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5 Steps to Extend Your Employee's H-2B Visa


The H2B working visa is a nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign nationals to enter into the US temporarily to engage in nonagricultural employment which is seasonal, intermittent, peak load need, or a one-time occurrence. There is an annual limit of 66,000 on the number of foreign workers who may receive H-2B status during each USCIS fiscal year (which runs from October 1 through September 30). Workers already in H-2B status and returning H-2B workers do not count towards the cap.


Although the process for extending an H-2B visa is similar to the process for obtaining the original visa, the only difference is that an H2B visa holder applying for an extension is not subject to the annual cap of 66,000. The employers must apply for H-2B visa extensions on behalf of their employees. The employer may apply for re-certification for an additional two years with one year extensions, but on each new application, the employer must justify the reason for the H-2B extension request. This article is written to assist the employers of H-2B visa holders to file an extension for their employees.


Steps involved in applying for H-2B visa extension: The following are the steps involved if you intend to file an extension for your employee.


STEP 1. Determine Your Employee's Eligibility: Before you actually start all the paperwork to extend your employee's stay in the U.S., you must first determine if he or she is eligible to extend his or her stay in the U.S. The maximum period of continuous stay in the U.S. under H-2B status is three years. An H-2B visa holder will be granted extensions for no more than one year at a time.


NOTE: If an extension would result in your employee's stay in the U.S. exceeding three years, the H-2B extension application will be denied.


STEP 2. Careful Planning and Action: You should complete Form ETA 750A and send it to the State Workforce Agency (SWA) that serves the area where your employee will work.


NOTE: You should not file Form ETA 750A earlier than 120 days and later than 45 days before the expiration of your employee's current H-2B visa.


STEP 3. Wait for Labor Certification: As you have submitted the Form ETA 750A with the State Workforce Agency (SWA), you will have to wait for the U.S. Labor Department of labor to issue you a Foreign Labor Certification on behalf of your employee.


NOTE: The U.S. Labor Department of labor may take several weeks to issue a Labor Certification.


STEP 4: Submit Form I-129: Complete the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and submit it to the USCIS along with the filing fee.


NOTE: Your application will be denied, if you do not pay the appropriate filing fee.


STEP 5: Wait for USCIS Decision: Congratulations, you have completed all the paperwork successfully; now you will have to wait for the USCIS to send you a Form I-797 Approval Notice.


NOTE: USCIS will send you the decision on your extension application, which you have filed on behalf of your employee. It could be an approval, denial or request for evidence (RFE).


Conclusion: Applying for an H-2B visa itself is a tough task, and filing an H-2b extension is tougher. However, proper and timely filing can help you get the H-2B extension approved for your employee. It is always advisable to take professional help if you are not sure about the process.


ExpressH2B Attorneys have been training and helping foreign nationals put together the correct documentation for a visa interview. In our experience, the approval rate of H-2B visas for foreign nationals with the correct documentation is very high. If you are a foreign national seeking advice on visa denials consult an ExpressH2B attorney.



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