State Department Announces Limited H-1B Visa Renewal Pilot Program and Extended Interview Waivers

The U.S. State Department is initiating a pilot program allowing a limited number of H-1B specialty occupation workers to renew their visas domestically from January. This program is part of broader measures to reduce wait times for U.S. travel. Initially, the program will be available to 20,000 visa holders, enabling them to renew without leaving the country, thus avoiding long wait times at consular offices abroad. Additionally, the State Department is extending interview waivers for certain temporary visas and exploring a digital visa option. This strategy, including the interview waivers, aims to improve processing efficiency and address the significant visa appointment backlogs experienced in several countries. Details of the pilot program will be published in the Federal Register next month, with a focus on proving its effectiveness before expanding it further. These efforts are part of a larger goal to streamline visa processing and alleviate the high wait times and backlogs at consular offices globally.

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