What is the H2B visa?
The H2B visa is a non-agriculture temporary work visa, usually between 6-9 months, but you can extent the visa for up to 3 years in 6-9 months intervals also known as seasonal jobs.
The best way to start the process is to find an agency to help you with the legal paper work and help you through the process. Normally you have to pay an agency to help you with a visa process but not if you apply for a H2B visa. By law the H2B employer must pay for everything. So this is a very cheap way to get into the US. You will need some up-front cash to pay for your visa and a few other things, but you get reimburse for that once you in the US by your sponsor (employer). The only thing you don’t get reimbursed for is your spending money you’ll need for the first few weeks before you get paid. I recommend about $300-$400 USD spending money for the first few weeks.
Please note that there is a yearly limit on this visa, they only allow 66,000 visas per year. They break it up into 2 seasons. April 1st – September 30th (33,000) and from October 1st – March 31st (33,000). So here is the steps on how to apply for H2b visa.
How to apply for H2B visa.
Step 1 – Find an agency.
The best way to get approved for a H2B visa is to work through an agency, find an agency and contact them or apply online, via their online application. The good thing about working through an agency is they will guide you through the whole process and help you with all the legal paper work etc. The first thing the agency will do is they will conduct an short interview with you to see if you qualify for the job, this is NOT the actual job interview, this is like a screening interview. The screening interview will either be via Skype/video call or in person depending on the agency.
**I’m not going into much detail about the petitions and labor certificates etc. The reason for that is that you don’t have to apply for any of this. The sponsor/employer must file for, if you want to know more about that process, you can find it here.
Step 2 – Interview with the sponsor/employer.
Once the agency approved you, they will send your resume to all the sponsors/employers they work with in the US. The sponsor/employer will screen the resumes and select the right candidates for the position and will contact the agency to schedule an interview with you, this will be the actual job interview. Some employers fly across the globe to conduct the interviews but majority of them do Skype/video call interviews.
Some agencies schedule you for more than one interview with different sponsors/employers. So the more interviews you do the better your chances of getting a job. If you get job offers from multiple employers the choice is yours where you want to go.
Once you get a job offer letter from the employer via the agency, the hardest part is done. The next step will be to just wait for the agency to contact you on what to do next. The agency will send you paperwork to fill out and documents to sign.
Step 3 – Make an appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate and pay the application fee.
Once you hear back from the agency and they give you the go ahead, then you will need to make an appointment with the US Embassy or Consulate in your home country. When you make the appointment online you will need to pay a non-refundable application fee of $160. You will get this money back from your sponsor/employer once you arrive in the US. Some employers only reimburse you on your 1st pay check. The reason they call it a non-refundable fee is because you can’t get a refund if you fail your interview and get denied.
Step 4 – The interview with the Embassy or consulate.
The interview at the Embassy or Consulate is usually a very short 2-3 minute interview. There is a few thing you must know when you go for the interview. In my experience if you follow these steps, there will be a 99% chance of getting approved.
So NEVER tell the interviewer you want to stay longer than your first season. Even though you can legally stay up to 3 years, NEVER tell the consular you plan on extending your visa. They will just straight away deny your visa.
At the interview, you will be asked about the program, your intentions after the program, how you plan to cover your expenses, etc. It is important to have proof/ties that you will return to your home country after completing the season. Be prepared to show your binding ties to your home country and bring any documentation that can further show your ties in your home country. It is a very easy interview just be prepared with your ties and don’t stress to much, 99% of the time you will get approved.
Example of ties
- Proof of property or car (must be registered in your name).
- Proof of a employment after completing your program in the US.
- Acceptance to a University or College after completing your program in the US.
Step 5 – Flight to the US
You will get approved or denied on the spot at the interview. Once approved contact your agency and they will organize the flight to the US for you. Some agencies ask you if you want to pay for your flight to the US and get reimburse once in the US. The best is to tell your agent that you can’t afford it even if you can, but not all agencies ask you that question. The employer MUST pay for your travels to the US.
- Europe, Central, South and North America – Petrina Group
- South Africa and Romania – Workaway and Petrina Group
- If you wan to try your luck to go private or if you looking to extent your H2b visa while in the US see this list of Employers – H2b List of Employers
The US is an amazing country, travel as much as you can and stay the whole 3 years if you can/want.
For little bit of more in sight on the H-2B visa read my other post here.
- Local travel to US Embassy or Consulate – $150
- Visa Application fee – $160 (Reimburse by US sponsor/employer)
- Spending Money for in the US $300 – $400
To see if your country is eligible to apply for the H2B Visa check out this Post.
Enjoy and Safe Travels!!
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