H-2A Visa Processing

Processing an H-2A visa application through any H-2A visa processing company can take anywhere between 75 days and five months to complete. The slightest mistake may slow the H-2A visa processing time to a stop. Don’t leave the success of your business to chance; make sure your H-2A visa is processed right every time. As the most qualified H-2A visa processing company, you can rely on H2Aide to make it all happen for you!

We take our reputation very seriously. We’ve earned a name for ourselves as the most trusted business in the H-2A visa processing industry. When you work with our skilled and knowledgeable experts, you’ll have no trouble understanding why that’s the case. Get in touch with us today to learn how our professionals can help you with all your H-2A visa processing needs. We’ll happily answer all of your questions and clear up any confusion you may have. We’re here to make your job easier!

The H-2A Temporary Agricultural
Worker Program

The United States government created the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program to help farmers and other agribusiness employers bring in nonimmigrant foreign workers to the US to help perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work to fill employment gaps created by labor shortages.

Typically, the H-2A visa processing program helps American farmers find seasonal or temporary workers to assist with planting, cultivating, and harvesting when domestic workers are in short supply. Farms, plantations, ranches, nurseries, ranges, greenhouses, orchards, and similar businesses often need temporary or seasonal agricultural workers.

To qualify for the H-2A temporary agricultural worker program, a business must need laborers for seasonal or temporary work. The federal government classifies seasonal work as any work tied to a particular time of year. In addition, any work that lasts for one year or less is considered temporary work.

How The H-2A Visa Program Process Works


Step 1. File a domestic job order

The employer or their representative will first need to prepare and submit an agricultural job order to the State Workforce Agency or SWA. The employer should file the job order to the SWA where the work is performed. This process should start 75 calendar days before the first start day.

The SWA will then review your job order for needed corrections and initiate an attempt to recruit workers from the United States.

After submitting your domestic job order with the SWA, you must file an H-2A application with the Department of Labor’s Chicago National Processing Center (the Chicago NPC).

The Chicago NPC will review your application for any flaws and provide additional instructions to complete the temporary labor certification process. If the Department of Labor identifies any errors in your application, they will need fixing before continuing.


Step 2. File an H-2A application


Step 3. Recruit Domestic Workers

Once you’ve filed with both the SWA and Chicago NPC, you must attempt to recruit US workers. The government will provide you with specific instructions on how to perform the recruitment process, including where and when to advertise your available jobs.

The recruitment period begins on the date when you have received your Notice of Acceptance from the Chicago NPC.

To qualify for the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker Program, you must complete all recruitment steps correctly.

Once you have started the recruitment process, the Department of Labor’s Chicago National Processing Center will require you to submit additional documentation to receive your final determination. Depending on your application, they may reject your request.

If the Department of Labor approves your application, you will begin the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) H-2A program application.

Step 4. Submit Additional Documents to the Chicago NPC


Step 5. Submit Forms to USCIS

Upon receiving your Department of Labor temporary labor certification, you will need to submit the original certification along with the necessary H-2A visa forms to begin your petition with USCIS. Your original temporary labor certification serves as initial evidence.

After the USCIS approves your forms, you instruct the intended H-2A workers to apply for visas or admission to the United States. They do this either with the United States Department of State (DOS) at a local US Embassy or Consulate, or they can directly seek admission to the United States at a US port of entry with the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP).


H-2A Workers Apply For Visas

Costs for the H-2A Visa Processing Program

If everything is done the first time correctly, it can cost between $10,500 and $20,000 per worker to process an H-2A visa and stay in compliance; however, your costs can vary. The visa program fees are broken down:

  $100 labor certification application fee, plus $10 per certified worker. This fee will not exceed $1000.
  $460 non-immigrant worker petition filing fee.
  $190 consulate fee per worker. You must reimburse this amount to the worker in their first paycheck.
  $6 border stamp fee per worker.
  $100 agent fee per worker.

All other fees and expenses are for transportation, housing, and various additional costs. Your costs may be higher or lower depending on several factors.

Keep in mind that you will likely lose your money if your H-2A visa application is rejected. Working with an H-2A visa processing company can help protect you from lost application fees. 

