As most of you know, in the past, if you qualify for an interview waiver or dropbox appointment, there was no direct way to change the appointment to regular to apply for an expedited or emergency appointment. The US Embassy in India suggested that you had to answer a question wrong to change that to a regular appointment to apply for an emergency appointment.
During the most recent Facebook Live with Mr. Don Heflin, where he updated the US Consulates appointments situation for 2023, he indicated that there is a change coming to the USTravelDocs system that would allow the option to change a dropbox to the regular appointment so that users can apply for an expedited appointment. That change to their appointment booking system(CGI Federal) is rolled out now.
In this article, we will cover the process of how it would work and your options to change your appointment from dropbox to regular, if you need to apply for an expedited appointment.
Option to Change Dropbox to Regular for Emergency Appointment
In order to apply for a US Visa, you need to fill out DS-160 and then go to CGI federal website for the next steps. As you go through the USTravelDocs CGI Federal website questionnaire wizard for checking dropbox eligibility, in the end, if you qualify for dropbox, you would get a confirmation that says “Congratulations! You qualify for the interview waiver…”.
But, there is one small change from the past, now it will give you two options in the form of buttons: one for “Drop-off” for dropbox and the other is “Interview” for converting that to a regular in-person interview appointment. Also, the system shows a message that reads in red as below to choose the option based on your situation.
“If you believe your travel is urgent and the first available date to schedule a document drop-off appointment is beyond your desired travel date, you will need a regular in-person visa interview appointment. You can schedule a regular in-person Interview appointment at the Embassy or a Consulate by first scheduling your biometric appointment at an OFC and then an Embassy/ Consulate appointment to be able to request an emergency appointment”
If you want to change your dropbox appointment to an in-person regular appointment to apply for an emergency appointment, you should click on the button that says ‘Interview”. The new option to select an interview option looks as in the below screenshot.
After you click on the ‘Interview‘ button, you will get another screen to make sure you did not click on it by mistake. They give you the link to USTravelDocs.com website to check the requirements for an emergency or expedite the appointment. Also, they will some more text to ensure you really qualify for the emergency appointment.
If you change your mind and want to stick with the dropbox option, you can click on the ‘Drop-off’ button. But, if you think your case qualifies for an emergency appointment, then you choose the ‘Interview’ button. It looks like as in the below screenshot.
Let’s say you change your mind after seeing the dates of availability or have done something wrong, you can click on the ‘Back’ button as shown in the above screenshot and start over to come to the options to choose a dropbox appointment.
You may also read Step by Step Guide to book H1B Dropbox Appointment with Screenshots
Emergency Appointment Qualifications
They have repeatedly mentioned on Facebook Live sessions that they do not approve all emergency appointment requests. They only approve, if the request meets the qualifications for an emergency appointment such as urgent medical need, funeral or death of a family member, urgent business travel, and Student/ Exchange visitors in urgent need to travel.
They say clearly on their website that the below do not qualify for an emergency appointment
- Attending Weddings, Graduation Ceremonies
- Helping Pregnant relatives
- Going to annual conferences either professional or academic
- Last-minute tourism requests.
Below is the screenshot of the actual list from the USTravelDocs Expedite appointment page
Existing Dropbox Appointment – Change to Regular for Emergency
They have not listed any guidance on their website regarding converting an existing currently booked dropbox appointment to a regular appointment to apply for an emergency appointment request.
Technically, in order to apply for an emergency appointment, you need to book both biometrics and an in-person appointment, then only you can request an emergency appointment. So, the only option that we can think of is to cancel your current dropbox appointment and then start over with the questionnaire, so that you can get the option to choose ‘Interview’ option as we explained above. This way you can choose the options in the new changed system and you can book the in-person appointment.
Note: We suggest, you check with USTravelDocs support on the above guidance before you go ahead and do anything like cancel your dropbox appointment. As this is a new option, we do not have many user experiences as well. We will wait for our community of users to share their feedback and experiences and update this article as we have more info.
What do you think of the new option to change dropbox to regular appointments for emergency requests? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.