H-2A Agricultural Worker Visas
The H-2A program allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs.
The employer/petitioner must:
- Offer a job that is of a temporary or seasonal nature;
- Demonstrate that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work;
- Show that the employment of H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers;
H-2A visas are only available for nationals of countries that are eligible to participate in the H-2A program. The Department of Homeland Security publishes the list of H-2A eligible countries annually in a Federal Register notice. Designation of eligible countries is valid for one year from publication. The eligible countries are listed at the bottom of this page.
Period of Stay
H-2A visa holders may be admitted only for the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification. H-2A visas 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-2A classification is 3 years. Any individual who has held H-2A 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 to H-2A status.
Benefits for family members
Spouses and unmarried children (under 21) of the H-2A visa holder may seek admission in H-4 status. Family members are not eligible for employment in the United States while in H-4 status.
Employer notification requirements
Petitioners of H-2A workers must notify USCIS within 2 workdays if any of the following occur:
- The H-2A worker fails to report to work within 5 work days of the latter of the employment start date on the H-2A petition or the start date established by the employer ("No show")
- The H-2A worker leaves without notice and fails to report for work for 5 consecutive workdays without the consent of the employer ("Abscondment")
- The H-2A worker is terminated prior to the completion of the H-2A labor or services for which he or she was hired ("Termination")
- The H-2A worker finishes the labor or services for which he or she was hired more than 30 days earlier than the date specified in the H-2A petition ("Early Completion")
The procedures and requirements for notification are defined by the regulations. H-2A worker’s information:
A petitioner who fails to comply with the employment notification requirements or fails to demonstrate good cause for untimely notification may be required to pay $10 in liquidated damages for each instance of noncompliance.
Eligible H-2A countries
Effective January 18, 2015, the following is a complete list of eligible countries:
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- New Zealand
- Papua New Guinea
- Solomon Islands
- South Africa
- South Korea
- The Netherlands
- The Philippines
- United Kingdom