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US Visa Stamping India Updates [Jun 2022]: All Slots for 2023, late 2022 are not placeholders

Some of you would have scheduled US Visa interview appointments scheduled in India, due to the unprecedented COVID-19 Situation in India and across the globe, US State Department continues to give news alerts on their website, Twitter, emails, etc. on how to handle US Visa appointments and the current operation status of their services.

On this page, we track all updates from official and unofficial sources, including users’ feedback and experiences. It is divided into sections with a summary, and timeline for easy review. We continue to update this page, you may bookmark this page.

Summary of all Updates from US Consulates in India as of June 20th, 2022

Below is the short summary of all updates from the US Consulates, and Embassy in India from March 2020 until June 20th, 2022. All the below are current and effective. You can check the timeline section to get detailed links and official sources, news screenshots in the next section.

Overall Current Status Summary: US Consulates in India continue to be closed for regular operations as of June 20th, 2022. Their focus now is F1 Students with lot of interview slots for F1 visas. They have started opening B1/B2 renewal slots on a rolling basis with interviews starting from Sep 2022. H/L visa slots are booked for several months, they have opened slots for late 2022 and 2023 for booking. The slots in late 2022 and 2023 are not placeholder slots. Also, for dropbox stamping, it can take anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks as per US Embassy and they can expedite dropbox cases. Read below and timeline for weekly updates.

  • Dropbox Stamping Processing Time: US Embassy updated on June 9th that the processing time for dropbox stamping can take anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks. They cannot really expedite the case and you cannot get your passport during this time. So, be prepared to keep it with US Embassy / Consulate for 3 to 4 weeks, before you send the passport.
  • Latest Update for 2022 from Head of US Consulates in India: There was a Facebook Live Q&A with Mr. Don Heflin on April 18th, 2022, where he outlined plans for 2022 across India Consulates for various visa types. Below is summary
  • In-Person Interview Waiver for Certain Visa Holders : On December 23rd, US Dept of State announced that they would give interview waiver for certain work visa holders and others as in below :
    • H1B, H4, L, O, P and Q visa holders who meet certain criteria will get in-person interview waiver until end of 2022 ( Dec 31, 2022) .
    • Also, F1, M, J visa holders who meet certain criteria would get in-person interview waiver until end of 2022 ( Dec 31, 2022)
  • Extremely Limited Visa Appointments : No Change
    • US Consulates will resume regular operations by mid-2023, if things stay normal as per latest update by Mr. Don Heflin in Facebook Live on April 18th, 2022.
    • The lifting of travel ban to US does not mean that you can get an appointment to get visa stamping.
    • There is no change in the situation in terms of how consulates operate. They are still operating in a limited fashion with limited appointments.
  • First Timer B1/B2 Appointment Slots:
    • On May 30th, 2022 US Embassy updated that they canceled all previous placeholder slots and now opened B1/B2 slots for regular first-time appointments all the way through 2023 and these are not placeholder slots. See the below timeline for the official update and still some confusion around the same.
    • US Embassy confirmed on April 18th, 2022 that they plan to open B1/B2 visa appointments for first-time applicants with interviews starting from September 1st, 2022. Appointment Slots to open now and then in the upcoming weeks.
    • They will be interviewed after the Student visa season in September 2022.
    • They have not given exact dates on when they will open the appointments to avoid everyone crashing the system.
    • On the May 21st, 2022 weekend many of our community members reported that they were able to book B1/B2 Slots.
  • F1 Visa Appointments for Fall 2022 :
    • US Embassy confirmed on May 18th, that that they opened slots for Fall 2022 applicants with appointment dates for June and the first half of July. They plan to open slots for the second half of July and August later.
    • They also said that they will give slots for applicants who have never been interviewed before, instead of giving slots for applicants who had F1 visas rejected earlier this year.
      • For first-time rejected applicants, they will open slots in the second half of August, where they can get a second chance to interview.
  • US Visa Dropbox Criteria 48 months from Expiry Status Extended : They changed the dropbox eligibility criteria to 48 months from expiry, instead of 12 months. This was valid until Dec 31, 2021. On December 23rd, 2021, they extended this indefinitely. There is no deadline on when the 48 months rule for interview waiver will end. See timeline section below for official links, screenshot of news.
  • US Travel Ban lifted for Vaccinated: US Govt lifted the travel ban for fully vaccinated individuals starting from November 8th, 2021. Below is summary of the same.
    • How will it work : You need to be fully vaccinated with an approved list of vaccines by WHO or FDA. Starting from June 12th, 2022, there is no requirement to show negative COVID test to travel to the US. Read US Travel Ban to be lifted from Nov 8, 2021 for Vaccinated
  • Agents Fraud Booking Slots : In response to some users’ concern that some agents are charging 6k to 8k INR for visa slots, US Consulate Mumbai is asking to report fraud to MumbaiF@state.gov with all relevant details. They say that information will be kept confidential. So, if you see someone doing fraud, report it.
  • Dropbox Stamping Slots – H1B, H4, L1, B1/B2, Others : US consulates all across the India are giving Interview waiver or Dropbox slots for H4, H1B and other visa renewals.
    • B1/B2 Slots for renewals are available from December 5th. There were many slots that were given out in early 2022 and they continue to be available for the upcoming months in a limited fashion.
  • MRV Fee Payment Validity Status : US Consulates in India have extended the MRV fee ( Visa Appointment Booking Fee) payment validity until September 30th, 2023 (extended in Nov 2021 by an year) to make sure all applicants get time to schedule visa appointment. It is updated on the US Embassy and USTravelDocs India Website.
  • Emergency Appointments(EA) Status, Guidance : If you cannot find a Visa slot, you can apply for US Visa Emergency Appointment as needed. You need to meet the criteria, if you want to request one. Read Guide to Apply for Emergency Appointment in India.
    • Due to extreme amount of demand, they have slowed down the approvals of EA requests . You can check US Visa EA Tracker
  • NIE Requirement : As the travel ban was lifted from Nov 8th, 2021, there is no need for National Interest Exception(NIE) requirement anymore. You can go for stamping like before, no need to carry any special letter with NIE details in it.

If you have not done emergency appointment requests in past, read Step by Step Guide to Apply for US Visa Emergency Appointment in India

  • 221g / Administrative Processing Status : US Consulates continue to process pending 221g applications. They will reach out to you soon. If you do not hear back, you can reach out to consulate for more updates.
  • Check US Visa India Experiences Telegram Group for those and Community Group for US Visa Appointments India – Discussions.
  • Immigrant Visa Stamping : US Embassy in India have resumed processing of Immigrant Visas and there are no restrictions in place. US Consulate in Mumbai is reaching out to the previous pending cases and they will be processed in chronological order. Due to backlogs, they say they cannot predict when someone would get their interview slot. Check timeline for the update from US Embassy website.

Below is the timeline of updates from the US Consulates and Embassy that are tracked regularly. You can check the official updates reference links in the below timelines. They are usually tweets or website updates from the US Consulate/ US Embassy.

June 20th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from the previous week until now.

  • No changes in the overall US Consulates situation in India, they are still operating in a limited fashion.
  • Not Placeholder Slots: US Embassy confirmed again last week saying that all the visa appointments for various visa types that are open in 2022 and for 2023 are not placeholder appointments. They suggest booking any slot that one gets and planning the travel around that as getting slots can be difficult. See the below screenshot and US Embassy Official Post
US Visa Appointments in India for 2022 and 2023 - Not placeholder slots
US Visa Appointments in India for 2022 and 2023 – Not placeholder slots

Visa Fridays: Below are the key updates from Visa Fridays organized by US Embassy in India on Jun 17th, 2022.

  • F1 Slots for Refused applicants: US Embassy plans to open F1 visa appointment slots soon for first-time refused F1 applicants, planning to go to fall 2022, with appointment dates in late August
  • Delays with No F1 Slots: If you do not get a slot before your school start date, they suggest talking to the school and asking for flexibility with start dates.
  • H1B/H4 Dropbox Slots: They say that these slots are pretty much full for the next few months.
    • They plan to open some more slots for Fall and winter as resources allow.
    • They have opened slots for 2023 so that people can plan ahead their travel. They say to keep looking for slots, as sometimes there are cancellations or new appointments are opened as they capacity permits.
  • Emergency appointments: They say that weddings, family visits, graduations, grandkid’s birth, and the start of school for kids in the US are not eligible for an emergency appointment.
  • B1/B2 Slots: They said that B1/B2 slots for first-time applicants got filled quickly. They suggest monitoring their site for slots as they may open as they can accommodate.
  • Check fully details in comments at Visa Fridays Q & A from US Embassy

June 13th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from June 1st, 2022 until now.

