DOS is launching limited pilot program to resume domestic visa renewals for certain H-1B Visa applicants. Key details includes:

  • The program runs from January 29, 2024 to April 1, 2024.
  • It is available only for H-1B Visa renewals and  exclude H-4 dependents.
  • There will be a total of 20,000 visas released for the domestic H-1B domestic visa renewal program.
  • Approximately 4,000 weekly application slots (2000 each for Mission Canada and Mission India) will be open on a first-come, first-served basis. This applies to individuals who got their visas stamped at Indian and Canadian consulates, encompassing a broader audience not just Indians and Canadians.
  • Application window opened upon on specific dates – January 29, February 5, February 12 and will the next set of windows will open up on February 19 and February 26, and the application process closes when slots gets filled or by April 1, 2024.
  • Applicants who are unable to submit their application on one application date may reattempt their application submission on the remaining application date during the period. 
  • The program is for countries like India without reciprocity fees.
  • Eligibility requirements are similar to the Interview Waiver Program.
  • The visa applicant needs to have an approved and unexpired I-797 H-1B Approval. They should have recently entered the U.S. on an H-1B Visa, maintain valid H-1B status, and possess an unexpired I-94.
  • Required documents include DS-160, recent photograph, valid passport, I-797 H-1B approval, I-94, and visa fees.


  • Eligibility is for H-1B applicants renewing visas issued by Mission India (Feb 1, 2021, to Sep 30, 2021) or Mission Canada (Jan 1, 2020, to Apr 1, 2023).
  • Eligibility requirements are similar to the Interview Waiver Program.
  • The visa applicant needs to have an approved and unexpired I-797 H-1B Approval. They should have recently entered the U.S. on an H-1B Visa, maintain valid H-1B status, and possess an unexpired I-94.
  • The navigator tool deployed in the application submission process lacks the ability to filter out all ineligible applicants.  Applicants are advised to verify if they meet all the requirements prior to the submission of application.
  • Application may be returned without adjudication and refund of MRV fees when an application for a visa category apart from H-1B visa is submitted or when the applicant does not meet any requirements for the pilot program.
  • Applicants who do not meet the requirements for this pilot program may continue to apply for Visa renewal at the US Embassy or Consular posts of their preference.  If an applicant is found ineligible for the pilot program, they will be given a 221(g) refusal without the refund of MRV fees. Pilot program as such does not allow transfer of application to an oversees US Embassy or Consular posts of their preference.
  • All application will go through extensive screening for any National Security Concern.  If applicant is involved in any activity of a National Security Concern, the application will be refused under 214(b) or will be tied to any specific ground under visa ineligibilities under INA.
  • For any emergency travels and passport needs after the submission of application, applicants will be allowed to withdraw their application through online portal for their collection of passports. If the application gets withdrawn during the adjudication stage, the application will be denied under 221(g) and the MRV fees as such will not be refunded.


  • One of the statutory requirement of the pilot program is that the applicants must be resident in the United States.  State Department will verify the applicant’s home address entered in the DS-160 application, the current residential address in the applicant’s Form I-129, length of employment in the United States and the entry-exit records
  • To qualify for pilot program applicants must intend to re-enter the United States on the H-1B status after a temporary period abroad.
  • As such applicants are not required to submit any additional evidence to establish their residence or intent.  State department may request for any evidence after reviewing the application on a case-to-case basis.
  • Applicants who meet the requirements may choose to participate during the application window by applying online by filling in the DS-160 Application by choosing Washington post as their choice of consulate.
  • Applicants will be required to select Consular post – India or Canada and follow the online navigator tool to answer series of questions to determine the eligibility to participate in the pilot program.
  • If determined eligible, they will be required to complete the DS-160 online, pay the Non-Refundable visa (MRV application) fee of $205, submit the passport and supporting evidences to DOS.
  • If determined ineligible, the applicants will be given a 214(b) refusal, and the visa fees will not be refunded. As such applicants will be required to submit a new DS-160 application, repay visa fees before the US Consulates or Embassy abroad.


Processing time is estimated at 6-8 weeks, with no expedited processing.  Applicants can check status online through CEAC tracker. Upon adjudication, applicants will receive their passports via USPS or courier.


At GLF, we will continue to follow further developments in the above discussed and other matters, while we provide updates through our Newsletter as and when they become available. GLF receives numerous emails and phone calls every day seeking comments on various proposed bills and media reports that are often inaccurate. It is our job to separate fact from fiction and advise clients on important and relevant updates. The best way to receive accurate information is through GLF Newsletters.

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