The H-2B Program
The H-2B non-agricultural temporary worker program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary non-agricultural jobs. Congress has set the H-2B cap at 66,000 per fiscal year, with 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the first half of the fiscal year (October 1 - March 31) and 33,000 for workers who begin employment in the second half of the fiscal year (April 1 - September 30). Any unused numbers from the first half of the fiscal year will be available for employers seeking to hire H-2B workers during the second half of the fiscal year. However, unused H-2B numbers from one fiscal year do not carry over into the next.
USCIS began accepting H-2B petitions on May 31, 2018, under the temporary final rule increasing the numerical limit, or cap, on H-2B nonimmigrant visas by up to 15,000 additional visas through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2018. However, USCIS received petitions for more beneficiaries than the number of H-2B visas available under the FY 2018 supplemental cap. Accordingly, USCIS is required by regulation to use a computer-generated process, commonly known as a lottery, to randomly select the number of petitions required to meet the increased cap for FY 2018.
USCIS is no longer accepting petitions filed under the temporary final rule (PDF) increasing the FY 2018 numerical limit on H-2B nonimmigrant visas. USCIS will reject and return any petitions received after June 6, 2018 that were not selected in the lottery, as well as any cap-subject petitions. Petitions accepted for processing will have a receipt date of June 11, 2018.
USCIS continues to accept H-2B petitions with start dates for FY 2018 that are exempt from, or not counted towards, the congressionally mandated cap. USCIS will consider petitions requesting an employment start date on or after Oct. 1, 2018, towards the FY 2019 cap.