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Many foreign nationals will get to renew their work visas in the U.S. again

If you have lived and worked in Ohio on a work visa for long enough, you likely have had to leave the U.S. to go renew your visa. Having to go back to your country of origin, visit the U.S. embassy or consulate and get your visa renewal stamp can be inconvenient, disruptive and expensive. It can require flying to a country you haven’t lived in for years and waiting months to get renewed.

There is good news if you hold one of two specific types of visas. The State Department recently announced that those with H and L work visas will get to stay in the U.S. during the renewal process. The people who might benefit the most from this change in policy could be those with H-1B visas, of whom there were about 583,000 in the country in 2019. Huge backlogs at consulates in countries like India have meant work visa renewals could last up to one year before they could get an appointment.

How this will help workers

By letting H and L workers renew while remaining in the U.S., the State Department is making it much easier for those workers to keep working in this country instead of having to consider moving back to their home country permanently or another third country. And it should clear up the backlogs, giving embassies and consulates more time to deal with workers in those countries seeking work visas for the first time.

Not ready yet

The current policy has been in place since 2004. Changing back won’t happen until the State Department opens a new consular division to handle domestic renewals, so it isn’t clear when those will become available. Until then, you may need advice from an immigration attorney to stay and continue your career in Ohio.