H-2B Visa

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H-2B Visa for Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers

The H-2B visa enables U.S. employers to bring citizens from select countries to the U.S. to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security maintains a list of the countries eligible to participate in the H-2B visa program. Neither China nor India are on the list. The number of H-2B visas that can be issued each federal fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1, is capped at 66,000.


Eligibility Requirements

A U.S. employer must petition for an H-2B visa on behalf of the candidate. The employer must show:

  • A shortage of U.S. workers available and qualified to do the temporary work.
  • Employing the H-2B worker will not lower wages or working conditions of U.S. workers.
  • The employer’s need for the candidate’s work is temporary.


Temporary is defined as any of the following:

  1. A one-time occurrence or temporary event creates the need and no workers have been employed in the past—and none will in the future—to do the same work.
  2. A seasonal need, which requires that the employer demonstrate the work is tied to an annual event or season. An employer cannot claim a seasonal need if the period when the employer does not need the worker is unpredictable, subject to change, or considered a vacation time for permanent employees.
  3. A peak-load need, which requires the employer to show it employs permanent workers, needs to temporarily add to its permanent staff due to a season or short-term demand, and the temporary staff will not join the regular operation.
  4.  An intermittent need, which requires the employer to show it has not employed a permanent or full-time worker to perform the job, and it only occasionally needs temp workers for short periods.


Application Process

The employer must:

  • Apply for and receive a temporary labor certification for H-2B workers with the U.S. Department of Labor (or Guam Department of Labor if the H-2B candidate is from Guam).
  • File Form I-129 and the temporary labor certification with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The H-2B candidate must either:

  • Apply for an H-2B visa at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad.
  • Or directly seek admission to the U.S. with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).


Eligibility for Families

The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of H-2B visa holders may obtain an H-4 visa; Family members are not eligible to work in the U.S., but may attend school or college.


We Can Help

At Alcorn Immigration Law, we help employers find the best solution to bring the best and the brightest workers to the U.S. If you have any questions, contact us.


  • Fees
    • $460 for Form I-129
  • Related Forms
  • Steps
    • Apply for a temporary labor certification.
    • Employer files Form I-129 and pays the filing fee.
    • After Form I-129 is approved, candidate applies for an H-2B at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
    • Initial petition for time needed to complete event or competition.
    • Extension varies based on individual athlete, team, or support personnel.
  • Immigrant Intent
    • None. At the airport, border, or other port of entry, you will need to satisfy the U.S. government officer that you have a residence in your home country and do not intend to abandon it. You must demonstrate that your visit to the U.S. will end after a specific amount of time.
  • Who Qualifies
    • Temporary Employees in Non-Agricultural jobs
  • Period of Stay
    • Initial stay for time authorized in temporary labor certification.
    • Extensions may be granted for up to 1 year if a new temporary labor certification is received.
    • The maximum stay is 3 years.