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Additional Considerations for H-2A visas
  • Workers with H-2A nonimmigrant status must depart after their three-year maximum stay for a minimum of three months before seeking readmission.
  • Employers must notify the USCIS if an H-2A worker fails to report for the job, absconds from the job, is terminated from the job, or completes the job early.
  • An H-2A worker’s spouse and unmarried children may accompany the worker in the U.S. under H-4 status.

Length of stay

The H-2A classification may be extended for qualifying employment in increments of up to one 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 three years.

A person who has held H-2A nonimmigrant status for a total of three years must depart and remain outside the U.S. for an uninterrupted period of three months before seeking readmission as an H-2A nonimmigrant. Additionally, previous time spent in other H or L classifications counts toward total H-2A time.

Employer responsibilities

A U.S. employer, a regulation-adhering U.S. agent, or an association of U.S. agricultural producers named as a joint employer must file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, on a prospective worker’s behalf. To qualify for the H-2A nonimmigrant classification, the 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; and
  • Submit a single valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) with the H-2A petition.

Employment-related notifications to the USCIS

Petitioners of H-2A workers must notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within two workdays if any of the following occur:

  • No show: The H-2A worker fails to report to work within five workdays of:
    • The employment start date on the H-2A petition, or
    • The start date established by the employer. Whichever is later.
  • Abscondment: The H-2A worker leaves without notice and fails to report for work for five consecutive workdays without the consent of the employer,
  • Termination: The H-2A worker is terminated prior to the completion of the assigned H-2A labor or services, or
  • Early completion: The H-2A worker finishes the assigned labor or services more than 30 days earlier than the date specified in the H-2A petition.

Family of H-2A workers

An H-2A worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in H-4 nonimmigrant classification. Family members are not eligible for employment in the U.S. while in H-4 status.