Due to the extensive process of applying and acquiring an H-2B non-immigrant work visa for temporary workers, there are often many questions and uncertainties regarding its procedures and requirements. The entire process is best approached by getting an H-2B lawyer to answer the numerous questions you may have and aid you in your application process.

However, most applicants still neglect the importance of visa lawyers and tend to go about the application process alone.

Individuals can apply for the H-2B visa when there is a temporary need of H-2B workers to seize a job position or work placement that is considered temporary.

They, and other temporary workers who discover information on the H-2B visa for the first time usually have many questions that need answering. Here, we provide answers to some of the most common questions on an H-2B visa and offer a keen insight into H-2B visas for foreign workers and what temporary labor certification entails.

How Long Can You Stay in the US With an H-2B Visa?

You can stay in the United States for about a year with an H-2B visa. Your stay is entirely dependent on if you meet all the requirements provided for an H-2B non-migrant work visa which is usually granted alongside temporary labor certification.

Many establishments in the United States regularly employ permanent workers and a temporary worker to carry out specific tasks. To ensure these foreign workers can come into the country and carry out business or a temporary event, a H-2B program and a temporary employment certification is needed.

Just before the conclusion of your one-year work stay, you can apply for an extended time frame to work and live in the United States as employed workers of an establishment. These extensions are only granted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) for increments of about one year if such individuals are not employed permanent.

Why Do Temporary Workers Have to Get a Temporary Labor Certification?

A new temporary label certification clearly stating the requested time must come with an extension request. After your first year of stay with the H-2B work visa, you are allowed an extension increment totaling two years. This means that you can only have two one-year increments if you don’t fall into the category of permanent employees.

Before an employer’s permanent employees attain that status, they are required to have an approved temporary labor certification provided by labor and homeland security.

However, this brings the total time you can stay in the U.S. with an H-2B visa to a maximum of three years if you are granted successive extensions. Also, individuals who have held the H-2B status for up to three years must leave the country and remain outside until after three months. This particular time must be uninterrupted, and upon completion, the searched individual may apply for readmission as an H-2B non-immigrant or to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs.

Can Certain Periods Spent Outside the United States Interfere with H-2B Visas Application?

In rare cases, certain periods spent outside the United States can interrupt an H-2B worker’s authorized stay and not completely make up the three-year count limit. There are special methods for calculating uninterrupted stay for H-2B visa classifications in such situations.

Here, a written request has to be made stating the vacation period, your status as full time workers, American workers, seeks workers, or as a new employer who is seeking temporary additions for job openings pending when you can get permanent staff. At that point, you can have provisions that will temporarily supplement the intermittent need pending the final determination of your time spent outside the country.

Can I Travel on My H-2B Visa?

Can I Travel on My H-2B Visa?

Yes, you can and it doesn’t have to be a one time occurrence. An H-2B visa offers several benefits: free travel without any restrictions across all states in the country and outside the country and also the opportunity to enjoy the privileges provided by the national prevailing wage center. All H-2B visa recipients will not need extra traveling procedures if their temporary job or work visas remain valid.

Provided all the applicable supporting documentation have been provided, the H-2B program provide other benefits such as;

  • Enjoyment of all the employee benefits regular United States workers are privy to like the prevailing wage determination subject to the employer’s regular operation.
  • Children or spouses below 21 can come with a foreign worker in an underlying job to the United States by applying for an H-4 visa.
  • Holders can bring their dependents to live and attend school in the United States throughout their stay.
  • Holders can also change labor employment if they display a new job offer and sign a new employer’s petition.

How Long Does the H-2B Visa Process Take for Someone Who Regularly Employs Permanent Workers?

Generally, your H-2B visa sponsor or employer can submit the petition between 60 to 120 days before the employment start date. It can be no more than 120 days.

However, it is possible to not get the visa in the same year of application due to significant application volumes. H-2B visa processing entails consecutive steps so that each step must be primarily concluded before the next one can begin.

This makes the process very intricate, comprehensive, and continuous before its termination. A delay in just one process can foster a time increase of the entire application.

If a petitioner, employer, or recruiter requires an expedited process, they can apply for premium processing, which will decide on the I-129 petition in 15 days. This service usually costs an additional $2500 to the regular processing fees.

It is important to remember that you cannot apply for premium processing if the visa cap for the year has been met. You should also confirm beforehand. If you fail to do so, not to worry, the USCIS service center provides a guaranteed refund of premium processing fees, but not other service fees.

