USCIS Announces Eligible Countries for H-2A and H-2B Visa Programs

In order to come to the United States from a different country, people have to obtain a certain type of visa that can vary depending on the reason for their visit. These can be temporary, such as an H-2 visa. Broke into two categories, an H-2A visa allows temporary agricultural employers to bring foreigners to the country. The H-2B visa permits non-agricultural employers to do so. On January 17, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services along with the Department of Homeland Security and Department of State published the list of eligible countries who can participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in 2020.

What are the H-2 Visa Programs?

 The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow United States employers to bring foreigners to the country in order to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs. Petitions for these visas are generally only approved for nationals of countries that the secretary of Homeland Security has designated as eligible for the programs. However, USCIS may approve those that were pending as of the date of the Federal Register notice on January 17 for nationals of countries who are not on the list on a case-by-case basis. This is done if it is determined to be in the United States’ best interest. 

Which Countries are Eligible?

As of January 19, 2020, nationals of certain countries are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B visas. The list is long and can be viewed in its entirety on the USCIS website. Some on the list include Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Honduras, Iceland, Latvia, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, Ukraine, and much more. 

It is important to be aware that there are certain conditions when dealing with the visa program. For example, Moldova, Paraguay, and the Dominican Republic are eligible to participate in the H-2A program but not the H-2B program. In addition to this, H-2 beneficiaries who are currently in the United States should know that their status is not impacted by this unless they apply to extend their status. It, however, does not apply to nonimmigrants changing their status in the U.S. to H-2A or H-2B. Each country’s designation is valid until January 18, 2021.

Contact our experienced New York City firm

The Law Offices of Cheryl R. David practices immigration law throughout NYC. Immigration is a sensitive issue, which is why you should consider a compassionate, experienced, and aggressive immigration attorney who will guide you every step of the way. If you have questions about your particular matters regarding immigration please do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your circumstances and options.