This month, the United States has again started its pilot program for domestic renewal of certain categories of work visas.
But here the catch is that H1B employees can renew their visas without leaving the country, their spouses can’t.
H1B Employees Work Visa Renewal In US
This all started when the U.S. State Department officials announced a limited rollout of the H-1B domestic visa renewal pilot, allowing a restricted 20,000 participants to renew their visas earlier this year.
As part of this program, the applicants are required to mail their visas to the State Department and are prohibited from traveling outside the U.S.
So far the selection process for the initial 20,000 candidates has not been disclosed.
The stateside visa renewal pilot program appears to be one of the multiple measures the State Department is looking to add or continue with the aim of driving down wait times for travel to the US.
Last week, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Julie Stufft said, “We’re very excited about it. We’re starting small with a pilot of 20,000 cases in December, January and February and we look forward to opening that to more categories of workers living in the United States in the rest of 2024,” as reported by the media.
According to the Stufft, there will be a federal register notice, which is the first official notice of this coming out very soon, and that will describe all of the steps that need to be taken and who is eligible to apply in the first tranche and lay out those instructions.
Applicable For Work Visas Only
Stufft said that for now the programme is specifically meant for work visas,
Adding, “This is an existing regulation that was allowed that we just have not used in about 20 years. These are work visas. It is intended for people who are living long-term in the US but want to renew their visa without going back overseas.”
On the query of whether the program can include dependents, Stufft said, “We really need to get proof of concept that it works before we can extend it to a larger group. This is a huge change for folks who live here and previously would have had to leave the United States.”