H-2B visas are sold out for the first half of fiscal year 2019.

H-2B visas available for the first half of fiscal year 2019 ran out. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it reached the maximum number of 33,000 H-2B visas authorized by Congress for the first half of fiscal year 2019.

The H-2B visas are used to bring foreign nationals to the United States to work temporarily in industries that require more employees for a specific period of time. For example, hotel, ski resort or amusement park employees.

USCIS determined December 6, 2018 as the deadline for filing new petitions for temporary nonagricultural (H-2B) workers who wanted to begin working before April 1, 2019.

The demand was so great that the number of petitions received by USCIS exceeded the number of H-2B visas available.

On December 11, USCIS conducted a computer-generated lottery to randomly select petitions received by December 6.

All petitions selected in that lottery were assigned a receipt date of December 11. Priority processing service for petitions selected in the lottery also began on that date.

USCIS will reject and return all petitions that were not selected, along with the payment of fees.

New H-2B visa petitions received after December 6, 2018 will be denied, with the following exceptions:

  • H-2B workers applying to start jobs on or after April 1, 2019.
  • H-2B workers who are currently in the United States and are requesting an extension of stay that may change the terms of their employment or change employers.
  • Fish egg processing workers, technicians or supervisors.
  • Workers on active duty from November 28, 2009 through December 21, 2029 in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.