▷ H-2A visa - Temporary agricultural workers - 2022 info | Lluis Law (2023)

In this article, you will learn in detail about the H-2A nonimmigrant visa for temporary agricultural workers who wish to travel and work in the United States.

The H-2A visa is exclusively for agricultural workers, while theH-2B visais for non-agricultural workers.

Ourimmigration lawyers in Los Angelesare specialists in both visas.If you are looking for advice on this type of visa, do not hesitate to contact us.Our firm has over 40 years of experience on immigration law related matters.Call us right now and take a professional consultation.


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Table of Contents

What is the H-2A visa?

This visa is issued to alien workers to fill a temporary employment position in agriculture that is not available to a US worker.

This visa can be granted to workers with or without experience to perform agricultural work.However, the employer of the alien worker must have prior authorization from the Department of Labor (DOL).

What is the difference between the H-2A and H-2B visa?

The main difference is that under the H-2 visa program, applicants will only be able to legally and temporarily work in the US in agricultural jobs, while the H-2B visa is for temporary or seasonal non-agricultural jobs.

▷ H-2A visa - Temporary agricultural workers - 2022 info | Lluis Law (1)

What do I need for the H-2A visa?

In order for a US employer to qualify as an H-2A visa petitioner and petition to bring an alien worker, they must meet the following requirements:

  • Offer seasonal or temporary employment;
  • Demonstrate that the hiring of the alien worker will not affect the working conditions or wages of US workers in similar jobs;
  • Demonstrate that there are not enough US workers available, qualified, able, or willing to perform the temporary work;
  • Submit a single DOL-approved temporary labor certification with the H-2A visa application (In exceptional circumstances, there may be a limited exception to this requirement).

On the other hand, the alien worker must meet the following requirements:

  • Have received a job offer from the US employer for temporary agricultural work;
  • Intend to leave the US and return to their home country once the visa expires.
  • Be a citizen of one of the countries designated by the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

How do I apply for the H-2 visa?

To apply for the H-2 visa, the following steps must be followed:

  1. The US employer must file a temporary labor certification application with the DOL.
  2. After receiving the temporary labor certification from the DOL, the US employer must fileForm I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with USCIS.
    1. They will also need to submit the original temporary labor certification as part of the initial evidence for Form I-129.
  3. Once USCIS approves Form I-129, prospective alien workers can apply for the H-2A visa while abroad. To do so, they must:
    1. Submit the H-2A visa application at DOS, located at the US consulate or embassy in their home country.Subsequently, apply for admission to the US with CBP, or;
    2. Apply for admission to the US under the H-2A category directly with CBP at the US port of entry, if an H-2A visa is not required in their case.

Alien worker application process

The foreign worker must apply for the H-2A visa through the following steps:

  1. CompleteForm DS-160.
  2. Upload a photo following thephoto requirements.
  3. Pay the application fee.
  4. Schedule the interview with the US embassy or consulate.
  5. Prepare their documents to submit at the interview.
  6. Attend the interview.
▷ H-2A visa - Temporary agricultural workers - 2022 info | Lluis Law (2)

Required documents

The alien worker must have the following documents to apply for the H-2A visa:

  • Valid passport with at least 6 months validity;
  • Confirmation page of the DS-160 form printed;
  • Receipt of form DS-160;
  • Form I-129 and Form I-797;
  • Photograph that meets the visa requirements;
  • Some proof that they will return to their home country once the period of their employment ends.

Which countries can apply for the H-2A visa in 2022?

The H-2A visa will only be granted to alien agricultural workers who are citizens of the following countries:

