For workers in seasonal industries, such as roofing, landscaping and concrete workers, getting an H-2B visa to perform that work in the United States can be a dream come true. In fact, the U.S. government even calls part of the process—the part that selects the limited number of businesses who receive this labor force—the lottery. They conduct this lottery twice a year.
What does the application process look like?
There is a three-step application process; however, it is worth noting that, like any immigration process, it can be incredibly time-consuming. You should begin your application well before the lottery takes place, as it can take some time to process an application and get the necessary paperwork and approvals.
3 steps to getting an H-2B visa
- Submit a temporary labor certification application to the Department of Labor (DOL). You need to receive this certification before you can even request an H-2B visa. Once the DOL grants your certification, you can proceed to the next step.
- Submit form I-129 to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This is the petition for a non-immigrant worker. With limited exceptions, you must file your temporary labor certification along with this form.
- Apply for an H-2B visa. After USCIS approves your petition (form I-129), you can apply for an H-2B visa with the Department of State at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Once they approve your visa, you can seek entry with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
It is against the law for a recruiter or employer to charge any kind of fee for placement in the United States. If this occurs, you should notify the USCIS immediately.
If you secure employment through an H-2B visa, you are required to show up for work. If you don’t, the USCIS will revoke your right to be in the United States. Employers must notify the USCIS within two business days in the event of a no show, leave without notice, termination or early completion of duties.