Immigration Alerts

Domestic Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas for Certain Applicants

From the Department of State:

The Department of State has announced a pilot program to resume domestic visa renewals for qualified H-1B nonimmigrant visa applicants who meet certain requirements.

  • The pilot program will accept applications from January 29, 2024, through April 1, 2024, or when all application slots are filled, whichever comes first.
  • Participation in the pilot program is voluntary.
  • Individuals who do not meet the requirements for participation in the pilot program, or those who choose not to participate in the pilot program, may continue to apply for visa renewal at a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas.

There are several steps to apply for this pilot program:

  1. Select the country where your most recent H-1B visa was issued (Note: this initial pilot is limited to renewal of visas issued in India and Canada). Then follow the online navigator tool to assess your qualifications for participation in the pilot.
  2. If you meet the requirements for participation, follow the instructions in the portal to complete and submit an Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (form DS-160).
  3. Use the online portal to pay the required, non-refundable, non-transferrable Machine-Readable Visa (MRV) application processing fee of $205.00.
  4. Follow the instructions on the portal to mail your passport and other required documents for processing.

The Department will make available a maximum of 20,000 application slots during this limited pilot program: Approximately 2,000 per week for applicants whose most recent H-1B visa was issued by U.S. Mission Canada with an issuance date of January 1, 2020 through April 1, 2023, and approximately 2,000 per week for applicants whose most recent H-1B was issued by U.S. Mission India with an issuance date of February 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021.

Application slots will be released on the following entry period dates:

January 29, 2024
February 5, 2024
February 12, 2024
February 19, 2024
February 26, 2024

You may learn about or use this pilot and see answers to most frequent questions here.

Visa Bulletin – February 2024

According to the State Department’s November Visa Bulletin, all employment-based preference categories must use the Dates for Filing chart.





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Health, Safety, and Welfare of J-1 Exchange Visitors – Emergency Phone Number

Ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of all exchange visitors is the Department of State’s collective highest priority. The Department takes this responsibility very seriously in order to ensure the continued viability of international educational and cultural exchange as an effective public diplomacy tool.

To help safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of all exchange visitors, the Department has established an Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) Emergency Hotline – 1-866-283-9090 – a 24/7 toll-free telephone number that allows exchange visitors to directly contact the Department in emergency and urgent situations. A Department representative is available 24 hours a day.

USCIS Expands Premium Processing Eligibility to Certain F-1 OPT and STEM OPT Applications


Since March 6, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has expanded premium processing eligibility to certain F-1 OPT and STEM OPT applications.

Premium processing allows for a faster adjudication of petitions, with a 15-day processing time as opposed to the standard 3-6 month wait time. This can be a valuable tool for employees who need to expedite their EAD document.

To be eligible for premium processing, applicants must file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, with their Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. Form I-907 must be filed concurrently with Form I-765, and both forms must be filed for the same applicant.


General COVID-19 Information

For up-to-date information on lab operations during the endemic phase of COVID-19, please visit ESH Public website