What are the Requirements for an H-2B Visa?

An H-2B non-immigrant visa comes with specific requirements like any other visa application. It can be categorized into requirements for potential employers and employees. The initial H-2B visa is always provided in the first half of a fiscal year.

For employer applicants, here are some of the requirements that must be done in line with the electronic filing process;

  • The job must be of a temporary or seasonal nature.
  • The employment is completely “employer-specific,” and visa holders must petition their employers before permission to work in the United States.
  • U.S. employers must obtain a certificate that proves the availability of qualified U.S. citizens or residents willing to perform their services.
  • U.S. employers must be registered under a U.S. company, a proprietorship, or individually to apply for an H-2B visa.
  • U.S. employers must also prove that employing H-2B workers will not negatively affect regular U.S. workers’ wages and working conditions.

How Can Applicants Not In the United States Apply for H-2B Visas?

Applicants not in the United States have to provide several documents to be submitted to the training administration office. Some of which are;

  • Form I-129 approval page from your petitioner or employer.
  • A valid international passport.
  • Form DS-160 application page.
  • Proof of valid ties to your home country and employment situation to ensure your return after work.
  • Passport photographs taken with U.S. visa standards.

How Can You Apply for H-2B Visas with Your Kids or Dependents?

If you aim to apply with your kids or dependents, you would need to provide the following documents at your appointment;

  • Valid international passport
  • Birth certificates for unmarried children below 21 years
  • Passport photographs were taken with U.S. standards
  • Marriage certificate for a spouse

Upon providing all these necessary documents, you will be eligible for an H-2B non-immigrant work visa application. For effective electronic filing, an immigration firm or attorney is needed after which a certifying officer will vet the process ensuring it follows regulations governing H-2B visas.

What is the H-2B Temporary Foreign Worker Program?

Congress created the H-2B temporary foreign worker program and the United States Centre for Immigration Services to fill temporary non-academic and non-agricultural jobs that have a unique occurrence, peak-load need, seasonal or an intermittent need.

It was largely created to help struggling U.S. businesses cater to their labor requirements due to the inability of the country to do so consistently. This inability usually stems from a seasonal change and the uninterested nature of U.S. citizens in these provided job opportunities.

Who are H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers?

Temporary non-agricultural workers refer to foreigners in the U.S. who are granted visa appointments on the condition that it is temporary and exclusively for non-agricultural working purposes.

The H2B temporary non-agricultural program permits U.S. employers who meet the program requirements to get workers who come into the country temporarily. This is achieved by issuing an H-2B non-agricultural work visa that can be used for a maximum period of three years.

These visas are issued to employers who establish their need for non-agricultural services or temporary labor.

Who May Qualify for H-2B Classification?

Who May Qualify for H-2B Classification?

U.S. employers and non-immigrant workers may qualify for the H-2B classification upon meeting some specific requirements set by the USCIS. It would help if you also were a nationality amongst the list of countries permitted by the United States to temporarily live and work in the country. To find out if you are a nationality listed by the nationality act, you can visit the Chicago national processing center or any other branch.

Employers that show no available, qualified or willing U.S. workers for the temporary work or intended employment and also needs which meet the requirements may qualify for H-2B recruitment. Also, individuals with the correct background and ability for the job, with a valid job offer from a U.S. employer qualify for the H-2B classification.

Sufficient information must be provided to show that your are similarly employed and nothing can adversely affect such employment or the prospective worker’s services to be delivered

However, such applicants must conclusively show proof that they must intend to return home on or before the visa’s expiration date. An exception to this is if the employee has to perform services that are of a seasonal need after the expiration date. Where that is the case, the employer submits an extension of time application to the state workforce agency with the appropriate details of the seasonal need and the temporary jobs to be done in that period.

What Can We Do to Help You?

Undoubtedly, it is best to let an immigration attorney handle your H-2B application process, and with over 22 years experience in immigration matters, Richard Herman is the best pick for you. If you want dependent visas to seize a job opportunity or you want to get permanent residency for your family in the United States, we are here to help.

At your convenience, you can contact us via Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp or put a call through to us via +1-216-696-6170. For a quicker response, you can fill the online form and schedule a consultation with Richard Herman.


The H-2B visa application process encompasses many steps and procedures. With the right guidance and the right information, you will be able to answer most of your questions and proceed to apply for visa processing appropriately.

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