Your Simplified Eligibility Guide for the domestic U.S visa renewal (stamping) pilot program

FAQs & Checklist of documents required for the domestic visa stamping: (US visa stamping within USA)

Q1: What is the Stateside Visa Renewal Pilot Program?

A: It's a test program by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) for limited visa renewals within the U.S., focusing on H-1B visas initially.

Q2: Who Can Participate in the Pilot Program?

A: Only those seeking to renew an H-1B visa qualify. The pilot program will be limited to eligible foreign nationals who received an H-1B visa from: A U.S. consulate in India between February 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021, or A U.S. consulate in Canada between January 1, 2020, and April 1, 2023.

Q3: What Are the Basic Eligibility Criteria?

A: First criteria is Q2 who got stamped from one of those consulates and within those period,

  • No Reciprocity Fee: You're exempt from the nonimmigrant visa issuance fee, also known as a "reciprocity fee," based on your country of citizenship.
  • Waiver for In-person Interview: You qualify for a waiver of the in-person visa interview requirement.
  • Fingerprints Submission: During a previous visa application, you submitted ten fingerprints to the State Department.
  • Clearance Received: Your prior visa does not include a "clearance received" annotation.
  • No Visa Ineligibility Waiver: You don't require a waiver for visa ineligibility.
  • Approved H-1B Petition: You have an approved and unexpired H-1B petition.
  • Recent U.S. Entry: Your most recent entry to the United States was in H-1B status.
  • Maintaining H-1B Status: You are currently maintaining H-1B status in the United States and have a valid, unexpired H-1B I-94 form.
  • Intent to Reenter: You plan to reenter the United States in H-1B status after a temporary period abroad.

Q4: Are H-4 Spouses Eligible?

A: No, currently only H-1B principals can participate. DOS may consider including other categories in the future.

Q5: How Does Dropbox Eligibility Affect the Program?

A: The program may use the dropbox waiver for efficient processing. If your H-1B expired in the last 4 years and meets criteria, you likely qualify for the waiver, avoiding an in-person interview.

Q6: When does it begin and how to apply?

  • Limit: The program is only for 20,000 H-1B visa applications.
  • Where to book: Department of State will be accepting online applications starting on Jan 29, 2024 via their website domestic renwal
  • Application Release: About 2,000 slots will be available each week from January 29 to February 26, 2024
  • Application Process: Apply online using Form DS-160 on the State Department's special renewal website.
  • Closing Date: The program ends on April 1, 2024, or when all slots are taken, whichever happens first.

Q7: What is the first step in the application process?

A: The first step involves a self-guided questionnaire to confirm eligibility for the pilot program.

Q8: What happens after passing the initial eligibility assessment?

A: Successful applicants proceed to complete and submit Form DS-160 and pay a nonrefundable $205 application fee online using a debit or credit card.

Q9: What documents need to be submitted after paying the fee?

A: Applicants must submit:

  • Completed Form DS-160
  • One passport-size photo meeting State Department specifications
  • Passport valid for at least six months beyond the visa application date
  • Copy of the valid, unexpired USCIS H-1B petition approval (Form I-797)
  • Copy of the valid, unexpired Form I-94 arrival record

Q10: How should the documents be submitted?

A: Documents must be sent via U.S. mail or commercial courier service to the State Department.

Q11: What happens after submitting the documents?

A: The State Department screens the application package. If eligible, the applicant proceeds; otherwise, the application is returned without a refund.

Q11: Can we expedite the process with premium?

A: The State Department will not expedite applications for the current pilot renewal program.

Q12: What is the fee for visa stamping within USA?

A: A nonrefundable $205 application fee, to be paid online using a debit or credit card.



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