  • No new updates on the regular visa operations situation in India, they continue to be like in previous weeks.
  • US Embassy India updated their website saying that travelers to the US do not need to show a negative COVID test anymore starting from June 12th, 12:01 AM. Read full details at No Need of Negative COVID Test to Travel to the US
    • No changes to the vaccination requirements, you still need to be fully vaccinated.
    • See the below screenshot from US Embassy website and the Official tweet.
No need of negative covid test to travel to US
No need of a negative covid test to travel to the US
  • US Embassy Updated on June 9th, 2022 that for Dropbox Stamping submissions, it can take anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks for the processing and they cannot expedite the processing of the same. Also, they said you cannot get the passport back during these 3 to 4 weeks period if you really want to for any reason. See below screenshot or check the tweet below.
    • In general, the dropbox processing time SLA is about 7 to 10 working days, but due to the higher load, it seems they are taking more than that time.
    • Also, if you check the crowdsourced VisaGrader Dropbox Stamping tracker, which has hundreds of cases, the numbers reflect the same. The average is anywhere from 12 to 16 days or more.
    • This is not new, all you need to know is to factor in 4 weeks’ time to be safe when you arrive in India for Dropbox stamping.
US Embassy Update - Processing time for Dropbox Stamping in India 3 to 4 weeks
US Embassy Update – Processing time for Dropbox Stamping in India 3 to 4 weeks
  • US Embassy had Visa Fridays on June 2nd, where they answered common FAQs. Below are the key updates from the same:
    • Not Placeholder appointments: The recent B1/B2 appointments for Jan 2023 or H/L appointments for November are not placeholder appointments. See the below screenshot.
    • F1 Slots: If you have not got an F1 Visa slot for Fall, nothing to worry. They will open more slots in the upcoming weeks for late July and the first half of August.
    • B1/B2 Visa Slots: They are offering first-timers in-person B1/B2 slots now for appointments in September and later. You can book slots now.
    • H1B, L1 Visa appointments slots: They said that they will focus on H1B, L1 appointments from September. November. The H/L slots available now for November 2022 are not placeholder slots. They plan to open more slots for H/L in the upcoming weeks for appointments between September to December 2022.
    • Check the comments section of Visa Fridays Post from US Embassy
  • First time B1/B2 Visa Appointments: US Embassy has updated their website indicating that the first time B1/B2 visa appointments will be starting in September and they will not be placeholder slots. See the below screenshot from the US Embassy Official Page
US Embassy Update on First time B1:B2 Visas in India - June 2022
US Embassy Update on First time B1/ B2 Visas in India – June 2022
US Visa Stamping India Updates for June 2022 - Not Placeholders
US Visa Stamping India Updates for June 2022 – Not Placeholders

May 30th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from the previous week, until today.

  • Still, all the US Consulates in India continue to be operating in a limited fashion as in previous weeks. No new updates in terms of slots for other visa types.
  • B1/B2 First Timers Slots : US Embassy announced on Sunday, May 29th, 2022 that they are resuming in-person appointments for first-time B1/B2 applications. Below is the update and confusion around the same.
    • They said that they canceled all previous B1/B2 placeholder appointments that users had until now.
    • First-time B1/B2 applicants can now book in-person appointments for interviews.
    • The appointments for such first-time B1/B2 applicants would be starting from September 2022. They say that applicants can book Regular B1/B2 Appointments ( not placeholder slots) all the way through 2023. See the below screenshot and links for the official update.
    • Confusion: There is confusion still regarding the regular vs placeholder slots. If you login to the CGI Federal Portal and try to go through the wizard, it will show that slots in October 2022 and later are placeholder slots. See below. If you planning to book a regular slot for 2023 or later in the year, it is good to double check with the US Consulate.
Placeholder Slots Message on US Visa Appointments Page
Placeholder Slots Message on US Visa Appointments Page

May 23rd, 2022: Below are the latest updates from the previous week, until today.

  • No change in the overall US consulates situation in India. They continue to be operating in a limited fashion.
  • Many users in our B1/B2 Visa Telegram Group informed a lot of B1/B2 Slots opened over the weekend on May 21/22 and they were able to book slots.
  • US Embassy had Visa Fridays on May 20th, 2022. Here are the key updates:
    • They repeated what was said in the previous week’s updates. Nothing new.
    • They did confirm that renewals for B1/B2 slots are opened on a rolling basis. They plan to open first time B1/B2 in the upcoming weeks to start interviews in September.
    • The same situation with H and L Visas – Most slots are fully booked for the next few months and they will open more starting in September.
    • If you have not got an F1 appointment, they said they will open more slots for the rest of the July and first half of August later.
  • You can read the below updates for previous guidance.

May 18th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from the last two weeks, until today.

  • No changes in terms of consulates operation status.
  • US Embassy Confirmed on May 18th that they opened slots for June and the first half of July for F, M and J visa applicants. They plan to open the second half of July and the first half of August appointments later. Also, for first-time rejected applicants, they will get a chance to book slots for the second half of August. See below official post on FB page
    • The above was confirmed by our user community. There was a large batch of F1 visa student appointment slots that were opened over the weekend (May 15th). There was an outage as well for the appointment booking website due to high traffic over the weekend.
  • US Embassy organized Visa Fridays on May 6th. Below are the key updates:
    • Nothing new in terms of news, just a re-iteration of previous guidance
    • They plan to open first-time B1/B2 slots in the upcoming weeks to start interviews in September.
    • Slots are fully booked for H and L for the next few months. They will open more starting in September as conditions allow them.
    • A large batch of F1 student appointments will open later in May.
  • You can read below updates for previous guidance.

May 2nd, 2022: Below are the latest updates from last week, until today.

  • No significant updates or new guidance by US Consulates in India in the last week.
  • US Consulates in India processed about 130,000 Immigrant and Non-immigrant visas in February and March 2022.
  • US Embassy has released 3 videos that emphasize the previously announced Dropbox appointments eligibility for anyone with a previous US Visa and details about F1 visa appointments planning. See below the video links
  • US Embassy also updated their Facebook page saying they will not entertain any Emergency Appointments for F1 students applying for Fall 2022 now as it is really early and there is time to book slots
  • US Consulates are set to release tens of thousands of F1 visa slots for Fall 2022 starting from mid-May stay tuned. They have not given a specific date.
  • Regarding slots for other visa types like B1/B2, H1B, L1 and others see below updates from April. There is no change in the guidance.
US Visa Stamping F1 Visa Updates May 2022
US Visa Stamping F1 Visa Updates May 2022

April 25th, 2022: Below are some key updates since the previous update

  • No new changes in terms of consulate operation status or opening of appointments since the last update on April 19th, 2022.
  • Visa Fridays by US Embassy India : On April 21st, US Embassy had Visa Fridays and answered common questions. Below are the updates that are new. Most of the answers they gave were the same as from the April 18th update by Mr. Don Heflin. See below update from April 19th.
    • H and L Dropbox Appointments: The dropbox appointments for H1B, H4, L1, L2 are full for the next few months. They will start to open appointments starting in September as conditions allow.
    • B1/B2 in-person Slots for first-timers would open in the next few weeks, no specific date was indicated in the responses to the question asked by users. .
    • No Priority for anyone : There will not be any priority given to anyone waiting for appointments since 2020., especially if you had an old appointment and it got canceled. Everyone has same priority and need to keep looking.
    • Clearance Received or Department Authorization: If you are seeking B1/B2 renewal and meet all conditions for dropbox, except that your previous visa has “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization” Annotation, then you can raise an Emergency/ Expedited Appointment request and give the reason saying regarding the annotation, they will help with the in-person appointment. See the below screenshot.
US Visa Clearance Received - need appointment
US Visa Clearance Received – need an appointment

April 19th, 2022: On April 18th, 2022, US Consulate in Chennai hosted a Facebook Live Q & A session with Mr. Don Heflin, who is the head of the US Consulates in India. Below are some key updates:

  • US Consulates to issue about 800K visas in India in next 12 months
  • No more placeholders slots, you can book appointments far beyond 6 months up to 1.5 years and use the same.
  • F1 Slots to open in mid-May for June and beyond
  • Fresh B1/B2 applicants slots to open soon for interviews from Sep 1st, 2022.
  • H and L Visas Dropbox Slots fully booked for Summer
  • There are many more updates, read complete details at US Visa Appointments in India – 2022 updates by Head of Consulates.
  • Watch the Official Video Recording of the same below

April 11th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from April until today, including last week.

