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H-2A TEMPORARY AGRICULTURAL WORKERS

WHO MAY QUALIFY FOR H-2A CLASSIFICATION?

  • To qualify for H-2A nonimmigrant classification, the petitioner must:
  • Offer a job that is of a temporary or seasonal nature.
  • Demonstrate that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
  • Show that the employment of H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
  • Submit with the H-2A petition, a single valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor.

H-2A Program Process

  • Step 1: Petitioner submits temporary labor certification application to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL)
  • Step 2:  Petitioner submits Form I-129 to USCIS.
  • Step 3: Prospective workers outside the United States apply for H-2A visa t a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad, or directly seek admission to the United States  with CBP at a U.S. port of entry, if a worker does not require a visa.

H-2A Eligible Countries List

H-2A petitions may only be approved for nationals of countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State.

Period of Stay

The initial period of stay is 1 year and may be extended for qualifying employment in increments of up to 1 year each.  A new, valid temporary labor certification covering the requested time must accompany each extension request.  The maximum period of stay in H-2A classification is 3 years.

A person who has held H-2A nonimmigrant status for a total of 3 years must depart and remain outside the United States for an uninterrupted period of 3 months before seeking readmission.  Additionally, previous time spent in other H or L classifications counts toward total H-2A time.

Family of H-2A Workers

An H-2A worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in H-4 nonimmigrant classification.  Family members are not eligible for employment in the United States while in H-4 status.