What is a H2B visa?
The H2B visa is a type of work visa permitting US employers to hire foreign workers on a temporary basis, provided these roles are non-agricultural.
Eligible applicants may apply for a temporary labour certification to fill positions that include temporary employment in a wide variety of professions and roles, including landscaping, grounds maintenance, construction, restaurant/hospitality, maintenance, golf, manufacturing, processing, and other speciality services firms.
The H2B visa program was created to address shortages of workers in specific fields for seasonal jobs and a as such, a major condition of an H2B visa is that a particularly temporary job couldn’t be taken by a US citizen.
What are the eligibility requirements for the H2B work visa?
To be eligible for an H2B visa, you must first have a valid offer from an eligible US employer. This offer must also be for temporary employment that is considered to be a one-time job or meets a seasonal, peak-load, or intermittent need.
Before applying for an H2B visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Have an official job letter from a U.S-based company.
- Meet the minimum qualifications and have the skills and experience for the job.
- Be able to demonstrate that you will return to your home country before your H2B work visa expires.
- Be a citizen of any of the 70+ countries that the Secretary of State for the USA has approved to be eligible for the H2B program.
How long can H2B workers stay?
An H2B visa is typically valid for a duration of up to one year, however, the validity of this visa is linked to the period your employer has stated that they require the service of temporary workers.
It is possible for your employer to extend your H2B visa before it expires, provided that you continue to meet all of the eligibility requirements. When doing a renewal, your employer may need to request for or extend their labour certification.
An H2B visa can be extended for up to one year at a time, for a maximum of three years. After this period, anyone wishing to continue working in the US on an H2B visa will need to remain outside the US for at least three months before applying for readmission.
Does the H2B visa lead to a green card?
The H2B visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means that it’s not possible to immigrate to the US permanently or eventually apply for a Green Card on this type of visa. Instead, it is important to go home to the UK or to another country outside the US when you have finished your job or in advance before the visa expires.
If you are determined to stay in the US, you will need to submit an application for an alternative visa which permits long-term immigration to the US. It’s worth noting that any H2B visa holders already in the US who wish to change to a different visa route are required to return to their home country before submitting a new visa application.
It’s also important to note that any time spent in the US on the H2B visa won’t count towards getting a green card and it’s not possible to change your status from an H2B visa to Green Card. If you wish to immigrate to the US on a permanent basis, eventually becoming eligible to apply for a green card, you’ll need to apply for an alternative visa.
What temporary jobs can you do with an H2B visa?
The permitted, temporary work allowed with the H 2B varies but must be for jobs that are considered a temporary event. Examples of the approved H 2B visas for temporary jobs are:
- Construction laborers
- Amusement and recreation attendants
- Housekeeping cleaners
- Landscaping workers
- Forest and conservation workers
- Waiters and waitresses
- Coaches and scouts
- Production workers
- Food preparation workers
H2B visa holders with a temporary labour certification are unable to take temporary agricultural jobs, like farm labour.
How Total Law Can Help?
Foreign workers can gain excellent experience working as non-permanent employees in the US.
Our team of highly experienced immigration lawyers here at Total Law can support you in your H2B visa application, helping you to obtain a temporary labor certification, and to answer any questions you may have as your complete your application.
The help of our team can get you into your intended employment faster and without stress. We encourage you to contact our team at Total Law anytime! We are open to serve you seven days a week, by phone or by online chat on our website.
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The H2B visa can be extended for up to one year each time, but not more than three years in total. If you have stayed in the US for a total of three years on H2B status, you must leave the US and remain outside the US for at least three months before returning as an H2B non-immigrant worker.
Holders of H-2B visas can travel freely, without any restrictions at all.
While there is no age restriction, the visa is open to participants between 18-45 years of age.