  • The US Consulates have not opened fully for regular operations, they continue to operate in a very limited fashion with limited slots.
  • US Consulates continue to say that the limited slots opened are exhausted in a very short amount of time. See below the official tweet
  • US Embassy answered questions on Visa Fridays on April 8th, below are key updates
    • F1 Appointments for Fall 2022: US Embassy mentioned that they will give slots to students who did not interview before, instead of giving more slots for someone rejected. This is not fully clear, but that’s the meaning of their reply. See the below screenshot. They have not given exact date when they will open slots for Fall 2022.
    • First Timer B1/B2 Slots: They said they will open first-timer B1/B2 Slots as soon as possible. No date was mentioned when they will open. They will start interviewing these applicants after the student visa season ( Aug, Sep 2022)
    • Limited Availability of Slots : They continue to say that the slots are limited and they fill quickly.
  • US Embassy updated their website as part of the top 10 visa questions. Below are the key updates related to the same.
    • F1 Visa Slots for Fall 2022: US Embassy mentioned that they will open F1 appointments for Fall 2022 applicants in the next several weeks. These applicants can start to look and book appointments after they receive I-20.
    • B1/B2 Slots for Fist time applicants: They plan to open B1/B2 Slots for first-time/fresh applicants soon. These will be limited slots and they will interview these applications later part of the year after the F1 Visa Fall 2022 appointments rush. Likely around Aug/Sep 2022. Below is the screenshot of the actual guidance
First Time B1 B2 Applicants Slots to Open
First Time B1 B2 Applicants Slots to Open later in 2022
Rejected F1 Applicants Cannot apply for Fall 2022
Rejected F1 Applicants Cannot apply for Fall 2022
When will B1 B2 Appointments be Opened April 2022
When will B1 B2 Appointments be Opened April 2022

March 29th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from March until today, includes last week as well.

  • US Consulates in India continue to operate in very limited fashion and not open for regular operations yet.
  • Last week, on March 24th, there was Visa Fridays Q&A answered by US Embassy in India. Below are the updates :
    • Student Appointments for Fall 2022 will be opened later in the spring
    • Still no date on when they will resume fresh B1/B2. Only limited B1/B2 dropbox is processed at the moment. If you have a valid emergency, raise an Emergency appointment request and provide supporting documents.
    • If you are called up to attend graduation for F1 students, you can raise an Emergency appointment.
    • Limited H1B Slots, but they are filling up fast.
  • There are limited slots that are open for in-person and they fill quickly. No changes in the situation and consulates continuously say the same message on their official Twitter account saying that they have limited capacity and slots.
  • There was no Visa Fridays Q&A by US Embassy in the last two weeks, which was supposed to be on March 11th and March 18th.
  • Earlier in March, as part of the Visa Friday’s Q&A, US Embassy stated the below on March 4th, 2022.
    • They are not opening slots for fresh B1/B2 stampings yet and do not know when they will open B1/B2 Stamping slots for first time B1/B2 applicants. ( see below screenshot).
    • They clarified again that B1/B2 dropbox is only available for anyone with previous B1/B2 visa expired within the last 48 months.
    • If you are an F1 student and not able to get visa slot for stamping, you may seek Emergency US Visa appointment by explaining the reason for the same.
    • They are opening more H1B Slots, but due to the demand, they fill up quickly.
    • They say they are trying to incrase the capacity, but say to expect significant wait times for quite some time.
B1 B2 Visa Stamping for New Applicant
B1 B2 Visa Stamping for New Applicant

February 28th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from February until today.

  • No new updates from last week. The situation is same as previous week.
  • No change in the overall situation of Consulates in India, they continue to be operating in limited fashion like in the previous weeks.
  • Consulates in India continue to release very few interview waiver slots and they fill out quickly as per them. See below tweets.
  • On Feb 18th, they updated during their Visa Fridays that they do not know when they will open first time B1/B2 Appointments. This has been a big issue for many familes planning to invite their parents to visit them. See below screenshot of the response.
  • During week of Feb 10th, Indian Govt announced that for travelers arriving in India from Feb 14th onwards there is no need for RT-PCR test, if you are fully vaccinated. This will reduce and some hassle and we may see more people traveling to India. For full details check : Travel to India – No need of RT-PCR, if fully vaccinated
  • During the week of Feb 7th, there was a video update given by US Embassy on the status of appointments and their focus for next months. Below are the details, you can check the tweet and video as well below:
    • US Embassy in India processed a record number of 120,000 F1 Visas in 2021.
    • As the F1 visas for spring are processeed, now they say that they will focus on the H1B, L1 and other petition based visas starting from February 2022. They plan to open more in-person and dropbox slots.
    • Due to Omicron variant, if Govt gives any instructions then they may cancel appointments. If they do cancel, they will inform the applicants affected. Also, in general, they do not plan to cancel appointments, if there is no specific local guidance or restriction.
    • They suggest to attend the interview, if they have a slot confirmed.
B1 B2 Appointments New Booking Update Feb 2022
B1/B2 Appointments New Booking Update Feb 2022

January 31st, 2022: Below are the latest updates from the last three weeks until today.

  • No change in the overall situation of consulates, they all are operating in limited fashion. Check previous week’s update for details.
  • The consulates have not done any drastic changes due to the increase in cases in India with the new Omicron variant spread, except closing the F1 slots for Spring 2022.
  • US Embassy India has given official guidance as FAQ on their website regarding converting in-person to dropbox. As per them, they suggest not to cancel an in-person appointment. They suggest to cancel and book dropbox slot, only when they find a slot. They also said they cannot guarantee getting a slot. This guidance is in-line with the customer service response from previous week. See below screenshot from their website.
Interview Waiver Appointment - Convert - Cancel Guidance by US Embassy India
Interview Waiver Appointment – Convert – Cancel Guidance by US Embassy India

January 11th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from the last 10 days until today.

  • On Jan 11th, US Embassy said that they do not plan to open any more F1 visa stamping slots for in-person interview for the month of January. Also, they do not plan to cancel existing appointments. So, if you have an appointment, you are good, otherwise, you would need to defer your admission. They are doing this considering the COVID situation in India. See below screenshot and check US Embassy India Facebook Page
  • No change in US Consulates operation status, they all are processing in limited fashion as like in before weeks.
  • US Consulates in India continue to be operating normally despite the recent COVID-19 cases increase in the country. We need to wait and see, if this would change in the upcoming days as there are more cases reported now.
  • Many reached out to US TravelDocs team asking, if they can convert the in-person appointments to Dropbox. The response from the support team is, users cannot covert the appointments, but they can cancel and re-book, if they qualify. See below screenshot of the response from them
    • The trick to cancellation is to find an open slot. There is no gurantee for that. You can chose to attend the in-person interview, if you have it confirmed. If any doubt, reach out to them or consulate directly.
US Embassy India not to open more F1 Slots for Spring 2022
US Embassy India not to open more F1 Slots for Spring 2022
Should I cancel my in person visa interview Appointment
Should I cancel my in-person visa interview Appointment

January 1st, 2022 : Below are the latest updates from today.

  • The CGI Federal / USTravelDocs website got updated with two new questions that is used to determine the interview waiver eligibility based on the new rule.
  • The two new questions are : “Do you have previous visa in any class issued ?” and “Have you ever been refused a Visa before ?”
  • You can check How does new Interview Waiver Rule work – Screenshots for more details. See below screenshots to get an idea of the same.
  • No change in US Consulates operation status, they all are processing in limited fashion as like in before weeks.
Do you have previous visa in any visa class issued
Do you have previous visa in any visa class issued
Have you ever been refused a visa before
Have you ever been refused a visa before

December 28th, 2021: Below are the latest updates from today.

