Limited Pilot Program Launched to Process H-1B Visa Renewals Domestically

As of this week, the Department of State began accepting a fixed number of H-1B renewal applications allowing the beneficiaries to apply for a visa without leaving the U.S. Over the next five weeks, a total of 20,000 employees who received their initial H-1B visas at the consulates in Canada and India will be allowed to participate in the pilot program (Kreighbaum).

In 2004, the option to renew visas inside the US was taken away due to introduction of “new post-9/11 security measures, [which] required the collection of fingerprints for all visa applicants” (Kreighbaum). The new requirements served as a deterrent for international travel for non-immigrant visa holders, as “they … [had to] make an appointment at a consular office to renew an expired visa…” where the wait for an appointment can be substantial (Kreighbaum). Beneficiaries who are eligible to participate in the pilot program have already had their fingerprints taken during the initial application process. “Applications will be considered based on the order they are received until the maximum number of slots is reached” (Kreighbaum).

At this time, dependents of H-1B visa holders are excluded from participation in the program. The hope is that eventually the program will be expanded to not only include the spouses and children on H-4 visas, but also O-1 and L-1 visa holders (Kreighbaum).

To read the original article, please click here.

Kreighbaum, Andrew. "H-1B Domestic Visa Renewal Pilot Program Begins as Demand Soars." Bloomberg Law, 29 Jan. 2024. Web. 31 Jan 2024. <>

Categories: Immigration Blog