Tuesday, July 16, 2024

The US Department of State Has Announced a New Pilot Programme for Renewing H-1B Visas Domestically


H-1B visa applicants can use an online tool released by the Department of State on January 18, 2024, to determine if they qualify for the pilot program for stateside visa renewals. The Department of State will broaden eligibility over time.

The U.S. Department of State launched a trial program for renewing some visas within the country in December 2023. A restricted number of H-1B nonimmigrants will be permitted to continue their visas from within the United States for the first time in almost twenty years.

This pilot program will initially only be accessible on a very restricted basis. Nonetheless, the State Department has expressed a wish to grow the program after the pilot enables the resolution of any problems with operations. Read on to find out more about the new pilot programme for renewing H-1B visas domestically.

Evaluation of Eligibility Following the New pilot programme for renewing H-1B visas domestically

U.S. Embassy and Consular representatives outside of the U.S. issue all nonimmigrant visas. The State Department will start enabling some nonimmigrants to renew their lapsed and expiring visas within the United States on January 29, 2024. Candidates who fit the program’s requirements can apply online between January 29 and April 1, 2024. This is good news because processing visas at consulates and embassies overseas has become more complex and time-consuming.

Read also: F-2 Visa: Restrictions and How to Get It

The United States will permit limited nonimmigrant visa renewals under this trial scheme. A candidate’s eligibility will be restricted to those who:

Eligible candidates may apply online via the State Department website starting January 29, 2024. The State Department will accept about four thousand applications each week, two thousand of which will be from applicants whose previous H-1B visas were obtained through Mission Canada and two thousand more from those whose previous H-1B visas were obtained through Mission India.

The application portal will remain locked after the application cap is achieved until the following schedule-based allocation of application slots is available. The website will reopen for new submissions every Monday in February. The program’s application session will close on April 1, 2024, whichever comes first or when all available spots have been filled.

Candidates must fill out an online form that requires the following information:

An online visa application (Form DS-160); payment of the $205 non-refundable Machine-Readable Visa (M.R.V.) cost; a self-assessment of eligibility for the pilot program; and necessary documentation, such as

  • A valid passport that is valid for at least six months after the date of the visa application
  • An original or copy of the most recent Form I-797 Notice of Action (H-1B approval notice)
  • An original or copy of the applicant’s Form I-94 (available online here); and a confirmation of the fee payment.
  • All requirements must be completed and submitted electronically.
  • Passports with visas will be processed in around six to eight weeks, and applicants will receive their returned passports by courier or U.S. postal service.

The deadline for submitting all paperwork is April 15, 2024. By May 1, 2024, when the trial program ends, the State Department hopes to have processed every application.

A comparable procedure was in place before 2004 when H, L, O, I, E, and P visas could be renewed by mail through a State Department office in Washington, DC. Due to the State Department’s incapacity to gather biometric data in the U.S. as mandated by post-9/11 security upgrades, visa revalidation in the U.S. was discontinued in July 2004.

For people who must obtain new visas while overseas to return to the United States, the program’s return and the participant’s ability to obtain the necessary visa before leaving the country will help reduce the uncertainty around international travel.

When is the application period open?

The US Department of State Has Announced a New Pilot Programme for Renewing H-1B Visas Domestically-When is the application period open-When is the application period open

Starting January 29, 2024, D.O.S. will accept online applications for this pilot program. D.O.S. will offer about 2,000 application spots every week.

The Machine-Readable Visa (M.R.V.) charge is non-refundable and non-transferable. Eligible applicants must pay the price online using a major debit or credit card; D.O.S. will not reimburse the M.R.V. fee if an application is denied. Through the online site, applicants will receive instructions on transmitting their passports and other documents to the D.O.S. via the US Postal Service or another courier service.

Read : Ultimate Guide: Uncover Countries Offering Digital Nomad Visas and Their Residency Requirements

The Department of State will allow anyone to enter the pilot program through this website on the dates below. The Department of State will take in 4,000 per week, with 2,000 coming from Mission Canada and 2,000 from Mission India. The following dates are listed:

  • January 29, 2024
  • 02/05/2024
  • 02/12/2024
  • February 19, 2024
  • February 26, 2024

Which documents are necessary In Line With The New pilot programme for renewing H-1B visas domestically

  1. Application for nonimmigrant visa online DS-160
  2. One image that satisfies these requirements
  3. a valid passport
  4. Form I-797 I-94 Arrival-Departure Record–Notice of Action

How are applications handled?

Processing takes six to eight weeks on average. The order in which applications are received is followed for processing.Here  is the link where applications can be sent: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/domesticrenewal.html

  1. The only application status that will be given is whether the application is returned, if the visa is issued, or whether it is denied.
  2. There are only so many options for quick processing.
  3. After the application is reviewed and approved, applicants will receive their passports, visas, and other supplied papers back through courier or U.S.P.S.

Final Words

The Department of State said in a notice published in the Federal Register on December 21, 2023, that a pilot program for stateside visa renewal for a restricted group of H-1B holders had begun. Will be 20,000 spots available for the experimental program, which will run from January 29, 2024, to April 1, 2024. So do well to apply for the program as soon as the application is open.


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