A Focus On Immigration And Protecting Families

State Department Plans Pilot for Domestic Visa Renewal

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2023 | Immigration

The Department of State recently announced very exciting news for employers and noncitizens of the U.S. who currently hold L or H-1b visas! The Department of State will begin to renew L and H-1b visas from within the U.S.!

The Department of State has not announced exactly when it will begin to renew these visas within the U.S., as it must create a new unit of workers to take on this task. But immigration attorneys, sponsoring employers, and visa-holders can all rejoice in knowing that future renewals will become much easier.

This change to Department of State policy has been something that advocates have been requesting for many years. The current policy is that visa holders must return to their home countries to process their renewal visas at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. This requires costly and time-consuming travel and causes work stoppages for employers, as most employees who hold L or H-1b visas cannot perform all of their job duties while abroad. Further slowing this process is that consulates and embassies have experienced long backlogs for interviews, especially since COVID. This means that visa holders could be stuck in their home countries for weeks or months awaiting their interview to renew their visas. This also means that employers lose that employee’s productivity during that period.

It is expected that this change will be a huge improvement to the L and H-1b visa program. It will make these visa holders more productive for their employers, as well as allow these visa holders to be “home” in the U.S. while waiting for their visa interviews, instead of staying with friends and family, or even alone in a hotel, for weeks or months on-end.

This change was announced by the Department of State exclusively through Bloomberg. You can read more about it here: https://news.bloomberglaw.com/daily-labor-report/state-department-plans-pilot-for-domestic-visa-renewal-this-year

If you are an employer or a visa-holder who needs assistance obtaining L or H-1b visas for employees, or renewing visas for current employees, the Richards Law Office can help. Schedule a consultation today!