H-2A TEMPORARY AGRICULTURAL WORKERS

The H-2A program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs.

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 enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
  • Show that employing H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
  • Generally, submit a single valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor with the H-2A petition.

H-2A Eligible Countries List

For a list of countries eligible to participate in the H-2A program, effective January 18, 2016, go to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Period of Stay

Generally, USCIS may grant H-2A classification for up to the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification. H-2A classification 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 as an H-2A nonimmigrant. Additionally, previous time spent in other H or L classifications counts toward total H-2A time.

Exception: Certain periods of time spent outside of the United States may “interrupt” an H-2A worker’s authorized stay and not count toward the 3-year limit. See the Calculating Interrupted Stay for H-2 Classifications Web page for additional information.

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.

For more information on H-2A visas, go to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website.