H-1B Visa Reforms to Benefit Indian IT Professionals in the US

In a move that could benefit tens of thousands of foreign skilled workers with H-1B and L1 visas, the US plans to resume “domestic visa revalidation” in certain categories on a trial basis, and plans to expand it in the coming years. age.

The pilot project, which starts later this year, will be a huge relief to thousands of Indian technology professionals in the US when fully implemented.

Until 2004, certain categories of nonimmigrant visas, particularly H-1Bs, could be renewed or stamped in the United States. After that, for renewal of these visas, especially H-1B visas, foreign technical workers often have to travel back to their home country to get an H-1B extension stamped in their passports.

All H-1B visa holders must have their passport stamped with the date of renewal when renewing their visa. This is required if you are traveling outside the US and want to re-enter the US. Currently, H-1B visa reissues are not permitted in the United States.

Restamping is only available at all US consulates.

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This has caused great inconvenience to foreign guest workers and their staff, especially in the context of visa waiting times of over 800 days and over two years.

The popular H-1B visa is issued for three years at a time.

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialized occupations requiring theoretical or technical expertise. Tech companies rely on it to employ tens of thousands of people each year in countries like India and China.

“We are working in earnest on our plans to restart this service for certain petition-based NIV categories and hope to have the pilot service up and running later this year. This will allow applicants to travel abroad to renew their visas. You won’t have to.” A State Department spokesperson told PTI.

The State Department facilitated domestic visa revalidation for applicants who were physically present in the United States through 2004 and renewing visas in certain petition-based nonimmigrant visa (NIV) categories, the official said.

A State Department spokesperson said in response to questions: “We cannot comment on how many visa holders will be initially eligible, but the pilot will start with a small number of cases and expand over the next year or two.”

Over the past few months, the Biden administration has taken several steps to streamline the visa processing system and reduce inconvenience.

Specifically, this was one of the Presidential Advisory Council’s recommendations for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and appears to have been implemented by the State Department now.

According to the existing rules that came into force in 2004, the H1-B and L visa re-applying process is to visit the home country and submit the H1 and L1 visa, passport and documents through dropbox or interview.

People have to wait months or even years for H1-B visa stamping, sometimes no response even after submitting all the documents and are stuck for 2+ years in their home country. While his family awaited his return from the United States, the Presidential Council argued at a meeting last year.

Impressed by committee member Ajay Jain Bhutoria of Silicon Valley, the Presidential Council recommended that H1-B and L visas be allowed for restamping in the United States by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

It urged USCIS to establish a separate department or division to handle the reissuance of renewed H1-B and L visas within the United States.

The committee felt the whole process had proven very painful for legal immigrants invited to work here in the United States to support American businesses and the economy.

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