Department of State Provides Additional Guidance on Domestic Renewal of H-1B Visas for Certain Applicants
Following on last month’s announcement of its stateside H-1B Visa Renewal Pilot program, the Department of State has issued new guidance and FAQs on the pilot program to resume domestic visa renewals for qualified H-1B nonimmigrant visa applicants.
DOS has also released an online navigator tool that will guide the user through a series of questions to help assess whether the person qualifies to participate in the H-1B Domestic Renewal Pilot Program. Those who qualify may follow the instructions in the portal to complete and submit their Form DS-160, pay the required, non-refundable Machine-Readable Visa (MRV) fee, and submit their passport and other documents. DOS estimates that it will take 6-8 weeks from when it receives the passport and other required documents to process the visa applications.
The pilot program is only available to a narrow group of applicants: The Department will make available a maximum of 20,000 application slots, with approximately 2,000 per week for applicants whose most recent H-1B visa was issued by U.S. Mission Canada with an issuance date of January 1, 2020 through April 1, 2023, and approximately 2,000 per week for applicants whose most recent H-1B was issued by U.S. Mission India with an issuance date of February 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021.Applications will be accepted in traunches between January 29, and April 1, 2024, or when all application slots are filled, whichever comes first.
If you meet the requirements for participation, follow the instructions in the portal to complete and submit the online Form DS-160 and pay the required, non-refundable Machine-Readable Visa (MRV) fee. Then follow the instructions on the portal to mail your passport and other documents required for processing.
Update: As of January 26, 2024
In advance of the January 29, 2024, 12:00 pm (ET) launch for the stateside visa renewal pilot program available to certain H-1B principals, the Department of State CEAC system is allowing participants to pre-load their DS-160 applications at https://ceac.state.gov/GenNIV/Default.aspx where they should select “U.S. – Domestic” from the dropdown box. From here, an additional box will pop up with the following information before moving on to the online DS-160 application:
This post is ONLY to be used by individuals participating in the domestic visa renewal pilot program. If you are not participating in the pilot, you MUST select another post. If you are uncertain whether you qualify for participation in the domestic visa renewal pilot, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/domestic-renewal.html.