Protecting People with a Temporary Agricultural Work Visa (H-2A Visa)
If you are traveling to the United States on a temporary agricultural work visa (H-2A visa), you may be more likely to be exposed to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) while traveling and during your time working in the United States.
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus that has made a lot of people sick. There’s a chance you may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to others. If you get sick with or test positive for COVID-19, you will need to stay away from other people (isolate) and take other precautions until you can no longer spread COVID-19. If you were around someone with COVID-19, you should stay away from other people (quarantine) for a period of time after you were last around that person. Ask your employer for information about specific requirements in your area.
Your employers should provide separate housing for workers who have tested positive for COVID-19. Ask your employer if separate housing is available. If you become sick while in the U.S., you can visit a community health center that has low-cost, confidential health services and information available in languages other than English, including agricultural workers. Use this online tool to find the nearest community health center, https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/external icon, or call 911 if it’s an emergency. You may also contact your consulateexternal icon (if you are from Mexico, contact Consulados de Méxicoexternal icon, Teléfonos de emergencia de la Red Consular de Méxicoexternal icon) for guidance.
For resources related specifically to COVID-19 vaccination, visit CDC’s
The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.
Protect Yourself and Others From COVID-19
Before traveling to the United States:
- Visit your doctor. Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccinations.
- Ask for a copy of your medical records, including your vaccination card, to bring with you.
- Ask your doctor for a 12-week supply of any medications you take regularly. Carry medicine in its original packaging. Get a letter from your doctor explaining your medical conditions and why you need the specific medications. See FDA’s tips for traveling to the United States with medicationsexternal icon.
- Ask your doctor to give you a copy of your prescriptions written in English to bring with you, if possible.
- If you will need refills, plan to get your prescribed medications sent to you through the mail from your pharmacy, if possible.
- Bring a thermometer with you.
- Prepare a copy of your visa and passport to bring with you. Make note of the contact information for the consulateexternal icon nearest your work location.
- Certain activities increase the chance of being exposed to COVID-19. These activities include weddings, funerals, parties, church events, baptisms, sporting events, restaurants, bars, and movie theaters. Avoid these activities for at least 10 days (preferably 14 days) before your trip to reduce the chance that your travel will be interrupted or delayed by COVID-19.
- If flying to the United States, you are required to get tested for COVID-19 no more than 3 days before your flight departs. You must provide the negative test result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. For more information, view the Frequently Asked Questions about this requirement.
- If traveling to the United States by other transportation, testing before travel is recommended. Consider getting tested for COVID-19 as close as possible to the start of your trip, ideally within 3 days of starting your trip. Do not travel until you get your test result.
- If you get tested and your test is positive, do not travel and talk to your doctor. Do not travel until it is safe to be around others to prevent spreading COVID-19 to others while traveling or once you’re working in the United States.
- If you feel sick with symptoms of COVID-19, do not travel until you feel well and your doctor says it’s safe for you to travel, even if you tested negative.
- If you have close contact with a person with COVID-19 before your trip, do not travel until at least 14 days after your last exposure and health authorities in your area say you can end quarantine.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. It’s especially important to wash:
- Before eating or preparing food
- Before touching your face
- After using the restroom
- After leaving a public place
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching your mask
- After changing a diaper
- After caring for someone sick
- After touching animals or pets
- Wear a mask that completely covers your nose and mouth, especially when you cannot stay at least 2 meters/6 feet (2 arm lengths) from people outside your household. Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).
- Stay at least 2 meters/6 feet (2 arm lengths) from people who do not live with you, including when stopping for food or rest.
- Bring extra supplies, such as masks and hand sanitizer.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes and wash your hands with soap and water as soon as possible. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and mask.
- Avoid touching shared items or surfaces that are touched often.
- If you are sharing transportation with people outside your household, keep as much distance from others as possible and always wear a mask when in the vehicle. Open windows to help circulate as much fresh air as possible.
- If you feel sick with symptoms of COVID-19 during travel, contact the nearest consulateexternal icon or community health centerexternal icon, and also contact your labor contractor or employer for more guidance.
After arriving at your workplace in the United States:
- Follow guidance from your employer on when you can begin working.
- Ask your employer about specific requirements in your area.
- Consider getting tested for COVID-19.
- If you get sick and think you might have COVID-19:
- Follow CDC’s guidance and any other procedures given by your employer.
- If your employer tells you to stay in your provided housing while you’re sick, you should take precautions to protect others:
- Wear a mask that completely covers your nose and mouth when it is necessary to be in shared spaces. Open windows to bring in fresh air.
- Keep a safe distance away from others when eating.
- Separate yourself from other people you live with until it’s safe for you to be around others.
- Avoid shared spaces (where other people are sitting, standing, or eating) if possible.
- Avoid using public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis.
