Good news: H-1Bs can stamp their visas within the US

As many as 20,000 H-1Bs will be able to stamp their visas within the US. Very soon. Yes, what you read is right! Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Julie Stufft on Wednesday had good news for H-1B specialty occupation workers in the US. She said that the renewal of the visas can be done domestically in the US for three months, starting January 2024. For starters, the H-1B domestic visa renewal will be limited to 20,000 participants. This is on a pilot basis.

What must applicants do as a first? They are expected to mail their visas to the State Department when the process is rolled out. The visa holders will not be allowed to travel outside the US, the officials made it clear.

How are the 20,000 beneficiaries going to be determined? The selection process is yet to be eked out. The process will be detailed by the concerned authorities in a few days from now. The pilot of 20,000 cases will be exhausted in December 2023, January and February 2024. More categories of workers living in the US will be covered as year 2024 progresses.

"This pilot meets about 10% of demand, who today wait an average of 130 days to get a visa appt in their home country, and can't travel internationally without renewing every 3 years. There are 583K H-1B holders, one-third of which renew every 3 years, which means 20K would be about 10%," wrote Debarghya Das, a tech professional.

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