  • US Embassy in India gave official update indicating that they would release additional 20,000 slots for interview waiver (dropbox) based on the new rule.
  • The new interview waiver rule as mentioned before by US Dept of State would apply to F, H1, H-3,H4 , Non-Blanket L, M, O, P, Q and Academic J Visas only.
  • We do not have the specifics on how they would implement this new interview waiver exception yet. As they mentioned it would be interview waiver slots, very likely this would be integrated as part of the questionnaire that everyone does during the appointment booking. So far, no update from users from community onthe change. We will keep you all posted.
  • They did not mention the exact dates or times, when the additional 20,000 slots would be released. See below FAQ screenshot from their website
  • They continue to say that they have staffing shortages due to pandemic and slots get filled quickly as they are released.
  • Below screenshot is the official update on US Embassy Website
When will new appointments be released in India
When will new appointments be released in India?
Interview Waiver - 20000 slots for Spring in India Update
Interview Waiver – 20,000 slots for Spring in India Update

December 27th, 2021: Below are the latest updates from the recent week.

  • US Dept of State announced that they will waive in-person interview for certain non-immigrant temporary work visa holders like H1B, H4, L1, O1, others until end of 2022.
  • Also, they extended the 48 months dropbox rule indefinitely. Check below screenshot.
  • Check complete details on the interview waiver and extension of dropbox at article : US Visa Interview Waiver for Some visa types, Dropbox Extended
  • Check below screenshot or Official News at US Dept of State Annoucement
  • We are yet to get more deails from USTravelDocs ( CGI Federal ) and US Embassy in India on how they will implement the new Interview Waiver option for certain H1B, H4, Others . Stay tuned for updates.
  • They also said that they wil open more F1 slots for Spring. So, keep checking, if you are looking for a slot. Check below tweet from US Consulate in Mumbai.
48 Months Dropbox Rule Extended Indefinitely
48 Months Dropbox Rule Extended Indefinitely
Interview Waiver for Certain Visa Holders and Extension of 48 months Rule
Interview Waiver for Certain Visa Holders and Extension of 48 months Rule

December 20th, 2021: Below are the latest updates from the last two weeks until today.

  • No Change in the way consulates operate in India. They are operating in limited fashion with few appointments
  • 48 Months Dropbox Extension :
    • No official update on the 48 month dropbox rule that is set to expire on December 31st, 2021. US Consualte Mumbai replied saying that they cannot specuate on future changes in policies regarding this dropbox rule. See below tweet from them.
    • Many are really confused on what will happend to their appointments, if they do not extend. We need to wait and see for official update on this.
  • Many were able to book B1/B2 dropbox appointments in the last couple of weeks.
  • Regarding F1 visa stamping slots, there are fewer slots available. If you did not get a slot, you can raise an Emergency Appointment request. US Consulates said they will need 5 days to respond to such requests. Also, if your F1 Visa stamping was rejected, they will not give you Emergency appointment for giving the interview again for Spring.

December 6th, 2021: Below are the latest updates from Nov 29th until today.

  • B1/ B2 Dropbox Slots Open :
    • Dropbox slots for B1/B2 visitor visa were open from December 5th evening ( India Time).
    • There were a lot of slots released on Dec 6th in early monring as well. They continue to release more slots.
    • Most of these slots are for Jan 2022 and Feb 2022. Many of our readers in our B1/B2 Telegram Community Group confirmed the same.
    • US Embassy in India said they do not have any date in mind on when they will open fresh B1/B2 stamping slots.
  • Dropbox slots continue to be open for H1B, H4, L and other visa types. The number of slots are limited and they fill quickly.
  • More F1 visa appointment slots are open as the focus is on Spring 2022 students.
  • All US consulates in India continue to operate in limited fashion with limited number of appointments. Regular operations are not yet open. see below tweets.
  • There are no new restrictions or rules in place due to the new COVID variant Omicorn in India in context of US visa stamping appointments. Things may change due to situations in the respective cities.
  • 221g cases that were given due to the travel ban will be processed by Consulates soon. They will contact the applicants. See below tweet.

November 29th, 2021: Below are the latest updates in the last few weeks.

  • No new updates in the last week. It was Thanksgiving break and nothing much changed.
  • On Nov 19th, 2021, US Dept of State gave guidacne that they have lifted all the restrictions for consulates regarding visa issuances and all the consulats globally are working to reduce the visa appointment wait times. They said, it is upto the US Consulate’s discretion to assess the situation and give more slots or open for regular operations. See below screenshot.
  • Despite the US Dept of State’s guidnace, US Consulates in India still are operating in limited fashion. They are mostly giving dropbox slots and focused on F1 Stamping slots in November and December 2021.
  • No new update on any of the consulate websites or twitter account, when they will open regular operations. As per guidance from the FB live with the head of US consulates, they do not plan to open anytime soon. Check more at : US Consulates Head Guidance for US Visa Appointments in India for more info .
  • See below tweet from US Consulate Mumbai indicating that lifting ban does not mean they will process everything.
US Visa Appointments Guidance Nov 2021
US Visa Appointments Guidance Nov 2021

November 10th, 2021: Below are the latest updates from this week.

  • On Nov 10th, 2021 there was a live Facebook session with head of US consulates in India. They gave below high level guidance
    • Nov, Dec will be F1 students focus for them with limited H1B, L1 slots.
    • They will open slots from Jan to May 2022 for all H, L, B1/B2 visa dropbox starting from late Nov and early December
    • They do not expect the consulate to resume normal processing soon.
    • There are a lot of updates from that call. Check article US Consulates Head Guidance for US Visa Appointments in India for more info .
    • You can watch the below official video as well for more info

November 8th, 2021: Below are the latest updates from November.

  • Even though the travel ban is lifted, there is no change in the US Consulates visa appointments situation. Only limited appointments for Dropbox and some regular appointments. No Dropbox slots open for B1/B2 Appointments yet.
  • US Embassy in India has extened the Visa Appointment Fee (MRV Fee) validity by an year to September 30, 2023. If you were not able to book an appointment since the consulates have been closed due to COVID, you are in good shape as you have until Sep 2023 to book an appointment. See screenshot below
  • US Consulates confirmed that lifting of the travel ban does not mean that they will be able to accept more visa interviews or process 221g applications that are stuck. See below tweet.
  • There is a Facebook Live event on Nov 10th at 4 PM IST by US Mission India. Hopefully we get more details on the consulates situation then. Check below twee for more info.
US Visa Fee ( MRV Fee) Validity in India Extended until Sep 2023
US Visa Fee ( MRV Fee) Validity in India Extended until Sep 2023

October 25th, 2021: Below are the latest updates from the last two weeks until today.

  • No Changes in the US Visa appointments situation in India. Only limited appointments. Below are official tweets
  • No Changes to the B1/B2 Appointments. This was one of the most frequently asked question and US consulate did not give any information on this. See below screenshot and check Top 10 FAQs of week on US Embassy Website
  • US Travel Ban will be lifted from Nov 8th, 2021 for fully vaccinated persons.
B1/B2 Visa Stamping Slots Situation in India – Oct 2021

October 11th, 2021: Below are the latest updates from last week until today.

  • No change in the visa appointments availablity or consulates operations status. Everything continues to be in limited fashion. Check previous week update, it is all the same info on visa appointments.
  • Rumor : US Travel Ban Lifting may get delayed as per Forbes article.
    • The main reason is due to two things : Firstly, the delays related to US Federal Agencies to sign off on everythingl ike White House, Dept of Transport, State Dept, National Institute of Health. Secondly, the systems in place inside US to validate the vaccination status from travelers.
    • US Does not have sophisticated way to track and validate vaccination status of individuals coming in from other countries, inlcuding their citizens. See below snippted by UK Minister
UK Minister Info on Travel Ban
UK Travel Minister quote on lifting US Travel Ban – Source Forbes article

October 4th, 2021: Below are the latest updates from last week until today.

