Selected Topics in Immigration Law

H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers

What is an H-2A Visa?
What is the Procedure for Obtaining an H-2A visa?
For how long is the H-2A visa valid?
Who may accompany an H-2A visa holder?

What is an H-2A Visa?

An H-2A visa is a nonimmigrant visa designed for foreign individuals coming to the U.S. to perform temporary agricultural work that is seasonal or intermittent in nature and where U.S. workers are unavailable.

What is the Procedure for Obtaining an H-2A visa?
1. temp_ag_webThe employer must obtain temporary agricultural labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. As part of the temporary labor certification process, the employer must advertise the position in a local newspaper to make the position open to U.S. workers.  The employer must also demonstrate that it will meet required conditions for wages, housing, meals, and transportation of the temporary workers.  Temporary labor certification is granted if the DOL is satisfied that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position and the employment of the foreign individual or individuals will not adversely affect the wages or working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed.
2. The employer must them submit an H-2A petition to the appropriate USCIS Service Center.  The employer must document that the position or positions to be filled are temporary or seasonal in nature.
3. After USCIS approval, the H-2A worker must apply for an H-2A Visa at the U.S. Consulate nearest the residence of the foreign worker(s).  An H-2A visa is then issued by the Consulate.

For how long is the H-2A visa valid?

The H-2A visa may be valid for a period of up to one year and may be extended one year at a time up to a maximum of three years.  However, the longer the employer has need for the H-2A worker, the more likely the position will appear permanent in nature rather than temporary or seasonal.  Petitions for positions that appear to be permanent in nature will be denied by the USCIS.

Who may accompany an H-2A visa holder?

The spouse and unmarried minor children (under 21 years of age) of the H-2A visa holder may enter the United States in H-4 status as dependents.

To request a consultation regarding an H-2A visa, please contact out office here.