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US Visa(H1B) Stamping within USA News: Accepting Applications

As many of you know, if you want to apply for a US Visa renewal, you need to exit America and get the US Visa Stamping done either in your home country or another country that allows third-country nationals to get stamping in their country. Due to long visa appointment wait times across the world, including India, there has been a push by many to solve this issue and get the US Visa stamping within the US without leaving the country.

In this article, we will cover the latest news on getting your US Visa stamping within the US and many of the latest updates given by the US Department of State, including the announcement by The White House on the pilot program to get H1B visa renewals within the US. We continue to update this article as we have new updates.

Read Step by Step Guide to Apply for H1B Domestic Visa Renewal Pilot Program for full details with screenshots

Before we get into the news of getting US Visa stamping within America, let’s quickly look at the history of the same on how it looked in the past.

Background: US Visa Stamping with USA was discontinued in 2004

Below is a brief background of getting US Visa Stamping within the USA:

  • In the past, until 2004, the US Department of State was doing US Visa Stamping within the US for renewals of various visa types such as C, E, H, I, L, O, and P.
  • This provision of domestic (meaning within the USA) US visa re-issuance or renewal was originally intended to provide services to foreign government officials and international organizations’ employees.
  • Eventually, this service of renewal of a US visa was extended to everyone residing in the US and extended to multiple visa types such as C, E, H, I, L, O, and P. This was available until mid-2004.

Why did the domestic visa issuance( US Visa renewal within the USA) get discontinued?

US Department of State announced on June 23, 2004, that they would discontinue the service of getting US Visa stamping within the USA starting from July 16th, 2004. Below are the main reasons for the discontinuation of the domestic visa re-issuance:

  • The US Visa interview requirements changed with the Public Law 107- 173, which enhances the border security of the USA.
  • As per the new requirements from the new law’s section 303, they needed to collect biometrics for the applicants in the United States(US) itself.
  • Back in 2004, they said that the US Department of State did not have the facilities, and it was not feasible for them to collect biometrics for applicants within the US. This is the main reason for discontinuing the US Visa stamping for renewals within the USA.
  • Below is the screenshot of the official regulation from the federal register that confirms the same.
Discontinuation of US Visa Stamping Renewal within the US from 2004
Discontinuation of US Visa Stamping Renewal within the US from 2004

Why are they introducing or testing the pilot program to renew US visas within the USA

  • By restoring the previous program of domestic/ stateside visa renewals, they plan to save applicants the need to travel out of the country just for visa stamping and also reduce the long wait times for US visa appointments and processing times at consular offices that are outside of the US.
  • They say they saw all the challenges many applicants faced during the pandemic to get an appointment in their home country and how many got stuck within the US. This program will help solve some of those issues and give more options for users staying in the US.
  • Many trade organizations, immigration lawyers, and business groups have raised concerns and shared their experiences on challenges that their clients or employees are facing due to the long wait times at the US Consulates abroad. All of these have urged the US Dept. of State to re-introduce domestic visa renewals for anyone living in the US.
  • They said that one of the main reasons they could not set up this service last year was due to the challenges of setting up a consular division in Washington D.C. as it is not a small task for them.

Now that you have some background on why it was discontinued and why they are brining it back, let’s get the latest news and updates on introducing US Visa stamping within America.

US Dept of State to run pilot program to renew H1B Visas within USA

The idea of getting a US Visa Stamping within the US was first shared in an interview by Bloomberg Law with Julie Strufft from the US Dept of State in February 2023. In that interview, she mentioned that they plan to run a pilot program later in 2023 to test out the US Visa renewals option within the US.

On June 22nd, 2023, the same news of a pilot program to get US Visa stamping within the US was shared in the “Joint Statement from the US and India” released by The White House. This was announced in conjunction with the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s visit to the US. This is the first official news confirming the same and released by the US Govt.

As per the Official Press release from The White House, they outlined details of the pilot program.

  • The pilot program(initial test run) for domestic US Visa Stamping for renewals will happen later in 2023 and there were no timelines given.
  • The pilot will be expanded to more H1B and L visa holders in 2024 for US Visa Stamping within the US for renewals.
  • Below is the screenshot of the official news from the White House website. You can also check the
White House Announcement - US Visa Stamping within US for H and L Visa holder
White House Announcement – US Visa Stamping within US for H and L Visa holder

Eventually, on December 1st, 2023, an official rule draft tied to US Visa Stamping within USA, called as “Pilot Program to Resume Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas in the United States for Certain Qualified Noncitizens ” was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. It was cleared to be implemented by OMB on December 15th, 2023,

Finally, the official regulation to implement the pilot program for H1B Visa stamping in the US was published in Federal Register on December 21st, 2023. Let’s look at those details.

