Note: Due to growing demand for seasonal
workers in the US hospitality and forestry industries, the 2005
H2B visa cap of 66,000 visas was reached on January 3, 2005. This
has prompted Florida's hotel and resort owners to lobby for an expansion
of the cap. Read more about the strong demand for foreign workers
in one Maryland resort area here.
The US government provides an yearly minimum
of 66,000 employment-based non-immigrant visas for temporary
or seasonal work, called H-2B visas. These
applications first require the employer to file a Temporary Labor
Certification with the US Department of Labor (DOL) not earlier
than 120 days before your hiring. After the certification is approved,
the employer must file a petition with the Immigration and Nationalization
Service (INS). Once the petition is approved, the application can
be filed by the applicant. However, if you are within the U.S. you
may file the petition and the application together.
Length of Visa: up to one year
Visa Extensions: one year at a time (max. of three years)
Length of Application Process:
Temporary Labor Certification: 2-4 months
Petition: 1-2 mos.
Visa Application: several weeks
In order to qualify you must:
(1) show that you have a job offer
from a U.S. employer to perform temporary
or seasonal work
(2) intend to return home after
expiration of your visa (applying for a green card from H-2B status
can be very difficult, and your temporary visa can be denied extension
or even be revoked if you cannot prove you did not intend to obtain
a green card when you arrived.)
(3) have your prospective employer
show there are no qualified Americans willing or able to do the
of H-2B visa holders are eligible for H-4
visas. They may stay in the U.S. but not work there.
The spouse or child under the age of 21 of the holder of an
immigrant or nonimmigrant visa, who is accompanying them to
usually defined as work on a specific project lasting one
year or less
Work that is tied to a certain time of year or season, i.e.
minor-league baseball players or entertainment industry workers