August 14, 2023

H-2A Visa Program FAQs

                                                         H-2A PROGRAM – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is an H-2A Visa?
The H-2A program, authorized by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is a nonimmigrant visa program that allows United States employers to bring in a foreign workforce for farm labor work on a temporary or seasonal basis, given that U.S. workers are not able, willing, qualified, or available for the job.

2. Who may file an H-2A application?
An H-2A visa is a type of visa that allows U.S. employers to bring foreign agricultural workers to the U.S. for temporary or seasonal agricultural work. In this case, employers apply for the H-2A visa on behalf of employees. Alternatively, agricultural associations can submit H-2A petitions for employers who have a temporary need for foreign agricultural workers. It is advisable to seek legal counsel or professional assistance.

3. What are the limitations of an H-2A visa?
H-2A visas, while providing opportunities for temporary agricultural work in the U.S., come with limitations. The employer must be able to establish that they have a need for a nonimmigrant seasonal or temporary workforce, and the need should not exceed ten months. The employment must be temporary and seasonal in nature.

4. What are the requirements for the H-2A visa employee?
An H-2A employee needs to have a valid job offer from a U.S. employer for temporary or seasonal farm work. Employees must have a valid passport from their country of origin and be prepared to have an interview with a U.S. consulate to establish a plan to return to their home country after their visa expires.

5. How long can an H-2A visa holder stay in the U.S.?
The H-2A labor certification request will remain active for the work period mentioned in the H-2A Application for Alien Labor certification, lasting no more than 10 months.

6. Can H-2A visas be extended?
H-2A visas may be extended for qualifying employment in increments of up to one year each, with a maximum period of stay of 3 years. A new, valid temporary labor certification must be submitted with each extension request. 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.

For more information about H-2A services provided by Western Growers, contact Jason Resnick at [email protected].