H-2A – agricultural workers

Workers who qualify for this visa are commonly called "migrant workers." The H-2A visa applies only to agricultural workers who enter the United States to work in agriculture on a seasonal, as-needed basis.


To qualify for a temporary agricultural work visa, the applicant must prove these things:


     Show that the job in question is temporary or seasonal.

     Show that there are not enough U.S. workers who are willing and able to do the work.

     Show that the workers with H-2A visas will not harm the wages and work conditions of a similarly employed U.S. worker.

     Submit a single, valid temporary labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor with the H-2A application. Limited exceptions to this requirement apply.

     Have a permanent address in one of the eligible countries. You can find the full list on uscis.gov.


The duration of the stay under an H-2A visa is indicated on the guest worker’s temporary labor certification. Then, extensions may be granted in one-year increments at a time. H-2A workers may stay for three, aggregated years before it becomes necessary for them to leave. After leaving the U.S. at the end of the three-year term, the worker becomes eligible for another three years of H-2A status. After a three-month hiatus, the worker may apply for a new H-2A visa to return to the States.


Spouses and unmarried children under 21 may apply for H-4 visas; however this might cast doubt on the intent to go back to their home country when seasonal work is complete.

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