Under the H-2 visa program, applicants can legally work temporarily in the United States in agriculture, construction, forestry, landscaping, hospitality, and many other types of industries. The H-2A visa is for temporary agricultural work while the H-2B visa is for temporary or seasonal non-agricultural work.
It is very important that participants in this program abide by the terms of their visas and return to the Dominican Republic at the conclusion of their work. Overstaying your visa and remaining in the United States can have severe consequences. You should never pay someone to be included within a petition to work in the United States, and you should be aware of possible scams. The steps featured below will provide you with information about how the H-2 petition process works.
If something is suspicious, do not hesitate to contact the U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo at email@example.com.
Temporary Worker Visas – Know Your Rights
Step 1 – Be identified by a U.S. company as the subject of an H-2 petition
- You must be a beneficiary of a petition filed by the U.S. employer. A real job offer must include a contract with the description of the job to be performed and the salary, the name and location of the company along with a request number. If you find a job offer, you can verify its validity with us by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please pay attention to these recommendations to avoid becoming the victim of a scam.
Step 2 – Review your employment contract and confirm that the request is valid
- Review the details of your job offer to see what kind of job you were offered and how much you will be paid. You must receive a written employment contract that you understand in your native language. The contract must contain detailed information about wages, working hours, benefits (including transportation, housing, and meals or cooking facilities), and any deductions from your paycheck. Remember that you are entitled to receive a fair wage. A job offer without such details can be a sign of fraud. H-2 visas are petition-based visas, which means that the employer in the United States must first file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services before scheduling appointments for workers. You can verify the legitimacy of the petition by sending an email to email@example.com.
Step 3 – Apply for your H-2 visa with the U.S. Embassy
- It is necessary for the Embassy to have all your information to begin your application process.
- First, create a user profile by clicking this link; then click on “Create Account.” Complete the required information fields and create a password.
- Second, complete the DS-160 application form. It is important to tell the truth in your request. If applicable, you must list previous arrests regardless of the outcome along with the length of previous stays in the United States. These activities do not necessarily disqualify you from the H-2 visa program. Even if someone assists you to complete the form, ultimately it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all the information contained in the application is complete and correct.
- Third, make the visa fee payment. Please remember to keep the payment confirmation number to complete the process.
- Fourth, before you can request a visa appointment, you will be requested to upload your job contact and approved petition (Form I-797) from your employer.
- Fifth, once your documents are reviewed, you can log into your profile and click on the “Schedule Appointment” option located on the right side of the screen. There will be two appointments: one at the Visa Application Center, and the second at the Embassy. Have the following information on hand: passport number used to fill out form DS-160, confirmation number of your consular fee payment, and the 10-digit bar code of your DS-160 application form. In our system, you can enter your personal information, select your visa type, and select where to pick up your documents after your interview.
Step 4 – Attend Appointment at the Visa Application Center (VAC).
- At your scheduled appointment, go to the Visa Application Center to have your biometric information, including fingerprints and digital photograph, registered.
- You should present the following at the VAC:
- A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person applying for a visa must submit an application.
- Your DS-160 confirmation page
- Your appointment confirmation page
- Additional information about the VAC can be found here.
Step 5 – Attend your interview at the U.S. Embassy.
- During your interview at the Embassy, it is important to tell the truth during your interview. You should mention any previous arrests regardless of the outcome, the length of previous stays in the United States, and how you were recruited. These activities do not necessarily disqualify you from the H-2 visa program. However, concealing information including prior unlawful presence or arrests could result in visa denial and may result in permanent visa ineligibility.
Step 6 – Retrieve your passport and visa. Travel. Abide by visa terms.
If your visa is approved, your passport with visa will be available for pickup at the specified location. You can travel and apply for admission to the U.S. port of entry as an H-2 worker. Always ensure that you abide by the terms of your visa and be in touch with your employer. It is important that you return to the Dominican Republic before your “Admit Until Date” provided to you by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the airport.
- If you are not sure when you need to depart, you can confirm the date with CBP here.
Important Information: Temporary Worker Visas – Know Your Rights
It is very important that participants in this program abide by the terms of their visas and return to the Dominican Republic at the conclusion of their work. Overstaying a visa and remaining in the United States out of status can have severe consequences. No one should ever be asked to pay a fee to be included within a petition to work in the United States – there are many scams geared toward taking advantage of unsuspecting or misinformed people.
It is important that participants return to the Dominican Republic before their “Admit Until Date” provided by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the airport.
If participants do not know when they need to return, it can be found electronically here.
Know Your Rights & Report Fraudulent Activity
With the H-2 visa program, you have the same rights as every worker in the United States. You should be paid on time, receive extra pay for overtime work, and receive good treatment and clean housing. When you get your H-2 visa, you will receive a pamphlet with a free number to call in case you feel mistreated. Report mistreatment right away—reporting is 100% confidential and operators speak Spanish.
HOW TO VERIFY THAT YOUR JOB OFFER IS LEGITIMATE: If you have doubts about whether your job offer is legitimate, please contact our Fraud Prevention Unit at 809-368-7192 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our staff speak 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 Embassy or date of departure for the U.S.
- The recruiter cannot clearly explain the costs of the application.
- 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, length of contract).
In order to maintain a visa process that is fair and equitable to all applicants, please note the following:
- No fee paid to anyone will guarantee the issuance of a visa.
- No fee will guarantee a specific appointment date or time.
- Be truthful during the interview; don’t accept advice to mislead the consular officer. Misleading or lying could result in a permanent visa denial.
- Only persons applying for visas are allowed into the Embassy.
Don’t be afraid to report any fraudulent activity that affects you personally or that you may witness occurring to someone else. You can help prevent yourself or your friends from becoming victims of fraud by contacting our Fraud Prevention Unit at 809-368-7192 or email@example.com. Our staff speak Spanish and all calls are confidential.
For more information on H-2 worker’s rights in the United States, please read the pamphlets linked here:
You have the right to:
- Be paid fairly, even if you are paid at a piece rate.
- Be free from discrimination.
- Be free from sexual harassment and sexual exploitation.
- Have a healthy and safe workplace.
- Request help from union, immigrant, and labor rights groups.
- Leave an abusive employment situation.
- Never have to pay fees to a labor recruiter.
Receive a written job order in a language you understand. It 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.
Additional information for H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers:
Your employer must either provide or pay for your daily subsistence and in-bound transportation from your home to the place of employment or reimburse you for reasonable costs once you complete half of your work contract. Once you complete the work contract, your employer must provide or pay for your return transportation and daily subsistence from the place of employment to the place from which you departed to work for the employer. Your employer may be required to reimburse your in-bound travel and visa costs in the first workweek if your wages minus your expenses are less than the U.S. minimum wage. Your employer must also provide transportation from your employer-provided housing to the worksite at no charge.
You are exempt from U.S. Social Security and Medicare taxes on compensation paid for services performed in connection with your H-2A visa.
Generally, your employer must offer you employment for a total number of hours equal to at least 3/4 of the workdays in the contract period.
Additional information for H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Workers:
Generally, your employer must offer you employment for a total number of hours equal to at least ¾ of the workdays in each 12-week period.
You have the right to be paid fairly even if you are paid at a piece rate.
Your employer must either provide or reimburse you for in-bound transportation and subsistence from overseas by the time you complete half of the contract period. Additionally, your employer must pay costs for your transportation home, including subsistence, if you complete the period of employment or are dismissed by your employer for any reason before the end of your authorized period of employment. Your employer may also be required to reimburse your in-bound travel and visa costs in the first workweek if your wages minus your expenses are less than the U.S. minimum wage.