  • Germany;
  • Andorra;
  • Argentina;
  • Australia;
  • Austria;
  • Barbados;
  • Brazil;
  • Brunei;
  • Bulgaria;
  • Belgium;
  • Canada;
  • Chili;
  • Colombia;
  • South Korea;
  • Costa Rica;
  • Croatia;
  • Denmark;
  • Ecuador;
  • The Savior;
  • Slovakia;
  • Slovenia;
  • Spain;
  • Estonia;
  • Finland;
  • Fiji;
  • France;
  • Grenade;
  • Greece;
  • Guatemala;
  • Haiti;
  • Honduras;
  • Hungary;
  • Ireland;
  • Iceland;
  • Mauritius Islands;
  • Solomon Islands;
  • Israel;
  • Italy;
  • Jamaica;
  • Japan;
  • Kiribati;
  • Latvia;
  • Liechtenstein;
  • Lithuania;
  • Luxembourg;
  • North Macedonia;
  • Madagascar;
  • Malt;
  • Montenegrin;
  • Mozambique;
  • Mexico;
  • Monaco;
  • Nauru;
  • Nicaragua;
  • Norway
  • New Zealand;
  • Panama;
  • Papua New Guinea;
  • Paraguay;
  • Netherlands;
  • Peru;
  • Poland;
  • Portugal;
  • United Kingdom;
  • Czech Republic;
  • Republic of Cyprus;
  • Dominican Republic;
  • Romania;
  • San Marino;
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines;
  • St. Lucia;
  • Serbian;
  • Singapore;
  • South Africa;
  • Sweden;
  • Swiss;
  • Thailand;
  • Taiwan;
  • Timor-Leste;
  • Turkey;
  • Tuvaluan;
  • Ukraine;
  • Uruguay;
  • Vanuatu.

You can learn more about this list at thefollowing link.

After receiving a recommendation from DOS or a formal request letter from a foreign government that is not on the list, the Secretary of Homeland Security may consider adding a country to the list of eligible countries for the H-2A visa.For this, the following will be taken into account:

  • Number of deportations ordered and completed against its citizens and residents;
  • The number of final orders and unspecified removal orders against its citizens and residents;
  • The country’s assistance in granting visa documents to its citizens or residents facing deportation;
  • Other factors of interest to the US government.


  • The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 states that when US laws relate to or refer to foreign countries or governments, they must include and apply to Taiwan.
  • If you want DHS to consider adding a country to the list of eligible countries, submit a request in writing to the DOS consulate or embassy, ​​or to the DHS policy office.
  • The country lists are valid for one year and DHS may add a country to the list at any time, as long as the country is determined to be eligible.
  • USCIS suggests filing two separate applications if you want to apply for H-2A nonimmigrant workers from both ineligible and eligible countries.This will help reduce delays in processing your application.

Requirements demanded by the Department of Labor

To process the request for the Temporary Work Certificate, the Department of Labor will verify the information contained in the forms.The main one is that the alien worker does not take away a source of work from an American worker.

In this sense, the Department of Labor verifies the following elements:

  1. Efforts to recruit US workers: The employer must show that it made an effort to recruit local workers rather than foreigners.
  2. Fair wages: The employer must pay fair wages to their foreign workers.“Fair wage” means compensation similar to what an American worker would receive for performing the same task.
  3. Accommodation for the worker: For geographic reasons, some employers must accommodate employees on their property.To ensure that it is suitable accommodation, the Department of Labor may inspect the conditions on offer.This in order to verify that the dwelling duly complies with the standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  4. Transport: Sometimes employers also take care of transporting workers.After half of the employment contract has been fulfilled, the employer must reimburse the worker for transportation expenses.

After verifying that all these requirements are met correctly, the DOL issues the Temporary Work Certification.

H-2A visa period of stay

Generally, USCIS may grant a period of stay for the H-2A visa up to the maximum period authorized on the temporary labor certification.

  • H-2A classification may be extended in increments of one year at a time. Applications for extensions of stay must be submitted along with a new temporary work certificate that covers the period for which the extension is requested.
  • The maximum period of stay in the US with the H-2A visa is 3 years.Individuals who have had H-2A status for 3 years must leave the US and remain outside the US for a continuous period of 3 months before applying for readmission under this category.
▷ H-2A visa - Temporary agricultural workers - 2022 info | Lluis Law (3)

The elapsed period of time of theL-1 visaand/or the H classification also counts towards the total period of the H-2A visa.

How long does H-2A visa processing take?

The H-2A visa processing period varies, but the process from start to finish to hire an alien worker under this visa can take around 75 days.

Employers cannot file a petition for this visa with USCIS too far in advance.Filing of petitions cannot be more than 120 days before the worker’s travel to the United States.

