On October 17, 2023, DOS 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. Once this document is published in the Federal Register, it will lay out the eligibility criteria for participation in the Stateside Visa Renewal pilot program (pilot program).

Per AILA the Pilot Program will begin in spring of 2024 and be limited to H-1B principal applicants only. It will further be limited to nationals of countries that are not subject to reciprocity fees and India will be one of the countries that will be eligible to participate in the pilot program. The Pilot Program will have eligibility requirements which will be similar to those required to participate in the interview waiver program and will be available to 20,000 applicants. Participation will be voluntary.

As it stands now, individuals who wish to secure a nonimmigrant visa must undergo a rigorous and time-consuming application process at a U.S. consular post located outside the United States. This can be both financially and logistically burdensome, often resulting in extended periods of absence from the United States. The introduction of this new pilot program, and the potential for future expansion, seeks to offer foreign nationals a more efficient and safer avenue for obtaining nonimmigrant visas.

The initial launch of the stateside renewal program will be a limited pilot to test out the operationality of the stateside renewal program. DOS is likely to expand it further once it has worked out all operational issues.

Summary of Key Points

  • Set to begin early 2024
  • Limited to nationals of countries not subject to reciprocity fees (i.e., India)
  • Available to 20,000 applicants
  • Voluntary participation
  • Eligibility requirements similar to those of interview waiver program

The Next Steps

VisaNation Law Group attorneys will continue tracking the progress regarding the stateside visa renewal pilot project. As it maintains limited availability, we strongly encourage you to stay closely informed. Keep an eye out for further developments on our website and newsletter.

For personalized guidance in assessing your options and preparing for the application process, our office is here to assist. It’s best to schedule a consultation if you have additional questions regarding your immigration pathway or benefits.

Check out this news update about the H-1B Proposed Rule Changes.