The United States is set to resume “domestic visa revalidation” for selected categories on a pilot basis, starting later in 2023.
This move will come as a huge relief for thousands of Indian professionals in the United States who would no longer need to travel outside the country to get their passports re-stamped.
What is Domestic Visa Revalidation?
Domestic visa revalidation is a procedure that allows people with valid non-immigrant visas, such as student or work visas, to extend their status without leaving the country and applying for a new visa there.
When a non-immigrant visa has expired or is about to do so and the holder needs to stay in the country for the same reason as their original visa, they can use this procedure, which is available for some types of non-immigrant visas.
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Eligible Categories for Domestic Visa Revalidation
A “domestic visa revalidation” programme will be available to foreign tech workers with H-1B and L1 visas. This implies that L1 and H1B non-immigrant visa holders will be able to extend their visas while residing in the United States.
Commenting on this, a US State Department spokesperson stated, “We are working in earnest on plans to restart this service for certain petition-based NIV categories, and we hope to have a pilot up and running later this year. This would eliminate the need for these applicants to travel abroad to renew visas.”
The Number of Visa Holders Eligible
A spokesperson for the State Department declined to comment on the number of visa holders who would be initially eligible. The pilot programme, however, would begin with a small number of cases and gradually expand over the next 1-2 years.
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According to the current regulation, which went into effect in 2004, the process for renewing H1-B and L visas entails travelling back to one’s home country and presenting the H1 and L1 visas, passports, and supporting documentation during an interview or drop-box submission.
The much-sought-after H-1B visas are issued for three years at a time and allow US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations requiring theoretical or technical expertise.
Technology companies depend on these visas to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries such as India and China.
In conclusion, the upcoming pilot program for “domestic visa revalidation” in the United States is a welcome relief for H-1B and L1 visa holders, particularly Indian professionals. It eliminates the need for these individuals to travel abroad to renew their visas and offers a more convenient process for visa renewal.
(With Inputs From PTI)
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