The State Department is Planning a Pilot for Domestic Visa Renewal

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Recently, the State Department announced that it will be launching a program that will offer visa renewal options for foreign nationals residing in the United States on H-1B specialty occupation worker status who are currently required to travel abroad. These statewide visa renewals were discontinued back in 2004, so the recent announcement is a welcome one for those to which it applies. Read on and reach out to our seasoned New York immigration lawyers to learn more about H-1B specialty occupation worker status, the recent announcement, and how it may benefit you. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What does the domestic visa renewal program mean for me?

Since 2004, stateside visa renewals were no longer an option. Restoring this program would allow individuals in the United States on H-1B specialty worker visas to renew their visas without having to leave the country, and instead can do so from within the United States. Before the restoration of this program, many H-1B visa holders would have to travel back to their country of origin, wait to get their visa renewed, and often, as a result, would be stuck in their country of origin for months at a time. Rather obviously, this was a significant disruption to their work.

The domestic visa renewal program will, hopefully, save these workers time and money, and allow them to perform their employment duties consistently. The program will also reduce the workload for consular offices abroad. Initially, the program will be available to H and L visa holders, but it may be expanded in the future. As of today, there is no set date regarding the program’s rollout, but it can be expected to happen sooner, rather than later.

Do I qualify for an H-1B visa?

You should understand that not everyone qualifies for an H-1B visa. To get such a visa, your U.S. employer will need to prove that they are offering a job that requires specialized knowledge in a given field and that the employee has a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree in the field. Some of the jobs that commonly are classified as specialty jobs are in the following fields:

  • Mathematics
  • Architecture
  • Finance
  • Engineering
  • Information Technology

If you are looking to work in the United States as a foreign national for a job in any of the aforementioned fields, you may qualify for an H-1B visa. If you have any further questions about the domestic visa renewal pilot, please don’t hesitate to contact Lightman Immigration Law today. Our firm is here to help you in any way we can.