There are many reasons why people from other countries want to live and work in the United States. For many, the U.S. represents a land of opportunity, but taking advantage of American opportunities is hard earned.
There are many potential pathways to getting a visa that will allow an immigrant to live, work, and/or study within U.S. borders. One of the more popular options is the H-2B visa that is temporarily issued to non-agricultural workers from over 50 countries.
How do you obtain an H-2B visa?
To obtain the visa, a foreigner must connect with a petitioner, often a U.S. company, who has a seasonal need for an employee that has the skills they need.
There are several steps to go through to obtain an H-2B visa. There is no guarantee that an application will be accepted as there are only 66,000 of these visas issued on a first-come, first-served basis each year.
If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, it is recommended that you begin your application process at least five months before you want to come to the U.S.
What is the H-2B visa?
Those who are approved for an H-2B visa are granted travel to the U.S. for the duration of their work assignment, which is normally a few months long. Employers usually hire H-2B recipients when they are in a peak season for their business or when they see a marked increase in their business.
It is up to the business to convince the Department of Labor (DOL) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that hiring a worker outside of the U.S. will not hinder opportunities available to citizens.
If you are granted an H-2B visa, you spouse and unmarried children under 21 are eligible to apply for an H-4 visa, which will allow them to be in the U.S. legally. However, your spouse and children cannot accept work while in the U.S.
Most of the time, people with an H-2B visa can enjoy the country and culture for several months while they take advantage of making more money, before they will need to return to their home country.
The amount of time before you would need to return home may be the length of time originally indicated on your application; however, if you are guilty of unprofessional work by not showing up or leaving early, your time in the U.S. may come to an abrupt stop.
If you are a good worker, however, there is a good chance that your employer will ask you to work for them again in the following year.
Why choose the H-2B visa?
One of the main reasons why many people seek after the H-2B visa is that it allows them to split their time between the U.S., where they are building their skills and experiencing a new culture, and their home country where their extended family lives. In essence, people with an H-2B visa get the best of both worlds.
Some people try for a U.S. visa because the want to move on from their home country and make a permanent move to the U.S., possibly becoming a citizen down the line. Most H-2B recipients don’t want or need that experience. They maintain a sense of pride in their country and a sense of gratitude for the opportunities they receive in the U.S.
Note: This post was originally published on 10/22/15 and has been updated as of 11/26/19.
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Disclaimer: Nothing in relation to the enclosed information should be construed and or considered as legal advice for any individual, entity, case, or situation. The following information is prepared for advertisement use only. The information is intended ONLY to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice on your specific situation, we encourage you to consult an attorney experienced in the area of Immigration Law.