6 New Countries Now Eligible for H-2A and H-2B Visas

On November 9, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—along with the Department of State (DOS)—has announced that six (6) new countries now qualify for the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in the next year. The notice listing eligible countries was published in the Federal Register on the following day. 

New Additions to the Eligible Countries List for H-2A & H-2B Visas 

The six countries that are now eligible for H-2A and H-2B visas include: 

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina 

  • The Republic of Cyprus 

  • Dominican Republic (Currently only eligible for the H-2A program) 

  • Haiti 

  • Mauritius 

  • Saint Lucia 

Only one country—Moldova—was removed from the eligible countries list for the H-2A visa program since it no longer meets the program’s standards. However, Moldova nationals are still eligible for the H-2A visa until January 18, 2022. 

Unless H-2 beneficiaries currently in the United States wish to extend their H-2 status by filing a petition on or after the Federal Register notice was published, the notice does not affect their status. In addition, if an H-2 beneficiary wants to apply and/or obtain admission to the U.S. based on a petition approved before the Federal Register notice was published, the notice does not impact eligibility for the program. However, the notice does affect nonimmigrants changing status in the U.S. to H-2A or H-2B status. 

The H-2A and H-2B eligible countries list include the following countries: 

  • Andorra 

  • Argentina 

  • Australia 

  • Austria Germany 

  • Barbados 

  • Belgium 

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (Just added) 

  • Brazil 

  • Brunei 

  • Bulgaria 

  • Canada 

  • Chile 

  • Colombia 

  • Costa Rica 

  • Croatia 

  • Cyprus (Just added) 

  • Czech Republic 

  • Denmark 

  • Dominican Republic (Just added) 

  • Ecuador 

  • El Salvador 

  • Estonia Madagascar 

  • Fiji 

  • Finland 

  • France 

  • Germany 

  • Greece 

  • Grenada 

  • Guatemala 

  • Haiti (Just added) 

  • Honduras 

  • Hungary 

  • Iceland 

  • Ireland 

  • Israel 

  • Italy 

  • Jamaica 

  • Japan 

  • Kiribati 

  • Latvia 

  • Liechtenstein 

  • Lithuania 

  • Luxembourg 

  • Madagascar 

  • Malta 

  • Mauritius (Just added) 

  • Mexico 

  • Moldova (Only eligible for the H-2A program) 

  • Monaco 

  • Mongolia (Only eligible for the H-2B program) 

  • Montenegro 

  • Mozambique 

  • Nauru 

  • The Netherlands 

  • New Zealand 

  • Nicaragua 

  • North Macedonia 

  • Norway 

  • Panama 

  • Papua New Guinea 

  • Paraguay (Only eligible for the H-2A program) 

  • Peru 

  • Philippines (Only eligible for the H-2B program) 

  • Poland 

  • Portugal 

  • Romania 

  • Saint Lucia (Just added)  

  • San Marino 

  • Serbia 

  • Singapore 

  • Slovakia 

  • Slovenia 

  • Soloman Islands 

  • South Africa 

  • South Korea 

  • Spain 

  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines 

  • Sweden 

  • Switzerland 

  • Taiwan 

  • Thailand 

  • Timor-Leste 

  • Turkey 

  • Tuvalu 

  • Ukraine 

  • United Kingdom 

  • Uruguay 

  • Vanuatu 

About the H-2A & H-2B Visa Program? 

The H-2A visa program allows foreign nationals from eligible countries to perform seasonal or temporary agricultural work, while the H-2B visa program allows eligible foreign workers to perform temporary jobs in nonagricultural industries. Significant formal education is not a requirement for these programs. Although there is no cap for H-2A visas, the annual cap for H-2B visas is 66,000. 

DHS can add countries to the eligible countries list at any time. In contrast, countries who fail to meet the requirements for continued designation can be removed from the list at the end of the one-year period after the country’s most recent publication for eligibility. 

The following are the common factors that could result in being removed from the eligible countries list for the H-2A and H-2B visa program: 

  • Fraud 

  • Abuse 

  • Denial rates 

  • Overstay rates 

  • Human trafficking matters 

  • General noncompliance 

If you want to apply for an H-2A or H-2B visa or extend your stay in Illinois, Arizona, or Texas, call Gambacorta Law at (847) 443-9303 or complete our online contact form today to speak with our experienced immigration attorneys.