AILA Welcomes Stateside Visa Renewal Pilot Program
Washington, DC – The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomed the posting of a Federal Register Notice from the Department of State (DOS) announcing the launch of a Stateside Renewal Visa Pilot Program limited to approximately 20,000 H-1B holders initially.
AILA President Farshad Owji said, “This pilot program is an important effort and is a clear indication of the Department State’s commitment to innovate and modernize visa processing. While it will not immediately affect a large number of nonimmigrants, it will be a step forward toward more efficiency as eligible H-1B principals from India and Canada will not be required to return home to renew their visas. This will provide more certainty to H-1B workers and U.S. employers, as they will have their visa in hand before traveling overseas and give them confidence that they may return without any delays or gaps in employment.”
AILA Director of Government Relations Sharvari Dalal-Dheini added, “The initial pilot program will run from January 29 – April 1, 2024, and DOS will release approximately 4,000 application slots each of the first 5 weeks of the pilot. H-1B visa holders who were issued visas from Mission Canada between January 1, 2020 – April 1, 2023, or Mission India between February 1, 2021 - September 30, 2021, may be eligible to apply during this pilot. AILA and its members have been advocating for the resumption of stateside renewals since 2021 to address consular processing delays and reduce visa wait times. AILA stands ready to partner with DOS to ensure a successful implementation of the pilot so that DOS can expand and permanently implement stateside renewals for all nonimmigrants and their family members, regardless of nationality.”