List of Countries Eligible for the H-2A Visa Program

As of November 10, 2021, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services there are 82 different countries eligible for the H-2A temporary worker program.

●  Andorra
●  Argentina
●  Australia
●  Austria
●  Barbados
●  Belgium
●  Brazil
●  Brunei
●  Bulgaria
●  Canada
●  Chile
●  Colombia
●  Costa Rica
●  Croatia
●  Czech Republic
●  Denmark
●  Dominican
●  Republic
●  Ecuador
●  El Salvador
●  Estonia
●  Fiji
●  Finland
●  France
●  Germany
●  Greece
●  Grenada
●  Guatemala

●  Honduras
●  Hungary
●  Iceland
●  Ireland
●  Israel
●  Italy
●  Jamaica
●  Japan
●  Kiribati
●  Latvia
●  Liechtenstein
●  Lithuania
●  Luxembourg
●  North Macedonia
●  Madagascar
●  Malta
●  Moldova
●  Mexico
●  Moldova*
●  Monaco
●  Montenegro
●  Mozambique
●  Nauru
●  The Netherlands
●  Nicaragua
●  New Zealand
●  Norway
●  Panama

●  Papua New Guinea
●  Paraguay
●  Peru
●  Poland
●  Portugal
●  Romania
●  San Marino
●  Serbia
●  Singapore
●  Slovakia
●  Slovenia
●  Solomon Islands
●  South Africa
●  South Korea
●  Spain
●  St. Vincent and the Grenadines
●  Sweden
●  Switzerland
●  Taiwan**
●  Thailand
●  Timor-Leste
●  Turkey
●  Tuvalu
●  Ukraine
●  United Kingdom
●  Uruguay
●  Vanuatu

FAQ: H-2A Visa Processing and Program

How long is an H-2A visa good for?

The H-2A visa is generally issued for the period authorized on your temporary labor certification; however, you may extend the H-2A classification for qualified employment in 1-year increments. To extend the H-2A visa, you will need a new, valid temporary labor certification that covers the requested time for each new extension request. The H-2A visa classifications maximum period of stay is for 3 years.

What is the difference between an H-2A and H-2B visa?

An H-2A visa is specifically for seasonal and temporary agricultural work. At the same time, H-2B workers can perform temporary jobs in various fields, including landscaping, meat and seafood processing, and construction.

How much does H2Aide’s H-2A visa processing service cost?

Several factors determine the cost of H2Aide’s H-2A visa processing service. We will need to assess your unique business needs to determine your price. To get a customized quote, contact H2Aide today.

Can an H-2A worker apply for a green card or permanent residence?

No, an H-2A worker cannot apply for permanent residence (a green card) or US citizenship. The H-2A visa program is issued explicitly to nonimmigrant workers for a limited period. It does not put workers on a path to permanent US residence or American citizenship.

What are the requirements of the H-2A visa?

To qualify for the H-2A nonimmigrant visa classification, you must ensure that the job is temporary or seasonal and agricultural. You must also demonstrate that there are not enough US workers that are able, willing, qualified, and available to perform the temporary work and that the H-2A workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed US workers.

How long does the H-2A visa process take?

The H-2A visa program process can take as little as 75 days to more than 4 months to be completely finalized. Working with a knowledgeable visa processing agency can be a simple and cost-effective way to streamline the process for your business.

What types of jobs qualify for the H-2A program?

Jobs eligible for the H-2A visa program must be agricultural and last for less than one year. Agricultural work may include planting, harvesting, or caring for crops. Work in orchards, ranches, farms, nurseries, and greenhouses should qualify for the program. If you need other types of help, the H-2B visa program might be right for you.

Is it more expensive to hire an H-2A worker?

It depends. When all fees, expenses, and wage rules are applied, hiring an H-2A worker may end up more expensive than hiring a US employee, but these expenses are made up for increased production capacity. According to a report by The Packer, the US agricultural labor shortage is responsible for the loss of $12 to $48 Million of crops. Many agricultural businesses would find themselves in financial ruin if not for the help of H-2A workers.