DOS Stateside Visa Renewal Pilot Begins January 29, 2024

The new H-1B stateside H-1B visa stamping renewal program will begin soon.  Here is a summary of the program:

Who is eligible to participate in the Pilot?

Participation is voluntary and limited to principal H-1B applicants who:

  • Are seeking to renew an H-1B visa during the pilot phase between January 29, 2024, and April 1, 2024 (H-4 dependents are excluded from the pilot);
  • Are renewing a prior H-1B visa issued by Mission Canada with an issuance date from January 1, 2020, through April 1, 2023, or by Mission India with an issuance date from February 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021;
  • Are not subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance (reciprocity) fee;
  • Are eligible for an in-person interview waiver;
  • Have submitted ten fingerprints to DOS in connection with the prior visa application
  • Prior visa doesn’t include a “clearance received” annotation;
  • Do not have a visa ineligibility that would require a waiver prior to issuance;
  • Have an approved and unexpired H-1B petition, were most recently admitted to the U.S. in H-1B status, and are maintaining H-1B status in the United States;
  • Period of authorized admission in H-1B status has not expired; and
  • Intend to reenter the U.S. in H-1B status after a temporary period abroad.

What is the Application Period for the Pilot Program?

DOS will begin accepting online applications for this pilot beginning on January 29, 2024 via Each week, DOS will release approximately 2,000 application slots for those whose most recent H-1B visa was issued by Mission Canada and approximately 2,000 application slots for those whose most recent H-1B visa was issued by Mission India. The dates of release will be as follows:

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

Once the weekly limits are reached for each mission the online application portal will be locked until the next date makes the next group available. The application process will close when all slots are filled, or on April 1, 2024, whichever is sooner.
What is the Application Process?

Applications will be submitted via this dedicated website –

To complete the applications, applicants should:

  • Select the consular post of their most recent H-1B visa issuance (either Canada or India).
  • Answer a series of questions to determine their eligibility to participate in the pilot.
  • If eligible, applicants will need to complete and submit the electronic Form DS-160.
  • Pay a non-refundable, non-transferable Machine-Readable Visa (MRV) fee online by major debit or credit card.
  • Receive instructions through the online portal concerning how to send their passports and other required documents via the U.S Postal Service or another courier service to the DOS

Concept of H1b Visa for foreign workers showing wooden letters with US or United states flag as background

How Will the Application Be Processed and Adjudicated?

Applications will be considered in the order they are received. No status on the application will be provided other than returning of the application, or issuance or

Once received, applications and passports will be assessed to determine if they are within the scope of the pilot program. Applications not in the scope of the program will be returned along with the passport. MRV fees will not be returned. Those that are within the scope will be forwarded for adjudication.

NOTE: If an application is adjudicated but does not satisfy the scope of the pilot for any reason, it will result in a refusal under INA 221(g). The applicant may reapply by filing a new visa application at a consular post abroad with a new fee.

According to DOS the average processing time is expected to be 6-8 weeks from the time the passport and documents are received by DOS, and the agency intends to complete processing of all applications by no later than May 1, 2024.

No requests for expedited processing will be accepted. If an applicant applies for domestic visa renewal and requires urgent travel, they may withdraw their application and request through the online portal that their passport be returned to them. If the applicant withdraws their application during the adjudication process, it will be refused under 221(g). The INA 221(g) refusal will not prejudice any future application.

What Happens When the Visa Is Issued?

Issued visas, passports, and documents submitted will be returned to the applicant via USPS or a courier service. The agency reminds applicants that visa issuance is NOT a grant of nonimmigrant status and does not constitute an extension of nonimmigrant visa status or an admission to the United States. A visa only permits an applicant to seek admission at a U.S. port of entry after overseas travel.

Contact us if you have any questions about this new visa pilot program.

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