The recommended time to file the initial application is about 60 days before the arrival of the alien worker.

Can family members of the H-2A visa holder accompany them?

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may accompany the holder under the H-4 visa.These relatives with H-4 status will not be able to work in the US.

Notifications to USCIS about an employment matter

H-2A temporary worker petitioners must notify USCIS within 2 business days if any of the following occur:

  • Dismissal:The alien worker with the H-2A visa is dismissed before completing the service or job for which he was hired;
  • Failure to appear:The alien worker with the H-2A visa does not report to work within 5 days from:
    • The start date of employment designated on the H-2A petition, or;
    • The start date designated by the employer.
  • Early termination:The worker under the H-2A visa ends the job or service for which they were hired before the 30 days of the established period;
  • Absence:The H-2A visa worker is absent without prior notification or does not report to work for consecutive periods of 5 business days without the consent of their employer.
▷ H-2A visa - Temporary agricultural workers - 2022 info | Lluis Law (4)

Information the employer must include

  • The USCIS receipt number of the accepted H-2A application;
  • The reason that explains if the employee did not show up for work, was absent, was fired and others;
  • The reason for the late notification, together with evidence of justification;
  • Petitioner Information: Name, address, employer identification number (EIN), and telephone number.
  • Employer information (if different from the petitioner), this includes: Name, phone number, and address.
  • Data of the alien worker, including:
    • Date of birth;
    • Full name;
    • Most recent address and phone number;
    • Place of birth.

If available, you must submit the following for each worker:

  • Social Security number.
  • Visa number.


If the petitioner fails to comply with these employment notification requirements or fails to show a good reason for late notification, the petitioner may be required to pay a $10 penalty for each failure to comply.

USCIS defines “business day” in terms of the DOL.This means that according to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), it is the period that elapses on any particular day from when the worker begins his main tasks until they are finished.

To notify USCIS, send your notification by email or mail to the California Service Center at the following addresses:

Post mail:

California Service Center

Attn: BCU Section

PO Box 30050

Laguna Niguel, CA 92607–3004


How to check the status of an H-2A visa petition?

Petitions currently in process can be viewed online.You also have priority processing of Form I-129 for this visa category.

If the request has been made for more than 15 days and you have not received a response, you can contact USCIS by phone at 800-375-5283 or talk to our firm.

Can a Green Card be obtained with an H-2A visa?

It is not possibleto obtain the Green Cardof residence through the H-2A visa since it is a temporary visa.That is, once you finish your work, you must leave the United States.

How much does the H-2A visa cost in 2022?

The filing fee for Form I-129 is priced at $460 and is generally paid by the US employer.

On the other hand, the DS-160 form has a $190 application fee that the worker will likely have to pay out of their own pocket.

For more information about this visa and any other immigration matter, contact our immigration attorneys.We can help you in the preparation and management of immigrant and non-immigrant visas.For over 40 years we have been serving responsibly and efficiently with special dedication to the Latino community in Los Angeles and the rest of California.


Which state has the most workers with H-2A visas? ›

Six States accounted for about half of the H-2A jobs filled in 2021 certified: Florida, Georgia, Washington, California, North Carolina, and Louisiana.

How long can I stay in the US with a H-2A visa? ›

The maximum period of stay in H-2A classification is 3 years. A person who has held H-2A nonimmigrant 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 as an H-2A nonimmigrant.

Is there a cap to H-2A visa? ›

The H-2A visa program has no numerical cap but is restricted to temporary or seasonal jobs lasting less than a year.

How can I get H-2A visa from Mexico? ›

Here are the basic steps of the process:
  1. Find a company in the U.S. in need of temporary workers. ...
  2. Review your job contract and confirm that the petition is valid. ...
  3. Complete a DS-160 visa application form and pay the $190 USD visa application fee. ...
  4. Ensure that you meet the requirements to make a visa appointment.
11 Jun 2021

How much does a H-2A visa cost? ›

Costs of the H-2A Visa Program
Labor Certification
Filing fee$460
H-2A Visa Application
Consulate fee$190 per worker (worker must be reimbursed in first paycheck)
10 more rows

How many H-2A visas issued 2022? ›

The number of H-2A jobs certified tripled between FY13 and FY21 to 317,000.

