H1B Visa Dropbox Interview Visa Waiver Program Experiences 2017 India

5 H1B Visa Dropbox (Interview Waiver Program) Experiences 2017 – India

In Visa Experiences by Guest Author44 Comments

We have combined 2017 visa dropbox experiences from our readers. Thanks a lot to our readers – Sai, Anonymous (USA – H1b applicant), Shashank, anonymous (first time dropbox applicant), Rakesh – for taking time to write and share their experiences. You can share yours as well here
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H1B Dropbox Experience in September 2017 by ‘First Time Dropbox Applicant’ 
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Background : I would like to share my visa experience as well. This was my first time using drop box, so far I have opted the interview option since I seldom travelled to India. This time I qualified for the drop box option.  I recently changed petitioner and my previous visa was valid up until September 30th of 2017 with the old petitioner.
I’ve always gone to the Mumbai Consulate.

Requirements for Dropbox of H1B Visa :
* PreviousVISA stamped in Mumbai Consulate
* VISA current or expired within past 12 months. (mine expires on 09/20/2017).
Same visa class ( I had my petitioner changed) and since my visa had not expired I did not need a previous 1797A copy from my old petitioner.
* I had a 1797A amendment I submitted both copies of that along with form DS 160 confirmation, drop box letter.

Documents I submitted H1B Dropbox at the mumbai consulate on September 25th 2017- Monday :
1. Dropbox Confirmation Letter
2. DS 160 Confirmation Letter
3. Previous and New Passport Originals
4. Photocopy of your I797A
5. One passport photographs (Take new one – It should be different from your previous visa and it should be clear 2×2 in white background ) otherwise you end up asking to go for new photos.

H1B Dropbox Timeline and Status :

I dropped the documents on September 25th 2017 at 9.45 AM, there was no rush or lines.
I had to head up to security get a seat token/ticket.
Once my number was called they checked all documents and accepted it. I did not have a copy of my previous I797A ( I had changed my petitioner) but my visa was still valid and I told them unless the visa was expired, they did not need one They agreed.
The guy stamped my drop box confirmation form with date received confirmation. and said I should get my passport back in 2-3 business days.

On September 25th 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 September 26th- September 28th 2017 – ” your visa is currently undergoing Admin processing and may take unto several weeks to clear”
On September 29th 2017 – Issued

Email from Consulate for Dropbox On September 29th at 12:00PM
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 Mumbai consulate.

I picked my passport on the same day on September 29th 2017 by 3.30PM
Now you can collect your passport on Sundays too. Timings are 1-5PM.

regards,
First Time drop Box applicant

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H1B Dropbox Experience by Sai
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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 –
Dear Sai,
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.

regards,
Sai
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Experience by USA – H1b applicant
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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:
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1. Passport Tracking(PT) at ustraveldocs using Passport Number
http://ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-passporttrack.asp
2. Visa Tracking(VT) at CEAC website using DS160 Application ID/Case Number
https://ceac.state.gov/ceacstattracker/status.aspx

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)

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Experience by USA – Shashank
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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.

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H1B Dropbox Experience by Rakesh
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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.
3. Passport.
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.

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Comments ( 44 )

  1. JS

    Will I be eligible for dropbox option in India if my previous H-1B visa was stamped in Canada (provided I meet all the other requirements).

    It’s not very clear and have varied comments on different blogs.

    Can someone please advise?

    Thanks

  2. phani

    Hello,

    My Case is little peculiar, I’ve arrived to U.S on 2008 on F1 VISA, later converted to H1-B back in 2013. When our employer filed for extension, it denied back in 2016 and I had to travel back to India. I’ve never travelled to India between 2013-2016 on my initial H1 and never had my passport stamped with H-1b VISA

    Currently, I’m about to book VISA appointment with new I797 petition from the same petitioner(fortunately new petition got picked in FY2018 lottery and approved). I’m facing a series of questions related to previous H1-b VISA prior to booking VISA appointment. Like, whether I had previous H1B VISA, if its expired or denied, if its denied and new petition resulted in new VISA etc? I’m confused and don’t know how to answer these questions. Since my passport carried only one VISA being F1 back in 2008, should I just answer the very first question “Did you previously had H1-B visa” as NO? Please help.

    1. upen

      I would answer to that as NO . That because there was never h1b visa stamped in the passport. change of status from f1 to h1b in itself , approved or denied , would not be the criteria to answer that question, need h1b visa stamped in the passport to answer Yes to that question. Again this is my opinion.

      1. SACH

        I think answer would be No, because you have denied based on your application filed to USCIS. You can consult to lawyer. last and not least do not hide anything they have all your data.

  3. RN

    My Visa expiring in May 2018. Petition valid till Aug 2019. Planning India trip In Feb 2018. Can I get the updated Visa stamped on passport?

  4. Krishna

    Hi,

    I have scheduled an appointment for dropbox in Bangalore, but I don’t see the appointment date in the dropbox confirmation letter. Can anyone please help.

    Regards,
    Krishna

    1. First time drop box applicant

      Hi Krishna, please read the drop box confirmation letter and drop of process word by word. It’s 4 pages and it says Monday through a Friday 9-4 for Mumbai not sure what it is for Bangalore.
      This is not a visa appointment as you are already qualified to drop the documents off. Since I was in India only for 2 weeks, I arrived Sunday and dropped everything off Monday and got my passport back Friday.
      Good Luck

  5. upen

    hey guys such a informative blog this is. I greatly appreciate efforts of op and people sharing their experiences.
    Question: my wife and I qualify for visa IWP. Could someone cofirm how far ahead of visa dropbox can i pay the visa fees and also can these just be paid from CGI online instead of visiting a bank ? We will be going India after 40 days but would like to be done with online cgi application and fee payment online asap. Any pointers would be helpful.
    Thanks op and everyone.

      1. Asp

        You can do it now itself. You can pay via NEFT through an Indian Bank and it will be credited within a day. A receipt # is automatically generated and can be used on CGI online site to print dropbox confirmation. Make sure your DS160 is already submitted.

  6. Sunny Suri

    Hi,
    I am on H1B and qualified for dropbox. But I am planning to get married this year and my wife need to still go for Visa Interview for her H4.
    Please advice –
    1. Should keep the applications separate and use drop-box for myself and schedule interview for her?
    2. If I don’t receive my H1B via dropbox before my wife’s visa interview appointment, does it negatively impact her chances of approval?
    3. Skip my drop-box and go for a group interview with my wife, not sure if skipping drop-box is allowed?

  7. SACHIN

    Is dropbox facility discontinued again ? one of my colleague didn’t get those 5 question while he was scheduling interview on website . He finally taken an interview schedule in Mumbai Consulate

  8. Abhilash

    Hi Kumar/Suarabh

    I have few questions regards to drop box option for dependent – Both me and my wife attended for visa interview together and her H4 Visa valid till September 2018.

    I came to US in 2016 Oct and my wife never came to US till now.

    I changed my employer in 2017 April and visited India in May 2017 when my baby born.

    I used drop box felicity and I got new Visa valid till 2018 with my new employer.

    Now I am planning to call my family here and I would like to check whether both my wife and kid are eligible for Dropbox or they need to attend Consulate interview.

    Please provide information related to dependent Visa and drop box eligibility for above situation. Thank you

  9. sandy

    Hi ,
    I have few question – I recently changed my employer and new petition is filed for change of employer which is still pending with USCIS ,got receipt #.
    On december 2017 I am planning to go to India but I have visa till 31st March 2018.
    Question 1 – I am still eligible for the DropBox ?
    Question 2 – If I am eligible I have to take an appointment , Before taking appointment I have to fill new petitioner start and end date and currently I don’t have those details. Now I have opted for premium but still it will take 15 atleast to get my petition and it will be one month period before my vacation , Can I get appointment for dropbox before one of vacation ?

  10. Vikas Verma

    Hi,

    Actually we are in USA and travelling to India in Dec 17. I have changed the employer last year and my VISA is valid till Aug 2018 mentioning old employer. So i have 2 questions:-
    1. Our native is in Delhi. But, earlier i used to work in Pune. so, got my visa stamped from Mumbai. So we don’t need to travel to Pune. As per the questionnaire we are eligible for the dropbox facility. So, can just go to Delhi dropbox location and apply it there? I hope it doesn’t matter from where earlier visa got issued in India.
    2. Can we avoid visa stamping and travel back to USA on the current visa? is it safe since we have valid visa?

  11. Huzefa Igatpuriwala

    Is there a specified time in which drop box facility has to be availed. I submitted my DS160 on 09/10/2017 and is in the process of paying fees for Visa. I am currently in US and plan to travel to India in Dec 2017. I was curious to know if the dropbox facility could be availed 3 months after I submitted my DS160 and paid my visa fees.

