An H-1B visa is a non-immigrant work visa for individuals who wish to retain temporary, specialty jobs within the United States. Recently, individuals eligible for H-1B visas, specifically IT workers, are now eligible for a renewal program that can be completed within United States borders. Follow along to find out what this new domestic visa renewal program entails and how a proficient employment visa attorney in New York City at The Law Offices of Cheryl R. David can help determine your eligibility.

What should I know about the new domestic visa renewal program for IT workers?

Before, if an IT worker wanted to renew their H-1B visa, they would have to exit the United States and conduct their application process from their home country. And with H-1B visas lasting for two three-year periods, they would have to do this quite suddenly.

Now, the United States Department of State has announced a new pilot program that will allow IT workers to apply for an H-1B visa renewal while still remaining in the United States. Notably, this domestic visa renewal option was available up until 2004, when the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act was passed by Congress. But now, the United States Department of State holds that the domestic capacity for collecting biometric information for visa renewals has increased well over the United States embassies’ and consulates’ capabilities.

What’s more, a recommendation has been made for the Biden Administration to extend the grace period from 60 days to 180 days for H-1B visa holders who have lost their employment. The hope with this extended deadline is that non-immigrant workers can be more successful with finding a new employer to sponsor their visa status or filing an application to switch to visitor status.

What are the benefits of domestic visa renewal?

Likely the most significant benefit that may come with this pilot program is that non-immigrant workers will no longer be stuck overseas waiting for an appointment to obtain a renewed visa. This is critical, as many embassies and consulates overseas are understaffed and have great wait times. And so, there will be much more certainty for IT workers to maintain their job position and for sponsoring employers to maintain their workforce. In addition, these embassies and consulates will be able to free up their resources for other immigration matters.

If you believe that you are eligible for this pilot program, you must retain the services of a talented New York City employment immigration lawyer today. We look forward to collaborating with you.