The practice of stateside visa renewal was discontinued in 2004 when the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act was passed.
When does the H-1B renewal program start?
Starting January 29, 2024
The Department of State will resume stateside visa renewal for qualified H-1B visa applicants who meet all of the listed criteria.
Note: The pilot stateside visa renewal program will accept visa applications from January 29 – April 1, 2024. During this pilot test, the Dept of State will see how well it works and what kind of impact it has on worldwide visa wait times. They will use the results of this test to decide whether to expand the program or make any changes to it.
Do you satisfy Criteria 1?
Here are some key criteria for the stateside visa renewal program:
Participation is limited to 20,000 visa applicants.
It will only be available to H-1B principals renewing visas that were issued by US Embassies/Consulates in Canada or India.
Prior H-1B visas issued by US embassies/consulates in Canada must have an issuance date between January 1, 2020 and April 1, 2023.
Prior H-1B visas issued by US embassies/consulates in India must have an issuance date between February 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021.
If yes, do you satisfy Criteria 2?
If you are an H-1B visa holder with a prior H1B issued by US Embassies/Consulates in Canada or India, you must also meet all the following requirements:
You have an unexpired H-1B approval notice and you are maintaining valid H-1B status in the U.S.
You were most recently admitted in H-1B status and the period of authorized stay has not expired (check your latest I-94 on the CBP website).
You are not subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance fee, or reciprocity fee.
You are eligible for an in-person interview waiver.
You have been ten fingerprinted by the Dept of State in a prior visa application.
Your prior visa does not include a “clearance received” annotation
You do not have a visa ineligibility that would require a waiver; and,
You intend to reenter the United States in H-1B status after a temporary period abroad.
How to apply for renewal in the US?
If you meet the criteria, you can complete the application by using this link on The Department of State's website (still a placeholder webpage as of Jan 11, 2024).
Complete the self-assessment
If you qualify, electronically complete and submit Form DS–160
You will receive instructions through the portal on
How to pay the required, non-refundable, non-transferable fee and
Where to mail their passports and other required documents for processing
Note: Since this is a pilot program the system may not be able to screen out all unqualified applicants. Therefore, it is possible that your applicant may be returned without adjudication. The application fee, however, will not be refunded.
Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a WayLit-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.