longer and start the H2B visa process with the work visa specialists at Jaskot Law. Our team of immigration attorneys has extensive experience in work visas and can help you every step of the way.

    We know that the U.S. immigration system can be extremely complex and navigating it can be overwhelming at times, especially when you have to earn a living. But with our experience, you can rest assured that your rights will be well taken care of. Contact us today and start a better life in the country you have chosen as your home.

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