H2A Visa Process

Learn About H2A Agricultural Workers Visa Process And Documents Checklist

Applying For The H2A Visa

You cannot apply for an H2A visa as an individual. A U.S. employer must sponsor you for an H2A visa.

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Check My Eligibility

A. Applying For Temporary Labor Certification

The certification is designed to ensure that the admission of foreigners to work in this country on a temporary basis will not adversely affect the job opportunities, wages, or working conditions of U.S. workers.

The U.S. employer must file the Labor Certification at the appropriate State Workforce Agency (SWA) at least 45 days before the day on which workers are needed. In emergency situations, the SWA may waive the time period specified, provided the SWA has an opportunity to obtain sufficient labor market information on an expedited basis in order to make a determination of U.S. worker availability.

The Labor Certification application may be filed using any of the following methods:

  1. Filed in person with the appropriate regional administrator and local SWA
  2. Mailed to the appropriate regional administrator and local office of the SWA by certified mail, return receipt requested
  3. Delivered by guaranteed commercial delivery to the appropriate regional administrator and local office of the SWA

An H2A certification is valid for up to 364 days. As temporary or seasonal agricultural employment, the work is performed at certain seasons of the year or for a limited time period of less than one year when the employer can show that the need for the foreign worker is truly temporary.


B. Filing The H2A Petition

An H2A petition for foreign worker is filed on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-129, along with the Form I-129H supplement and the approved Labor Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. Your H2A petition must include:

  1. A valid temporary agricultural Labor Certification, a copy of the Department of Labor’s denial of a certification and appeal, and evidence that qualified domestic labor is unavailable
  2. Copies of evidence that each foreign worker named in the petition meets the minimum job requirements stated in the certification

C. Applying For The H2A Visa At An American Consulate

To apply for the H2A visa for foreign worker, you must furnish the original or copy of the Notice of Action, Form I-797A or B (the approval notice forwarded to your employer when the petition is approved). Your visa application must include the following documents:

  1. DOS Form DS-156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application
  2. DOS Form DS-157, Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, for all male applicants between the ages of 16 and 45
  3. A copy of your passport which is valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the U.S. and with at least one blank page
  4. Two identical color photographs showing full face without head covering against a light background. You may wear a headdress if required by a religious order of which you are a member
  5. Proof that you meet the minimum job requirements stated in the labor certification application

Duration of Stay

An H2A visa is usually issued for a period of one year, and can be extended by two one-year extensions for a maximum of three years in H2A visa.


Spouses and Children

Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join you in the U.S. for the duration of your stay can apply for an H4 visa.


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