  • RumorsUS Travel Ban to be lifted from Nov 1st : There was a tweet last week from Official Twitter account of Austrian Ambassador to US stating that White House intention is to lift the travel ban from November 1st, 2021. But, it is not confirmed yet. See below tweet.
    • Until we have an official date, it is not confirmed. Do NOT book your tickets based on rumors.
    • Still NO official update from US Embassy in India as well on the lifting of travel ban.
  • The US consulates and US Embassy continue to be closed for regular operations and only handling limited appointments like in previous weeks.
  • No change in B1/B2 visa stampings. Very limited visa renewal using Dropbox Appointments. Check below tweets and previous weeks updates.

September 27th, 2021: Below are the latest updates since Sep 19th.

  • US Travel Ban to be lifted for Vaccinated : On Sep 20th, 2021, US Govt announced that they plan to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated individuals starting from early November 2021. You can check all details at US Travel Ban to be Lifted from Nov 2021 – Summary, FAQs
  • The travel ban when lifted would also be applicable to India too as the new policy is based on individual’s vaccination status, rather than country of origin.
  • We do not have any official update on US Embassy India website yet related to the new travel ban lifting guidance.
  • No change in the consualte operations or the availability of the slots across India. Everything is in very limited mode as like previous weeks.
  • B1/B2 visa stampings has not resumed yet. Only limited interview waiver or Dropbox Appointments. Check below tweets and previous weeks updates.

September 19th, 2021: Below are the updates from the last three weeks.

  • No changes in the US Consulate Operations in a couple of weeks. As of Sep 19th, US Consulates continue to be operating in a limited fashion with limited slots.
  • Only Emergency Appointments and Dropbox with NIE approvals can go for stamping.
  • We do not know when the consulates will open for regular stamping for everyone. Travel Ban continues to be in effect as well.
  • US Embassy confirmed again on Sep 12th saying that, if you attend US Visa interview for new visa, you will be assessed for NIE. So, you must have NIE to get visa, otherwise, you may end up getting 221g form for not having NIE. Also, if you are H1B, they suggest to submit proof during request of Emergency appointment. See below tweets from official US Embassy account.
  • US Embassy also updated on Sep 8th confirming that they understand the demand for H1B and L1 related appointments and will open more slots as conditions allow them. See below tweet.

August 30th, 2021 : Below are the updates from the past two weeks

  • No Change in the general consular operation status. They all are operating in limited fashion with limited appointments.
  • No official updates on the US Embassy website, when they will open up for other visa types. While there are some rumors posted on some news sites that they may resume H1B from next week, nothing is confirmed by US Embassy yet.
  • US Embassy confirmed that they gave around 55K F1 Visas for Indian Students, which is the highest record and that many students would board planes to study in US. See below tweet
  • NIE Requests can take up to 3 weeks for the response, so they ask everyone to wait. Also, they say they cannot guarantee a decision as well within that time. In fact, many users took much longer time to get the same. See below tweet.

August 16th, 2021: Below are the updates from the past three weeks until today.

  • No changes in the status of the US Consulates operations or availability of appointments across India. The status continues to be like in previous weeks.
  • US Embassy India conducted Visa Fridays, where they answer questions on the many aspects of US Visas. This happend on Aug 13th, 2021. No new updates were mentioned in that. Everything is as past. They did not indicate anything on if anything would change in Consualte operations.
  • As per US Embassy, they are opening very few slots for H1B, H4 and they fill fast. They suggest to take a placeholder slot and then ask for Expedite appointment, if you are eligble. They also confirmed that B1/B2 is not allowed as per proclamation. They strongly suggest anyone in US, if planning to come to India to be prepared for delays, if they need to get stamping. See below.
  • WhiteHouse is working on a plan, where they may require all foreign travelers to US to be vaccinated. They believe that this is needed to safely open the border without causing too much spike in cases and safely. It is not final or official yet, but still being worked on as an option. We need to wait and see, what would come out of this. This news was reported by Reuters on Aug 5th, 2021.
  • Limited availability of Dropbox for all visa types, except B2 visa. Also, there is no NIE given for B2 visas, even if you have the visa to travel. Some have taken the route of going to Mexico or other country and spend 14 days there and then travel to US as a workaround for this.
  • There is no estimated date or time given by US consulates on when they will open the consulate for regular operations.
  • Also, Travel Ban may not be lifted in the near term citing the Delta Variant issues. This news was confirmed by Reuters based on information from WhiteHouse officials. So, be prepared and plan your travel or NIE accordingly.

Jul 26th, 2021: Below are the latest updates in the last three weeks.

  • No Change in the consulate operating status across all the consulates. All are operating in a limited fashion.
  • F1 Slots : US Consulates say they are opening more slots for F1 students. In some cases, they are allowing Emergency Appointment as well. They also mentioned that they are aware of the high demand and continue to add more slots. See below tweets from US consulate.
  • Report Agents charging for Slots : US Consulate Mumbai is requesting users to report details of agents or anyone doing fraud by selling visa slots for money like 6K to 8K INR. You can report them at email MumbaiF@state.gov. The consualte says they will keep everything confidential. See below tweet.
  • Interview waiver or Dropbox appointment are given for all visa types, except B1/B2 visas. Of course, they are limited in nature. US Consulate Mumbai confirmed that they are giving extremely limited slots for interview waiver ant they fill quickly, check below tweet.
  • Check Latest US Visa Stamping Experinces shared by Users for July 2021
  • See below tweets for latest official update on the above

Jul 7th, 2021 : US Dept of state announced that they have changed the National Interest exception (NIE) validity from 30 days to 12 months. This is effective from July 6th, 2021. Also, this will apply to previously issued NIE exceptions by the consulate as well. The same was confirmed by US Embassy in India as well. See below Official screenshots and links

Below is the revised guidance from the US Dept of State on their official press release

NIE Valid for 12 months from the date issued Change by US Dept of State
NIE Valid for 12 months from the date issued Change by US Dept of State

Below is the update on the US Embassy India website confirming the same in the FAQs

NIE Valid for 12 months from US Embassy India website
NIE Valid for 12 months from US Embassy India website

Email response from US Embassy in Delhi in India NIE valid for 12 months and says it applies to existing ones as well.

National Interest Exception now valid for 12 months - Email from US Embassy Delhi
National Interest Exception now valid for 12 months – Email from US Embassy Delhi

Jul 4th, 2021: Below are the updates in the last three weeks.

  • Consulates General Operations: Though the situation in India is getting better with fewer new COVID cases, there is no change in the overall consulates operation status. All of them are still closed for regular operations and still operating limited fashion. There is no estimated time when they would open regular operations.
  • Student Visa Appointments : As of July 2nd, 2021, US Consualtes update that they continue to add more slots as it permits. Previouly, on June 25th, US Embassy updated that they released more slots for F1 students going for Fall 2021. Also, they updated the US Embassy website saying that they continue to add more and more slots for F1 students. See below screenshot
    • They confirmed again on June 28th saying that they cannot expedite F1 students’ appointments for Fall 2021. They will open more slots for the same. Students need to work with School for adjusting start dates or get flexibility.
  • Mumbai Consulate is providing very limited interview waivers and other work visa slots. Not fully opening them yet. Also, essential services for US Citizens continue to be provided.
  • Dropbox Slots: All other Consulates, except Mumbai, are opening more Dropbox Slots for H4, H1B and other non-immigrant visas. See below tweets by the official account.
US Visa Stamping status f1 update June 28-2021
US Visa Stamping situation at Consulates – F1 update June 28-2021

