General COVID-19 Information
For up-to-date information on lab operations during the endemic phase of COVID-19, please visit ESH Public website
Renewing a Visa Stamp Without Leaving the US – Update November 2023
The Department of State has submitted a draft Federal Register Notice for regulatory review, titled “Pilot Program to Resume Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas in the United States for Certain Qualified Noncitizens”.
The pilot program is expected to be:
- limited only to H-1B principals and nationals of countries such as India that are not subject to reciprocity fees
- have similar requirements as for participation in the interview waiver program
- limited to 20,000 applicants
Once the DOS Notice is published (meaning it has been approved and will actually go into effect), we will share program’s eligibility and scope. At this time and for the foreseeable future ALL visa stamp applications must be done at a US consulate outside of the US.
Visa Bulletin – November 2023
According to the State Department’s November Visa Bulletin, all employment-based preference categories must use the Dates for Filing chart.
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.