Details Released on Domestic H1B Renewal Program – FAQ

On December 21 the Federal Register published an official notice detailing the pilot program to allow domestic renewal of H1B visas within the United States. The following is a summary of the information in that notice, including who will qualify for the domestic H1B visa renewal pilot program, when they can apply for the program, and how they can do so.

Who Qualifies to Apply for the Domestic H1B Renewal Program?

According to the Federal Register, all applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Seeking to renew an H1B visa during the program’s pilot phase.
  • Prior H1B visa was issued by Mission Canada with an issuance date from January 1, 2020, through April 1, 2023, or issued by Mission India with an issuance date from February 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021.
  • Not subject to a nonimmigrant visa issuance fee (reciprocity fee).
  • Eligible for a waiver of the in-person visa interview requirement.
  • Has submitted all ten fingerprints to the US Department of State with their previous visa application.
  • No “clearance revoked” annotation on a prior visa.
  • No visa ineligibility that would require a waiver prior to visa issuance.
  • Has an approved and unexpired H1B visa petition.
  • Most recently admitted to the US in H1B status.
  • Currently maintaining H1B status in the USA.
  • Period of authorized admission to the US in H1B status is not expired.
  • Intend to reenter the US in H1B status after a temporary period abroad.

When Can You Apply for the Domestic H1B Renewal Pilot Program?

The State Department will begin accepting applications on January 29, 2024. To keep the flow of applications received manageable, the State Department will release approximately 4,000 application slots each week, 2,000 for those with previous visas issued by Mission Canada, and 2,000 for those with previous visas issued by Mission India. Those slots will be released on the following weeks:

  • January 29
  • February 5
  • February 12
  • February 19
  • February 26

Once the weekly limit of applications has been reached, the online application portal will be locked until slots reopen the following week. The application period will close completely on either April 1, 2024, or when all application slots for the pilot program are filled, whichever comes first.

Where Can You Apply for the Pilot Program?

To apply, you must visit the online portal at this URL:

Once there, applicants can utilize the navigator tool to help them assess their qualifications for pilot program participation, complete an application, and pay associated fees.

Please not that applications will not be accepted until January 29, 2024.

What Documents Do I Need to Apply for Domestic H1B Renewal?

Per the State Department, all pilot program applicants must submit the following:

  • A completed and electronically filed DS-160.
  • A photograph meeting State Department standards taken within the last six months.
  • A passport that is valid for travel to the US and valid for at least six months beyond the visa application date with at least one blank, unmarked page for placement of a visa foil.
  • Either the original or a copy of the applicant’s current I-797.
  • Either the original or a copy of the applicant’s I-94.
  • Full payment of the $205 MRV fee (only payable via credit or debit card via the online portal).

The online portal will provide applicants with information about where to send their passport and physical documents upon payment of the MRV fee and completion of the DS-160.

How Long Will the Application Take to Process?

The State Department aims to complete processing all applications submitted for the pilot program by May 1, 2024. Expedited processing is not available for this program, and acceptance is expressly NOT guaranteed.

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