The H-2B Work Visa in 2024: A Guide for Immigrants and Foreign Workers

Last updated on February 15th, 2024 at 01:17 am

Temporary work in the United States is possible through the H-2B work visa. This work visa allows foreign nationals to be hired in the U.S. for non-agricultural jobs when there are not enough U.S. workers available.

At Remitly, we want to help you understand how to obtain an H-2B work visa, along with the requirements and the process you must follow.

foreigner with an H2B work visa working at a coffee shop

What Is an H-2B Work Visa?

The H-2B visa is a type of non-immigrant visa that allows you to get a temporary job in the United States in industries such as hospitality, tourism, construction, ranching, and more.

What Are the Requirements for the H-2B Visa?

To apply for an H-2B work visa, follow these general requirements.

Remember, most importantly, you must have a job offer in order to apply for your visa.

1. Job search

Some of the platforms where you can search for temporary employment are the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), LinkedIn, Indeed, or directly on an online search engine with the position you are interested in.

2. Offer of employment

Your U.S. employer, as the petitioner, must show that it has tried to hire U.S. workers and could not find enough suitable employees for the job for which you are applying.

Note that the H-2B visa is specifically for temporary non-agricultural workers. If the work is related to the agricultural industry, you must apply for an H-2A visa.

3. Temporary work

The job offered by your employer must be for a temporary period, and your employer must be able to show that the need for foreign employees is for a specific season, for a lack of domestic labor, or for a recurring event.

4. Labor compliance

Your employer must ensure that the wage and working conditions for you are consistent and comply with U.S. labor regulations.

5. Intention to return to your country

As a petitioner, you must show your intention to return to your country at the end of the authorized work period.

What Do You Need for the H-2B Work Visa?

1. Request for labor certification

As mentioned above, your employer must apply to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for a labor certification to show that it has tried unsuccessfully to hire U.S. workers and needs foreign labor.

2. Visa application

Once the labor certification is approved, you must file the worker petition using Form I-129 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

3. Consular process

If USCIS approves your petition, you must apply for the H-2B visa at the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country.

4. Interview at the embassy or consulate

To apply for your visa, you must attend an interview at the U.S. consulate in your country, where your intentions and eligibility for the H-2B visa will be evaluated.

5. Entry to the United States

Once your visa is approved, you will be able to enter the United States and begin your temporary employment.

woman working with an H-2b work visa

Which Latin American Countries Are Eligible for the H-2B Work Visa?

If you are from one of the countries listed below, you can apply for a temporary work visa.

  • Mexico
  • Guatemala
  • El Salvador
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua
  • Costa Rica
  • Panama
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Peru
  • Chile
  • Uruguay
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Dominican Republic

Obtaining a temporary H-2B visa to work in the United States can provide you with many benefits.

The H-2B visa offers you an incredible opportunity to gain work experience in the United States, as long as you meet the requirements and follow the proper process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dates to apply for the H-2B visa?

The dates to apply for the H-2B visa may vary and are subject to the duration of your employment and the demand for visas in the fiscal year. Please note that the U.S. fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30.

To stay up to date on dates and for more information related to the H-2B visa and other visa programs, visit USCIS.

Do I have to know English to apply for the H-2B visa?

Although knowing English can greatly benefit you during your stay, it is not a requirement as such to obtain an H-2B visa. One of the significant advantages of this visa is that it is designed for temporary non-agricultural jobs where a high level of English is not required, unlike some other visa categories.

How long can I work in the United States on an H-2B visa?

Generally, you can stay in the U.S. for the length of time stated on your labor certification and visa approval, which depends on the duration of your employment.

How long does the process to obtain this work visa take?

The time to obtain an H-2B visa varies depending on the demand for visas in the fiscal year in which you apply, the location of the consulate or embassy where you must interview for your visa, and the completeness of your documentation.

What are the additional visas to be able to work in the United States?

  • H-1B Visa
  • L-1 Visa
  • Visa O
  • Visa E
  • Visa J
  • TN Visa
  • H-3 Visa
  • E-3 Visa
  • Visa Q
  • Visa P

Please note that each visa has its own processes and requirements. For more specific information, visit the USCIS website.

Can I work in Canada on an H-2B visa?

The H-2B visa is a type of temporary work visa specific to the United States and is not valid for working in Canada. Each country has its own visa regulations and processes for foreign workers, and in the case of Canada, there are additional types of visas and programs for working temporarily in that country.

You May Also like