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Domestic H-1B Visa Renewal Pilot Program Set to Begin on January 29, 2024

22 Dec

On December 21, the Department of State (DOS) has published a Federal Register notice announcing a pilot program to resume domestic renewal of H-1B nonimmigrant visas for certain applicants.   The pilot program will run from January 29 to April 1, 2024 and will be open to 20,000 H-1B visa holders. The scope of renewals with this pilot is limited only to H-1B visas that were issued at a U.S. embassy or consulate in Canada from January 1, 2020 through April 1, 2023, or by a U.S. embassy or consulate in India from February 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. 

Additional eligibility requirements for H-1B visa holders seeking domestic renewal include the following: 

  • They must not be subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance fee (i.e. a “reciprocity fee”); 

  • They must be eligible for a waiver of the in-person interview requirement; 

  • They must have submitted tenprint fingerprints to the DOS in connection with a previous visa application; 

  • Their prior visa does not include a “clearance received” annotation; 

  • They do not have a visa ineligibility that would require a waiver prior to visa issuance; 

  • They have an approved and unexpired H-1B petition; 

  • They were most recently admitted to the United States in H-1B status; 

  • They are currently maintaining H-1B status in the United States; 

  • Their period of authorized admission in H-1B status has not expired; and 

  • They intend to reenter the United States in H-1B status after a temporary period abroad. 

The DOS will begin accepting online applications on January 29, 2024. To control the number of applications, the DOS will open approximately 2,000 application slots for applicants with visas issued in Canada and 2,000 application slots for applicants with visas issued in India for a total of about 4,000 slots each week. Slots will become available on the following dates: 

  • January 29 

  • February 5 

  • February 12 

  • February 19 

  • February 26 

Once the maximum weekly limit is reached, the application portal will be closed to new applications until the next set of slots are released. The DOS currently anticipates an average adjudiction time of six to eight weeks with the goal of processing all applications by May 1, 2024. 

If the visa holder is not eligible for the stateside renewal, they must continue to renew their visa at a U.S. consulate abroad. 

While the initial roll out of the pilot program is limited in numbers and to a specific group of H-1B visa holders, it may be expanded in the future to other individuals and visa categories. 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