  • June 14th, 2021 : Below are the updates in the last one week until June 14th.
    • There is no change in the overall status of the consualtes operations. They all continue to be closed for regular operations. Only one key change is the opening up of slots for F1 Students going for Fall 2021. See below screenshot from US Embassy website.
    • There was a call with Head of US Consulates in India on June 10th, where they outlined all the situation and how they plan to operate in the next few months. Most focus would be for F1 students and they will open tens of thousands of appointments starting from June 14th, 2021. Check article : Status of US Visa Appointments in India in Jul, Aug for F1, H1, Others for full summary.
    • On June 14th, 2021, the system did open a lot of slots. But, there were lot of glitches in the system. There were slots mainly for F1 students, but there were few for other visa holders like H1B as well. The consulates did acknowledge the issue. See below tweet
US Visa Stamping India - June F1 Students Priority update consulate website
US Visa Stamping India – June F1 Students Priority update consulate website
  • June 7th, 2021 : Below are the latest updates in last three weeks as of today
    • No new changes last week. Still, regular operations of the consulates have not commenced.
    • US Embassy updated their website last week telling that they are handling some appointments in an extremely limited fashion. See the below screenshot.
    • If you have an appointment and it does not get canceled, then you can attend the interview. But, if you get a cancellation, then you cannot. So, very much unknown situation.
    • Also, you need to qualify for NIE to attend the visa interview. If not, there is a chance that you may get 221g.
US Embassy Updates - US Visa Stamping - May 24-2021
US Embassy Updates – US Visa Stamping – May 24-2021
  • May 17th, 2021 : Below are the latest updates in the last two weeks
    • US Consulates are issuing 221(g) form for Visa applicants who attended visa interviews around the proclamation time frame. It says that Presidential proclamation is in effect and they need additional supporting evidence to consider for NIE and issue the visa. Applicants need to submit all the supporting documentation to the consulate email. It looks as in below screenshot. Check US Travel Ban for Travelers from India – Exceptions List, Process for more info on what they need to submit.
    • No changes in the situation at all US Consulates and US Embassy. All appointments related to US Visa stamping – in person interview, dropbox, biometrics are cancelled until further notice.
    • Only essential services are provided to US Citizens and some Emergency Appointment. See below latest official update from US Consulate in Mumbai.
    • For F1 students, the US consulate suggest not to apply for Emergency visa appointment (EA), if the program starts after one month from today. Meaning, raise an EA only if your program starts within a month.
    • There is no estimated date when the consulates will start to issue more slots and return to before levels.
221g issued for US Travel ban for India Travelers
221g issued for US Travel ban for India Travelers
  • May 2nd, 2021 : Below are most recent updates as of May 2nd, 2021
    • All US Visa appointments in India cancelled at US Embassy in Delhi and all consulates in India until further notice. See below screenshot of news.
    • There is no estimated date when they will resume the Visa stamping appointments in India.
    • Consulates are only providing emergency appointment services for US Citizens.
US Visa Stampings India - May 2nd status
US Visa Stampings India – May 2nd status
  • April 27th, 2021 :
    • US Embassy website is updated with official announcement stating that all the Biometrics appointments, In-person visa interview appointments, Interview waiver or dropbox appointments would be cancelled until May 15th, 2021 across consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, including US Embassy in Delhi. Only emergency services for US Citizens and only approved emergency appointments will be honoured.
    • US Consulate in Mumbai is providing emergency services for US Citizens and limited emergency appointments for immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
    • See below screenshot and check Official Page of US Embassy
US Visa Stamping India Update - April 27 2021
US Visa Stamping India Update – April 27 2021
  • April 26th, 2021 : Below are the key updates from April 19th until April 26th.
    • US Embassy in Delhi Cancelled all in-person visa appointments, dropbox appointments from April 26th to May 9th due to severe COVID situation in Delhi. See below screenshot from US Embassy India website and tweet from them on twitter
    • Mumbai also continues to offer only emergency services. Other consulates are operating in very limited capacity.
    • Chennai started to send out Cancellation emails on April 25th morning for visa interviews, biometrics and Interview waiver appointments. As per the email the appointments are cancelled from Apr 26th to May 15th, 2021. See below screenshot shared by users for interview waiver and in person visa interview. Many other users reported they got similar cancellation email for Biometrics as well. Also, the US Embassy website updated on Apr 26th morning regarding the same, see below screenshot.
US Embassy Consulate updates Apr 26
US Embassy Consulate updates Apr 26
US Consulate in Chennai Cancels Interview and Dropbox in April 2021
US Consulate in Chennai Cancels Interview and Dropbox in April 2021
  • April 19th, 2021 : Below are the key updates in the last week, including today.
    • US Embassy in Delhi is cancelling all in-person interviews from April 20th to April 25th due to the curfew in Delhi. The initially said that they would cancel biometrics and dropbox, but later updated on twitter that Biometrics and Dropbox Appointments will be honoured this week. See below screenshot from Official US Embassy website and below tweets from them.
    • Mumbai Consulate continues to only operate in limited fashion for essential services.
    • All the appointment cancellations would be notified to the applicant.
    • US Consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata are working normally with limited capacity.
    • Still none of the consulates are fully open for regular operations, they continue to be in limited operations with limited appointments. There is no set date given for when they will open for regular functioning.
US Embassy in Delhi Closed due to Curfew April 20 to 25th 2021
US Embassy in Delhi Closed due to Curfew April 20 to 25th 2021
  • April 12th , 2021 : Below are the key updates in the last 10 days .
    • No changes in Consulate status. All of them not yet open for regular operations. They continue to operated in limited fashion with limited appointments. There is no estimated date for them to be back to normal.
    • Starting from April 9th, 2021, US Consulate in Mumbai is only providing essential services for US Citizens and limited US Visa appointments. This is due to rise in COVID cases. See below screenshots & Tweet. Also, check US Embassy Website
    • For Mumbai consulate, they will notify the applicant, if there is cancellation of the appointment. If the Consulate does not cancel, then you need to attend as planned and slot given to you. Check Tweet
    • No impact for appointments at Consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata or Embassy in New Delhi.
US Consulate Mumbai Update COVID - April 2021
US Consulate Mumbai Update COVID – April 2021
  • April 1st , 2021 : Below are the latest update in the last two weeks until April 1st, 2021.
    • The H1B, L1, H4 and Other visas Travel ban expired on March 31st, 2021. It means that now H1B, L1, H4 and other visa holders can get stamping done both in-person and dropbox without any restrictions.
    • US State Department said that for H1B, L1, Others who were part of travel ban, they would work on the cases that are currently pending and they would be prioritized accordingly. Read the press release in below screenshot.
    • Today US State Department Confirmed in a press release the expiration of the Presidential proclamation 10052. See below screenshot, Check Official News on Travel.State.Gov
    • US Consulates in India are not yet open for routine consular services with full capacity operations, they continue to be in limited capacity mode. They are giving limited slots for all visa types stamping and they fill up quickly. See below latest tweet below
Presidential Proclamation 10052 Expired News on State Dept Website
Presidential Proclamation 10052 Expired News on State Dept Website
  • March 22nd, 2021 : No changes in the US Consulates operation status, they all continue to be closed for regular operations. But, they are opening slots in limited fashion for all visa types across all Consulates. More dropbox stamping slots are open now with the 48 months change. See below tweets from US consulate Mumbai
  • March 16th, 2021 : USTravelDocs CGI Federal Website has the updated 48 months from Expiry question now. The main guidance is that you need to submit at least 7 days before deadline of your 48 months of visa expiration. See below screenshot from CGI Federal website. Read US Visa Dropbox 48 months – How does it work to know more.
US Visa Renewal - 48 months from Expiry in CGI Federal System
US Visa Renewal – 48 months from Expiry in CGI Federal System
  • March 15th, 2021 : Below are the latest updates
    • US Embassy India website is updated with latest guidance from State Department saying they will process the Dropbox or interview waiver applications with 48 months from visa expiry. See below screenshot.
    • Also, US Embassy Delhi is processing all visa categories now, but in limited numbers
    • The online appointment booking system USTravelDocs is not yet updated with the 48 month change. It still shows 24 months only as of today. We will keep you posted as the system gets updated.
    • US Consulates continue to be closed for regular operations, nothing has changed there. See below tweet
Dropbox US Visa 48 months - Embassy March 2021
Dropbox US Visa 48 months – Embassy – March 2021
  • March 11th, 2021 : Below are the latest updates
    • Today, US Dept of State made an announcement expanding the dropbox eligibility from 24 months to 48 months from Expiry and this change is valid until Dec 31, 2021.
    • It means that, if your visa has expired in the last 48 months, you are eligible for dropbox or interview waiver option to get visa renewal done. See below screenshot of the official State.Gov news.
    • You can read more details on how it works at US Visa Dropbox Eligibility 48 months – How it works ?
    • No update from Indian Embassy, US Consulates in India or USTravelDocs India on the latest update of Dropbox to 48 months yet. We will keep you posted once there is any official announcement from Indian consulates.
US Dept of State Expands Interview Waiver Until Dec 31-2021
US Dept of State Expands Interview Waiver Until Dec 31-2021
  • March 8th, 2021 : No changes in any of the status related to Consulate regular operations. All is same as last update from March 4th. See most recent tweet below from US Consulate in Mumbai. Also, they clarified again that they are processing all the pending Immigrant visa applications with them in chronological order.
  • March 4th, 2021 :
    • US Embassy India website is updated saying that they are now processing Immigrant Visa appointments as President Biden’s Lifted Travel Ban for Immigrant Visas. See below screenshot and check info at Official US Embassy India Link
    • All US consulates in India continue to be closed for regular operations (see latest tweet below).
    • There have been a decent amount of slots given to H1B, L1, H4, B1 visa holders in the last couple of weeks.
    • Many users in our groups shared they got stamping done. Some got 221g under 212(f) as they were not exempt from H1B travel ban. So, you need to be careful when you for stamping. It is not about getting slot, you need to be exempt.
Immigrant Visa Processing Resumed - India Consulates
Immigrant Visa Processing Resumed – India Consulates

We have removed all the timeline of updates before March 2021 to keep the thread clean and up to date.

