U.S. Dept. of State Announces Pilot Program to Renew H-1B Visas Without Leaving the U.S.
The Department of State has announced a temporary new pilot program for certain H-1B status holders to renew (revalidate) their H-1B visa from within the U.S. without needing to go to a U.S. consulate abroad.
When can qualifying H-1Bs apply to renew their passport from within the U.S.?
The new pilot program will be open for online applications from January 29, 2024 to April 1, 2024.
Who can participate in the pilot program to renew their H-1B visa from within the U.S.?
To be eligible for the program the applicant must meet the following requirements.
- Prior H-1B visa was issued in either:
- Canada, between January 1, 2020 and April 1, 2023; or
- India, between February 1, 2020 and September 1, 2021;
- The applicant is not subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance fee, commonly called a “reciprocity fee”;
- Is eligible for a waiver of the in-person visa interview;
- Has submitted ten fingerprints (biometrics information) to the Department in connection with a previous visa application;
- The prior (expired or expiring) visa does not include a “clearance received” annotation;
- Does not have a visa ineligibility that would require a waiver prior to visa issuance (such as arrest history, prior immigration violation, or other bar to admissibility requiring a waiver);
- Has an approved and unexpired H–1B petition;
- Was most recently admitted to the United States in H–1B status;
- Is currently maintaining H–1B status in the United States;
- 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.
Is there a limit to how many people can renew their H-1B visa within the U.S.?
Yes, under this new pilot program approximately 20,000 slots will be available for applicants. Those numbers will be split evenly between applicant’s whose prior H-1B was issued in Canada and those that were issued in India. For purposes of this pilot (test) program H-1B status holders with visas issued in other countries do not qualify.
The State Department will open 2,000 slots for H-1B visas that were issued in each of the two countries every week, beginning on the 29th of January. If you wish to participate in the program and are locked out, try again the following week.
For help to determine whether you qualify or assistance to apply, please contact:
Barbara A. Marcouiller, Attorney
Davidson Kilpatric & Krislock, PLLC