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What Is the Purpose of the H-2B Visa?

Commonly Asked Questions and Answers

The H-2B visa is used by U.S. companies to temporarily employ skilled or unskilled foreign nationals in nonagricultural positions.

What are some of the requirements before a U.S. company employs a foreign national in a temporary position?
The U.S. company must prove that it intends to employ the foreign national for a temporary period and the employer’s need for the skills possessed by the foreign nationals must also be temporary and the employer must seek a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.

What is the next step once the labor certification is approved?
The U.S. company must file a nonimmigrant visa petition with the INS Service Center having jurisdiction over the place where the foreign worker will be employed.

What is the final step after the petition has been approved by the INS Service Center?
Once a petition has been approved, the foreign national must take the approved petition and apply to a U.S. consulate for an H-2B visa.

What is the initial period of time that an employee with H-2B status is allowed to remain in the U.S.?
An employee with H-2B status is given an initial period of one year to remain in the U.S.

Can an employee with H-2B status apply for extension of stay in the U.S.?
Yes. An employee may apply for two one-year extensions of stay.

How long may a temporary employee with H-2B status remain in the U.S.?
The maximum period for which a temporary employee can be admitted to stay in the U.S. in the H-2B status is three years.

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