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Department of State Stateside Visa Renewal Pilot Program Begins January 29, 2024

Visa Renewal
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On December 20, 2023, the Department of State (DOS) shared an unpublished version of a Federal Register notice announcing that the greatly anticipated stateside visa renewal pilot will begin on January 29, 2024, and end on April 1, 2024. The notice describes, among other things, the requirements for participation, the application process, and how applications will be processed and adjudicated. The goal of the pilot is to test the agency’s technical and operational ability to resume domestic visa renewals for certain nonimmigrant visa categories and to study the effect of this program on reducing visa wait times worldwide.

Who is eligible to participate in the Pilot?

Participation is voluntary and limited to principal H-1B applicants who(se):

  1. Are seeking to renew an H-1B visa during the pilot phase between January 29, 2024, and April 1, 2024 (H-4 dependents are excluded from the pilot);
  2. Are renewing a prior H-1B visa issued by Mission Canada with an issuance date from January 1, 2020, through April 1, 2023, or by Mission India with an issuance date from February 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021;
  3. Are not subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance (reciprocity) fee;
  4. Are eligible for an in-person interview waiver;
  5. Have submitted ten fingerprints to DOS in connection with the prior visa application. See Question 27 here;
  6. Prior visa doesn’t include a “clearance received” annotation;
  7. Do not have a visa ineligibility that would require a waiver prior to issuance;
  8. Have an approved and unexpired H-1B petition, were most recently admitted to the U.S. in H-1B status, and are maintaining H-1B status in the United States;
  9. Period of authorized admission in H-1B status has not expired; and
  10. Intend to reenter the U.S. in H-1B status after a temporary period abroad.

What is the Application Period for the Pilot Program?

DOS will begin accepting online applications for this pilot beginning on January 29, 2024 via https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/domestic-renewal.html. Each week, DOS will release approximately 2,000 application slots for those whose most recent H-1B visa was issued by Mission Canada and approximately 2,000 application slots for those whose most recent H-1B visa was issued by Mission India. The dates of release will be as follows: January 29, 2024; February 5, 2024; February 12, 2024; February 19, 2024 & February 26, 2024

Once the weekly limits are reached for each mission the online application portal will be locked until the next date makes the next group available. The application process will close when all slots are filled, or on April 1, 2024, whichever is sooner.

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