As we previously posted, the Department of State (DOS) announced a pilot program to resume domestic visa renewals for qualified H-1B nonimmigrant visa applicants who meet certain requirements. The program officially commenced operations on January 29th, 2024. The FAQs can be found at the following link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/employment/domestic-renewal.html
Steps for Submission
Participation in the domestic/stateside renewal program requires three steps:
- Submit Form DS-160;
- Payment of MRV fee ($205USD); and
- Scheduling the domestic renewal appointment.
To save time, the DS-160 may be “pre-loaded” or completed in advance of appointment slots opening. Once the DS-160 is completed online, applicants must then proceed to pay the visa application fee and schedule the domestic renewal appointment via these links:
- Mission Canada domestic renewals: https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-us.
- Mission India domestic renewals: https://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/en/renewal-h1b-niv-in-us.
Note that the websites may be temporarily unavailable due to traffic. DOS has not indicated what time of day the new appointment slots will be made available.
According to online sources, it is not possible to know if appointments are available until after payment of the MRV fee. It is not yet clear if DOS will disable accepting payments if all slots are filled or if DOS will make any related public announcements.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association has seen reports of payment issues. For Mission India applicants, according to online sources, there has been success in using an Indian debit card or UPI. Members should note that payment failures may require a 30-minute wait before trying again.
Per DOS, if an application is returned as unadjudicated for failure to satisfy the requirements for pilot participation or if the application is refused based on failure to qualify for an interview waiver or another ineligibility identified during the adjudication process, the Machine-Readable Visa (MRV) application processing fee payment will not be refunded, nor can the fee be transferred to an overseas embassy or consulate for visa processing (applicants who are refused under the pilot program may file a new application with a new MRV).