A pilot program allowing a limited number of foreign H-1B workers to renew visas without leaving the US cleared review by the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
The State Department said last month that the pilot (RIN 1400-AF79), which will include an initial 20,000 participants, will launch in January. But full details of eligibility and operation of the pilot will emerge when a notice is published in the Federal Register.
The pilot cleared OIRA review Dec. 15, the final regulatory hurdle before publication.
The stateside visa renewal program is one of a number of measures the government is pursuing to lower wait times for consular services.
Workers on the H-1B specialty occupation visas, which have a three-year duration and are used most heavily in the tech industry, are currently required to get an appointment at a US embassy or consular office for a visa stamp before returning to the country after traveling abroad.
High wait times for visa services in countries like India, the largest source of H-1B workers, have added uncertainty to travel plans for those workers and their employers.