Immigration Center of
Ekaterina Mouratova, PA

Skilled and unskilled workers (H-2B visa)

Some people find permanent job in the U.S., others come for a temporary period of time. There are different employment-based visas. H-2B visa is a good option for U.S. employers and foreign employees who are considering seasonal nonagricultural jobs.


The petition is filed by a U.S. employer, so a foreign national cannot apply for this type of visa before he secures a job offer. To have the petition approved, the employer must establish that


  • There are not enough workers in the U.S. to fulfill the position in question;
  • Employment of a foreign national will not negatively affect U.S. job market; and
  • The employer needs help for a temporary period of time.


For the purposes of H-2B petition the temporary need may


  • emerge in result for a one time occurrence (e.g., unpredicted circumstances); or
  • it may be a seasonal job; or
  • the petitioner may need to supplement its stuff during the business peak period; or
  • he may have an intermittent need.


USCIS issues authorization for a foreign national to stay in the U.S. for a period of the prospective employment. If circumstances change and the services are required for a longer period than was initially requested in the petition, a request for extension may be filed. Extensions are granted in one-year increments. The maximum period of stay in H-2B classification cannot exceed 3 years.


The spouses and children younger than 21 years old can join the foreign employee in the U.S. with H-4 visa. Their stay duration will be the same as the one of the employee, however they will not be eligible to seek employment in the U.S.


The Congress set a limit on the number of H-2B visas that can be issued during one year. Currently, only 66,000 of H-2B visas can be granted per fiscal year - 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the year (October 1 - March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the year (April 1 - September 30). In case not all 33,000 visas are issued during the first half of the year, the remaining spots will roll over to the second half of the year. However, the remaining numbers of unissued visas cannot be transferred to another year.


Another limitation set on this type of visa is that it is available only to the citizens of certain countries. Effective Jan. 18, 2017, only nationals from the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2B program:



  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Brazil
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia


  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Latvia
  • Lichtenstein
  • Lithuania


  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Malta
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Nauru
  • The Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Peru
  • The Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Samoa
  • San Marino


  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Tonga
  • Turkey
  • Tuvalu
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu


 Since the visa is seasonal and there is a numerical cap, it is extremely important to prepare the petition and all supporting documentation well in advance of the application period. Contact us today for a detailed consultation and legal assistance! 

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