What is a H2A visa?
The H2A visa is an agriculture seasonal work visa, on this visa you will mainly work on a farm in the farm-like states for example, Montana, North Dakota or Texas just to name a few. This visa is usually valid for about 8 to 9 months per year and then you will have go back to your home country for the remaining of the year, then you can do it all over again.
You can extent your visa for up to 3 years but that depends all up to your sponsor/employer. See the H2A visa Duration section below for for info.
On this visa you can come back to the US as much as you want and one of the advantages of this visa is that you work for 9 months and then on “holiday” for 3 months. On the H2A visa you almost never pay for rent because you will be living on the farm and they usually provide you with 2/3 meals per day.
You usually get paid more on this visa because it’s more labor focus jobs and you don’t pay for rent most of the time so you will be able to save some good money.
Again like I mention in all my other posts about US visas it is a lot easier to work through an agency. The only visa where you don’t pay an agency fee is the H2B visa. This visa (H2B) and the J-1 visa usually have some agency program fee you have to pay. Trust me it’s much better and easier to work through an agency. They handle a lot of the legal paper work.
Apply for a H2A Visa
Step 1 of the H2A Visa
Sponsor/Employer have to submits a temporary labor certification application to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Before requesting H2A classification from USCIS, the Sponsor/Employer must apply for and receive a temporary labor certification for H2A workers from DOL. For further information regarding the temporary labor certification requirements and process, see the Foreign Labor Certification, Department of Labor Web page.
Step 2 of he H2A Visa
Sponsor/Employer have to submits a Form I-129 to USCIS. After receiving a temporary labor certification for H2A employment from DOL, the Sponsor/Employer must file Form I-129 with USCIS. With limited exceptions, the Sponsor/Employer must submit original temporary labor certification as initial evidence with Form I-129. (See the instructions to Form I-129 for additional filing requirements.)
Step 3 of the H2A Visa
Prospective workers outside the United States must apply for visa and/or admission. After USCIS approves the Form I-129, prospective H2A workers who are outside the United States must:
Apply for an H2A visa with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in you home country and then seek admission to the United States with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. port of entry or directly seek admission to the United States in H2A classification with CBP at a U.S. port of entry, if a worker does not require a visa in cases where an H2A visa is not required.
H2A visa Duration
Generally, USCIS may grant H2A classification for up to the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification. H2A classification may be extended for qualifying employment in increments of up to 1 year each. Majority of the contracts is usually 8-9 months. A new, valid temporary labor certification covering the requested time must accompany each extension request. The maximum period of stay in H2A classification is 3 years.
A person who has held H2A non-immigrant status for a total of 3 years must leave the US and remain outside the US for an uninterrupted period of 3 months before seeking readmission as an H2A non-immigrant. Additionally, previous time spent in other H or L classifications counts toward total H2A time.
Exception: Certain periods of time spent outside of the United States may “interrupt” an H2A worker’s authorized stay and not count toward the 3-year limit. See the Calculating Interrupted Stay for H2 Classifications Web page for additional information.
To see if your country is eligible to apply for the H2A Visa check out this Post.
Enjoy and Safe Travels!!
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