Summary of the H1B Visa Stamping in USA Pilot Program

Below is the latest summary of the pilot program for domestic H1B Visa renewals by the US Dept of State based on the official regulation published in the Federal Register on Dec 21st, 2023:

  • The US Department of State will run the pilot program for H1B visa stampings to test out stateside/ domestic US Visa renewals Starting from January 29th, 2024. When they say ‘stateside’ or ‘domestic’, it means ‘within the US.’
  • The pilot program will be for the renewal of H1B Visas only and will not include other visa types, including H4 Visa dependents. Other nonimmigrant visa types will be included after the pilot program.
  • The initial pilot for stateside H1B Visa stampings will only have 20,000 slots. They will release 4,000 slots every week for about 5 weeks.
  • To be eligible for the pilot program for H1B visa stamping within the US, the applicants need to meet 12 conditions as listed below:
    1. Only H1B renewals applicants can apply.
    2. Prior H1B stamp should be given either in Canada or India. If visa was given in Canada, the issuance date should be from January 1, 2020, through April 1, 2023. If it was given in India, it should be between February 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021;
    3. Applicants not subject to reciprocity fee
    4. Are eligible for interview waiver or dropbox stamping
    5. Have submitted Biometrics or ten fingerprints in the past
    6. Previous visa should not have “clearance received” annotation
    7. Should not have any visa ineligibility that needs a waiver.
    8. Have an approved and unexpired H1B petition from USCIS
    9. Was admitted into US on H1B Visa status
    10. Is currently maintaining H1B Visa status in the US
    11. The period of authorized admission & H1B Status has not expired.
    12. They intend to re-enter the US on H1B Visa after short trip abroad.
  • Applicants can apply for the domestic H1B visa renewal at US Department of State website, when the program starts on January 29t, 2024.
  • The processing time for the application is about 6 to 8 weeks
  • The pilot program would end by May 1st, 2024.
  • You can read the more details at Complete Guide to H1B Visa Stamping Pilot Program to know more details on the exact requirements, steps, process and fAQs

You can read the latest news section below for the timeline of news and more details on announcements.

If you have applied for Domestic US Visa Renewal as part of H1B Pilot program, please add your case details anonymously at Domestic Visa(H1B Pilot) Renewal USA – Tracker. It will give you an idea of the community timelines and help you predict your timelines.

Key Timeline of Events

Below is the summary of the main timeline of events and dates.

  • December 21st, 2023: The US Department of State published the official regulation in the Federal Register outlining the details on how the pilot program would work, including dates and process.
  • December 19th, 2023: OMB Approval The OMB approval was completed and they said it is “consistent with the change”, clearing the path for the publication of the rule on the Federal Register. Post that, we may expect a comment period and then the final rule of the same. We may not also see the comment period as well.
  • December 2023: Also, on December 1st, 2023, we had an official rule draft tied to US Visa Stamping within USA, called as “Pilot Program to Resume Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas in the United States for Certain Qualified Noncitizens “. It was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.
  • November 2023: In an interview on November 28th, 2023, it was mentioned by Julie Stufft, who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services at the Bureau of Consular Affairs, that they plan to start the pilot program in December 2023 and they plan to run it for 3 months. Also, they plan to issue about 20,000 visas during the pilot program.

Dates, Fees for Pilot Program on H1B Stamping within the US

  • Start Date: January 29th, 2024.
  • Dates when Application Slots are released: The Department of State will release the 4,000 application slots weekly.
    • January 29th, 2024
    • February 5th, 2024
    • February 12th, 2024
    • February 19th, 2024
    • February 26th, 2024
  • End Date: April 1st, 2024.
  • Fees: $205 USD, non-refundable and non-transferable.

See the news updates timeline below for more info. We will keep this page updated as new details emerge. Stay tuned for updates on this page.

Latest News Updates on US Visa(H1B) Stamping within USA

January 29th, 2024: The US Department of State provided all the guidance and opened up their system to submit applications for the H1B Visa Domestic Stamping in the US. You can read Step by Step Guide to Apply for H1B Domestic Visa Renewal Pilot Program for full details with screenshots.


December 21st, 2023: The US Department of State published the official regulation in Federal Register with all details. You can read full summary of the Pilot Program H1B Stamping with USA for more details on the process, how it works . Also, you can check Official Regulation Text and Details.

