On Nov. 8, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the list of countries whose nationals will be eligible to participate in the H-2A visa program for agricultural workers and the H-2B visa program for non-agricultural workers in 2024, with Israel now added to the list. The H-2A and H-2B visa programs allow U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and nonagricultural jobs. Typically, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves H-2A and H-2B petitions only for nationals of countries designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security as eligible to participate in these programs. However, USCIS may still approve H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant visa petitions for nationals of non-designated countries if USCIS determines, as a matter of discretion and on a case-by-case basis, that it is in the interest of the United States for the individual to be a beneficiary of such petition.
Effective Nov. 9, 2023, the Secretary of Homeland Security added Bolivia to the list of countries eligible for participation in the H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant visa programs. Specifically, in sum, the Secretary of Homeland Security identified 87 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2A program for agricultural workers, and 88 countries whose nationals are eligible to participate in the H-2B program for non-agricultural workers for 2024. These designations are effective from Nov. 9, 2023, to Nov. 8, 2024. The notice listing the eligible countries was published in the Federal Register Nov. 9, 2023. This notice does not affect the status of H-2A and H-2B beneficiaries who are currently in the United States unless they apply to extend their stay in H-2A/H-2B status on or after the publication date of the Federal Register notice, Nov. 9, 2023. Similarly, this notice would not affect the eligibility of an H-2A and H-2B beneficiary to apply for an H-2 visa stamp at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad and seek admission to the United States based on an H-2A/H-2B nonimmigrant petition approved prior to Nov. 9, 2023.
According to the Secretary of Homeland Security’s designations, effective Nov. 9, 2023, to Nov. 8, 2024, nationals of the following countries are eligible to receive H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant visas in the United States:
|The Kingdom of Eswatini
|Mongolia* (*eligible to participate in the H-2B program only)
|Bosnia and Herzegovina
|St. Vincent and the Grenadines
|Papua New Guinea
|Republic of Cyprus
|Paraguay** (**eligible to participate in the H-2A program only)
|The Philippines* (*eligible to participate in the H-2B program only)