The H-2B visa has been in the news thanks to changes to the total number of people who can qualify for it in a given year. However, it is essential to know the H-2B program is not being discontinued and will still accept thousands of applicants.
Many U.S. visa programs have limits on total applications, but they remain worthwhile to prospective immigrants and long-term visitors. Let’s take a closer look at the H-2B visa program and who might be eligible.
What Is The H-2B Program?
The H-2B program lets U.S. employers or other qualifying agents bring foreign nationals temporarily into the United States for the purpose of filling non-agricultural jobs for a brief, defined period.
A one-time increase allowed more people to apply for this category of visa in the fiscal year of 2017. However, it is still expected to accept 66,000 applicants in 2018.
What is an H-2B Visa?
An H-2B is a temporary non-immigrant visa that allows a foreign national to visit the United States for employment when insufficient numbers of U.S. workers are able or willing to perform in a given role. An application may be granted on the basis of one-time exceptional need, a seasonal need, need to be caused by peak workload or need caused by an intermittent, temporary situation.
How Long is an H-2B Visa Good For?
Each successful applicant will receive a temporary labor authorization that specifies the duration of their H-2B status. This duration is based upon details furnished at the time of application.
The maximum period a person can hold an H-2B visa is three years. Afterwards, the former visa holder must leave the United States for at least three months before reapplying for a new term of H-2B status.
Applicants are not granted a full three-year visa period at once. Instead, they apply for extensions. These are issued in blocks of up to one year each. Rarely, long periods of absence from the United States may “freeze” the time allotted to your current visa.
Can an H-2B Visa Holder Apply for a Green Card?
Although your H-2B visa empowers you to work within the United States, you cannot apply for permanent resident status (a green card) based on either the H-2B or the job associated with it.
Instead, foreign nationals working in the United States under the H-2B typically seek out a permanent position. The stability of temporary employment may allow someone to network professionally and find a long-lasting opportunity, then seek out a new visa.
With affordable services and unparalleled immigration law expertise, The Law Offices of Kate L. Raynor & Associates can help you find the right visa category and navigate the process effectively. To find out more, contact our Encino, CA, office today.