H-2B program is a Short-term Employment visa program sponsored by the American Department of Labor to fill in necessary faculty when corporations cannot find enough workers other than foreigners due to weather or field-related circumstances. The programs are held short-term in fields requiring a lot of workers in limited areas, such as tourism (hotels, resorts, and national parks).
One notable aspect of this visa is that not only undergrads but also graduates can apply for this visa, regardless of major. Applicants are assigned to working positions (some of which require special experience and skills) according to English skills. Even after the program terminates, applicants can extend their H2B visa or change to other desired visas such as (B1/B2), in the US.
H2B can be extended several times within 2 ~ 3 years.
2. Compare/Contrasting H-2B Program and J-1/WT
A lot of companies advertise H-2B as a Work & Travel program. Yet H2B is a little different from an internship. Applicants work for a period of time in hotels or resorts regardless of their majors or career, wherein they earn money to travel or experience the country freely.
|H2B(Short-Term Employment)||J-1(Work & Travel)|
|Qualified Applicants||High School Graduates(School Career Unnecessary)
All qualified, Age 35 or under
|Students Enrolled in Undergrads/Graduates Only
Age 28 or under
|Training Period||Program Period Extension Possible after 4~10 Months||During School Vacation +
30 days of traveling
|Job Positions||Cannot be changed||Possible to change job positions
Upon approval from managers
|Visa Changes||H2B Extension, Changing to B1/B2,
All possible in the area
|Hard to change Visa type in the area|
|Working Hours||Guaranteed compared to J-1 but unstable due to season, weather, economic changes||Hours not guaranteed but in Intern 21,
30 hours of work or more is available
3. Work Locations
- Hotels within the US, resorts, ski resorts (Mount Snow Resort, Killington Ski Resort, Snowshoe Resort, Custer State Park, Holiday Inn Hotel, etc.)
4. Work Positions
- Food & Beverage Staff, Cook Assistant, Housekeeping, Lift Attendant, Ticket Sales, Retail Salesman, Ski Instructor, Custodian, Rental Shop.
5. Several Options after finishing the Program
Extending the H2B Visa
- Extensions can be made within 2~3 years. However, after extensions are made, workers must move to a new workplace. If applicants inform “Intern21” of their desires to extend their visas, the corporation will find a new workplace for them and follow the procedures required to do so, such as having interviews and applying for visas. (Additional processing fees required, payment differs from region or time period, but approximates $1000.)
Change to a Tourist Visa and travel/study English for 3 months in a private academy
- It is possible to change H2B into B1/B2 tourist visas immediately in the area. However, unlike regular visitation visas issued by the US Embassy which extends for 10 years, these visas extend only the time period spent in US immediately after H2B expiration. Upon changing to a tourist visa, paid working is illegal. It is possible to spend 3 months of the extended period studying English in a private academy.
Touring the Continent
- After completing the work program, under approval of the employers, applicants may travel through Canada or South America, until the visa expires. It’s possible to return to the US with B1/B2 visas.
English Training and Touring in Canada
- Only a passport is required to enter the country. The stay period is determined by the immigration inspector, ranging from about 3 to 6 months. Upon entry, those not confident with their English may take some time to learn English before returning.
Specialty Internship Program in Canada
- It is also possible to carry out a Specialty Internship Program in Canada at the same time. It is a nice chance to build a career around majors or assist in getting a job.
6. Associated Organizations
IP Education International invites and recruits program applicants, introduces them to workplaces in US companies, and executes documents required to apply for visas and petition by contacting associated US organizations.
Taking in the national unemployment rate into account, workplaces submit documents to the Department of Labor regarding the need to recruit foreign workers under justified grounds, backed up by related evidential documents.
US Department of Labor
Approves H2B in qualified workplaces, and assign required number of staff to individual companies.
American (USCIS, (INS))
Upon receiving Labor Certification from the Department of Labor, the USCIS continue the application process to fill in the faculty. When the application process is properly performed, the applicants then receive 1-797Approval Notice that allows them to apply for visas upon registration.
When the USCIS finds no problem examining the application format, it issues two Approval Notice I-797 Forms and mails them to the applicant and to the correct embassy (The US Embassy.) The applicant must then prepare the visa reference documents, the non-immigrant visa application form, and the 1-797 Form, to apply for visa in the US Embassy. The applicant interviews the representatives according to the Embassy schedule, thereby finally having their visas issued.