In a move that could benefit tens of thousands of foreign tech workers, the United States is planning to resume “domestic visa revalidation” in certain categories of the H-1B and L1 visas.
The exercise will be launched on a pilot basis, later this year, and be scaled up in the next few years.
Until 2004, certain categories of non-immigrant visas, particularly the H-1B, could be renewed or stamped inside the US. After that, those on H-1B would have to return to their own country to get the H-1B extension stamped on their passport.
For all the H-1B visa holders, when their visa is renewed, they need to get their passports stamped with renewal dates. This is required if they wish to travel outside of the US and re-enter the US. As of now, H-1B visa restamping is not allowed within the US.
Restamping can only be done at any US consulate.
The much-sought-after H-1B visas are issued for three years at a time. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.