DHS Makes Available 15,000 Additional H2B Visas For FY-2018

Melsida Asatrian's picture

On May 25, 2018, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen announced that the DHS will make available an additional 15,000 H2B temporary nonagricultural visas for the duration of fiscal year 2018 [PDF version]. These 15,000 H2B visas will be added in addition to the 66,000 H2B visas that have already been issued in fiscal year 2018. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) had determined that it had received enough H2B petitions to meet the full fiscal year 2018 statutory cap by February 27, 2018.

In the fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill, Congress gave DHS the authority to authorize up to 66,000 additional H2B visas. The same situation adhered in fiscal year 2017. After consultation with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Secretary Nielsen determined that making available an additional 15,000 H2B visas would satisfy the needs of American businesses. On July 19, 2017, former Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly authorized the exact same number of additional H2B visas under the identical statutory provision for the fiscal year 2017 cap, which we discussed on site [see article]. Interestingly, only about 13,500 of the 15,000 additional H2B visas made available in fiscal year 2017 were actually claimed.1 Similarly to former Secretary Kelly a year ago, Secretary Nielsen criticized Congress for “pass[ing] the buck” to the DHS and turning over a decision “that would be better situated with Congress, who knows the needs of the program.”

The news release states that eligible H2B petitioners will be able to begin filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker petitions for H2B classification this week, beginning on May 29, 2018. H2B petitioners will be required to submit a supplemental attestation on the Form ETA 9142-B-CAA-2 with their petitions. The DHS will provide further details on eligibility and filing requirements in a final temporary rule in the Federal Register, and on the USCIS website.

The newly allocated H2B visas will be granted on a first come, first serve basis. Businesses seeking additional H2B visas should consult with an experienced immigration attorney immediately for guidance on the requirements, potential eligibility, and filing if it is determined that the business would qualify.

We will post additional information on the issue as it becomes available.


  1. Dinan, Stephen. “DHS secretary signals she's open to adding guest worker visas.” The Washington Times. Apr. 11, 2018. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/apr/11/dhs-secretary-signals-shes-open-guest-worker-visas/
DHS Makes Available 15,000 Additional H2B Visas For FY-2018