The Department of State (DOS) announced the State Side H1B visa Pilot Program, allowing H1Bs to apply for visas and renewals within the U.S.

The program will accept applications from January 29 to April 1, 2024. People who qualify can join during this period. DOS released a few pages of guidelines. Initially, the department will accept 20K applications.

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To be eligible, there’s a crucial catch:- You need a prior H-1B visa renewed by Mission Canada between January 1, 2020, and April 1, 2023, or by Mission India between February 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021.

[ 8 months window for Visa issued in India and 39 months for Visa issued in Canada. ]

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The trial aims to test the Department’s ability to renew visas in the country and reduce worldwide visa wait times by shifting some work to the United States.

They’re considering only H-1B applicants with visas issued during specific dates from Missions Canada or India to assess visa processing capabilities.

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This pilot only involves H-1B applicants. Other visa categories, like H-4s (dependents of H-1B applicants), are not included because the department couldn’t resolve some issues for these categories before the pilot launch.

An important issue noted in the document is that the State Department cannot collect fingerprints in the United States.

H1 B visa pilot