H-2B Temporary Nonagricultural Workers

This category is for individuals coming to the United States to perform temporary services generally for a period of one year or less, but in no event for more than three years. The requirements of this visa are that:

  • the applicant must have a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning;
  • the applicant is coming temporarily to the United States to perform a temporary service or labor; and
  • unemployed persons capable of performing such service or labor cannot be found in this country.

The visa also requires a labor certification.

The employer of an H-2B worker has an obligation to pay the cost of return transportation abroad if the employee is prematurely dismissed.

The temporary nature of the employment and the labor certification requirement make this visa difficult to obtain and limited in its usefulness. The occupations for which this visa may be useful are as follows: camp counselor, entertainers or athletes, a technician or craftsman as a trainer for a particular project, personal servants of U.S. foreign service officers on tour in the U.S., and sheepherders.

Spouses and children of the H-2B worker are admitted in H-4 status. They may not accept employment unless they have some independent eligibility for employment authorization.