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H-2A Visas: Temporary Agricultural Worker
15 MINUTE READ

Overview

The H-2A visa allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary or seasonal agricultural jobs, for which U.S. workers are not available.

For information on H-2A Visas for Temporary Agricultural Workers, please visit the Temporary Workers Visa page on Travel.State.gov.  For details about the local application process, please continue reading.

Application Process

Step 1: Complete the online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160.

Step 2: Go to the U.S. Visa Appointment Service, and:

  1. Create a user account.
  2. Add information to complete the registration.
  3. Enter the DS-160 confirmation number.
  4. Provide an address or select a location where you want to receive your documents from the Embassy.
  5. Pay the nonimmigrant visa (MRV) application fee: Pay online or in person at Scotiabank.

Step 3: Schedule an appointment or send in your documents for a visa renewal.  The system will direct you to the appropriate option.

Step 4: Gather required documentation:

  • Copy of Form I-797B Notice of Action for approved I-129 petition, if available.
  • DS-160 confirmation page with the barcode.
  • Valid Peruvian passport with a minimum of six (6) months validity.
  • Previous passports and visas, if applicable.
  • 2″ x 2″ (5 cm x 5 cm) color photograph on a white background, either uploaded to the system or sent with the documents.
  • Signed employer/employee contract.  You must submit a written work contract in a language you understand.  The contract must contain detailed information about the wages, work duration, hours, benefits (including transportation, housing and meals or cooking facilities), and any deductions from your paycheck.  A job offer without these kinds of details may be a sign of fraud.
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) extension of stay if you received an H-2A extension while working in the United States prior to this application.
  • Marriage Certificate, if applicable.
  • Optional: Job certificates showing prior related work experience.

Step 5: Submit your documents at the Document Service Center (DSC).

  • Address: Av. El Derby 055, Torre 2, Local 2, Edificio Empresarial Cronos, Lima 33
  • Drop-off hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Interview

First-time applicants require an in-person interview.

If you are directed to schedule an interview:

  • You must select an appointment date through the U.S. Visa Appointment Service.  If the selected day and time would not permit a timely arrival in the United States, applicants may request an expedited appointment by selecting the “Request Expedite” option from within your account on the U.S. Visa Appointment Service website.  Please note, submission of an expedite request does not guarantee approval of an expedited appointment.
  • You will be required to send in your documents via DSC no later than two weeks prior to your scheduled visa interview appointment.

H-2A applicants who have previously been issued at least one H-2A visa in the last 48 months may not require an in-person interview.

If you are eligible for visa renewal:

  • You will be directed to send in your documents directly after completion of your online visa application.
  • Your application will be processed without an interview.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I apply for an H-2A visa in Peru? H-2A visa applications are only received and processed at the U.S. Embassy in Lima.

What is the processing time for an H-2A worker to obtain a nonimmigrant visa?  Expected H-2A Processing Times (from the creation of the account on the U.S. Visa Appointment Service website to passport delivery with approved visa):  For first-time H-2A applicants to be approximately 28 days.  For renewals (without interview): we aim to complete processing in 21 days.

Is it faster for an H-2A worker to obtain a H-2A visa if s/he has worked in the United States in prior years?  Yes.  Under current processing times, a worker may receive her/his visa sooner if s/he is eligible for a visa renewal (interview waiver).  See processing times above.

How can I verify the job offer is legitimate? If you have doubts about whether your job offer is legitimate, please contact LimaFPM@state.gov.  Our staff speaks Spanish and all calls are confidential.  Signs that your job offer may not be legitimate:

  • The recruiter constantly changes the date of the appointment at the Consulate or date of departure for the United States.
  • The recruiter cannot clearly explain the costs of the application.
  • The recruiter asks for additional fees that “guarantee” the issuance of the visa or an interview with a specific official at the U.S. Embassy.
  • The recruiter does not provide details about the job (name of the company, city and state of the jobsite, list of job responsibilities, salary information, or length of contract).

To maintain a visa process that is fair and equitable to all applicants, please note the following:

    • No fee is paid to anyone who will guarantee the issuance of a visa.
    • No one must charge for a job recommendation; that is illegal in the United States.  If someone tries to charge money for a job recommendation, contact the Fraud Prevention Unit hotline immediately at +51-01-618-2100.
    • Submission of the nonimmigrant visa application (DS-160) is free of charge.
    • No fee will guarantee a specific appointment date, time, or outcome.
    • Be truthful during the interview; do not accept advice to mislead the consular officer.  Misleading or lying could result in a permanent ineligibility for a visa under U.S. immigration law.
    • Only persons applying for visas are allowed into the Embassy.

As an employer, is there a way for us to know if our worker was granted an H-2A visa?  An employer may receive notice of an H-2A visa issuance by checking the case status on the U.S. Visa Appointment Service webpage.

Are employers allowed to visit the U.S. Embassy in Lima?  Due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is not possible to visit the U.S. Embassy in Lima.  However, an employer may email us at LimaFPM@state.gov for specific inquiries.

What should we (employers) do to move forward with the process?  Once the petition has been approved and documents forwarded to the prospective H-2A visa applicant, the employer must confirm the job offer validity by emailing LimaFPM@state.gov.

What does the worker need to prove s/he will depart the United States when their contract is complete?  Consular officers must consider a range of factors to determine if the applicant qualifies for visa issuance under U.S. immigration law.  The applicant must demonstrate to the consular officer that s/he will use the visa for its intended purpose and will return to their country of residence after the conclusion of a temporary visit to the United States.

If a worker is not issued an H-2A visa, is it possible for the employer to find out why s/he was denied?  Under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), Section 222(f), the records of the U.S. Department of State relating to visa decisions are confidential.  Therefore, information may not be provided to third parties about a particular visa applicant.  Certain information may be provided to people acting on behalf of and with the permission of the applicant.  These people may include petitioners, attorneys, or members of Congress.

What happens if our worker misses his/her interview due to an unforeseeable event, such as a car accident or some other valid reason?  An applicant who misses an appointment will need to reschedule his/her appointment through the U.S. Visa Appointment Service website.  Applicants who anticipate being unable to attend a scheduled appointment are encouraged to log into their account on the U.S. Visa Appointment Service website to reschedule a new appointment at the day and time of their choosing.  Rescheduling multiple times is permissible.

Is it possible to request an emergency expedited appointment?  Yes, it is possible to request an expedited appointment with a reasonable justification.  To request an expedited appointment, you must enter your account in the  U.S. Visa Appointment Service website and select “request expedite appointment.” Complete all the required information in order to request the expedite appointment.  You will be notified when your request has been approved or denied.  Submission of an expedited appointment request does not guarantee its approval.

Why was I refused under INA 221(g)? What is “administrative processing”?  If an applicant is refused 221(g), this means the consular officer did not have all the information or documents needed in order to process the application to conclusion.  The applicant will receive a letter describing what is outstanding at the conclusion of the interview.  Once the applicant submits the required information in a timely manner, the consular officer will resume the visa’s adjudication.  The applicant does not need to reapply for the visa.