Domestic Visa Renewal Program Clears White House Review

Domestic Visa Renewal Program Clears White House Review
December 27, 2023

A visa renewal program for the H-1B workers’ visa renewal process recently cleared its final hurdle. This program would allow H-1B workers to renew their visas without traveling outside the United States. After finishing a review by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, it can finally become a published proposed rule in the Federal Register. 

The Department of State (DOS) stated in November that it expects the pilot program, “Pilot Program to Resume Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas in the United States for Certain Qualified Noncitizens,” to take effect in January of next year. This measure would reduce the current visa renewal policy’s burden on applicants and consular authorities. The DOS’s current policy requires individuals to apply for new visa stamps at U.S. embassies or consulates outside the United States. 

As a result, those needing to renew their visas must travel internationally. They must also schedule an interview at a U.S. consulate. This process often includes a delay of several weeks when waiting for visa issuance. However, the policy offers exceptions, such as those with diplomatic visas.

Many parties have encountered immense waiting periods between the delays and the requirement to interview with consultants. Consultants have also commented on the process contributing to substantial processing backlogs. This slow process has a significant impact on those involved. It burdens consulates, often involves expenses for visa holders, and makes it difficult for employers to avoid losing workers.

This domestic visa renewal program will help alleviate employers’ and workers’ challenges. It is one of several measures to reduce waiting periods at consulates. However, interested parties must wait for a publication in the Federal Register to learn more about the DOS’s plans. Until then, the DOS has shared some details. 

For example, the DOS limited the program to 20,000 applicants. The visa renewal program also applies only to certain H-1B principals. They must be nationals of a country not subjected to reciprocity fees. The eligibility requirements are also similar to the existing interview waiver program.

Employers and H-1B workers will likely welcome this renewal program’s publication in the Federal Register. Until then, those hiring foreign national workers must remember to complete the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process. This documentation is crucial during the hiring process, especially when reviewing the many documents foreign national workers may present. The best way to ensure compliance with every form is to use an electronic I-9 management tool. This tool can provide step-by-step support, electronic storage, and reminders when further steps are required.

When it comes to your employees, automation makes eligibility verification quick and simple. Ensure compliance today with I-9 Compliance.