H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers

H-2A (Temporary Agricultural Workers) Visa

What is the H-2A visa?

The H-2A visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits certain U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs.

What are the requirements for an H-2A visa?

As the petitioning employer, you must:

  • Offer a job that is temporary or seasonal.
  • Show 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.

Submit a valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor with the H-2A petition.

What strategic considerations should I keep in mind?

  • The H-2A program is only available to workers from countries that the Secretary of Homeland Security has designated, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, as eligible to participate in the program.
  • The H-2A visa may be extended for one-year periods, for a maximum stay of three years.

As an H-2A worker, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 may seek admission in H-4 classification. Family members may not work in the U.S. while in H-4 status.

The H-2A visa allows agricultural employers in the United States who foresee a shortage of domestic farm workers to hire foreign nationals to work on a temporary or seasonal nature through the temporary agricultural program. H-2A visa holders will primarily work during certain seasons of the year, during crop production and harvest, or for a period less than a year but may be extended for up to three years.

There is no quota and several H-2A beneficiaries may be included in the same petition as long as they meet the following conditions:

  • they will perform the same services;
  • they will work at the same location; and
  • they obtain their visa stamp through the same US consulate.

Spouses and children of H-2A visa holders may enter and stay in the US in H-4 status. H-4 spouses and children of H-2A visa holders may attend school in the U.S. but are not allowed to accept employment.