The H-2A agricultural visa permits foreign nationals from eligible countries to enter the United States and helps US farmers to fill the temporary or seasonal employment gap. Is it possible to get a green card under H-2A status? Keep reading to find out.
Can an H2A Visa Holder Get a Green Card? – Understanding The Basics
The H-2A visa program was created to fill the employment gap in the US agriculture segment.
If there are not enough domestic workers able, willing, qualified, or available to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural jobs, US employers can apply with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to request foreign labor.
US petitioners must obtain a temporary labor certification from the US Department of Labor (DOL). USCIS generally requires the DOL’s certification as evidence that:
- There are not sufficient able, willing, and qualified US workers available to occupy the positions for which nonimmigrant foreign workers are being requested, and
- The employment of H-2A workers will not adversely impact the wages and working conditions of similarly employed domestic workers
Once the petitioner’s request is approved, foreign workers can apply with the US Department of State at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad.
Can an H2A Visa Holder Get a Green Card? – The Verdict
The H-2A does not provide a direct path to lawful permanent residence. When applying for an H-2A visa, applicants must evidence non-immigrant intent.
If a prospective H-2 worker shows evidence of immigrant intent, USCIS will not likely approve or renew the H-2 nonimmigrant status. Once the H-2A expires, the worker must return to his or her home country for an uninterrupted period of 3 months before seeking readmission.
However, H-2A visa holders can apply for a change in status if they find a job offer sponsored by a US employer.
Can an H2A Visa Holder Get a Green Card? – Changing Status
Many foreign temporary workers wonder whether they are allowed to apply for lawful permanent residence under H-2A nonimmigrant status. USCIS permits H-2A workers to apply for different visas, including employment and family-based green cards.
If an H-2A visa holder receives a job offer that does not qualify as temporary or seasonal agricultural work, it is possible to change his or her immigration status.
For example, if an H-2A worker finds a job that requires an H-1B visa, the new employer must undergo the required steps with USCIS to get him or her the H-1B visa.
If a US farmer or agricultural firm is motivated to keep an H-2A employer as a permanent worker, it is possible to offer a permanent job by filing with USCIS for an applicable visa option.
When a US employer identifies a permanent position through which a skilled H-2A visa holder may be sponsored for a green card, the next steps include handling the PERM process with the Department of Labor (DOL) and filing an adjustment of status application.
Once the application for an employment-based visa has been filed, the H-2A worker will not be able to renew the nonimmigrant status. If the H-2A visa expires and the applicant cannot renew his or her status, the worker must leave the United States before readmission as a lawful permanent resident.
Do You Want to Get a Green Card as an H-2A Visa Holder? – Immediately Contact Attorney Romy B. Jurado
Changing your immigration status under an H-2A visa is a complex task. Get in touch with Attorney Romy B. Jurado today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] for an individual assessment.