U.S. Immigration Alert: Department of State Establishes H-1B Visa Renewal Pilot Program in the United States

Seyfarth Synopsis: The below summarizes the Department of State’s Formal Notice to Resume Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas in the United States for Certain Qualified Noncitizens. On December 21, 2023, the Department of State (“DOS”) published the official rule in the Federal Register announcing the “ Pilot Program to Resume Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas in the United States for Certain Qualified Noncitizens .” The highly anticipated stateside visa renewal pilot program will begin on January 29, 2024 , and end on April 1, 2024 . This official notice comes almost 20 years after the DOS discontinued a similar visa renewal program following the passage of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002, which required U.S. visas issued after October 2004 to include biometrics. Because DOS at the time did not have the capacity to collect fingerprints, all non-diplomatic visa applicants were required to apply outside the U.S. While the pilot program is of limited scope, especially for Indian nationals, DOS intends to hopefully expand the program to adjudicate additional visa categories in the future. The goal of the pilot is to test DOS’ ability to resume domestic visa renewals and to assess the efficacy of the program in reducing worldwide visa wait times. Below is a high-level summary of the program’s requirements for participation, application process, and how to apply. 1. Requirements for Participation in the Pilot Program Participation in the pilot program is voluntary and limited to only principal H-1B applicants. No other visas, including H-4 dependents, will be processed. In addition, H-1B principal applicants must meet the following requirements: Seeking to renew their H-1B visa during the pilot phase between January 29, 2024, and April 1, 2024 ; Renewing a prior H–1B visa issued by Mission Canada with an issuance date from […]

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