USCIS Announces H-2B Cap Reached for Second Half of FY 2024; Supplementary Visas Filing Dates Unveiled

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has officially reached the congressionally mandated cap for H-2B visas for the second half of Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. The final receipt date for new cap-subject H-2B worker petitions was March 7, 2024. Any petitions received after this date requesting an employment start date on or after April 1, 2024, and before Oct. 1, 2024, will be rejected.

While the cap for new petitions has been met, USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions exempt from the cap, including extensions for current H-2B workers, fish roe processors, technicians, supervisors, and workers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam until December 31, 2029.

To address the high demand, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) jointly published a temporary final rule on Nov. 17, 2023, allowing for an additional 64,716 H-2B visas for FY 2024. These supplemental visas are available to U.S. businesses facing irreparable harm without the ability to employ all requested H-2B workers.

Employers seeking workers from specific countries and returning workers for the early and late second half of FY 2024 can submit their petitions on designated dates:

  • For workers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador, and Costa Rica: Employers can file petitions for an employment start date from April 1, 2024, to Sept. 30, 2024, starting March 22, 2024.
  • For returning workers for the early second half of FY 2024 (April 1 to May 14): Petitions will be accepted from March 22, 2024.
  • For returning workers for the late second half of FY 2024 (May 15 to Sept. 30): Petitions will be accepted from April 22, 2024.

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

Additionally, USCIS has reminded stakeholders about upcoming changes in required fees and form editions for H-2B petitions. Effective April 1, 2024, new fees will be applicable, and the 04/01/24 edition of Form I-129 must be used. There will be no grace period for filing the new version of the form, and USCIS has already provided a preview of the updated edition.

For further details on the FY 2024 supplemental visas and the upcoming changes, stakeholders are encouraged to visit the Temporary Increase in H-2B Nonimmigrant Visas for FY 2024 page on the USCIS website.