Murthy Snapshot: AILA Urges Expansion and Improvements to Domestic Visa Renewal Program

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recently sent a comment to the U.S. Department of State (DOS) regarding the pilot domestic visa renewal program, which ran from January 29, 2024, through April 1, 2024. In its comment, AILA offers numerous suggestions on ways to improve the program and requests that the DOS expand the program and make it permanent. More details on the pilot program are available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, NewsFlash! Details of Domestic Visa Renewal Program Released (20.Dec.2023).

A summary of the key suggestions AILA made to the DOS are provided below:

  • Update the instructions and clarify the necessary steps for scheduling a domestic visa renewal appointment, as many applicants were confused about how to navigate the program’s scheduling system after completing form DS-160.
  • Create a dedicated email address for inquiries and assistance regarding the domestic visa renewal process.
  • Create a universal payment mechanism for the program, or otherwise clarify the instructions regarding acceptable payment methods.
  • Announce when domestic renewal spots are available and when all spots are taken so an applicant can plan accordingly.
  • Extend the timeline for an applicant to provide the required documents and provide realistic processing times for document processing so an applicant can better plan for when they do not have their passport available.
  • Clarify the eligibility of third country nationals to participate in the program.
  • Make the domestic visa renewal process permanent and expand it to other nonimmigrant categories, including E, F, J, L, and O, applicants, and their dependent family members.

Your Takeaway:

Despite certain issues with the initial roll out, the domestic visa renewal pilot program was successful overall and has the potential to expand and ease the visa process for many foreign nationals. In the meantime, the DOS will hopefully incorporate AILA and other stakeholders comments to improve and greatly expand the program.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.