H-2B Visa Process, Non-agricultural Foreign Nationals Program

This is an outline of the H2B program, and its stipulations and timeline expected. Group NB and our Legal Team handle each part of the process and are here to give updates every step of the way.


What is the H2B Program?

The H-2B program allows employers to hire nonimmigrants temporarily. The process starts with the employer applying for a temporary labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL). The employer must adverse and recruit for the job to show that no U.S. workers are available. The USCIS and the Department of State handle the visas. The employer must offer a wage that equals or exceeds the highest of the prevailing wage, applicable Federal minimum wage, the State minimum wage, or local minimum wage. The employer applicant must establish that their need for nonagricultural services or labor is temporary in nature, regardless of whether the underlying job is permanent or temporary.


For H2B Program

One-time occurrence
Seasonal need
Peak load or Intermittent need

Employers must request and obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) from the OFLC National Prevailing Wage Center before filing an H-2 B Job Order with the State Workforce Agency (SWA).


What is a PWD?

A prevailing wage determination is a process of finding out the minimum wage and location. It is done by the Department of Labor to protect the domestic labor market from unfair completion by foreign workers. It is required for U.S. employers who want to hire foreign workers through the PERM labor certification process.


Major Steps in DOL H-2B Visa Process


Employer obtain a prevailing wage for the job opportunity in the local area of employment


Employer files and obtains a H-2B temporary labor certification following recruitment of US. workers for the job opportunity.


Employer files I-129 petiition for H-2B worker with appropriate USCIS Service Center


To issue an H-2B certification to an employer, the U.S. Department of Labor (Department) must determine that:

• There are not sufficient U.S. workers who are qualified and who will be available to perform the temporary services or labor for which an employer desires to hire foreign workers

• The employment of H-2B workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

To participate in the H-2B program, an applicant must

• Be an employer with a valid Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN)

• Have a place of business (i.e., physical location) in the United States

• Have a means by which it can be contacted for employment.

The employer's job opportunity (opportunities) must be

• Temporary (i.e., nine months or less, except one-time occurrences)

• Full-time (i.e., 35 or more hours per week)

• Non-agricultural employment within a specified area(s) of intended employment.

How and When to Apply

New Applicants

Prior to filing a petition with DHS' U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an employer must obtain an approved temporary labor certification from the Department:

  • Register - 150-120 calendar days before the date of need will be required
  • Obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) - at least 60 calendar days before it is needed.
  • File a job order and H-2B application - 90 to 75 days before the date of need.
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