H-2B visas run out for fiscal year 2020

The H-2B visas available for fiscal year 2020 have been exhausted, so no more petitions are being accepted for the period ending September 30.

February 18, 2020 was the final date by which new petitions could be received for temporary non-agricultural worker visas (H-2B) who were applying to start employment before October 1, 2020.

By fiscal year 2020 there were only 66,000 H-2B visas, which are divided and distributed in two stages. The first 33,000 visas were granted in 2019. for employees who started working in the first half of this fiscal year (October 1, 2019 - March 31, 2020). The other 33,000 are for employees who start work in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 - September 30, 2020).

Due to the high demand, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) conducted a lottery to select the finalists. The federal government will return the applications and fees submitted for visa processing to petitioners who were not selected in the lottery.

H-2B visas authorize foreign nationals to come 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.

Requests exempted from the maximum regulatory amount

  • 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.
  • Individuals who are working or providing services from November 28, 2009 through December 31, 2029 in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam.