Weekly News Round-Up: February 23, 2023

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By Shorelight Team
Published on February 24, 2023

Each week the Shorelight team rounds up trusted headlines on the latest in international education and all things impacting students and universities.

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Pilot Program Announced For Domestic Visa Renewals Including H-1B

Our team has been advocating for this policy, and we even submitted legislative language to Sen. Padilla(D-CA) last June. While we are very happy about this news, we have learned that India is not included in the pilot program. This is disappointing and can only assume the volume could be overwhelming for a pilot. Our disappointment is shared by other associations, and I know we and others will continue to push for some India inclusion.

A pilot program will be launched by the State Department later this year to offer visa renewals in the U.S. for H-1B specialty occupation workers and other temporary visa holders who are currently required to travel abroad. Until 2004, some nonimmigrant visas could be renewed by mail, but this process was ended due to changes in national security laws.  The stateside renewal option will be available to H and L visa holders and could eventually be expanded to family members of H-1B and L-1 employees in H-4 and L-2 status.

Get the full story on CIC News >

H-1B Stamping, Interview Waivers, And Everything Else The US Is Doing To Cut Your Visa Wait

As a follow-up to the article above, this was released through the Economic Times yesterday. As I mentioned, we don’t think the pilot is going to include India; however, this article appears to indicate the pilot will be this summer and we could see the program going into effect this fall. Onshoring H-1B visa renewals would open up more capacity for visa applicants.

While addressing a media interaction organised by Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies on Tuesday, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Visa Services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs Julie Stufft said, “India is the number one priority that we are facing right now. We are absolutely committed to getting out of this situation. Anyone in India seeking a visa appointment or visa have to wait for that’s not certainly our ideal.”

Get the full story on The Economic Times >

U.S. Mayors Call On Biden Administration To Reduce Excessive Visitor Visa Wait Times

This article was released by US Travel and focuses on visitor visas to the US. The solutions they are seeking would impact students as well.

“The mayors pointed to four recommendations to accelerate visitor visa processing:

  1. Set clear timelines to restore efficient visa processing. Lower wait times to 21 days in the top countries for inbound travel by April 2023.

  2. By September 30, 2023, reinstate the Executive Order to provide interview appointments for 80% of nonimmigrant visa applicants within 21 days or less. The Honorable Antony Blinken Secretary U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street, NW Washington, DC 20520 February 13, 2023

  3. Increase consular staffing and resources in countries with a high volume of applicants and for large events in the U.S. that draw international visitors. 

  4. Extend interview waivers for nonimmigrant visa renewals and apply waivers more broadly to renewal applicants who are considered low risk through 2024."

Get the full story on US Travel >