A Woburn H-2B immigration lawyer assists clients in obtaining H-2B visas for temporary foreign workers

Does your business need to hire foreign employees to fulfill a temporary need?  Or are you a foreign worker who wants to come to the U.S. for a seasonal job?  A Woburn H-2B immigration lawyer at Ionson Law can assist you in obtaining H-2B visas.

What is an H-2B visa?

The H-2B visa allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers to work in temporary non-agricultural jobs in the USA. H-2B visa holders often work in resorts, theme parks, hotels, restaurants, seafood processing, and entertainment industries, among others.

Both the job and the prospective employee must meet certain requirements for the H-2B visa.


The H-2B visa is usually good for a year or less, but can be extended in increments of up to one year. The maximum period of time that a worker can stay in the U.S. on an H-2B visa is three consecutive years. Once the worker reaches the three-year limit, he or she must leave and remain outside the United States for at least three months before being readmitted in H-2B status.

Any time the H-2B worker is outside the United States for at least three months, the three-year limit restarts beginning with the worker’s readmission to the U.S. in H-2B status.

A worker who spends less than 18 consecutive months in the United States, needs to leave for 45 days to restart the three-year limit.  A worker in the United States for more than 18 months, but less than three years, needs to reside outside the United States for 60 days before returning on an H-2B visa.

Visa cap

Congress sets an annual cap on the total number of H-2B visas that can be granted in a year.  The current cap is 66,000 per year with half allocated to jobs beginning in the first half of the government’s fiscal year (October 1 – March 31) and the remaining half allocated to jobs beginning in the 2nd half of the fiscal year (April 1 – September 30). Unused visas from the first half of the fiscal year are added to those available in the second half, but unused visas at the end of the fiscal year do not carry over to the next fiscal year.


To obtain an H-2B visa, a foreign worker first needs an offer of employment from a U.S. employer.  The employer must go through several steps [link to application to H-2B visa application process] including applying for a temporary labor certification from the Department of Labor and filing a petition with the USCIS.  The employee then applies for the visa at a U.S. consulate, typically in his or her home country.

Family members of H-2B visa holders

The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of H-2B visa applicants may seek admission to the U.S. in the H-4 nonimmigrant classification. Family members in the H-4 nonimmigrant classification may not work in the United States.

Practically speaking, applying for H-4 visas for family members may jeopardize a worker’s ability to qualify for an H-2B visa.  If a worker plans to take his or her entire family to the U.S. for what is supposed to be a temporary short-term stay, the officer at the consulate may not believe that the worker intends to return home after the conclusion of the job and may then deny the visa.

Contact a Woburn H-2B immigration lawyer today!

For help obtaining an H-2B visa or other immigration issues involving foreign employees, contact a Woburn H-2b immigration lawyer at Ionson Law today for a free consultation.  We can be reached at (781) 674-2562.