H-2B visas sold out for fiscal year 2016

H-2B visas for fiscal year 2016 have ended. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is no longer accepting petitions for these visas for this fiscal year ending September 30, 2016.

Congress authorizes a maximum annual amount of H-2B visas. These visas are used to bring foreign nationals to the United States for a limited period of time to work in industries that require seasonal employees, such as hotel, ski resort or amusement park employees.

May 12, 2016 was the final date by which new petitions could be received from temporary nonagricultural (H-2B) workers applying to begin employment before October 1, 2016.

With the following exceptions, USCIS will reject new H-2B visa petitions received after May 12 that request to begin employment before October 1, 2016.

Requests exempted from the maximum regulatory amount

  • For fiscal year 2016 only, "returning worker" petitions. These petitions were already counted against the statutory maximum amount for fiscal years 2013, 2014 or 2015.
  • 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 31, 2019 in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.

To avoid processing delays, petitioners who include in their petition H-2B workers who are returning to the United States should clearly write "H-2B Returning Workers" on the front cover and in a prominent place on the envelope.