- Ask to be tested for COVID-19. Contact your nearest onsite work clinic or community health centerexternal icon. They are likely able to assist you in your preferred language. Your consulateexternal icon might also be able to provide assistance or information about access to health care.
- Call 911 and seek medical care immediately if you or someone else is showing any emergency warning signs. These signs include trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away, new confusion, bluish lips or face, or not being able to be wakened or stay awake.
When returning to your home country:
- Follow guidance from authorities in your home country.
Learn more about how to protect yourself and others at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html (Spanish)
Keep Yourself and Others Safe When Using Shared Transportation
Avoid touching surfaces that are touched often, such as door handles. If you touch these surfaces, as soon as you can, wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, or if soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Open windows and take other steps to improve the ventilation in the vehicle.
Wash Your Hands
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you cannot wash your hands with soap and water, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Here are key times to clean your hands.
Wear a Mask
Masks can help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading germs to others.
- If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
- In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
- In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
- If you are fully vaccinated, see When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.
Continue to follow everyday preventive actions while wearing a mask, including staying at least 2 meters/6 feet (2 arm lengths) away from others. Cloth masks should be washed after each use. To wash by hand, wash the mask with tap water and laundry detergent or soap. Rinse the mask thoroughly with clean water to remove detergent or soap. Hang the mask in direct sunlight or lay it flat and let it dry completely. It is important to always remove your mask correctly and wash your hands after handling or touching a used mask.
Find more information about correctly selecting and wearing a mask at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html.
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Not being able to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
*This list does not include all possible symptoms. Please call a doctor for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility or hospital. Tell the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or might have COVID-19. You will need to have your address ready when you call 911 so that paramedics can arrive quickly. Even if you do not have health insurance, there are programs in the United States that can help you pay for medical bills or cover the cost of the bills.
How to Take Your Temperature with an Electronic Thermometer
- Turn the thermometer on by pressing the button near the screen.
- Hold the tip of the thermometer under your tongue until it beeps. Don’t bite the thermometer.
- Read your temperature on the screen.
- Record your temperature.
- Clean your thermometer with soap and water or an alcohol pad.
How You Can Help to Protect Others from COVID-19 in Shared Spaces: During Meals
- Wear a mask at all times, except when you are actively eating or drinking.
- Stay at least 2 meters/6 feet (2 arm lengths) away from others in meal service areas.
- Use take-away options for food as often as possible.
Coping with Feelings of Despair, Loneliness, or Anger
The COVID-19 pandemic can cause you to feel despair, loneliness, or anger. While social distancing and isolation can feel lonely, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Coping with these feelings in a healthy way will make you and the people you care about stronger. If you are experiencing feelings of despair, loneliness, or anger, follow these tips:
- Connect with others. Talk with your family and people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Connect with your family and community back home or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting through social media, or by phone, video, or mail.
- Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19. Talk to your employer and contact your onsite clinic or nearest community health center (https://findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov/external icon).
- Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources through your employer.
- Take care of your body.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get plenty of sleep.
- Try to rest at least one day a week.
- Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. Use SAMHSA’s treatment services locator to find help for substance abuse, addiction, or mental health problems near you: https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/?utm_source=HowRightNow&utm_medium=HRNwebsiteexternal icon.
- Know how to access additional resources:
For additional resources on how to cope with stress, visit https://howrightnow.org/external icon. You can find more information at https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/stress-coping/cope-with-stress/index.html.
- Take care of your mental health. Call 911 to get immediate help in a crisis.
- During times of extreme stress, people may have thoughts of suicide. Suicide is preventable and help is available. More about the risk of suicide, signs to watch for, and how to respond if you notice these signs in yourself or a friend or a loved one, can be found here. If you or someone you know needs help, call the hotline in English (1-800-273-8255) or Spanish (1-888-628-9454), or use the online Lifeline Crisis Chatexternal icon.
Additional Web Resources
- How Right Now | Resources for Coping with Stressexternal icon
- Protect Yourself When Using Transportation
- Living in Close Quarters
- Living in Shared Housing
- Social Distancing
- Coping with Stress
- Protect Yourself and Others in Public Settingspdf icon
- Wash Your Hands!pdf icon
- How to Safely Wear and Take Off a Maskpdf icon
- Mask Do’s and Don’tsimage icon
- Symptoms of COVID-19pdf icon
- Working Adults: care for yourself one small way each daypdf icon
Rights While Working in the United States
You have the right to a safe and healthy workplace. If you are concerned about dangerous conditions at the workplace or when using employee-provided housing or transportation, you can confidentially report unsafe working conditions. There are laws that protect you while working in the United States.
Contact your consulateexternal icon or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)external icon if you feel that you or your co-workers are not safe at work, or if your employer is not allowing you to get tested for COVID-19 or obtain health care services:
Call 1-800-321-6742 or submit a form online at https://www.osha.gov/workers/file-complaintexternal icon.