The H2B visa allows U.S. employers to hire temporary foreign workers in the nonagricultural sector.
Upon approval of the visa, the prospective worker may enter the United States for the period specified in the TLC unless the employer applies for an extension of stay. However, workers can only stay for three years in a row.
The H2B visa application process is a step-by-step process that begins with the employer obtaining a Temporary Labor Certification and continues with the filing of the Petition for H2B Visa in Form I-129.
The final step is for the prospective worker to apply for a visa at the U.S. embassy, after which an interview will be scheduled. The prospective employee must prepare for the interview. This article will focus on the potential interview questions asked at the U.S. embassy.
H2B Visa: Non – Agricultural Workers in the United States
Employers can use an H2B Visa to hire foreign workers for temporary nonagricultural jobs such as landscaping, grounds maintenance, construction, restaurant/hospitality, golf, manufacturing, processing, and other specialty services firms.
The job opportunity must be Temporary (i.e., not longer than nine months, except for one-time occurrences), Full-time (35 hours or more per week), and nonagricultural in a specific area(s) of interest.
Also, the temporary need can be a seasonal, one-time occurrence, intermittent need, or peak load need.
Even though the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a long list of eligible countries, U.S. employers can still file petitions for workers from ineligible countries if the job benefits the national interests of the United States.
What are the annual limits for H-2B visas?
There is a statutory numerical limit on the number of H2B Visas issued in a fiscal year(FY) under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Congress has set a yearly limit of 66,000 H2B visas.
They are divided into two periods: 33,000 available for workers beginning in the first half of the FY (October 1 – March 31) and 33,000 available for workers starting in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 30), plus any unused numbers from the first half of the FY.
However, the unissued number from one FY cannot be carried over to the next.
The numerical limit for FY 2022 was different because the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor published a joint temporary final rule on January 28, 2022. As a result, the numerical limit on H-2B nonimmigrant visas was increased by 20,000 additional visas during the FY 2022 for positions with start dates on or before March 31, 2022.
The DOH and DOL did not stop with the first half of the FY; on March 31, 2022, another historical publication added 35,000 H-2B visas to the second half of the fiscal year 2022. The addition is expected to attract many H2B workers to work in nonagricultural jobs in the United States.
Workers Who Are Exempted from the H-2B Cap limitation :
- Fish roe processors, fish roe technicians, and fish roe processing supervisors
- Workers performing labor or providing services in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands or on Guam until December 31, 2029;
- H-2B workers in the United States want to extend their stay, change their employment terms, or change employers.
It is also worth noting that the limit does not apply to the spouse and children of H-2B workers classified as H-4 nonimmigrants.
Tell me the process for obtaining a visa?
As stated previously, the application process begins with the employer/petitioner in the United States.
The procedure consists of three steps. It is a step-by-step process that begins with obtaining a Temporary Labor Certificate from the Department of Labor, then continues with filing a petition in Form I-129 with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and finally with applying for the H2B Visa.
To apply for an H-2B visa, you must first fill out Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, and pay the appropriate filing fee. You will then receive a confirmation page, which you should print and save. The next step is to schedule a visa interview at the embassy or consular office.
You will need the following documents for your H-2B visa interview:
- The confirmation page for the DS-160;
- A printout of the Form DS-160 you completed online;
- USCIS Form I-797 approval notice indicating USCIS approval of your Form I-129;
- A valid passport for you and each member of your accompanying family to stamp the H-2B and H-4 visas;
- Each applicant must provide one passport-style photograph.
Note that a translation should accompany documents written in a language other than English. In addition, it should be noted that a certified translation must be obtained from a reputable translation agency.
Prospective H-2B workers who already have legal immigration status in the United States, on the other hand, do not need a visa and can begin working immediately after receiving USCIS approval. If the worker is a Canadian citizen living in Canada, the worker may submit documents at the U.S. border rather than at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Tell me the H2B Visa interview question
How will you be financing your trip? Who is your sponsor?
Mention that the employer is sponsoring the trip if this is the case. Employers are the primary sponsors for H2B visas.
Have you been to the United States before?
Mention if you have been to the United States before and provide a definitive answer. E.g., Yes, I have, or No, I have not.
Tell me the reason for traveling at this time?
Explain why you’re visiting the United States. The best response should center on the temporary job you were hired for in the United States. E.g., “For work purpose” or “I will be working for ABC organization.”
What do you do for a living?
Be bold in your job description, but keep in mind that it must be related to the job you are temporarily hiring for.
How long will you stay in the U.S.?
Indicate the length of your journey. Specify the length of stay on the temporary labor certification as a prospective H2B worker.
Do you have friends/relatives in the U.S.?
Inform the consular officer if you have friends or family in the United States; do not let them find out on their own because it may jeopardize your visa’s approval.
Details on your friends/relatives in the U.S.
This is a follow-up question to the previous one. If you answered in the affirmative above, you would be asked questions about how long they have lived in the United States, their addresses, what they do for a living, etc.
It is possible to obtain the correct contact information for your friends and relatives ahead of time and ask them about this information.
Are you married? Do you have children? Do you have pets? Who will take care of them while you are away?
Be true to the question, state if you are married or have children or pets, as you may want to move to the U.S. with your dependents.
If you are not moving with your dependents, describe your care plan for them during your absence.
Who will care for your house/property/children/pets while away?
The consular officer wants to know if you have property/children/ or pets in your home country to whom you are committed. If you have children or pets, inform them about the care plan and who will be in charge.
Who do you travel with?
State If you are traveling alone, explain to the consular whether the people traveling with you will need to apply as your dependents or not and your relationship with these people.
Have you booked your tickets?
If you are asked if you have booked your ticket, tell them that you have if yes, and you can also provide them with the booking details.
How much do you think your stay in the United States will cost you?
Make a budget for your trip to the United States, including expenses you expect to incur. When asked this question, politely present it to the interviewer. You will give the impression that you are aware of what you are doing and how much money you will be spending.
Do you intend to stay in the United States?
Even if you intend to stay in the United States, you will not inform the consular officer.
This question is asked to demonstrate to the consulate that you have no such intentions, especially as an H2B worker. It would be best to convince the interviewer by referring to your commitment to your home country, telling them you have family, children, pets, friends, property, a job, etc.
FAQs About H2B Visa Interview Questions
How long can workers stay in the U.S. on an H-2B visa?
In general, the USCIS authorizes the stay period of H-2B visa holders based on the temporary labor certification. However, the H-2B classification allows for a three-year maximum stay. As a result, after three years of holding H-2B nonimmigrant status, the worker must leave the United States for three months before applying for readmission as an H-2B nonimmigrant.
Can my dependents join me in the U.S. on the H-2B visa?
Visas are granted to dependent spouses and unmarried children under 21. The dependent may apply for a visa under the H-4 category.
Can I get a green card or change my status on an H-2B Visa?
While on an H-2B visa, an H-2B visa holder may apply for a Green Card. Furthermore, foreign nationals may obtain immigrant status in the United States through family-based or employment-based immigration.
A little expert advice can help you save money and time. Therefore, do not hesitate to contact the Herman Legal Group.
We are an award-winning immigration law firm founded in 1995 and have extensive experience in all areas of immigration, including family, employment, investor, deportation defense, and citizenship.
Call 1-216-696-6170 to schedule a personal consultation with Attorney Richard Herman or book online. Consultations can be held via zoom, skype, WhatsApp, facetime, or in-person.