A search for heavy, right-handed neutrinos, Nℓ ( ℓ=e,μ ), and right-handed WR bosons, which arise in the left-right symmetric extensions of the standard model, has been performed by the CMS experiment. The search was based on a sample of two lepton plus two jet events collected in proton–proton collisions at a center-of-mass energy of 8 TeV corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 19.7 fb-1 . For models with strict left-right symmetry, and assuming only one Nℓ flavor contributes significantly to the WR decay width, the region in the two-dimensional (MWR,MNℓ) mass plane excluded at a 95 % confidence level extends to approximately MWR=3.0TeV and covers a large range of neutrino masses below the WR boson mass, depending on the value of MWR . This search significantly extends the (MWR,MNℓ) exclusion region beyond previous results. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1140/epjc/s10052-014-3149-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.