Julie Stufft, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, recently announced during an interview with Bloomberg Law that the U.S. Department of State is planning to launch a pilot program in 2023 that will offer visa stamping renewal options domestically for H and L visa beneficiaries and other temporary visa holders. This is a positive change since domestic visa renewals were discontinued in 2004 due to the State Department’s inability to comply with Section 303 of the Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act, which required biometric identifiers for U.S. visas issued after October 26, 2004. The pilot program will help reduce consular appointment backlogs caused by reduced staffing, social distancing requirements, and health and safety concerns. The program will be particularly beneficial to H-1B visa holders in the tech industry, who often face long waits to renew their visa stamps. Note that visa stamps do not determine entry or the length of authorized stay in the U.S., as this is determined by CBP officers at the port of entry.
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