Imagility News

Renewal of H-1B visas for domestic applicants initiated by the United States.

The US Department of State (DOS) is taking steps to introduce a new program that allows domestic renewal of H-1B visas. The draft notice has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review, marking the beginning of the process. The program is expected to be finalized and launched early next year, offering significant benefits to H-1B visa holders, many of whom are from India.

This program aims to allow visa stamping within the United States, addressing challenges faced by visa holders who need to travel outside the US. Currently, those renewing or changing their immigration status within the US can stay as long as their visa is valid. However, if they need to travel, they typically have to obtain a visa stamp at the US Embassy.

The pandemic highlighted difficulties as visa appointments became scarce, leaving many stranded in India for extended periods. The new pilot program, announced in a joint statement from the US and India on June 22, aims to allow US visa stamping within the country. The initial phase is expected to start later this year, allowing eligible H-1B visa holders to renew without going to a US consulate abroad. The program is planned to expand to include more visa categories in the future.

Mitch Wexler from Fragomen, a global immigration law firm, mentioned that details of the pilot program will be released by the DOS after OMB’s clearance. The program’s launch date remains undisclosed but is expected later this year. Once OMB clears it, DOS will issue a notice in the Federal Register outlining eligibility criteria, application procedures, and the start date for accepting applications.

It’s worth noting that visa stamping within the US was allowed in the past but was discontinued in 2004 due to security-related requirements, including the collection of biometric data, which was deemed infeasible at that time.

Source: MSN