Imagility News

Big Changes to US Visa Rules in 2023

In 2023, significant changes have transformed US visa policies, impacting various categories such as H-1B, EB-5, and student visas (F, M, J), with these modifications extending to all embassies in India.

Pilot Program Initiates In-Country H-1B Visa Renewals
The year witnessed the launch of a pilot program for in-country renewal of H-1B visas within the United States. This initiative, introduced by the US State Department, rolled out with a limited scope of 20,000 participants eligible for visa renewal within the country. While applicants must submit their visas to the State Department and refrain from traveling outside the US during the renewal process, it’s noteworthy that this option is available for H-1B employees only, excluding their spouses.

Stringent Measures in H-1B Registration
To address over-representation in H-1B visa registrations, the US Government implemented stringent measures in 2023. Employers are now required to register employees with passport information, limiting registration to one per employee. Nicholas A. Mastroianni III, President and CMO of US Immigration Fund (USIF), views these changes as efforts to create a fairer H-1B visa selection process by curbing artificial inflation of applicants’ probabilities in the lottery system.

Revolutionary Online Visa Application System
In a bid to streamline the visa application process, the US Government introduced a cutting-edge online system in 2023, marking a significant advancement in efficiency and reduced paperwork. This digital platform aims to make the visa application process more accessible and efficient for applicants globally.

Policy Revisions for EB-5 Visa Applicants
In October 2023, USCIS adjusted the EB-5 visa policy in alignment with the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. The update allows EB-5 investors who generate 10 jobs to be reimbursed after two years while maintaining eligibility for a US green card. Additionally, USCIS improved the processing speed for EB-5 visa applications.

Updated Student Visa Policies
The United States announced an increase in processing fees for F, M, and J visas in 2023, aligning them with costs associated with processing by American consular officials. Consular officers now have greater discretion when reviewing student visa applications, emphasizing the current intent of applicants over rigid residency prerequisites.

Source: MSN