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DOS Stateside Visa Renewal Pilot Program Begins January 29, 2024

On December 20, 2024, the Department of State (DOS) shared an unpublished version of a Federal Register notice announcing that the greatly anticipated stateside visa renewal pilot program will begin on January 29, 2024, and end on April 1, 2024. The notice describes, among other things, the requirements for participation, the application process, and how applications will be processed and adjudicated. The goal of the pilot program is to test the agency’s technical and operational ability to resume domestic visa renewals for certain nonimmigrant visa categories and to study the effect of this program on reducing visa wait times worldwide.

Some important eligibility requirements of the pilot program include:

  • Limited to H-1B principals only (H-4 dependents are excluded);

  • Are renewing a prior H-1B visa issued by Mission Canada with an issuance date from January 1, 2020, through April 1, 2023, or by Mission India with an issuance date from February 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021;

  • Must be eligible for in-person interview waiver, and

  • Have an approved and unexpired H-1B and were most recently admitted in this H-1B status and are lawfully maintain same.

DOS will begin accepting online applications for this pilot beginning on January 29, 2024 via Each week, DOS will release approximately 2,000 application slots for those whose most recent H-1B visa was issued by Mission Canada and approximately 2,000 application slots for those whose most recent H-1B visa was issued by Mission India. The dates of release will be as follows:

  • January 29, 2024

  • February 5, 2024

  • February 12, 2024

  • February 19, 2024

  • February 26, 2024

Once the weekly limits are reached for each mission the online application portal will be locked until the next date makes the next group available. The application process will close when all slots are filled, or on April 1, 2024, whichever is sooner. According to DOS the average processing time is expected to be 6-8 weeks from the time the passport and documents are received by DOS, and the agency intends to complete processing of all applications by no later than May 1, 2024.

No requests for expedited processing will be accepted. If an applicant applies for domestic visa renewal and requires urgent travel, they may withdraw their application and request through the online portal that their passport be returned to them. 

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