On June 18, 2024, the Biden-Harris Administration announced significant measures to expedite the process for employment-based nonimmigrant visas for individuals who have graduated from U.S. colleges and received job offers. This initiative aims to help eligible candidates obtain their work visas more swiftly.

Key Aspects of the Initiative:

  1. Clarified Guidance for Consular Officers: The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will issue clarified guidance to consular officers on recommending waivers of ineligibility. This will help expedite visa applications for qualified candidates. However, the overall processing steps for these waivers remain unchanged.
  2. Understanding Waiver Requests: Waiver requests are handled by the DHS’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Admissibility Review Office. For more details on visa ineligibility waivers, please visit the State Department’s Ineligibilities and Waivers page.
  3. Applying for a Nonimmigrant Work Visa: Before applying for an H-1B or other temporary worker visa, USCIS must approve a Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Form I-129). Once approved, applicants can proceed with their visa applications at a U.S. embassy or consulate by completing the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160) and scheduling an interview. Specific instructions can be found on the respective embassy or consulate website.
  4. Visa Ineligibility Waivers: Applicants denied a visa will be informed of their ineligibility and whether they qualify for a waiver. Those eligible for a waiver under certain grounds of inadmissibility can request one. Waiver requests are adjudicated by DHS based on the Department of State’s recommendation. For more information, visit the Ineligibilities and Waivers page.
  5. Interview Appointment Wait Times: Currently, wait times for H-1B visa interviews are minimal at most overseas posts. Check current wait times for employment-based visas on the U.S. Visas page.
  6. Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) Updates: Upcoming FAM updates will clarify when consular officers should recommend DHS grant waivers of ineligibility, encouraging expedited reviews for certain nonimmigrant visa applications. This will help eligible individuals receive work visas more quickly, benefiting both applicants and employers.
  7. Risks and Considerations: While applying for a visa abroad carries risks, these clarifications aim to streamline the process and provide clear guidance for consular officers, allowing informed decisions and quicker employment starts for qualified individuals.
  8. Issuance of Guidance: Updated guidance for consular officers will be released within the next 30 days.

For any questions or assistance with the visa process, contact Garvish Immigration Law Group. We are here to support you every step of the way.

Read the official guidance from the U.S. Department of State.

About the Author

Elizabeth Garvish
Founder at Garvish Immigration Law Group | (800) 951-4980 | egarvish@goimmigrationlaw.com | Profile | + posts

Elizabeth L.A. Garvish founded Garvish Immigration Law Group, LLC in 2011 after practicing immigration law in small boutique firms, big law and nonprofits. Elizabeth is a frequent speaker and presenter on entrepreneurship and U.S. immigration topics around the world. She is an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and serves on various national committees and is the Past Chair of the Georgia-Alabama Chapter of AILA. Elizabeth is also a certified member of the EO Global Speakers Academy.