USCIS Reaches H-2B Cap for Second Half of FY 2024 and Announces Filing Dates for Supplemental Visas

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has attained the H-2B cap quota for the latter half of fiscal year (FY) 2024 and has delineated the filing dates for supplementary H-2B visas for the remainder of FY 2024, as per the FY 2024 H-2B supplemental visa temporary final rule.

H-2B Cap for Second Half of FY 2024

USCIS has garnered adequate petitions to fulfill the congressionally stipulated H-2B cap for the latter part of FY 2024. March 7, 2024, marked the final date for the receipt of fresh cap-subject H-2B worker petitions, soliciting an employment commencement date from April 1, 2024, to before Oct. 1, 2024. Any new cap-subject H-2B petitions received post March 7, 2024, seeking employment commencement from April 1, 2024, to before Oct. 1, 2024, will be rejected.

H-2B petitions that fall outside the congressionally mandated cap are still being accepted. These include petitions for:

  • Current H-2B workers in the United States seeking an extension of their stay and, if applicable, modifications to their employment terms or employer changes.
  • Workers engaged in fish roe processing or supervision thereof.
  • Laborers or service providers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and/or Guam (until Dec. 31, 2029).

Filing Dates for Second Half of FY 2024 Supplemental Visas

On Nov. 17, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) jointly issued a temporary final rule, augmenting the numerical cap on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 64,716 additional visas for FY 2024. These supplementary visas are exclusively available to U.S. businesses experiencing or anticipating irreparable harm due to their inability to employ all requested H-2B workers, as verified by the employer on DOL Form ETA 9142-B-CAA-8 (PDF). These supplemental H-2B visas cater to U.S. employers intending to petition for additional workers during certain periods of the fiscal year.

Here are the filing initiation dates for the remaining supplementary visa allocations under the temporary final rule:

  • For employers seeking workers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica, irrespective of nationality status: USCIS will commence accepting petitions from employers seeking an employment start date from April 1, 2024, to Sept. 30, 2024, on March 22, 2024. USCIS had already started accepting petitions from employers with employment start dates from Oct. 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024, in November 2023. A cap count for this country-specific allocation is accessible on the Temporary Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2024 page.
  • For employers requesting returning workers for the early second half of FY 2024 (April 1 to May 14): USCIS will begin accepting petitions for the additional 19,000 visas allotted to returning workers, regardless of nationality, on March 22, 2024.
  • For employers seeking returning workers for the late second half of FY 2024 (May 15 to Sept. 30): USCIS will commence accepting petitions for the additional 5,000 visas allocated to returning workers, regardless of nationality, on April 22, 2024.

USCIS will cease accepting petitions under this temporary final rule postmarked after Sept. 16, 2024, or upon reaching the applicable cap, whichever transpires first.

USCIS had previously declared that adequate petitions were received to meet the cap for the additional 20,716 H-2B visas made available for returning workers for the first half of FY 2024, with employment commencement dates on or before March 31, 2024.

Further details regarding the FY 2024 supplemental visas can be found on the Temporary Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2024 page.

Reminder: Upcoming Fee and Form Edition Changes for H-2B Petitions

On Jan. 30, 2024, USCIS unveiled a final rule, published in the Federal Register, adjusting the fees for most immigration applications and petitions. These new fees will become effective April 1, 2024. There will be no grace period for the submission of the new version of Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, as it must incorporate the updated fee calculation.

H-2B petitions postmarked on or after April 1, 2024, must include the revised fees and be filed using the 04/01/24 edition of the form; otherwise, they will not be accepted. A preview version of the 04/01/24 edition of Form I-129 has been published.

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