For temporary or seasonal non- agricultural work. Limited to citizens or nationals of designated countries, with limited exceptions, if determined to be in the United States interest. To qualify for H-2B nonimmigrant classification, the petitioner must establish that:
- There are not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.
- Employing H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.
- Its need for the prospective worker’s services or labor is temporary, regardless of whether the underlying job can be described as temporary. The employer’s need is considered temporary if it is a(n):
- One-time occurrence – A petitioner claiming a one-time occurrence must show that it has:
- An employment situation that is otherwise permanent, but a temporary event of short duration has created the need for a temporary worker.
- Not employed workers to perform the service or labor in the past, and will not need workers to perform the services or labor in the future;
- Seasonal need – A petitioner claiming a seasonal need must show that the service or labor for which it seeks workers is:
- Traditionally tied to a season of the year by an event or pattern; and
- Of a recurring nature.
- Note: You cannot claim a seasonal need if the time period when you do NOT need the service or labor is:
- Subject to change; or
- Considered a vacation period for your permanent employees.
- Peak load need – A petitioner claiming a peak load need must show that it:
- Regularly employs permanent workers to perform the services or labor at the place of employment;
- Needs to temporarily supplement its permanent staff at the place of employment due to a seasonal or short-term demand; and
- The temporary additions to staff will not become part of the employer’s regular operation.
- Intermittent need – A petitioner claiming an intermittent need must show that it:
- Has not employed permanent or full-time workers to perform the services or labor; and
- Occasionally or intermittently needs temporary workers to perform services or labor for short periods.
H-2B petitioners must also provide a single valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), or, if the workers will be employed on Guam, from the Guam Department of Labor (Guam DOL).
H-2B Eligible Countries List
Except as noted below, H-2B petitions may only be approved for nationals of countries that the secretary of homeland security has designated, with the concurrence of the Office of the Secretary of State, as eligible to participate in the H-2B program.
The Department of Homeland Security publishes the list of H-2A and H-2B eligible countries in a Federal Register notice. Designation of eligible countries is valid for one year from publication.
Effective Nov. 10, 2021, nationals from the following countries are eligible to participate in the H-2B program:
*Regarding all references to “country” or “countries” in this document, it should be noted that the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-8, Section 4(b)(1), provides that “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer or relate to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with respect to Taiwan.” Accordingly, all references to “country” or “countries” in the regulations governing whether nationals of a country are eligible for H-2 program participation, are read to include Taiwan.
A national from a country not on the list may only be the beneficiary of an approved H-2B petition if the secretary of homeland security determines that it is in the U.S. interest for the national to be the beneficiary of such a petition.
Period of Stay
Generally, USCIS may grant H-2B classification for up to the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification. H-2B 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-2B classification is 3 years.
A person who has held H-2B 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-2B nonimmigrant. Additionally, previous time spent in other H or L classifications counts toward total H-2B time.