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:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Grenada
  • Guatemala
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Kiribati
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Macedonia
  • Madagascar
  • Mexico
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Norway
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Samoa
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • The Netherlands
  • The Philippines
  • Tonga
  • Turkey
  • Tuvalu
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Vanuatu