Dear Sophie: Is there a domestic pilot program for H-1B and L visa stamping?

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This is another installment of from “Dear Sophie,” an advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.

“Your questions are critical to spreading knowledge and allowing people around the world to push the boundaries and of their dreams,” a Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn said. “Whether you’re in HR, a a founder, or looking for a a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”

GamingBuz+ members get access to the weekly Dear Sophie” Pillars; use promo code ALCORN for 50% off a one-year or two-year subscriptionsfor.

Dear Sophie,

I am in the US with (* ) my employer recently updated. However, I do not have the H-1B stamp in my passport because I originally had a H-1B visa change from F-1 STEM OPT status. a It’s been more than three years since I visited my family in India

I want to do it now, but I’m worried about how long it will take for my and to get back to the US H-1B visa How long will it take Get interview

and getfor stamp? Am I eligible for a H-1B visa interview waiver? How do I get an interview waiver? Can I do it from the US this year? (* )— hungryfor a visa home

hungryfor I’m sorry to hear you’ve been away from your loved ones

Dear for so long. I really admire your strength

tenacity. for We are happy to share with you some long-awaited news that may provide you and and others

with some background information on getting a and stamp or and stamp renewal. a visa Many have renewed their visa or switched to another category

have postponed travel abroad visa because they fear not being able to return to the US immediately for international travel, if possible, as buying visa can be very dangerous . Circumstances are slowly changingfor and the status quo may remain in effect even after the upcoming Marcha visa draw. and While the U.S. Department of State (DoS) has implemented policies to reduceH-1B visa the time it takes to obtain stamps at U.S. embassies

and consulates abroad, delays continue. a visa however and is

we have the opportunity to get there later this year a without international travel. a Image credit: a visa Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn

A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

(opens in new window) Renewed pilot stamp in the US a

DoS planned for later this year ( *), which will allow H program for visa holders to renew the stamps in their passports while they are in the US. Currently, holders of

must travel abroad to obtain the a pilot program slide (often nicknamed and L visa “visa stamp”) in their passport from a a visa US embassy or consulate. a DoS plans to open visa new consular office in Washington DC to begin processing a H

visas later this year under Bloomberg Law. During this a year, many people came forward to support for. Until 2004, when national security laws began requiring collection of biometric information from and L applicants, DoS domestically processed many categories of renewals for, including E-, H-, for, for-O -Visas. L Since then, the DoS has required all and applicants to undergo a change of status process in the United States, except visa certain diplomatic

other visa applicants, who obtain a U.S. ambassador abroad at for embassy or consulate. and Now let me answer your question. visa ) Consulate. Wait times vary by location in India, but are constantly changing. a visa

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