US To Start Pilot Program For Domestic Work Visa Renewal In December: In December, the United States is set to start a pilot program for domestic renewal of some categories of H-1B visas.
A US official said this step will benefit many Indian technology professionals. The renewal program comes after the White House announced the plan during the state visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June.
US To Start Pilot Program For Domestic Work Visa Renewal In December, Indians To Benefit Most
In an interview with PTI, Julie Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services, said the demand for US visas in India remains high, and the current wait times of six, eight, and 12 months do not reflect how the US views India.
The State Department will launch a domestic visa renewal program focusing specifically on India to ensure that Indians can get appointments as quickly as possible.
The program will begin in December and issue 20,000 visas to foreign nationals already in the United States, with a significant portion allocated for Indian nationals.
The goal is to alleviate the burden on Indian travelers by allowing them to renew their visas within the US, eliminating the need to travel back to India or elsewhere for visa appointments.
Stufft emphasized that the program is initially targeted at work visas and is based on an existing regulation that hasn’t been utilized for about 20 years.
The move is particularly significant for the Indian community in the US, given that Indians constitute the largest skilled group of workers in the country.
The Deputy Assistant Secretary highlighted that the program is a pilot initiative, and issuing 20,000 visas is just the starting point. The plan is to expand the program in 2024 to include more categories of workers living in the United States.
The domestic visa renewal program aligns with the joint statement made during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US, receiving positive feedback from the Indian community.
In response to inquiries about the process, Stufft explained that there would be a federal register notice outlining the steps and eligibility criteria.
Applicants can apply for visa renewal without leaving the US, with the visas being processed and sent back from Washington.
This initiative is anticipated to streamline the process, allowing US missions in India to focus on new visa applications.
Indian-American community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria welcomed the move, considering it a significant step.
Bhutoria, a commissioner to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, noted that the initiative would benefit over one million H-1B visa holders, a substantial number of whom are Indians.
He expressed gratitude to President Biden, the State Department, and the commission for implementing his H-1B visa stamping recommendation.
The domestic visa renewal program represents a positive development for legal immigrants, particularly the Indian community in the US, as it addresses the challenges posed by long wait times and the need for international travel for visa renewals.
The initiative reflects a move towards inclusivity and a commitment to streamlining immigration processes.
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