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US Permits H-1B Visa Renewals Without Departure

US Permits H-1B Visa Renewals Without Departure

The U.S. authorities have introduced a pilot program allowing H-1B visa renewals without requiring candidates to leave the country. The State Department announced this initiative, highlighting that it is a voluntary program for qualified H-1B nonimmigrant visa applicants who meet specific criteria.

According to an official press release, the pilot program is open for applications from January 29, 2024, through April 1, 2024, or until all application slots are filled, whichever comes first. The program is limited to renewals of visas issued in India and Canada initially.

Read more: Thailand Seeks Visa-Free Access To Schengen Nations

Candidates interested in participating in the pilot program can follow these steps:

1. Select the country where the most recent H-1B visa was issued (initially limited to India and Canada).
2. Use the online navigator tool to assess eligibility for participation.
3. If eligible, complete and submit an Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (form DS-160) through the online portal.
4. Pay the required non-refundable Machine-Readable Visa (MRV) application processing fee of $205.00 via the online portal.
5. Follow portal instructions to mail the passport and other necessary documents for processing.

The pilot program will make a maximum of 20,000 application slots available, with around 2,000 slots per week for applicants with the most recent H-1B visa issued by U.S. Mission Canada (issuance date from January 1, 2020, through April 1, 2023) and around 2,000 slots per week for applicants with the most recent H-1B issued by U.S. Mission India (issuance date from February 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021).

Application slots will be released on specific entry period dates:

– January 29, 2024
– February 5, 2024
– February 12, 2024
– February 19, 2024
– February 26, 2024

Applicants can apply during the specified dates, with the program operating on a first-received, first-processed basis until the weekly limit is reached. The application period will close when all slots are filled or on April 1, 2024, whichever occurs first.

The State Department emphasized that those who do not meet the pilot program’s requirements or choose not to participate can still apply for visa renewal at a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas.