On January 29, 2024, DOS started a pilot program that allows certain H-1B visa holders to renew their visas online without having to leave the United States to visit an embassy or consulate abroad.  Currently, the program is available only for individuals whose last H-1B visa was issued in India or Canada.

Who Can Participate?

This pilot program is for principal H-1B applicants only. To be eligible:

  • You must be renewing an H-1B visa during the pilot phase (Jan. 29 – 1, 2024).
  • Your last H-1B visa must have been issued in Canada (between 1, 2020 – Apr. 1, 2023) or India (between Feb. 1, 2021 -Sept. 30, 2021).
  • You are not subject to any reciprocity fee and are eligible for an interview waiver.
  • You have previously submitted 10 fingerprints to
  • Your previous visa does not have a “clearance received”
  • You have a valid H-1B petition, are currently in H-1B status in the U.S., and plan to re-enter the U.S. in H-1B status after temporary travel abroad.

When can I apply?

  • The pilot program runs from January 29, 2024, to April 1,
  • During this period, DOS will accept 4,000 applications weekly on the following dates: January 29, February 5, 12,19 and 26.
  • They will accept applications from individuals who got their visas in Canada and India equally each
  • Once DOS has received 4,000 applications, the on- line application system will be locked until the next date listed above.
  • You can apply on any of these dates until slots are filled or by April 1, 2024, whichever is earlier.

How Can I Apply?

Online Application Process:

  • Visit the DOS website for this
  • Use the navigator tool to see if you are
  • Complete and submit Form DS-160 online with the following documentation:
    • Recent photograph
    • Passport valid for at least six months beyond your application date.
    • Current Form I-797 H-1B Notice of Action (approval)
    • Form I-94 Arrival-Departure Record
  • Pay the $205 Machine-Readable Visa fee using a major credit or debit card.

How Long Will It Take to Process My Visa?

  • Applications are processed in the order they are
  • The average processing time is 6 to 8
  • Expedited processing is not
  • Check your application status
  • If you need to travel urgently, consider applying for visa renewal abroad.
  • If it is determined that your application is not eligible for visa renewal under the pilot, your application will be rejected and payment will NOT be refunded.

For more information, please contact:

Alka Bahal, Esq.
Partner & Chair Corporate Immigration Services Practice
OGC Solutions® | Santomassimo Davis LLP
(201) 903-3907 | abahal@ogcsolutions.com

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