To kick off 2017 visa experiences, few of our readers shared their experiences in January 2017. Thanks a lot to our readers – Sai, Anonymous (USA – H1b applicant), Shashank, Rakesh – for taking time to write and share their experiences. You can share yours as well here
H1B Dropbox Experience by Sai
I would like to share my visa experience so that it would be helpful for others. First time I used this dropbox option. No appointment needed. Just walk in.
Requirements for Dropbox –
- PreviousVISA stamped in Hyderabad Consulate
- VISAexpired within past 12 months. (mine expired in 12/26/2016).
- Same petitioner and samevisa
If above criteria matches then only you will have dropbox option.
Documents Needed For H1B Dropbox :
1. Dropbox Confirmation Letter
2. DS 160 Confirmation Letter
3. Previous and New Passport Originals
4. Photocopy of your I797
5. Two passport photographs (Take new one – It should be different from your previous visa) otherwise you end up asking to go for new photos. )
I dropped the documents on Jan 23rd, 2017. There are two lines at the US embassy. One for fingerprints line and other for dropbox. There will check all the required docs before entering into the building. Once inside, you will get a token and go to the counter and she will check all the docs and keep them in order and ask you sign on two passport photos. She had stamped my DS160 form with date received confirmation. Left the place.
On Jan 24th 2017 – I checked my VISA status here – https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx?eQs=WwjqOlbeRYzCYubaSQI+RA== or passport status – http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-passporttrack.asp.
Says received the documents.
On Jan 25th 2017 – Admin processing
On Jan 27th 2017 – Issued
Email from Consulate for Dropbox Visa Stamping :
I received the email as below –
Your document(s) have been collected from the US Embassy/Consulate
The passport number being returned is XXXXXXX
You have chosen to have your documents delivered to the following location:
Hyderabad, 1-8-384/385 Ground Floor, Gowra Grand, S.P.Road,, Hyderabad, 500016
I picked my passport on Jan 29th 2017. Good thing is now you can collect your passport on Sundays too. Timings are 1-5PM.
Experience by USA – H1b applicant
H1B and H4 Dropbox Process
Step 1 : Filed DS-160 form for self (H1B) and wife (H4).
Step 2: Created account on https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/?language=English&country=India
Step 3 : Entered DS-160 application numbers (for both me and my wife) in same account. Note: My previous passport had expired so had to email them to edit my account with new passport number. Also in the email I told them to link my wife’s DS-160 application number to mine).
Step 4: Pay Fees
Step 5: Book for appointment. It ask some series of questions and if you are eligible it gives you the dropbox option.
Print the dropbox letter and it lists the mandatory documents depending upon the visa type.
H1B Dropbox Documents Required (in my case)
1)Valid passports (all passport till date)
2)Photocopy of approved I-797 (2 copies)
3)2 photographs as per specifications for US visa (2inch * 2 inch) Note: in photographs make sure we are expression less and both ears visible. We were told to bring in new photos.
4)Dropbox confirmation letter
Head to Dropbox submission center. No appointment needed for dropbox. Documents are verified and signed dropbox letter is returned.
H1B Visa Dropbox Timeliness and Tracking
Status can be tracked in 2 ways:
1. Passport Tracking(PT) at ustraveldocs using Passport Number
2. Visa Tracking(VT) at CEAC website using DS160 Application ID/Case Number
Day 1 – Submitted my documents .
Day 2 – No status
Day 3 – No status
Day 4 – Got email late in evening saying passport are delivered to requested location.
– Original documents were not asked but we did carry them.
– Again, make sure the photos are as per required standards.
– Carry the signed dropbox letter you got while submitting the documents to collect the passport(s)
Experience by USA – Shashank
Background Info for Dropbox Eligibility : I had my first Visa stamped in December 2013 from Hyderabad and i changed my employer in May 2016 and went for stamping in August 2016. I was hesitant on my eligibility for dropbox as i changed my employer, but after i completed my visa application questionnaire it suggested me for my dropbox eligibility. The following are the factors it considered for my dropbox eligibility.
1) My prior visa stamping was in India
2) My current visa is still valid ( here, we are eligible for upto 12 months after the visa has expired).This sounded a good news for me as i do not need any appointment and can walk in anytime at my convenience.
Dropbox Experience : I reached as early as 9 AM on Monday morning and was in a separate queue for dropbox. At around 9:45 AM i was allowed inside after looking at my dropbox confirmation. There a VFS agent verified all my documents and had raised concerns over my photograph as it was taken with my spectacles and asked me to check again at the counter before submitting it.
Once I reached the counter, they looked at my photograph and they discussed over it and finally let me use the same photograph as my eyes were clearly visible on that. Additionally, here are the documents they requested
1) Current I797 (Photocopy)
2) previous I797 (Photocopy)
3) Passport (original)
4) 2 photographs
5) DS160 Confirmation page
I asked VFS agent on the need for any other supporting documents and her response was those are all the documents needed at the moment and would inform of any additional documentation if needed. I left the place with a sigh of relief and had been tracking my status for the next three days and following are the different status it went through.
Monday – Submitted the documents
Tuesday – Adminstrative Processing
Wednesday 10 AM – Issued
Wednesday – 3 PM – Ready for pickup.
H1B Dropbox Experience by Rakesh
Dropbox – Interview Waiver Program Experience
My case was changing of employer where I had non expired H1B Visa valid till 30th June,2018. I was eligible for dropbox Interview Waiver Program (IWP). It was pretty straight forward process.
Below documents were required in my case –
1. Previous I797 petition.
2. Current I797 petition.
Status Changes for my IWP
- 17th Jan, 2017 – Submitted docs to OFC at Jamine tower, kolkata. Took near about 1 hour. Phones are not allowed inside.
- 18th Jan – 24th Jan – No status.
- 25th Jan – Admin processing.
- 27th Jan – Issued.
It takes generally 2 weeks. All the best.