State Department Plans to Offer Domestic Visa Renewals

The US State Department will launch a pilot program this year that will offer L-1 visa and H-1B visa renewal options to those requiring to travel outside the United States, as reported by Bloomberg Law.  The stateside renewal option could eventually be expanded to other visa categories.

The Deputy Assistant Secretary for visa services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs has reportedly indicated that reinstating the visa renewal option which was discontinued in 2004 will cut down the workload of the consular posts abroad and will make it easier for visa holders to be able to travel abroad and return to the United States.

This is great news for employers and employees alike, particularly for foreign nationals of countries that are seeing very long visa wait times at the consulates such as India.

The L-1 is a dual intent non-immigrant visa category that allows for the transfer of managerial and executive personnel (L-1A visa) as also specialized knowledge employees (L-1B) from abroad to a related business in the United States.  The maximum stay permissible in the US on an L-1A is seven years, and five on the L-1B.

We at Davies & Associates will be monitoring the situation and provide updates as and when they become available.

By Zeenat Phophalia, Of Counsel, Davies & Associates

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