The process for an H-2B visa begins with the U.S. employer filing ETA Form 9141, Application for Prevailing Wage Determination, with the Chicago National Processing Center (CNPC). Next, the U.S. employer should submit a job order with the State Workforce Agency (SWA) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) serving the area where the employment is intended. After receiving the application, the SWA will check the job order request for errors or omissions, prepare a job order, and keep it in the Employment Service System for 10 days (but not more than 120 days) before the workers are actually needed.
After filing the application with the SWA, the U.S. employer has to show that it has made all efforts to recruit U.S. workers for a specific job before beginning to recruit foreign nationals to fill that particular position under an H-2B visa. This process begins by contacting local unions. The employer should maintain copies of any correspondence with the unions contacted as well as a record of the outcome and any qualified referrals received from the union. The U.S. employer should also post two printed advertisements for three consecutive days in a general circulation newspaper, including one Sunday newspaper, in the area of the intended employment. Alternatively, the employer can post its advertisement in a professional, trade, or ethnic publication, depending on which course of action is most appropriate for the occupation and most likely to bring responses from U.S. workers. These advertisements must be published at the same time that the SWA job order is posted.
After the U.S. employer has completed its recruitment process, the employer continue the H-2B visa application process by submitting an ETA form 9142, Application for Temporary Employment Certification, along with Appendix B.1 and a Recruitment Report to the CNPC. This application can be filed up to 120 days before the workers are needed. A certifying officer at the CNPC will review the applications to confirm that they are compliant. Next, the U.S. employer must file a visa petition, Form I-129, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). On approval of the visa petition, the employee abroad will submit his or her own application for an H-2B visa to a U.S. consulate. The employee can use their visa to enter the U.S. and claim their H-2B visa status.
After mailing in the petition, the employer should receive a Form I-797, Notice of Action, within a few weeks, which is confirmation that the H-2B visa papers are being processed and also acts as a receipt for the fee submitted. If USCIS wants further information before deciding whether to issue an H-2B visa for the foreign worker, it will issue a Request for Evidence. The employer should provide the extra data requested and mail it to the USCIS service center. Instructions on where to send the additional evidence as well as a deadline for submission will be detailed on the Request for Evidence.