The State Department’s H-1B domestic visa renewal pilot program’s final application slots open Feb. 26 for qualifying applicants.

Key Points:

  • The pilot program launched Jan. 29 and is open to a total of 20,000 H-1B visa holders whose previous H-1B visas were issued within certain time frames by U.S. diplomatic missions in Canada or India.
  • The remaining application slots for renewal under the pilot program will be released Feb. 26.
  • Applications are handled on a first-received, first-processed basis until the weekly limit is reached (approximately 4,000 total per week).
  • The application period will close when all application slots are filled or on April 1, whichever comes first.

Additional Information: Foreign nationals are reminded that they must qualify for the pilot program at the time of their visa application. A detailed FAQ covering a number of topics, including required documents and fees, processing logistics, and the proper location to select when completing the application, is available here.

BAL Analysis: Domestic visa renewal has not been widely available in the U.S. since 2004. The pilot program is an important step toward its revival. Although the pilot will be open to only a limited number of H-1B visa holders, it could be expanded to other individuals and visa categories later this year. BAL will provide additional updates as information becomes available.

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This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group.

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