Highly Anticipated Pilot Program for Domestic Renewal of H-1B Visas to Start January 29, 2024

By Andrew M. Wilson

December 21, 2023 | Immigration Blog

On October 17, 2023, the Department of State sent for review a Federal Register notice entitled "Pilot Program to Resume Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas in the United States for Certain Qualified Noncitizens" to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Tomorrow (December 21, 2023) the Department of State will release a notice announcing the pilot program to resume domestic visa renewal for qualified H-1B nonimmigrant visa applicants who meet certain requirements. The pilot program will accept online applications from 1/29/24 to 4/1/24. (The notice will be published in the Federal Register on 12/21/23.)

The pilot program will accept applications from January 29 to April 1, 2024. Participation in this pilot program will be limited to applicants who(se):

1. Are seeking to renew an H-1B visa; during the pilot phase, the Department will not process any other visa classifications;

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

3. Are not subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance fee (Note: this is commonly referred to as a “reciprocity fee”);

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

5. Have submitted ten fingerprints to the Department 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. Have an approved and unexpired H-1B petition;

9. Were most recently admitted to the United States in H-1B status;

10. Are currently maintaining H-1B status in the United States;

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

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

*** The Good

One step closer to a hopefully more complete domestic visa renewal program that has not been available since 2004.

*** The Not Great for Now

The pilot program is limited to H-1B applicants. It does not include any other visa categories, including H-4s.

Please reach out to partner and Immigration Team Co-Leader, Andrew M. Wilson, awilson@lippes.com / 716.853.5100 x1345 to learn more about the new pilot program or any other immigration related topics. 

Disclaimer: The information in this post is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from our firm or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

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