The Department of State has officially released the details of the long-anticipated domestic visa processing pilot program. The pilot program will be open starting on January 29, 2024, and will accept up to 20,000 applications, with applications accepted on a rolling basis. The system is set up to release approximately 4,000 application slots each week for the first 6 weeks of the program starting Monday, January 29, 2024. Once the weekly limit is reached, the system will be locked until the next set of slots are released following next week. The system will be open until April 1, 2024, or until all application slots are used, whichever comes first.
According to a notice published in the Federal Register on Thursday, December 21, 2023, to be eligible for domestic visa renewal, applicants must meet the following requirements:
The application process will require individuals to complete a web-based self-assessment based on the criteria listed above. Applicants will then be guided to complete the standard DS-160 visa application form, pay a fee, and submit their passport and other required documents by mail.
Required documents will be limited to the DS-160 confirmation, a US passport-style photo, a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the application date, a copy of the applicant’s current I-797 approval notice, and a copy of the applicant’s most recent I-94 arrival-departure record.
This new program will make it easier for those in the US to renew their visas without time consuming, costly, and stressful international travel. It should also ease the burden on consulates as many applicants will be diverted to the domestic visa process, making it easier for those who must appear at consulates to get visa appointments. If the Pilot Program goes well, we expect the Department of State will expand eligibility to additional visa categories and countries of issuance in the future.
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