The H-2B non-immigrant temporary work visa allows employers to hire laborers for non-agricultural, temporary and recurring seasonal jobs. To qualify for a visa, a worker must have a job offer from an employer approved by the U.S. government.

A worker holding an H-2B visa status can travel freely, bring dependents to stay with them and change jobs while in the country. Visa holders may remain in the U.S. for a maximum of three years and must leave when the visa expires.

Eligible countries

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services typically approves H-2B visa applications for nationals of countries that the Department of Homeland Security deems eligible. A few of these countries include:

  • Philippines
  • Turkey
  • Colombia
  • Ukraine
  • Madagascar
  • Jamaica

The full list of H-2B eligible countries is available on the USCIS website. The DHA updates the list annually and can add a country at any time, or it can remove any country that fails to meet the designation requirements.


While there are many benefits to an H-2B visa, there are also some limitations to be aware of. Temporary jobs must not exceed one year in length. The clock continues ticking whether a visa holder is in the U.S. or abroad. Additionally, though family members may accompany workers to the U.S., dependents are not allowed to work during their stay.

The process for filing a work visa can be intricate and complex. When looking to hire a foreign national to work temporarily in the United States, it is essential to understand the eligibility criteria, application forms and supplemental requirements.