top of page

Department of State (DOS) Visa Breaking News

Here are all the latest visa updates from the Department of State (DOS) that you need to know:

H-1B Domestic Visa Renewal Pilot Program

January 22nd, 2024

What is the pilot program?

The Department of State is offering a pilot program for qualified domestic visa renewals for H-1B nonimmigrant applicants who meet certain requirements in lieu of traveling to their home country to obtain a new H-1B visa. For more information, see: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/domestic-renewal.html

 

When does the pilot program run?

The pilot program will accept applications from January 29, 2024 through April 1, 2024, or when all application slots are filled, whichever comes first. The Department will make available a maximum of 20,000 application slots during this period. Approximately 2,000 slots per week will be available for applicants whose most recent H-1B visa was issued by U.S. Mission Canada with an issuance date of January 1, 2020 through April 1, 2023, and approximately 2,000 slots per week will be available for applicants whose most recent H-1B was issued by U.S. Mission India with an issuance date of February 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. 

Applications slots will be released on a first-received, first-processed basis with slots released on the following entry period dates:

  • January 29, 2024

  • February 5, 2024

  • February 12, 2024

  • February 19, 2024

  • February 26, 2024

Who is eligible for participation in the pilot program?

The pilot program is available to applicants who(se):

  1. Seek to renew an H-1B nonimmigrant visa only (no other visa classification, including H-4s, are able to participate);
     

  2. Prior H-1B visa being renewed was issued by U.S. Mission Canada with an issuance date of January 1, 2020 through April 1, 2023; or by U.S. Mission India, with an issuance date of February 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021;
     

  3. Are not subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance fee (“reciprocity fee”);
     

  4. Are eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview requirement;
     

  5. Have submitted ten fingerprints to DOS in connection with a previous visa application;
     

  6. Prior visa does not include a “clearance received” annotation;
     

  7. Do not have a visa ineligibility that would require a waiver prior to visa issuance;
     

  8. Were most recently admitted to the US in H-1B status;
     

  9. Are currently maintaining H-1B status in the US;
     

  10. Have an approved and unexpired H-1B petition;
     

  11. Period of authorized admission in H-1B status has not expired; and
     

  12. Intend to reenter the US in H-1B status after a temporary period abroad.

How do I apply?

  1. Go to https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/domestic-renewal.html
     

  2. Select the country where your most recent H-1B visa was issued. Then follow the online navigator tool to assess your qualifications for participation.
     

  3. If you meet the requirements for participation, follow the instructions in the H-1B online applications portal to complete and submit an Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160).
     

  4. Pay the required, non-refundable, non-transferable MRV application processing fee of $205.00.
     

  5. Follow the instructions on the portal to mail your passport and other required documents for processing, including:

    1. One photograph (taken within the last six months), which meets the specifications at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/how-apply/photos.html

    2. Original or copy of the applicant’s current Form I-797

    3. Original or copy of the applicant’s Form I-94

 

How long will my application take to process?

The Department estimates processing time to take 6-8 weeks from the date the applicant’s passport and other required documents are received. The Department will not expedite domestic visa renewal applications. The Department aims to complete processing of all applications no later than May 1, 2024.

What if I apply for the pilot program, but then learn that I need to travel urgently?

Applicants who apply for the pilot program and learn that they must travel urgently (i.e., before their visa would be issued) may withdraw their stateside H-1B application and request their passport be returned to them. The MRV fee will not be refunded. The applicant may then reapply by filing a new visa application at a U.S. Consulate or embassy abroad where they have a residence or are physically present and pay a new MRV fee.

What if my application is denied?

Domestic issuance of an H-1B visa through the pilot program is not guaranteed. If denied, the applicant may then reapply by filing a new visa application at a U.S. Consulate or embassy abroad where they have a residence or are physically present and pay a new MRV fee.

 

If you are looking for a top Boston H-1B visa attorney, we can help. Contact us today! Savitz Law Offices is here to assist you with visa renewals, filing your H-1B applications, and a wide range of other immigration law needs

bottom of page