Commencing on January 29 and concluding on April 1, the pilot initiative for H-1B visa renewals will consider around 4,000 applications per week. This voluntary program allows H-1B visa holders in the US to renew their visas before embarking on a temporary trip abroad.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa enabling American companies to hire foreign workers for specialized roles demanding theoretical or technical expertise.

A new initiative in the United States is set to aid Indian tech professionals as Washington unveils a pilot program for the domestic renewal of the highly sought-after H-1B foreign work visas.

For the first time in almost two decades, a restricted number of H-1B nonimmigrants will have the opportunity to extend their visas from within the United States.

What is H-1B Visa?

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits U.S. companies to hire foreign workers for specialized occupations demanding theoretical or technical expertise.

Technology firms rely on it to recruit tens of thousands of employees annually, predominantly from countries such as India and China.

H-1B Visa renewal : Dates

Commencing on January 29, the H-1B pilot renewal program will be active until April 1.

The State Department, in a statement on Monday, announced that the pilot program will be open for applications from January 29, 2024, to April 1, 2024, or until all available application slots are filled, whichever occurs earlier.

The release of application slots for domestic H-1B visa renewal will occur on January 29, February 5, February 12, February 19, and February 26.

H-1B Visa renewal

The renewal program for H-1B foreign work visas enables current H-1B visa holders to extend their visas within the United States before undertaking a temporary trip abroad. This announcement was made during the landmark State visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June of the previous year.

H-1B Visa renewal : Application limit

As per the State Department, the voluntary pilot program will accommodate around 4,000 applications weekly. Of these, 2,000 slots are allocated for applicants whose previous H-1B visas were issued by diplomatic missions in Canada, while the remaining 2,000 are reserved for those whose prior US embassies and consulates in India were responsible for issuing H-1B visas.

H-1B Visa renewal : Application Process

Exclusively through the portal, H-1B visa applicants will have the opportunity to submit their applications. Processing will follow a first-received, first-processed approach until the weekly limit is met.

“Those unable to apply on a specific date can make additional attempts on any of the remaining application dates within the entry period. The application window will conclude when all available slots are filled or on April 1, 2024, whichever happens first,” stated the announcement.

H-1B Visa renewal : Application process duration

The anticipated processing period is between six to eight weeks, starting from the date when the State Department receives the applicant’s passport and other necessary documents.

The State Department emphasized that the processing of all applications will strictly follow a first-received, first-processed approach.

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