December 2023 was a very active month for US Immigration. GLF provided updates via Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram on numerous US Immigration matters including:

  1. USCIS announces changes in filing location for Form I-140.
  2. State Department’s January 2024 visa bulletin summary
  3. USCIS announces inflation adjustment to premium processing fees.
  4. DOS brings back domestic visa renewals – what you need to know!
  5. Expansion of interview waiver: new rules for certain non-immigrant visas from January 1, 2024

We at GLF post regular updates on our Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram handles. Additionally, we also periodically send out GLF Newsletters when the subject matter is extensive and relevant for a detailed analysis. Presented below is a consolidated summary of updates posted on GLF’s various social media handles for December 2023.


On November 15, 2023, USCIS updated and clarified the filing locations for Form I-140, providing the following instructions:

  • Form I-140 only (without premium and Concurrent filing) should be filed at either USCIS

Dallas Lockbox or the USCIS Chicago Lockbox based on the state/territory where the beneficiary would work.

  • Form I-140 (without Premium) together with Form I-485/EAD/AP should be filed at either Dallas, Texas (U.S. Postal Service delivery) or Lewisville, Texas (FedEx, UPS, DHL delivery).
  • Form I-140 filed in premium together with Form I-485 should be filed at either the USCIS Nebraska Service Center or the USCIS Texas Service Center based on the state/territory where the beneficiary would work (not reside).
  • Form I-140 with premium should be filed at either USCIS Phoenix Lockbox or the USCIS Elgin Lockbox based on the state/territory where the beneficiary would work.
  • If one was upgrading a pending Form I-140 to premium processing, Form I-907 should be filed    with the USCIS service center where Form I-140 was pending.


State Department issued the January 2024 Visa Bulletin, with the following highlights:

  • Adjustment of Status for both Family Sponsored filing and Employment Based filing was required to use the Dates for Filing chart.
  • The final action dates for the Family sponsored F1 Category for India (January 01, 2015) had not changed.
  • The final action dates for the F2A category for India had advanced from February 08, 2019, to November 01, 2019.
  • The filing dates chart for the family sponsored F1 Category (September 01, 2017) and F-2A category (September 01, 2023) for India had remained unchanged.
  • The final action dates for the EB-1 category for India had advanced from January 01, 2017, to September 01, 2020, and the Dates for Filing had advanced from July 01, 2019, to January 01, 2021.
  • The final action dates for the EB-2 category for India had advanced from January 01, 2012, to March 01, 2012, while the Dates for Filing (May 15, 2012) had not changed.
  • The final action dates for the EB-3 category for India had advanced from May 01, 2012, to June 01, 2012, and the Dates for Filing (August 01, 2012) remained unchanged.
  • The final action dates for Certain Religious workers had advanced from unauthorized to May 15, 2019, and the Dates for Filing had advanced from March 01, 2019, to September 01, 2019.
  • The annual limit for DV-2023 was reported to have been reduced to 54,850.


USCIS announced a final rule to implement an inflation adjustment to premium processing fees, effective from February 26, 2024. The highlights of the fee changes were as follows:

  • For Form I-129 for H-2B or R-1 Non-immigrant visas, the fee had increased from the previous $1,500 to $1,685. For all other Non-immigrant employment visas, the fee had been raised from $2,500 to $2,805.
  • The fee for Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, had increased from $2,500 to $2,805.
  • Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non-immigrant Status, had a fee increase from $1,750 to $1,965.
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (EADS), saw its fee rise from $1,500 to $1,685.

Any Form I-907 postmarked on or after February 26, 2024, and sent with an incorrect filing fee would be rejected by USCIS, with the fee being returned to the sender.


DOS initiated a limited pilot program to resume domestic visa renewals specifically for certain H-1B Visa applicants. The key details of this program were outlined as follows:

  • The program is set to run from January 29, 2024, to April 1, 2024.
  • This initiative is exclusively for H-1B Visa renewals and did not include H-4 dependents.
  • There are approximately 4,000 weekly application slots available on a first-come, first-served basis, with 2,000 slots allocated for each of Mission Canada and Mission India.
  • Eligibility criteria encompassed H-1B applicants renewing visas that were initially issued by either Mission India (from Feb 1, 2021, to Sep 30, 2021) or Mission Canada (from Jan 1, 2020, to Apr 1, 2023).
  • The application window opens on specific dates: January 29, February 5, February 12, February 19, and February 26. The application process would close either when all slots were filled or by April 1, 2024.
  • To be eligible, the H-1B applicant needed to possess an approved and unexpired I-797 H-1B Approval. Furthermore, they should have recently entered the US on an H-1B Visa, maintained valid H-1B status, and an unexpired H-1B Visa or I-94.
  • As part of the application process, applicants are required to select their preferred Consular post – either India or Canada – and respond to a series of questions to ascertain their eligibility for the pilot program.
  • The anticipated processing time is between 6 to 8 weeks, with no provision for expedited processing.
  • Upon adjudication, applicants could monitor their application status online and would receive their passports either via USPS or through a courier service.


Starting January 1, 2024, Consular post have the authority to Waive In-Person Interviews for specific Non-Immigrant Visa Categories.  This includes:

  • First-time H-2 visas applicants (both agricultural and non-agricultural) workers and
  • Other Non-Immigrant Visa Applicants who previously had any non-immigrant visas (except the B-1/B-2 Visas) and are applying for a visa within 48 months after the expiration of their most recent visa expiration date (with the exception of B visas), will be considered eligible for Interview Waiver.

Applicants applying for a renewal of their visas (under same classification) within 48 months of the visa expiration will continue to be eligible for Interview Waiver.

Eligibility criteria for Interview Waiver remains the same.  Applicants must continue to apply for their visa from their country of nationality or residence with no record of previous visa refusals (unless overcome or waived) and has not shown any apparent or potential ineligibility.

Using the Interview Waiver does not guarantee visa issuance. The U.S. Embassy/Consulate retains the right to call an applicant in for an interview, if necessary.  Applicants must appear for interview at the post to which they have submitted their renewal application.


At GLF, we will continue to follow further developments in the above discussed and other matters, while we provide updates through our Newsletter as and when they become available. GLF receives numerous emails and phone calls every day seeking comments on various proposed bills and media reports that are often inaccurate. It is our job to separate fact from fiction and advise clients on important and relevant updates. The best way to receive accurate information is through GLF Newsletters.

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