When an employer receives an approved labor certification from DOL, the employer will be required to file an I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker or an I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The certified application must be included when the employer files for approval to hire workers either temporarily (I-129) or permanently (I-140). For detailed instructions on INS forms, refer to the INS forms website.
Depending upon the nature of the program, the process for filing could vary between months and years. To be of assistance, we have provided on our website the current processing times in the DOL regions and states. Currently, the process to obtain an employment-based temporary labor certification (H-2A, H-2B) usually may take months through the state agency and the DOL regional office.
However, H-1B processing usually only takes seven working days. The process to obtain an employment-based permanent labor certification can sometimes take up to several years with the state agency and the DOL regional office (the longer processing times occur in states with the largest influx of immigrants, such as New York and Texas).
For the employment-based permanent visa, the INS may take up to an additional 9 months to process the request. The INS will provide “premium processing” for some visa categories with an additional fee.
Most programs administered by the DOL do not charge fees for applying to the State Workforce Agencies or the DOL regional offices for a foreign labor certification. Every program does, however, require fees be paid to the INS upon filing an application for a visa or green card. See the individual programs (H-1C, H-2A) for details regarding DOL fees. See the INS fees site for details regarding INS fees.
Each regional office has a telephone information retrieval system that allows interested parties to receive an automated response to the status of a case by using either the case number or the employer telephone number. If the application has not reached the regional office, which has jurisdiction over the state where the application was filed, you may contact the State Workforce Agency for updated information.