You can watch YouTube Video on where & how to check for US Consulates openings, wait times.

History of US Travel Ban for India, NIE (Reference only – Not Applicable Now)

The below history information is not applicable now ( after Nov 8, 2021). But, it is just general information for your background.

  • General Travel Ban Background : On April 30th, President Biden signed a Proclamation banning entry of most of the non-immigrant visa holder from India who have been physically in India for 15 days prior to their US Travel. As part of this, they canceled all appointments ( Biometrics, Visa Interview) at US Consulates and US Embassy in India until further notice. Read below articles on the Travel Ban Exceptions, NIE Details
  • Apply NIE while in US : You cannot apply for NIE when you are physically present in the US. You need to be in India and then only apply for NIE. Check US Consulate Chennai Guidance – Can you apply for NIE, while in US for full details.
  • NIE Validity 12 months : US Dept of State issued guidance indicating that NIE would be valid for 12 months from the date it was issued and it is valid for multiple entries as well. This is effective from July 6, 2021 and it will apply retroactively to previously issued NIE with old 30 days rule. Check more at Travel to US on NIE – 12 months Rule
  • 221g Given for Applicants without NIE
    • US Consulates are giving 221(g) Administrative Processing slip for pending visa processing applications or if someone does not fall under NIE. It says that the proclamation is in effect, so they cannot process and need more information. See below timeline for a sample form that is given for 221g.

FAQs – US Consulates Updates with COVID-19

What is H1B Visa Stamping in India Latest News ? During COVID ?

As of April 2022, you can apply for H1B visa stamping for both in-person and interview waiver. The number of in-person appointment slots are very limited. They have changed the rules to give interview waiver to H1B applicants if they had any US visa issued in the past. Check full details at New US Visa Interview Waiver Provisions 2022

When will US Embassy, US Consulates open in India for visa Stamping ?

Currently, they are processing interview waivers and limited in-person slots. There is no estimated date when it will be fully open for regular visa operations. They continue to update every week stating that there is no estimated date for opening of the regular visa operations due to COVID. See above timeline in article for most recent update.

Are Dropbox or Interview Waiver Appointments Available in India with COVID-19 Situation ?

Yes, they are the most available slots. There are new provisions that make more people leverage the interview waiver/dropbox option.

As Visa appointments are cancelled, will there be a refund of Visa fee? MRV Fee Validity ?

No, there is no refund as such. In general, you have one year from the day you paid Visa fee to use the same. But, US Embassy in India has updated that they are extending the MRV fee validity ( Visa Fee) until Sep 30th, 2023 for everyone booked during COVID-19 period. You will get a chance to book appointment once the US Consulate is open.

I am in the US, my US Visa is Expiring, should I get Stamping ?

You do not need a new US Visa if you are already in the US. As long as you have your I-797 approval valid and I-94 valid, you are fine. All you need to do is maintain Status. Read US Visa vs. Status Difference

If you are from other country, you should check your local US Consulate Website for updated information.

Did you go for Visa appointment or Dropbox ? What was your experience ?

   

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576 Comments

  1. I am aware that the US Embassy recently mentioned to “be prepared” for 3-4 weeks for stamping after dropping off the passport with documents. Is this universal or a worst case scenario?

    Thanks
    Sandeep

    Reply
  2. Hello,

    I’m looking for a H1B In person Interview slot availability for the month of September 2022, but I only see slots open from Jan 2023. Have anyone seen Interview slots in Hyderabad for the month of Sept yet?

    Thank you in Advance!

    Reply
    • Abhi,
      They come and go very fast, hard to know. There are limited ones that came in earlier and we don’t know how this works on how many they open or plan to open.

      Reply
  3. Hi,

    I have appointment for July mid for dropbox. I was wondering if there is any possibility that embassy will cancel appointment due to rising covid cases? Has this happened in January when there were rising cases?

    Reply
    • Archana,
      No one knows. It may happen, due to the change in situations, many of these are not known until like the day of the interview or drop-off date of documents. Stay positive.

      Reply
      • Hi Archana, I am looking for drop box but I don’t see any appointments. Have been trying since last 1 week. Any tips will be helpful

        Reply
        • Soumya,
          This is a million-dollar question, no one knows. Everything you read online is their own theory based on their experience.

          Reply
  4. Hi,

    My offer letter has employer name as A & B US LLP. But my approved petition (I-797) has A B US LLP. Probably for Petition USCIS does not handle & special character. I filled and confirmed my DS-140 as A & B US LLP in the employer field for VISA stamping. I am just thinking if it has to be A B US LLP then I will have to fill DS-140 all over again for myself, wife and daughter.

    While I am filling my details for VISA appointment, in Petitioner field do I need to put the exact name A B US LLP if it is okay to have A & B US LLP in DS-140 as employer. Or both are acceptable but Petitioner (VISA appointment Details) and Employer name in DS-140 should always be in sync. Please advise. Thanks.

    -Sunil

    Reply
    • Rohit,
      Whatever is accepted by the system, fill it out. It may sometimes not allow some character, use something that is close to that or use another character or words. if in doubt, reach out to support.

      Reply
  5. What is the usual processing time for new B1/B2 visas? How long does it take to receive passport back after VAC appointment? This is for Mumbai consulate.

    Reply
  6. What is the usual processing time for new B1/B2 visas? How long can I receive passport back after VAC appointment? This is for Mumbai consulate.

    Reply
  7. Hi Kumar,

    I have been trying to get a F1 visa appointment for more than a week now and not able to get an appointment. OFC appointments are available but the visa appointment is not. I keep getting the same message below.

    “There are currently no appointments available. Please press the Back
    button and choose a new OFC appointment Date.”

    Is this because all appointments until mid-July are filled? Any idea when future F1 appointments will be opened?

    F. Khan.

    Reply
  8. Hi Kumar, First I would like to thank you for providing timely updates on your site. I have a set of questions regarding my H1B case, my lottery got selected in April 2020 and the petition was approved till Sept 2023. Till now the interview is not scheduled due to unavailability of the slots.

    1) How do we know the real time appointment status for the H1B interviews? If so, how frequently do I need to check those data?

    2) My company says that placeholder appointments are available from March 2023. Should I wait till Sept 2022 for the further development of this or should I go ahead book that place holder appointment?

    3) 2 years have passed, since I submitted the documents during the H1B process, most of them might have expired, due to the validity clause on the document. Shall I provide those new valid documents in case VO requires it during the interview or do I need to re-upload the documents somewhere before the interview happens?

    4) Do you think the US Consulate will give priority to those petitions, which were approved earlier, but the interview did not happen?

    It will be useful if you can provide your inputs on the above concerns.

    Reply
    • Sanjay,
      1, 2. Actually, most of the new ones are not placeholders as per their guidance. You can email the consulate and USTravelDocs , if you are in doubt.
      3. You probably need to carry all updated documents , otherwise you will get 221g.
      4. no, they will not do anything as such.