Pilot Program for H1B Visa Stamping within USA
Pilot Program for H1B Visa Stamping within USA

December 19th, 2023: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has concluded its review. The EO 12866 regulatory review is conducted by Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and its decision says “Consistent with the Change”. Basically, EO 12866 Review mandates that if anything has over $100 million impact, it should be review thoroughly for cost-benefit analysis to ensure that the benefit outweighs the costs.

Technically, this review completion indicates that the proposed rule to have US Visa Stampings for H1B Visa in the US meets that criteria and it is good to go. We are yet to get the regulatory text. Usually, the regulatory text is published soon in the federal register with any changes or recommendations given by the OMB.

Below is a screenshot of the Rule status that indicates completion of the OMB Review. Youc an check it at OIRA Status of Pilot Program to resume H1B Stamping in the US

H1B Visa Stamping within USA - Conclusion of OMB Review - Status by OIRA
H1B Visa Stamping within USA – Conclusion of OMB Review – Status by OIRA

December 4th, 2023: It is reported by Forbes that H4 Dependents would not be included as part of the initial pilot that is set to issue 20,000 visas within the US as part of the stateside visa stamping pilot.

Only principal H1B Holders can apply for renewal as part of this pilot program. The main reason for not including H4 dependents is that they want to test out the internal systems and processes during the pilot and not have additional challenges during the pilot. We do not have any official confirmation on either the State.gov website or any other official website at this point.

We need to wait for the official regulation text. The official regulation is with OMB at the moment and going through review. We will know more once they release the official regulation text related to the pilot program.

Below is the screenshot of the news and the exact words as reported by Forbes. You can read the primary source of this update at Forbes Article.

Forbes Article - H1B Renewal Pilot will not include H4 Dependents
Forbes Article – H1B Renewal Pilot will not include H4 Dependents
  • For more, check the source of this news

November 28th, 2023: In an interview briefing, Julie Stufft, who is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services at the Bureau of Consular Affairs, updated status on the domestic US Visa renewal. Below is the summary

  • US Department of State plans to start the pilot for Domestic US visa renewals in December and it will run until end of February 2024
  • During the pilot program focused on work visa applicants(H1B), US Dept. of State plans to issue 20,000 US Visa in December 2023, January & February 2024.
  • Their plan is to review the pilot and expand to more visa categories going forward.
  • This program was done about 20 years ago and they plan to restart the same.
  • Below is the screenshot of the actual transcript and messages around the same. You can read the entire transcript at the Official State.gov Website
US Visa Renewal within US Update from Dept of State
US Visa Renewal within US Update from Dept of State

October 17th, 2023: The US Visa Stamping within the USA for certain H1B visa holders has an official rule name now. It is now listed on RegInfo.gov and called as “Pilot Program to Resume Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas in the United States for Certain Qualified Noncitizens ” .

The rule is sent to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. What it means is that, there is a draft rule text that is proposed by the current administration. As part of the process, it has go through the OMB before it can be released to the public for the next steps.

In terms of process, it can take could take anywhere from a few days to 90 days. This is a significant step in terms of progress. You can check 9 Steps for Federal Rule Making to know more on the next steps.

Pilot Program to Resume Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas - Sent for OMB Review Status
Pilot Program to Resume Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas – Sent for OMB Review Status

September 28th, 2023: US Embassy India has given a press release indicating that they plan to implement the pilot program for domestic visa renewals for H & L Visa holders early next year, which is early 2024. Below is the screenshot of the actual press release.

You can check the official news on US Embassy website

US Visa Stamping within USA for H and L applicants in Early 2024 News

June 24, 2023: A joint statement from the US and India was released by The White House that officially confirm that the pilot for domestic US Visa Stamping for renewals would happen later this year. The previous update from February 2023 was released by Bloomberg News, and nothing official was updated by the US Dept of State. You can check the Official Press release from The White House.

Also, the same information was updated at AILA Conference in Orlando. No specific details were given on the dates on when this will actually happen.


June 22, 2023: There are rumors circulated in the Indian media outlets such as NDTV stating that there could be an announcement coming soon regarding the stamping of H1B Professionals within the US very soon. This is triggered based on discussions by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the US and his discussions with the US administration. Below is a screenshot of the same and a reference link to the same.

There is no official update from US Department of State or any other official news source on the same. We will keep you posted, if any updates.