What jobs qualify for H-2A visa? ›

Section 218 of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the lawful admission into the United States of temporary, nonimmigrant workers (H-2A workers) to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.

What percentage of temporary work visas does H-2A account for? ›

California and Washington accounted for five percent of H-2A jobs certified in 2007, and 19 percent in 2021. California accounts for a third of US farm worker employment and Washington 10 percent. H-2A growth may be concentrated in these states.

Do H-2A workers pay taxes? ›

Yes. Wages you earn as an H-2A worker are subject to U.S. federal income tax. TIP: You should receive a Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, from your employer for each year you work. You will need the W-2 to file with your U.S.

How do I get a job at H-2A? ›

To view all agricultural H-2A jobs in the U.S., visit the U.S. Department of Labor website at icert.doleta.gov. To apply for any agricultural H-2A job, you must have authorization and the right to work in the U.S. You must also qualify, be available, and be willing to perform the job.

Is an a2 visa a diplomatic visa? ›

A-2. The A-2 visa is for other full-time foreign government employees who will conduct official business of the foreign country at an embassy, consulate, mission or military base in the United States. Some travel on diplomatic passports and some do not, depending on the nature and diplomatic rank of the position.

Can I get sponsored to work in USA? ›

As explained, getting a sponsorship employment visa requires you to have an offer from a US employer. The US employer must send you a contract to sign, which will then be part of the sponsorship documents. In some nonimmigrant visas the Department of Labor first requires a Labor Certification.

How can I get agriculture visa? ›

What is the application process?
  1. Consult with Work Visa Lawyers to determine if the Agriculture visa is appropriate for your situation.
  2. Gather and compile your documents and information for the application.
  3. Submit the application and supporting documents online using an ImmiAccount.

What is a farm work visa? ›

The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.

Who hires H-2A workers? ›

The H-2A guestworker program allows agricultural employers to hire workers from other countries on temporary work permits for agricultural jobs that last ten months or less.

Can I get a second H1B after 6 years? ›

After the expiration of the six year period (the tenure), he or she must remain outside of the USA for at least one year, before they could qualify, if petitioned for by a qualified employer, to obtain another H1B visa, which would again be limited by a new 6 year tenure.

What is H1B Level 2 salary? ›


When did H-2A visa start? ›

In 1987 when the program was first established, the Department of State issued 44 visas for H-2A foreign workers. Since then, the issuance of H-2A visas quickly expanded, and in fiscal year 2020, the department issued around 213,000 visas for temporary foreign farmworkers.

Are H-2A workers eligible for stimulus checks? ›

Nonresident aliens (for tax purposes)

Some immigrants may qualify for a stimulus check, if they meet the eligibility criteria and have a valid SSN. For example, immigrants with green cards or H-1B and H-2A work visas can be eligible for a check.

Can H-2A adjust status? ›

Since this is a temporary worker program, H-2A nonimmigrant workers coming to the United States to perform seasonal jobs must leave following a maximum period of stay. Some may apply to extend their stay or change/adjust status.

Can I work in USA with A2 visa? ›

An A-2 Visa holder may not be employed or enroll in any academic classes in the U.S. since the purpose for their visit is official government business. An A-2 Visa holder is also subject to the same privileges, restrictions, and revocations as the A-1 Visa holder.

What is A2 visa in USA? ›

Diplomats and other foreign government officials traveling to the United States to engage solely in official duties or activities on behalf of their national government must obtain A-1 or A-2 visas prior to entering the United States. They cannot travel using visitor visas or under the Visa Waiver Program.

What are the 4 types of visa? ›

Which type of visa do you need? Probably one of the four main types: tourist, immigration, student, or work.

How do I find a company willing to sponsor my visa? ›

Here are the top 6 ways to find an H1B visa sponsor for 2022 so that you can file your petition:
  1. Look for a Job in the H1B Visa Sponsors Database.
  2. Apply for the Job and Get an Offer.
  3. Find an Internship.
  4. Look for Boutique Consulting Companies.
  5. Look for Global Consulting Companies.
  6. Find a Job at a US University.
15 Nov 2022

Can a friend sponsor me to US? ›

U.S. law requires a financial sponsor so that non-citizens in the U.S. won't become public charges, dependent on government assistance for financial support. You don't have to be a relative to be someone's financial sponsor. So, a friend can become a financial sponsor.

