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The Department of State has introduced a pilot program aimed at resuming domestic visa renewals for eligible H-1B non-immigrant visa applicants. This initiative is intended to streamline the visa renewal process and reduce worldwide visa wait times by shifting specific workloads from overseas posts to within the United States.


Since 2004, the Department ceased domestic renewal of non-diplomatic non-immigrant visas due to regulatory requirements mandating the inclusion of biometric identifiers in visas issued after October 26, 2004. This necessitated applicants to apply for new visas outside the U.S. to enable fingerprint collection. However, advancements now permit the collection of fingerprints domestically, enabling the implementation of this pilot program. This initiative seeks to test technical and operational capabilities while minimizing visa wait times.

Pilot Program and Requirements:

The pilot program focuses on H-1B visa renewals and is limited to individuals meeting specific criteria, including having previously submitted fingerprints for visa applications. Several requirements, both statutory and discretionary, govern eligibility, aimed at managing resources efficiently. Specifically, the pilot includes applicants issued visas within specified dates by Missions Canada or India, intending to assess contractor performance effectively.

Procedures for Participation:

Applicants may apply online from January 29 to April 1, 2024, through the designated portal. Application slots will be released weekly, and applicants must meet criteria to qualify for the program. The application period closes when all slots are filled or on April 1, 2024.

Application Processing and Required Documents:

Upon submission of Form DS-160 and fee payment, applicants must send their passports and necessary documents for processing. Applications will be sorted based on eligibility criteria, and processing times are estimated at six to eight weeks.

Visa Issuance and Refusals:

The issuance of a visa in the U.S. does not guarantee entry and is not an extension of current status. Applicants ineligible for domestic renewal or requiring an interview will have applications returned or refused under INA 221(g). Out-of-scope cases and those lacking required documentation or information will be refused, necessitating reapplication overseas.


This pilot program aligns with the Administration’s commitment to enhancing federal customer service and leveraging technological advancements for efficient service delivery. While aimed at streamlining H-1B visa renewals domestically, adherence to stringent eligibility criteria is pivotal for successful participation.

If you have any questions or need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Our dedicated team is here to support you through the petition process and address any concerns you may have.