New York: A pilot program is set to begin this week for domestic renewal of certain categories of H-1B visas in December, a step that will benefit a significantly large number of Indian technology professionals.
“We want to make sure that Indian travelers can get appointments as quickly as possible. One way we are doing that is through the domestic visa renewal program, which is focused very much on India. We are piloting that,” Julie Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visa Services, said.
Over a period of three months, beginning December, the State Department will be issuing 20,000 visas to foreign nationals who are already inside the country. “In India, the demand for US visas is still very high. The wait time of six, eight and 12 months is not what we need and not indicative of how we view India,” she said.
“We will do 20,000 in the first group. The vast majority of those will be Indian nationals living in the US and we will expand as it goes on,” she added.
While the State Department has been working on launching such a program on a pilot basis for quite some time now, it was formally announced during PM Modi’s visit. “Because Indians are the largest skilled group of workers in the United States, we hope that India will benefit quite a bit from this program and it will prevent people from having to travel back to India or anywhere for a visa appointment to get their visa renewed. It will allow our missions in India to concentrate on new applicants,” Stufft said.