A State Department spokesperson was recently quoted announcing that a pilot to restart visa stamping in the US for certain petition-based non-immigrant visa categories for visa renewal should be up and running later in 2023. This pilot program will be mainly aimed towards H and L visa holders, especially H1B visas. The pilot will begin with a smaller number of eligible applicants, and then will grow to much larger numbers within 1 to 2 years.
Currently, if you need to get your US visa stamped for renewal, you need to travel to your home country or a country that allows stamping for nationals from another country. Previously, visa stamping within the US was available until 2004 when it was discontinued due to a few reasons, including increased border restrictions and the necessity of biometrics, which the US said it did not have the proper facilities for.
The new pilot program will test the ability to have stamping done right here in the US so that visa holders will not need to travel out of the country to have this process done. They are hopeful that implementing this new process will help alleviate some of the excess wait times in US embassies and consulates overseas. The long wait times seems to be the main reason behind the push to bring back visa stamping in the US.
Having the ability to have your visa stamped in the US when it’s time for renewal will save many H and L visa holders the trouble of having to travel to their home country, which of course requires time and money. While no official announcement has been made regarding the pilot program, it is expected to take place towards the end of 2023.
We will provide an update on the start date of the pilot program once it is announced. Check back soon!