May 18, 2024
H-1B Visa

The US will introduce a renewable H-1B visa, allowing Indian professionals to renew their work visas without traveling abroad. The move is part of the People-to-People initiative and comes ahead of a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Biden.

US authorities have announced that they will introduce renewable H-1B visas to the country as part of a people-to-people initiative. The move is set to ease the process of H-1B Visa renewal for some Indians working in the US on H-1B Visas.

The announcement came from the US Visa Office ahead of the crucial bilateral meeting between PM Modi and US President Joe Biden at the White House in Washington DC on Thursday.

PM Modi also announced that members of Indian origin will no longer have to leave the US for H-1B visas. “Now it has been decided that H-1B visa renewal can be done only in the US,” he said. Indians will find it simpler to live and work in the US under the new visa regulations.

This will be a pilot program that can be expanded to a larger number of Indians in the coming years. Indian nationals are the most active users of the US H-1B program and account for 73 percent of the nearly 4,42,000 H-1B workers in FY 2022.

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What is an H-1B Visa?

The H-1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialized occupations that require theoretical or technical skills.

Technology companies rely on H-1B visas, also known as work visas, to hire thousands of workers from countries like India every year.

What is H-1B Visa Renewal?

Certain nonimmigrant visa classifications, most notably H-1B, can be renewed or stamped inside the United States as of 2004.

After 2004, non-immigrant visas that sought H-1B visa renewals often required foreign tech workers to travel to their home countries to get an H-1B extension stamped in their passports.

H-1B visas are granted at intervals of three years.

For all H-1B Visa holders, when their visas are renewed, they need to get their passports stamped with the renewal dates. This is required if they want to travel outside the US and re-enter the US. Currently, H-1B Visa restamping is not allowed in the US. Restamping can only be done at a US Consulate.

This was a major inconvenience for foreign guest workers and their employees as well, especially at times when the waiting time for visas was over 800 days or more than two years.

US Visa for Indians

The US granted 125,000 visas to Indian students last year, a record, and they are on pace to become the largest foreign student community in the US with a 20% increase last year alone, an official explained.

A senior Biden administration official said.

“Another thing we are doing is that the US Department of State is going to start a pilot later this year to decide on domestic renewals of certain petition-based temporary work visas, with the intention of implementing this for Indian nationals in H Expanded pool of -1 and L Visa holders,”

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