On January 29, 2024, the Department of State’s stateside visa pilot renewal program began accepting DS-160s for qualifying individuals seeking to renew their existing H-1B visas while they are in the United States.  As discussed in our previous blog post about this new program, the program allows individuals in the United States who are renewing an H-1B visa issued by US consular sections in Canada between 1/1/2020 and 4/1/2023 or one issued by US consular sections in India from 1/2/2021 and 9/30/2021 to do so online through the Department’s CEAC website rather than having to travel outside the US to obtain the visa.
Continue Reading Domestic Visa Processing – Application Slots Now Available

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.
Continue Reading Domestic Visa Processing – Now With Details

In the 10 weeks since we last wrote about international travel, some countries have moved to allow more fluid international travel.  For example, the United Kingdom has introduced a set of quarantine exceptions and the United States clarified who is eligible for exemptions to the Presidential Proclamations limiting visa issuance and travel.
Continue Reading COVID-19 UPDATE: Countries take steps to allow more international travel, but barriers remain

UPDATES as of July 1, 2020:  Please see our new piece, Entry Ban Update, for additional information that has become available about how the proclamation is being enforced for Canadians, visa renewals, and exceptions.


Continue Reading President Halts Certain Nonimmigrant Admissions and Extends Immigrant Admission Ban Through End of Year

Since 1990, the United States has granted up to 50,000 green cards each year to immigrants selected through the “Diversity Visa Lottery.”  Recently, the US Department of State announced delays in processing these cases due to COVID-19.  This development further exacerbates challenges caused by COVID-19, including the temporary suspension of visa appointments and USCIS in-person services, which we reported on last month, and the April 22 Executive Order halting immigrant visa admissions for 60 days.  See our analysis of the Order here.
Continue Reading COVID-19: Impact of Closures, Delays, and Executive Order on Diversity Visa Program

Unemployment insurance, as described in a recent blog post by our Labor and Employment colleagues, is a “joint federal-state program, administered separately by each state following guidelines established by federal law.”  While the requirements of these programs vary from state to state, eligibility criteria generally exclude nonimmigrants whose work authorization is tied to a specific position with a specific employer (e.g., TN, H-1B, and L-1 workers).
Continue Reading COVID-19: Are Nonimmigrants Eligible for Unemployment Benefits?

UPDATE – Thursday March 20 – Department of State Officially Announces the Suspension of ALL Routine Visa Appointments WORLDWIDE

Effective today, Friday March 20, the US Department of State is suspending routine visa services at all embassies and consulates worldwide. All routine (non-emergency) visa appointments will be cancelled until normal operations resume.  If applicants whose appointments are cancelled have already paid the MRV application fee, that fee will remain valid for a future appointment within one year.Continue Reading COVID-19: How Does the Outbreak Affect Appointments at USCIS and Visa Appointments at US Consulates?