Foreign National Work Visa Information FAQ

Because we do not specialize in visa related issues, we have asked Alliance Abroad Group to put together the following Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQ) to help answer your questions regarding J and H visas.

Currently, AlaskaJobFinder does not indicated which companies hire foreign nationals in our employer databases. We hope to add this sometime in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions for Summer Work/Travel Program (J visa) for Students

Question: Can participants travel after their work experience?

Answer: Yes, 30 days are granted after the program ends during which students and trainees are free to travel. And of course there are plenty of days off during the work program to coordinate travel activities. But after the 30 days have passed, they must return home or they will be in violation of their visa status.

Question: Can I extend my visa?

Answer: Extending your stay beyond the designated program is NOT possible. Your sponsor is authorized to sponsor you during the specified program period indicated on your paperwork. You were accepted into the program and granted the Work & Travel J-1 visa on the condition that you would depart the U.S. upon the termination of your program. It is possible for you to re-apply for the next summer.

Question: Do participants pay income taxes on their income?

Answer:Yes, and the amount depends on the total amount earned in a calendar year. Generally, both Federal and State income taxes must be paid. However, participants will have the chance to complete documentation at the end of their stay so that they can get most of the taxes reimbursed with the help of our tax refund service.

Question: Do participants on J-1 Visa’s pay Social Security taxes?

Answer: Each participant must apply for a social security number, but their J-1 visa status should exempt participants from paying social security taxes. In applying for a social security number, participants must have with them 2 photo identifying documents, one of which they have had at least one year. If a participant arrives in the U.S. with a 6-month old passport and a new driver’s license, these are not considered valid documents to apply for a social security number. At least one official picture ID must be dated older than one year. Birth Certificates may be accepted as one ID.

Question: Is it necessary to have a social security number if participants don’t pay social security taxes?

Answer: Yes. Host organizations or business employers cannot legally let student workers begin work without a social security number. We would have some exceptions due to the SS# process delay problems expected.

Question: If student has a long-term visitor’s visa for the USA, is it necessary to get a J-1 visa as well?

Answer: Yes. The visitor’s visa prohibits working or getting trained; all participants must obtain a J-1 visa. In applying for a J-1 visa, the participant must demonstrate "success at university or studies and good possibilities of a promising future at home". This means applicant can show strong ties to his/her home country.

Question: Is it guaranteed that the applicants will get a J-1 visa?

Answer:No. U.S. Embassy Consuls have complete authority to approve or deny issuance of visa for any reason. If you use a Visa Program Manager (such as Alliance Abroad Group), they will provide the applicant with Recommendations and Guidelines for filling out the visa application. They will also usually review your visa application carefully and if they anticipate problems, they usually contact the overseas agent

Frequently Asked Questions for H-2B or H-2A Seasonal Work Programs (H visa)

Question: Can a person, who already came to the U.S. once or twice on a J visa, return on an H visa?

Answer: Yes

Question: What is the pay scale for H workers?

Answer: The pay varies from Alaska State’s minimum wage of $7.l5 per hour and up. H workers get paid the prevailing wage for the type of work. The rate paid will be at least the same as U.S. workers for the same position.

Question: How long can a worker stay in the U.S. on an H visa?

Answer: Up to 10 months

Question: Can a worker on H visa come back the next year?

Answer: Yes, following a solid two months in their home country, an H worker may reapply for another H visa. Once the worker has had an H visa, it is easier to get another one as they have demonstrated they have returned to their home residence once.

Question: What is the least amount of time an H worker can stay?

Answer: It depends on the company hiring you on the H visa, but usually 4 or 5 months stay with a minimum stay of 3 months. Generally, the fewer months requested by the employer, the wage has to offset the worker’s costs of coming to the U.S.

Question: How many months does the process take for applicants?

Answer: The Applicant should plan on applying a minimum of 90 days before the actual start date of the position.

Question: Are there any questions that Applicant needs to know about how to respond on the application?

Answer:It is very important that the Applicant always uses his/her country of birth, rather than citizenship. It needs to be filled in as follows: "Guatemala" (citizenship Mexico).

Question: Does Applicant need to maintain a residence in his/her home country?

Answer: Yes. Applicant must be able to specify an address where he/she will return upon completion of the program.

Question: Can Applicant participate in the H-2B program if he/she has been on the program before?

Answer: Yes, however, Applicant must notify their Visa Program Manager (if they use one) as to the exact dates of when he/she was in the U.S., the company(s) he/she worked for and the length of time.

Question: Does Applicant need to obtain a Social Security Card?

Answer: Yes. If Applicant has previously received work permission and has a social security number, even a non-work social security number, you should provide this to your Visa Program Manager.

Question: Can Applicant apply at any consulate?

Answer: Applicant will have to apply where the overseas partner tells him/her the non-immigrant visa application will be made. Although it is usually at the consulate that has jurisdiction over where he/she lives – it may be done in groups at any consulate. This information is necessary when Applicant applies, as the petition will be sent directly to the consulate that is indicated on his/her application.

Frequently Asked Questions for H-2B Seasonal Program (H Visa)

Question: What are the most commonly requested H-2B positions?

Answer: Most H-2B positions are very "hands on" such as construction, landscaping, dishwashing, plumbing, painting, bricklaying, carpet laying, fisheries packing, etc. H-2A positions are agricultural.

Question: Do H-2B workers have a 30-day grace period at the end of their authorized employment?

Answer: No.

Question: What happens when an H-2B worker gets fired?

Answer: The employer notifies the regional labor department officials and INS and is supposed to pay the reasonable cost of transportation home.

Question: What happens when an H-2B worker quits?

Answer: They must return home immediately.

Question: How long is an H-2B worker required to work at his/her host company?

Answer: An H-2B participant must work the entire length of his/her visa. The end date stamped on his/her visa or passport is the last day of work. They must then return home unless they have been granted an extension.

For more information on United States Work Visas, you can visit this list of Visa Sponsors, Program Managers and other valuable resources:

Also, we recommend that you read our section on Work

Visa Options for Foreign Nationals.

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