Department of State Pilot Program – Domestic Visa Renewals for Qualified H-1B Visa Applicants

Update: The Department of State has released additional information and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the limited pilot program to allow certain H-1B nonimmigrants to renew their visas in the U.S. See: Domestic Renewal of H-1B Visas for Certain Applicants. It includes a link to an online navigator tool to help assess whether an individual qualifies to participate in the domestic renewal pilot program.


On December 21, 2023, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced a limited pilot program to resume domestic visa renewals for qualified H-1B visa applicants who meet specific requirements. This pilot program will allow certain qualified H-1B workers to renew their H-1B visa stamps inside the U.S. 

This pilot program is limited to foreign nationals currently maintaining H-1B status in the U.S., seeking to renew an H-1B visa stamp previously issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Canada with an issuance date from January 1, 2020 through April 1, 2023; OR by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate India with an issuance date of February 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. Applicants must meet additional criteria in order to be accepted for this pilot program. Unfortunately, H-4 family members of the H-1B principal applicant are NOT eligible to renew their visas using this pilot program.

Detailed information about the pilot program can be viewed in the Federal Register or at Regulations.Gov. Additional information regarding certain criteria can be seen on DOS web pages about reciprocity fees (nonimmigrant visa issuance fees) and visa interview waivers. More information/guidance about this program may become available in the coming weeks. If so, ISchO will post an announcement on our website.  

DOS will begin accepting online applications on January 29, 2024 through a designated website.  DOS will release approximately 2,000 application slots per week for each group of applicants (those whose H-1B visas were originally issued in Canada and those originally issued in India) for a period of 5 weeks, and the application period will remain open until April 1, 2024 or until all application slots are filled, whichever comes first.

Note:  As stated in the Federal Register, application fees paid by applicants who DOS later determines are ineligible for renewal under this pilot program, or who withdraw their applications, will NOT be refunded. DOS will not consider pilot program applications for expedited processing.

This is a voluntary pilot program. Even if you believe you are eligible, you may still choose to apply for an H-1B visa stamp overseas at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you have a residence or are physically present.