Department of State to Launch Domestic Visa Renewal Pilot Program for L and H Visa Holders
The Department of State (DOS) intends to implement a pilot program in 2023 offering visa renewal options within the United States for H and L visa holders.
In the coming years, this program may also be expanded to other U.S. visa categories.
The DOS previously offered a similar program that allowed certain U.S. visas, including the H-1B, to be renewed stateside; however, this program was terminated in 2004. Currently, the process for obtaining an H or L visa stamp renewal requires individuals to attend an appointment at and/or submit documentation to a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. This process can involve very lengthy visa appointment availability backlogs and processing times that prevent foreign workers from returning to the U.S. until the new visa stamp is issued.
The new pilot programs may benefit thousands of foreign professionals who must currently travel abroad to obtain a renewed U.S. visa stamp. The goal of the program is to lessen the caseload for U.S. consular officers abroad and decrease interruptions to foreign workers and their employers by allowing individuals holding an H or L visa to complete this renewal step within the United States.
An official time for implementing the new pilot program has not yet been announced. Foster LLP will continue to track updates and news related to new immigration programs and will make future updates available via the firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.