      Reply
  9. Mr. Kumar,

    Luckily after lot of try today, i got OFC ( i believe this is biometric/Fingerprinting appointment in chennai location) and consular appointment on further date, i got in MUmbai consulate

    will this cause a issue ?

    need help please reply

    Reply
  10. Looking for visa appointments for b1/b2 for my parents . saw date Oct 17 2022 but when trying to book it showed error.. Now I try to book I don’t see any dates in 2022 are all slots for B1/B2 gone.. I do see March 2023 but that is too far

    Reply
  11. Hi Kumar

    Could you assist me with this. I have a previous H4 visa stamped in India and expired. I changed to F1 through change of status in USA and working on Stem OPT am I eligible for consular interview waiver in this case.

    Reply
    • Sam,
      Yes, you maybe eligible for it, if you meet all other conditions. Do the questionnaire on the CGI Federal Portal, it will tell you.

      Reply
  12. Hi, Please help me out with B1/B2 dropbox eligiblity, I have applied renewal for my old parents and paid MRV fee on August 23rd 2021.

    Their previous 10yr B1/B2 visa got expired in April 2016?

    i read that same visa class within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration has been extended indefinitely ?

    its been more than 48 months, near to 5.5 years? are they still eligible for dropbox, pleaseeeeeee answer ??

    from the date i paid MRV, i am trying for their regular appointment slots, i see some dates for OFC when i proceed to next screen there are no dates available ( i tried for 4 consulate locations mumbai, hydrabad, chennai and also delhi), but i see same above response ofc dates i am able to slect and later screen no in-person appointment dates.

    can anyone help, going to agent will help? or any help you can provide is appreciated.

    Reply
    • doddamani,
      They are not eligible. Only the rule fo 48-month got extended beyond Dec 2021, that is what they mean by indefinitely.
      This is same problem for everyone. We do not encourage agents. There will limited slots for B1/B2 and it can take time to get one.

      Reply
      • Thank You Mr.Kumar for your prompt reply!

        Is there any specific timeslot in a day we have to look/login in CGIFederal site for appointment schedule ?
        its always same OFC appointment i can select/pick some dates, when navigated to next screen for consular in-person appointment there are no dates available message
        I’m missing anything ?

        Reply
        • doddamani,
          No one knows. You can check VisaGrader, they have analytics data on slots availability.
          You are not missing, it is just that slots are not there.

          Reply
      • Hi Kumar,

        Thank you for providing timely updates on all visa types.
        I am trying to book appointment for first time tourist visa for my parents:
        1. Its letting me select an OFC appointment for June 2022 but then when I try scheduling a consular appointment – the system shows a message that “no appointments available at this time”.
        2. I tried selecting a different date in September or different Visa center and the same message shows up.
        I am very confused, are there no visa appointments for first time B1/B2 visa applicants in the year 2022?
        If there are no appointments in 2022 then I will have to get an appointment in 2023 which is too far, will I be able to cancel 2023 appointment and reschedule in 2022 if gets available.
        Thank you!

        Reply
  13. Hi,
    I am in the US and got my H1b renewal approved (I-797). I am still waiting for my dependants’ approval (Wife and kid). I created my profile in ustraveldoc and added my dependants. I was expecting to book an interview as my Son I below 14 years. But I got an interview waiver. Is this fine? Can I get stamping for my dependants using my approved I797?
    Please advice.

    Reply
    • Rohit,
      Usually for kids to apply for interview waiver, the parents both of them should have the visa. To avoid issues, get yours and your wife’s dropbox stamping done and then apply for your son’s dropbox.

      Reply
      • Thanks, Kumar for the reply.

        Want to know if there is a way to book an interview so that I can go with my family and get the stamping with my approved I797.
        Please advice.
        Thank you!

        Reply
  14. Hi my son who is in California got H1b in March 2020. Now he want to visit india for visa stamping for the first time.can he get appointments? Due to pandemic he could not visit india . It’s his first visit after getting H1b, before he was on OPT.

    Reply
      • Hi thanks Kumar. He is planning to visit in the year end may be November December . So hopefully by that time slots will open? And is he eligible for interview waiver appointment ?

        Reply
          • Hi Kumar
            It will be my son’s first time visa stamping. On what basis he will be eligible for interview waiver/ Dropbox?
            Eligibility criteria says person should have done visa stamping before…..

          • Gauri,
            No, he should have got F1 visa to go to the US right, that would help him with interview waiver.

  15. Hi I have been trying to schedule H1B dropbox appointment dates for the last 7 days. I cant seem to find a single date across any of the 5 locations. The calendar app does not even open. Is this normal? I am planning to visit in Jul/Aug and need to book tickets and apply for leave for both me and my spouse and all that will happen based on the appointment dates. When are the H1b dropbox dates expected to be released?

    Reply
    • Rishi Varma,
      If no slots, nothing will open. H1B slots are very much sold out for summer. It is difficult for Jul/Aug, as per them they can only open some in Sep.

      Reply
      • This is very sad 😞 my kid was so excited to meet his grandparents this summer.
        A related query – my parents have a B1/B2 expiring later this year in Jul. If I apply for their B1/b2 renewal, will they qualify for interview waiver and if yes are there slots available for B1b2 Dropbox?
        Thanks a ton Kumar! 🙏

        Reply
        • Rishi,
          Yes, they can apply for interview waiver and apply for renewal now. Yes, slots are opening on a rolling basis for B1/B2 now.

          Reply
          • Thanks Kumar. They qualified for interview waiver and got drop box dates in Sep. No dates earlier than September for B1/B2 dropbox. Is that accurate as per your knowledge?

          • Rishi,
            This is accurate and in line with guidance given by the US Consulate head few weeks ago.

          • Thanks Kumar. I was able to get their B1/B2 Dropbox slot for sep 2022. For my own H1b Dropbox slot I am seeing slots only from sep 2023😢 with nothing earlier. is that what you are seeing too?

  16. I’m so confused. It seems like they have been granting non-immigrant tourist visa appointments in recent weeks ( with constantly shifting # of calendar days to get an appointment) but yet this article states that they will not resume accepting those appointments until September of this year… Can you please clarify? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Angie,
      The interviewing will start for these applicants in Sept for B1/B2 and H & L as well. The updates are accurate and reflect weekly updates from consulate.

      Reply
    • The verbiage in the posts is accurate. Actual interviews will be post Sep 1. The chance to secure such appointments opens up shortly.

      Reply
  17. Trying to book B2 Visa Interview appointments for my parents for Chennai Consulate for few weeks now and all I see are 2024 Dates, which is insane and tells me that the software is broken! Pathetic

    Dont know what to do and who to escalate this to. No one knows if and when this issue may get fixed

    Reply
    • Raj,
      There is no way to escalate. If it is an emergency, you can request for an Emergency appointment by giving justification.

      Reply
      • Thanks Kumar and I agree, I was just venting out. Its a shocker that we have such a terrible software that thousands of folks will be relying upon. In this day and age hard to imagine something so badly developed and always broken.

        Reply
        • Raj,
          The irony is US Immigration software and processes are even worse when you apply for something with USCIS, and it not just the Dept of State website. I wish some day they get better.

          Reply
  18. Can someone please help I submitted in Dropbox chennai April 26 th and ceac status shown as application received till now and cgi federal website not showing passport is with us embassy earlier it use to show passport is with us embassy consulate Can someone please let me know Chennai consulate email I’d if I can mail and ask them kindly help I’m very much worried or any hotline to call ?

    Reply
  19. Hi Kumar,
    I am trying to look for visa dates in India for dropbox and it says No OFC dates available. It has been showing this message from 1 week. Is this expected?

    Reply
  20. Hello,
    Can we reschedule B2 appointments that were cancelled in 2020 because of covid?
    are those payments valid? or do we need to pay again to schedule?

    I don’t see a option to reschedule. Their status is just showing as cancelled.

    Reply
    • US Consulates in India have extended the MRV fee payment validity until September 30th, 2023 (check this post above). Just go ahead and schedule appointment in the portal whenever you find slots.

      Reply
    • Thoushif,
      The payments must be valid, yes, you can schedule, if you can find a slot. If any issues, call support.

      Reply
  21. I am looking for a visa appointment for later this year. When do they add new slots to the system? Does it have a schedule like a specific day/time etc.? thanks.

    Reply

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