US Visa Stamping in USA for India - News by NDTV

February 10, 2023: Bloomberg News Reports that US Department of State plans for running a pilot later part of the year, 2023, to have domestic visa renewals for applicants living in the US. Below is the screenshot of the news from Bloomberg. You can check the news a Bloomberg Law News – State Department Pilot for Visa Renewals

Bloomberg News - State Department Plans Pilot for Domestic Visa Renewal
Bloomberg News – State Department Plans Pilot for Domestic Visa Renewal

Common FAQs

Can I renew my US Visa within the USA today?

Not yet. The pilot program for certain H1B renewal applicants will start on January 29th, 2024. No other visa types are eligible for the pilot.

Can I get H1B Stamping within the US now? How about L1 Visa? H4 Visa?

Not yet. The above-mentioned pilot program is mainly focused on H1B visas first. Later the plan is to expand to other work visa holders like L1, H4 dependents. The pilot program starts on January 29th, 2024 and ends on April 1st, 2024.

Can USCIS do US Visa Stamping within the US?

No. USCIS does not issue any visa stampings. They only issue approval notices to extend or change status. They are not authorized to issue US visas. Their focus is mainly on US Visa Status and extending them and not US visa stampings. If you do not know the difference, you may read US Visa vs. Status in USA to know more.

Where will I need to send the documents for US Visa Stamping within USA?

We do not know the specifics yet. As per the pilot program guidance, you will need to send all the documents, passport, photo, etc. to the address they give when you do the self assessment on US Department of State website.

When will the pilot program start to renew US visas within USA?

It will start on January 29th, 2024.

Will H4 Dependents be part of the initial Pilot Program for Stateside visa stamping?

No, H4 Dependents are not part of the pilot program.

Overall, it is fantastic news for many waiting for US Visa stampings. It will solve many issues with US Visa Appointments delays and make life easier for many. What do you think of this news? Share your feedback in the comments section below.

   

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67 Comments

    • Hi,

      I wanted to extend my visa (US domestic) and I got in deadlock situation.
      I scheduled an appointment but due to some family emergency I cancelled it. Now when I am trying to reschedule it is not letting me go after deleivery option (I don’t see any button to go next or back) I am stuck on this page from almost 8 days and no luck with visa shceduling team despite numerous calls/messages.
      I also tried to fill a new DS 160 and do that but this time got in another situation where a new DS 160 number with D is not recognized and they are still in the process of fixing it.

      Could you or any body know what should I do?

      Reply
  1. Hi Kumar,
    For DS160, we see US Domestic visa in country but not on traveldocs
    Any idea how to fill MRV fee for domestic visa
    Thanks

    Reply
  2. Hi, This timeframe of Feb 2021 to Sep 2021 being one of the eligibility criteria, is there any specific reason for it? My first visa stamping was in 2015 and the next is in 2023, so can I take a chance and apply?

    Reply
  3. Thanks Kumar, Looks like I’m eligible to this pilot program, Could you please let me know where to book appointment and pay MRV application processing fee as $205.00 ?

    Reply
    • I am also waiting to get the link for payment and slot booking? Do you know how the DS-160 works for this? As I am not able to find USA in country selection while starting the DA-160.

      Reply
    • I am also waiting to get the link for payment and slot booking? Do you know how the DS-160 works for this? As I am not able to find USA in country selection while starting the DS-160.

      Reply
  4. here’s the current document from the federal register
    https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2023-28160.pdf

    one significant restriction for participants is:
    * Prior H-1B visa that is being renewed was issued by Mission Canada with an issuance
    date from January 1, 2020, through April 1, 2023; or by Mission India with an issuance
    date of February 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021;

    Reply
    • Kanthi,
      The above rule is not yet effective. Yes, it is suggested. You may consider alternatives where they accept third country nationals stamping as well.

      Reply
  5. Do we have any new updates?
    I see most of the comments here from June and before. The page also has been last updated in June. It is a great page explaining a lot, but we are waiting for the plan to be implemented.
    If anyone has any latest updates or any inside information, please share.

    Reply
      • Considering it’s a official announcement, it’s most likely going to happen this year. the question is October or December.

        Reply
          • There is already a plan. Only people who currently have H1B/L1B stamp already and are looking for renewals will be eligible for in state stamping. New stamp will still be required overseas

  6. Good. But at least categories are exists in H1B? Is it based on H1B1 and H1B2 etc or based on first time stamping? Computer science/Electronic background? Bachelors, Masters? Age? Country based ?

    Reply
  7. This is really great article and very well explained. Is there any insight what cases will be eligible for pilot program?

    Reply
    • Sumeet,
      As mentioned above, they say renewal cases for H and L. We are yet to see the specifics. Stay tuned, we will update this article.