How can I work in USA without sponsorship? ›

Yes, it is possible to obtain a work visa without sponsorship from an employer in the United States. There are three types of visas that allow this, and they are known as EB-1, O-1, and EB-5. An immigration attorney can help with obtaining one of these visas.

Where do most H-2A workers come from? ›

H-2A visas are issued to citizens of countries from Argentina to Zimbabwe, but 99 percent went to citizens of four countries: Mexico, 93 percent, South Africa, three percent, Jamaica, two percent, and Guatemala, one percent.

How many H-2A workers are in Washington state? ›

In 2021, there were 28,727 H-2A positions certified in Washington, an increase of 7% from 2020's 26,832 positions, noted Fazio, the WAFLA executive director.

Which companies get the most H1B visas? ›

List Of The Best H1B Sponsorship Companies In 2022
  • Amazon. No. Of Visas Provided – Approximately 4774. ...
  • Infosys. No. Of Visas Provided – Approximately 3512. ...
  • Tata Consultancy Services. No. Of Visas Provided – Approximately 2409. ...
  • Cognizant Technology Solutions US. No. ...
  • Microsoft. No. ...
  • Google. No. ...
  • Capgemini. No. ...
  • HCL America. No.
30 Aug 2022

Which state has the highest employment level? ›

National rankStateEmployment rate in % (total population)
2North Dakota67.7
48 more rows

What taxes do H-2A workers pay? ›

Foreign agricultural workers admitted into the United States on H-2A visas are exempt from federal income tax withholding, AND U.S. Social Secu- rity and Medicare taxes (FICA) on wages paid to them for services performed in connection with their H-2A visa.

What type of work is an H-2A worker involved with? ›

Section 218 of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizes the lawful admission into the United States of temporary, nonimmigrant workers (H-2A workers) to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.

How many H-2A visas are issued? ›

There were 213,394 H-2A visas issued in fiscal year 2020, up from 204,801 in fiscal year 2019. In 2007, there were 50,791 H-2A workers.

What is H-2A status? ›

The H-2A temporary agricultural program allows agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature.

When did H-2A program start? ›

The Genesis of the H-2A Visa Program

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 established the H-2 nonimmigrant visa program, under which temporary foreign workers were admitted to the United States to perform temporary and seasonal employment.

Which companies are willing to sponsor visa? ›

Finding a company to sponsor an H1B visa may seem like a challenging task for foreign nationals, but both small and large businesses offer H1B opportunities.
Large American Corporations That Sponsor H1B Visas
  • Accenture.
  • Amazon.
  • Apple.
  • Capgemini.
  • Cisco.
  • Cognizant.
  • Deloitte.
  • Ernst and Young.

How do I ask a company to sponsor my visa? ›

Here are the steps that you must follow when applying for an employment visa status:
  1. Step 1: Get An Employment Contract.
  2. Step 2: Submit A Labor Certificate.
  3. Step 3: Submit The Documents To The USCIS.
  4. Step 4: Wait For Your Visa Sponsorship Application To Be Processed.
23 Oct 2022

What state is easiest to find a job? ›

Finding the job of your dreams isn't always easy. Especially if you live somewhere with limited employment opportunities.
Please keep in mind that states with the same figures for a specific factor got identical rankings.
  • Colorado. ...
  • Massachusetts. ...
  • New York. ...
  • 4. California. ...
  • Minnesota. ...
  • Virginia. ...
  • Washington. ...
  • Connecticut.

Which state has the most unemployed? ›

According to recent CMIE statistics released in October 2022, it was predicted that among the Indian states, Rajasthan has the highest unemployment rate at 23.8%, followed by Jammu & Kashmir (23.2%) and Haryana (22.9%).

Which is the best state to work and live in USA? ›

Washington State was found to be the best state to live in, while Hawaii ranked last. The chief benefits offered by Washington are an average median income that ranks fourth nationally and the fact that it has no state income tax.

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