Stateside Visa Renewal Program Has Been Announced

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Stateside Visa Renewal Program Has Been Announced

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At long last!  The limited, pilot, and did we say limited? Stateside Visa Renewal Program Has Been Announced

In what is great news for up to 20,000 individuals in the U.S. seeking to renew their visas without having to make an international trip and risk being stuck outside of the U.S., the Department of State has finally announced the resumption of stateside visa renewal in a very limited fashion.

While the program itself is extremely limited, the hope is that this pilot program will jump start a larger stateside visa renewal program that will apply more broadly and massively increase efficiency from the Department of State, and massively reduce costs for individuals seeking to renew their visas.

As of now, the program is only going to be available for H-1B Visas, and will be limited to principals of those visas who are from India and Canada.  Eligibility for the pilot program is limited to individuals who(s):

  • Are seeking to renew an H-1B visa; during the pilot phase, the Department of State will not process any other visa classifications;
  • Prior H-1B visa that is being renewed was issued from 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;
  • Are not subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance fee (this is commonly known as a “reciprocity fee”);
  • Are eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview requirement;
  • Have submitted ten fingerprints to the Department of State in connection with a previous visa application;
  • Prior visa does not include a “clearance received” annotation;
  • Do not have a visa ineligibility that would require a waiver prior to visa issuance;
  • Have an approved and unexpired H-1B petition;
  • Were most recently admitted to the U.S. in H-1B status;
  • Period of authorized admission in H-1B status has not expired; and
  • Intend to reenter the United States in H-1B status after a temporary period abroad.

It certainly is not as comprehensive as we would have liked, but the hope is that this pilot program goes well, and spurs additional efforts from the Department of State to bring stateside visa renewal back in a much more fleshed out format.  Until then, for the few that will qualify, congratulations!

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