Domestic Visa Renewal Could Return in 2024

The Department of State (DOS) appears primed to renew the practice of domestic visa renewal for at least some foreign nationals in 2024. DOS sent a Federal Register notice titled Pilot Program to Resume Renewal of H-1B Nonimmigrant Visas in the United States for Certain Qualified Noncitizens to the White House for review last month. While the full scope of the program will not be known until publication, the notice is expected to outline criteria for participation in a pilot program that would allow some H-1B workers to renew their visas without exiting the United States. Employers can likely expect the expansion of the pilot program in the coming years.

Currently, foreign nationals seeking to renew their visa must exit the United States and schedule an interview appointment at a U.S. consulate abroad. Interview backlogs have become commonplace, particularly since early 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic closed many consular posts for months. While some foreign nationals have been able to take advantage of visa interview waiver procedures, they were still required to travel outside the United States to renew a visa. Last summer saw an unusual influx of international travel as many foreign nationals left the United States to renew their visas for the first time since 2020. 

The anticipated pilot program would resume domestic visa revalidation for the first time since 2004. The practice was discontinued, in part, due to increased security efforts following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. 

The pilot program should provide greater flexibility to foreign national workers facing an unexpected need to travel internationally. In the past, employers and foreign national workers were forced to balance the benefits of unanticipated travel with the possibility of long absences from the United States due to visa interview backlogs. Employers should continue to monitor DOS announcements for further updates to determine whether they might be eligible to take advantage of the new pilot program once the criteria are officially announced. 

Burr & Forman’s immigration team advises clients on all aspects of the nonimmigrant work visa process. If your business has questions regarding employment-based visas, contact Melissa Azallion Kenny (, Anna Scully (, or Jon Eggert ( on the Burr & Forman immigration team. 

Posted in: Visa
Tags: H-1B Visa
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