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H-2B Visa Skilled/Unskilled Worker

Are you a foreign national with experience in any of the following jobs?

Wait StaffHost StaffHousekeeper
Ski InstructorKitchen StaffCashier
Food & Beverage ServerConciergeSales Assistance
Ski Lift OperatorDining Room AttendantLifeguard
DishwasherLine & Prep CookBus Staff

If you answered “Yes,”then you may be eligible for the H-2B visa!

The H-2B visa category is for non-agricultural temporary workers (such as the ones listed above). The H-2B visa category allows employers in the United States to bring foreign workers to the U.S. to fill temporary jobs, when there is a high demand. However, potential H-2B visa applicants must be from an eligible H-2B visa country. Additionally, the U.S. employer must submit a Temporary Labor Certification Application to the Department of Labor (DOL) before the employer can petition for an H-2B visa applicant.

Which country’s nationals are eligible for H-2B visas?

H-2B visa petitions may only be approved for those in the following countries as of January 18th, 2015:

ChileCosta RicaCroatiaCzech RepublicDenmarkDominican RepublicEcuadorEl Salvador
LithuaniaMacedoniaMadagascarMexicoMoldovaMontenegroNauruThe Netherlands
NicaraguaNew ZealandNorwayPanamaPapua New GuineaPeruThe PhilippinesPoland
PortugalRomaniaSamoaSerbiaSlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSouth Africa
South KoreaSpainSwedenSwitzerlandThailandTongaTurkeyTuvalu
UkraineUnited KingdomUruguayVanuatu

A foreign national whose country is not included in this list may only be granted an H-2B visa if the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security determines that it is in the U.S. interest for that foreign national to be granted the H-2B visa.

What are the requirements for an employer to file for a foreign worker for an H-2B visa?

To qualify for H-2B visa classification, an employer must show:

  • That the job is temporary. The employer’s need is considered temporary if the job is for only one-time, for a season, on a peak-load need, etc.;
  • That there are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the job;
  • That hiring the foreign worker will not decrease pay for U.S. workers in similar jobs or that it will adversely affect the working conditions of similar U.S. workers.

What is the basic H-2B visa program process?

The following are the steps for the H-2B visa program:

  1. The employer submits a Temporary Labor Certification application to the Department of Labor (DOL);
  2. After receiving a temporary labor certification, the employer must submit a Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129) form requesting H-2B workers;
  3. Prospective H-2B workers may apply for the H-2B visa with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

How long can I stay in the U.S. on an H-2B visa?

An H-2B visa holder may stay in the U.S. for the period of time approved on the Temporary Labor Certification, usually no longer than one (1) year. The H-2B visa may be extended in one-year increments. The maximum period of time that an H-2B visa holder can remain in the U.S. is three (3) years. After a stay of the maximum three years, an H-2B visa holder must leave and remain outside the United States for a continuous period of three (3) months before seeking readmission as an H-2B visa holder.

Can my family accompany me to the U.S. on an H-2B visa?

Yes. Spouses and unmarried children under twenty-one (21) years of age of an H-2B visa holder may seek admission on an H-4 visa. H-4 dependent visa holders are not allowed to work in the United States.


If you are a U.S. employer who is unable to find a suitable skilled worker in your industry, the H-2B visa category can help you hire a foreign worker. Although there are no educational requirements for an H-2B visa, the worker must be from an eligible H-2B visa country. If you are a foreign national and have entered the United States on a different visa, you can change your status to an H-2B by having an employer who is interested in sponsoring you.

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