      Reply
  8. I came to USA with F1 visa and I’m currently in h1b but I haven’t done stamping yet. so in my passport I have F1 visa only. Am I eligible for this pilot program? Thanks!

    Reply
    • San,
      We do not know what will be part of the pilot program. Stay tuned for the official update. We will update this page

      Reply
  9. It will be of great relief when been into existence because my spouse and I have our h1/h4 renewed since April but haven’t gone for visa stamp due to the long appointment wait time

    Reply
  10. I got stuck in India last year for 4-5months. There was no availability of visa stamping dates, in fact there was a black market for selling dates. This news is quite a big relief for all Indians on visa to renew in US itself

    Reply
  11. I was transferred from H4 to H1b visa in USA and its not stamped even once. As I was in USA. So this will be first stamping, with this pilot program will it allow to stamp for the first time in USA , or only Renewal from USA is done.

    Reply
    • I am in the same situation. My status changed from L-1B to H-1B and never had H-1B stamping on my passport. I guess F1 to H-1b situation also falls under the same category. I don’t think anyone yet has an answer for it unless we directly hear from authorized sources.

      Reply
  12. Hello
    I have my existing h1b extension till oct 2023, and say I have a new extension currently approved with another 3 years of extension. Now if I will travel to India and get my visa stamped, then based on which extension date I will get stamped like oct 2023 or the new date of later 3 years. In either case like
    1. say it approved for oct 23 – then I will be out of status after that, in that case should I go out of USA and do another visa stamping in India and come back to US.
    2. say it approved for later 3 years, in this case too, is the 1 condition applies or I will get entry with validity of 3 years and no need to go out and reenter?
    Please suggest ?

    Reply
    • Always, your latest h1b extension timeline will be while issuing Visa. you will get new I-94 generated indicating the extension of stay in US.

      Reply
    • Hello! I am on H-1B Visa since last 8 years. I came to US on L-1B visa and later I got picked for H1b lottery and changed my status to H-1B visa. But I have never gone to India since then, so I do not have a H-1B stamping on my passport. Question: With this Pilot program, can I get my first time H-1B stamping done even though I do have a prior H-1B stamping?

      Reply
        • https://m.economictimes.com/nri/migrate/explained-us-new-move-on-h1b-and-l1-visas/videoshow/97806443.cms

          This article says H-1B renewal and Stamping. Hope it is indicating to accept fresh H-1B stampings as well.

          Reply
          • We are waiting for the details. Stay tuned for the update, we will update this page as we get official information.

  13. If this happens, many H1B employees stuck here will be so relaxed . I hope it happens soon and you get more details around it.

    Reply
  14. How is the current situation of Visa stamping from India? I planning to visit India in May, but hearing about the delays (not much rejection but taking more time these days). Any recent stamping experience from India?

    Reply
  15. Sir my visa was approved 30jan2023, still today 22/02/2023 i dont received my passport . Also still when i check status ceac site is still approved there . Kindly sujjest me when will i receive passoport. Also past 22 days i dont get any email or letter from embassy side .

    Reply
    • Rajesh, sorry to hear about the delay for getting the update on your passport. I would suggest sending the email to the consulate where your visa stamping was done. I was stuck in the similar situation and it is my strong belief that sending the email helped during that time.
      Good Luck.

      Reply
      • But i alredy send email , alomst 15 days, and when i check email status still see esclate post and dont received any update from councler side.

        Reply
      • I alredy sent mail to councler also and received mail from councler unit after 15 day they said your case now under going neccassery internal processing. Whats that answer i dont understand.

        Reply
  16. This is fantastic news! This will save lots of immigrants from getting stuck in the US especially during medical emergencies back home. This should have happened long back considering US was not able to staff their embassies abroad. A small relief in the broken fragile H1b visa immigration system.

    Reply
  17. Me and my wife intrew done in newdelhi embassey. They said approved. After 4 days i received my passoprt by curier with visa, now still my spose passort not come , when we check ceac site overthere status show approved and still there. Whats the resion they dont dispech passport . Kindly answer

    Reply
  18. Hi,

    My H1B visa got stamped in passport on Dec 2014 and it got expired in Sept 2016. I have not visited India thereafter. I read this article – https://redbus2us.com/us-visa-interview-waived-h1b-l1-dropbox-extended/.. Wondering if am I eligible for visa waiver as I don’t see mention of 48 month rule in that article. My visa has been expired for more than 6 years now.

    Reply
    • John,
      We do not have the specifics yet. It maybe applicable, hard to say at this point. Stay tuned, we will update as we hear more from the US Dept of State.

      Reply

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