The H-2B (non-agricultural temporary worker program) allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs.
H-2B visa is for non-agricultural temporary worker, different from H-2A Visa for temporary agricultural workers.
Period of Stay: initial stay of no more than 1 year, could be extended in increments of 1 year. The maximum period of stay is 3 years.
Family: Spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age could apply for H-4 non-immigrant visa. They do not have work authorization under H-4 status.
Green Card Intent: Dual Intent is not permitted. A foreign worker in H-2B nonimmigrant status for 3 years is required to depart and remain outside the United States for an uninterrupted period of 3 months.
Statistics: In fiscal year 2010, USCIS received 63,588 applications for H-2B visa, approved 47,403 of them, and denied 16,185, waived or overcome 5,324.
H2-B Visa Cap
Currently, the H-2B cap set by Congress is 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the 1st half of the fiscal year and 33,000 to be allocated for employment beginning in the 2nd half of the fiscal year. Any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year will be made available for use by employers seeking to hire H-2B workers during the second half of the fiscal year. There is no “carry over” of unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year to the next.
H2-B Visa Cap Exemption
- Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians and/or supervisors of fish roe processing
- Workers performing labor or services in the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and/or Guam(11/28/2009-12/1/2014)
H-2B Visa extension and the spouse and children of H-2B workers holding H4 visa are not counted against H-2B Visa cap.
H-2B Program Process
- Employer Submits Temporary Labor Certification Application to the Department of Labor.
- Employer Submits Form I-129 to USCIS.
- Prospective Workers Outside the United States Apply for Visa and/or Admission.