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Fastracked US domestic visa process; 20,000 H-1B applicants to benefit

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In January, a limited number of H-1B specialty occupation workers in the United States will have the opportunity to renew their visas under the new H-1B domestic visa renewal pilot program, according to State Department officials. The pilot program will begin with an initial cap of 20,000 participants, who will be able to renew their visas by mailing their documents to the State Department. However, participants will not be permitted to travel outside the United States during the renewal process.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Julie Stufft emphasized the need to establish the program’s feasibility before expanding it to a larger group, noting that this program marks a significant change for individuals who previously had to leave the United States for visa renewal. The selection process for the first 20,000 participants has not been disclosed yet, with more details expected to be released next month.

The visa renewal pilot program is part of the State Department’s efforts to reduce wait times for travel to the United States. It is expected to benefit a significant number of Indian technology professionals, as India is home to a large skilled workforce in the United States.

Stufft clarified that the program is specifically for work visas and aims to facilitate visa renewal for individuals residing long-term in the United States without the need to travel overseas. She expressed excitement about the program and indicated plans to expand it to more categories of workers in the United States throughout 2024.

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