People come to the United States for different reasons – a fact that our New York immigration attorneys are well aware of. Many people travel to the United States for jobs or work. If you are an agricultural worker seeking employment in the United States, you probably have a lot of questions about obtaining a visa. To work in the United States as a temporary agricultural worker, you must qualify for a temporary agricultural worker visa (H-2A). The H-2A visa allows U.S. employers to hire employees from other nations to fill temporary agricultural positions. In order to hire a nonimmigrant temporary agricultural worker from another country, employers must file a Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker on behalf other prospective agricultural employee.
In order to enter the country under H-2A nonimmigrant classification, you must:
First, you employer must submit a Temporary Labor Certification Application to the United States Department of labor. Before you can request H-2A classification, your employer must seek to obtain a temporary labor certification for H-2A workers from the U.S. DOL. Next, you employer must submit a Form I-129 to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. This form is a petition to accept nonimmigrant foreign workers.
Finally, prospective workers living outside of the United States must apply for their visa. Workers outside the U.S. may apply for their H-2A visa with the U.S. Department of State at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. In order to enter the country, you must apply with the U.S. Customs and Boarder Protection in order to enter the United States with H-2A classification. If your spouse and unmarried children less than 21 years of age wish to enter the country as well, they may apply for H-4 nonimmigrant classification.
Employers are required to notify USCIS under certain employment-related circumstances. For instance, if an H-2A classified employee fails to appear for work within 5 work days of his/her employment start date, the employer must notify the USCIS. After work has started, the employer is required to notify USICS if the employee fails to report to work for five consecutive days, or if the worker’s job is terminated before the agricultural labor or services he/she was hired for are completed. If an H-2A worker completes their agricultural labor more than 30 days before the date specified on the H-2A petition, the USCIS must be notified as well. Notifications must include specific information, as directed by the USCIS. If the employer fails to report any of these situations, he/she may be subject to fines.
Typically, you will not be authorized to stay in the United States for longer than one year. USCIS may grant you classification for the period of time authorized on the temporary labor certification and your time may be extended in increments up to one year. If you are granted an extension on your authorization, you may not stay in the country longer than three years. Once your three years are up, you must leave the country and remain outside of the United States for at least three months. This three month time period can have not interruptions. After three months, you may apply for H-2A classification again.