    Thanks,
    Huzefa

      1. Avinash Sampath

        Hey Vikas and Huzefa,

        Any response or information you received with regards to the Maximum time in which drop box facility has to be availed. I submitted my form back almost 2 months ago. I am visiting India next week.
        Can I still avail the drop box?

        Thanks,
        Avinash.

    1. RAJAN TUNWAL

      You have to meet all eligibility criteria on the date of document submission to the dropbox.
      For example if your visa expired on 30 sep 2016 and you are going to submit your documents in drop box after 30 sep 2017 you would need to schedule an OFC and an interview.

  12. sam

    Hi,
    Thanks in advance.

    My H1b started in 2011, it got extended in 2014 and i got stamped in India in AUG 2016 and it is valid till feb 2017.

    My new H1 b is valid till 2019. I want to go to drop box in oct 17.

    My questions is my company ABC was merged to company XYZ in 2016. Do i qualify for drop box? will there be any problem.?

  13. Shakthi

    Hi Guys,

    I am planing to go to India in December 2017. I checked Dropbox – Interview Waiver Program checklist. Everything looks good except one criteria my previous Visa expired on Nov 2016.

    So December 2017 will more than 12 month time line(1 month). Do you think still i can go for Dropbox option or I need to go Visa interview.

    Any suggestion?

    1. Ajay

      Shakthi , You may not be eligible for VWP. When you are trying to schedule your appointment it will by default select to option based on the questions you answer . It would be recommendable to go before 12 months . Wish you all the best !!

  14. Rama

    Hello, Thanks to all for the information about H1B drop box.
    I am confused whether I will have the option for drop box or not.
    My situation:
    1st I797 issued from Oct 2013 to Sep 2015 – with that when I went to interview in 2013, I got VISA stamped for Oct 2013 to Sep 2016 on my passport(that is 1 year extra to my I797 date).
    So, in 2015 I applied for extension and received the 2nd I797 approval from Oct 2015 to Sep 2018.

    I am travelling to India next month(July 2017) and need to go for stamping. Will they consider the date on my passport VISA stamp(expired date is below 6 months) for drop box? or the date on my 1st I797?

    Please reply if anyone had similar experience.

    Thank you.

    Rama.

  15. V Sethuraman

    Hi friends, I changed my employer and the petition was approved with extended H1B visa valid till December 2017 (Original stamping of visa at Mumbai, valid till august 2016) I am planning to visit India when I need to have the visa stamping done. My present project for the client will be over on 30th June. Is the letter from client is needed for stamping of the visa? Or employer’s letter is needed / suffice

  16. pradeep phuloria

    I Submitted Documents on 15th May. My Wife and Son Visas got Issued and Status is “passport ready for pickup”. But my case still showing Administrative Processing. I called customer care they said they don’t have much more information, if visa will not issue within 10 Working days. I have not received any mail from consulate .

    1. Durairaj

      Hey.. i am in the same boat… did you pick up the passport? For me it is “ready for pickup” but CEAC says admin processing….

    2. Hitesh Bhutani

      Hi pradeep phuloria,

      I have a same situation. My wife’s visa application status shows issued but mine it shows “Administrative Processing” is it a part of visa process? Did you get your visa?

  17. Shanmugam R

    When I was filling my DS-160 I was surprised to see I qualify for Dropbox as I changed my employer in the recent months. Now I am going for Dropbox in May 2017 and the information you guys shared is really helpful, thanks for sharing your experiences.

    1. Ajayram

      Hello Shanmugam

      Did you get your Visa Stamped . As I am in the same boat .

      March 2017 previous employer
      New employer till 2020 going to India with Visa Waiver program .

      Please update . Here is my email id [email protected]

      Thanks in advance
      Ajay

          1. Nishant

            Hi Shanmugam

            I am also eligible for drop box and would be going in November. Do i need any client/employer letter while going for dropbox submission? My previous employer visa expired on august 2017 and now i have extension approved till November 2019. Please suggest.

  18. Amol

    I dont think the criteria

    — Same petition same Visa is correct, or it holds for all scenarios. Its better to go to website and go along with the process of scheduling appointment. The website will tell you if you qualify for Dropbox. It will even congratulate you, if you are eligible 🙂

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