The State Department is poised to launch its H-1B domestic visa renewal pilot program at noon ET on Monday, Jan. 29.

Key Points:

  • As BAL previously reported, the pilot will run from Jan. 29 to April 1, 2024, and will be open to a total of 20,000 H-1B visa holders whose previous H-1B visa was issued within certain time frames by U.S. diplomatic missions in Canada or India.
  • As of Wednesday, Jan. 24, applicants can begin pre-loading DS-160 applications via the State Department’s Consular Electronic Application Center. A pre-assessment questionnaire to help foreign nationals determine if they may qualify for the pilot is available here on
  • The State Department published a detailed FAQ on the pilot program last week covering a number of topics, including which applicants qualify, required documents and fees, processing logistics, refusals and ineligibilities, related F-1 and H-4 questions and the proper location to select (“U.S.-Domestic”) when completing the application.

BAL Analysis: The pilot program is an important step toward bringing back domestic visa renewal, which has not been widely available in the U.S. since 2004. The pilot will be open only to a limited number of H-1B visa holders, but it could be expanded to other individuals and visa categories later in 2024. BAL will provide additional updates as information becomes available.

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

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