H-2A | The Visa for Non-Migrant Agricultural Worker

What is H-2A Visa?

The H-2A Visa is a temporary agricultural Visa that allows foreign workers to enter the United States to perform agricultural work or services of a seasonal or temporary nature. This Visa is valid for up to three years and is renewable once.  

There are two main types of H-2A Visa

  1. For skilled workers, defined as those who have at least two years of experience or training in the specific occupation for which they are seeking employment in the United States; and
  2. For unskilled workers, which are defined as those who do not meet the definition of skilled workers

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The H-2A Visa program is designed to fill gaps in the US workforce that cannot be filled by US workers. The program allows agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring foreign workers to the United States.

How to get a H-2A Visa?

To be eligible for an H-2A Visa, applicants must meet the following requirements 

• Being able to show that you are going to the United States to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work or services;
• Demonstrate that it will not affect the wages and working conditions of US employees in similar tasks and/or there are not enough capable, willing, qualified and available US workers to perform the work;
• Demonstrate that the prospective employer has made a good faith effort to recruit US workers for the position;
• Possess the necessary skills and experience for the job
• Submit a single valid Temporary Labor Certification issued by the US Department of Labor ( DOL ) along with the H-2A petition. (There is a limited exception to this requirement in certain “emerging circumstances.”

H-2A Visa Specific Details

Unlike the H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker program, there is no annual or semi-annual limit on the number of H-2A Nonimmigrant Visas that can be issued.

Additionally, applicants from certain countries may be required to obtain a labor certification from their home government before applying for an H-2A Visa .

For more information on this requirement, you can access the USCIS website on reciprocity calendars by country.

Each year, the H-2A Visa program brings thousands of foreign workers to the United States to perform agricultural work or services of a seasonal or temporary nature.

If you are interested in applying for one, contact an experienced immigration attorney who can help you determine if you meet the eligibility requirements and help you through every step of the application process.

Chart of petitions for non-migrant agricultural workers (H-2A) by Case Status and Fiscal Year

H-2A Visa

Special Information According to Country of Origin

Mexican citizens

If you are a Mexican citizen, you can verify with your embassy. There you will find the step by step to apply for the H-2A Visa, frequently asked questions, and special details to know your rights and avoid fraudulent activity.
With the H-2 Visa program, you have the same rights as any worker in the United States. You must be paid on time, receive extra overtime pay, and receive good treatment and clean housing. When you get your H-2 Visa, you will receive a brochure with a toll-free number to call if you feel you have been abused. Report it immediately: the reports are 100% confidential and the operators speak Spanish.

*This information corresponds to September 2022