On Oct. 17, 2023, the U.S. Department of State initiated the process for resuming its stateside visa renewal program. The State Department sent a Federal Register notice, Pilot Program to Resume Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas in the United States for Certain Qualified Noncitizens, for review to the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The details of the pilot program will be disclosed only when the Federal Register is published. However, early reports indicate that the program likely will:
- Start in early 2024;
- Be available only for H-1B principals;
- Be available only for nationals of countries that are not subject to reciprocity fees;
- Have eligibility requirements similar to the interview waiver program;
- Be limited to 20,000 applicants; and
- Be voluntary.
As reported in a February 2023 GT blog post, the State Department plans to limit the program at first to test out its operability and expand it after potential issues have been addressed.