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COVID-19: USCIS issues temporary final rule, lifting certain H-2A program limitations

  1. Date Announced

    April 20, 2020

    COVID-19: USCIS issues a temporary final rule, effective from April 20, 2020 until August 18, 2020, allowing H-2A petitioners with a valid temporary labor certification to start employing workers currently in the United States in valid H-2A status immediately after USCIS receives the H-2A petition filed by the new employer, no earlier than the start date of employment listed on the H-2A petition. Additionally, the rule allows H-2A workers to extend their stay in the United States beyond the 3-year maximum allowable period. The rule was signed by Chad Mizelle, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the DHS General Counsel, on behalf of Acting Secretary Wolf.

    [ID #594]

    View Policy Document View Policy Document
  2. Effective Date of Change

    April 20, 2020
  3. Subsequent Action

    August 20, 2020

    USCIS partially extends its covid-19 rule to continue to allow H–2A employees whose extensions of stay are supported by valid temporary labor certifications to begin work with a new employer immediately after the extension of stay petition is received by USCIS. DHS will apply this temporary final rule to H–2A petitioners requesting an extension of stay, if received between August 19, 2020 and December 17, 2020. While the rule is effective from August 19, 2020, through August 19, 2023, employers must file before December 17, 2020.

    Temporary Final Rule: Temporary Changes to Requirements Affecting H-2A Nonimmigrants Due To the COVID-19 National Emergency: Partial Extension of Certain Flexibilities
  4. Subsequent Action

    December 18, 2020

    USCIS extends its August 20, 2020 temporary final rule to H–2A petitions requesting an extension of stay between December 18, 2020 and June 16, 2021.

    Temporary Changes to Requirements Affecting H–2A Nonimmigrants due to the COVID–19 National Emergency: Extension of Certain Flexibilities

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