H-2B Visas

The H-2B visa program is a temporary work visa for foreign nationals who are performing other temporary service or labor. This visa is available in two categories: first, for workers who are coming to the United States to perform services or labor for a period of less than one year; and second, for workers who are coming to the United States to perform services or labor for a period of more than one year, but less than three years.

In order to qualify for an H-2B visa, the worker must demonstrate that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work. The worker must also demonstrate that the employment of the foreign national will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed.

If you would like to apply for an H-2B visa, you must follow the following steps:

  • Step 1: Petitioner submits temporary labor certification application to DOL.  Before requesting H-2B classification from USCIS, the petitioner must apply for and receive a temporary labor certification for H-2B workers with the U.S. Department of Labor (or Guam DOL if the employment will be in Guam).*  For further information regarding the temporary labor certification application requirements and process, see the Foreign Labor Certification, Department of Labor and Foreign Labor Certification, Guam Department of Labor  Web pages.

  • Step 2: Petitioner submits Form I-129 to USCIS.  After receiving a temporary labor certification for H-2B employment from either DOL or Guam DOL (if applicable), the petitioner must file Form I-129 with USCIS. With limited exceptions, the petitioner must submit the original temporary labor certification with Form I-129 (See the Form I-129 instructions for additional filing requirements). If the application for a temporary labor certification was processed in DOL’s FLAG system, the petitioner must include a printed copy of the electronic one-page “final determination” of the H-2B temporary labor certification approval with Form I-129. USCIS will consider a printed copy of the final determination as the original and approved temporary labor certification. If a petitioner has already submitted the original temporary labor certification with a previous Form I-129, submit a copy of the temporary labor certification and provide an explanation that includes the receipt number of the petition with which the original was filed, if available.

  • Step 3: Prospective workers outside the United States apply for visa and/or admission.  After USCIS approved  Form I-129, prospective H-2B workers who are outside the United States must:

    • Apply for an H-2B visa with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad and then seek admission to the United States with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a U.S. port of entry; or

    • Directly seek admission to the United States in H-2B classification with CBP at a U.S. port of entry in cases where an H-2B visa is not required.

For assistance with H-2B visas, please contact us at the address below or fill out the contact link for a free consultation.

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