Some of you would have scheduled US Visa interview appointments in India or your home country…With the unprecedented Coronavirus Situation US State Department are giving news alerts on how to handle such Visa appointments with their offices…In this page, we have all latest updates on the News and Guidance from US Dept of State, US Embassy India. We will continue to update this page, you may bookmark this page.
US Citizens, Green Card Holders – Flights to US from India by US Govt
April 4, 2020 : US Embassy India has issued an alert indicating that there are special flights organised by US Government for US Citizens and Green Card Holders. Below are the details.
- Delhi to San Francisco – April 6
- Delhi to San Francisco – April 7
- Delhi to San Francisco – April 8
- Mumbai to Atlanta – April 7
- Mumbai to Atlanta – April 10
There is a confusion that, visa holders like H1B, or other visa holders are eligible to fly on these, as the page says you need a valid passport, green card or US visa. To clarify, this flights are only for US Citizens, Green Card Holders. If you neither of those and have US visa like H1B, or L1, you are not eligible, see below screenshot from the actual form that you need to fill out. One key exception, if the US Citizen has a caregiver, then spouse or children can accompany them and those immediate family members, if not citizens, can be on a US Visa. See below screenshots. Read Official Alerts : Flights to US Citizens, Green Card Holders Alerts and US Citizens Flights FAQs
US Embassy India Updates – Visa Appointments, Dropbox, 221g -Cancelled
- March 18th, 2020 : US Embassy India gave a news alert today indicating that they are cancelling the Dropbox and Biometrics Appointments from March 20th at all US Consulates and US Embassy. Also, they will not process 221g – Administrative Processing Cases as well. They did not indicate any date from when the services will resume. All they say is that you can use the MRV Fee receipt would be valid for 1 year and you can use it in future. This has a huge impact on many people planning to get their visa renewed or already in US with Dropbox Submissions done… See below screenshot from Indian Embassy site and US Embassy Facebook page regarding the alerts. You can check Official Press Alert by US Embassy . If you plan to go to India for Visa stamping, you need to factor in this news…if you leave US and do not have visa, you cannot re-enter.
- March 14th, 2020 : US Embassy India Confirmed today that they will continue to process and accept US Visa Appointments for Interview Waiver / Dropbox Applications and the Dropbox Locations will accept document submissions. The only exception is Kolkata, which will Not accept the documents. Also, you will be able to collect passport and also submit any documents, if you were given 221(g) under Administrative Processing. See below screenshot for the same from US Embassy India Facebook Post.
- March 13th, 2020 : US Dept of State issued an alert saying that they are cancelling all immigrant and non-immigrant visa appointments from March 16th, 2020 in India until further notice. They say that the status will stand as cancelled and you will be able to re-schedule the appointment once the India Consular office resumes operations. Check below screenshot from US Consulate website for India.
USTravelDocs India Updates – US Visa Stamping Appointments
- March 18th, 2020 : The USTravel Docs Website updated the alert on their page indicating the cancellation of all dropbox appointments and 221g case processing. See below.
- March 14th, 2020 : The USTravelDocs Website updated their page with an alert confirming the guidance from US Embassy that all the US Visa appointments are cancelled from March 16th. They indicated that they do not also know the date when they will resume. See below screenshot.
- March 13th, 2020 : USTravelDocs.com website, that you use to book US Visa appointments gave guidance indicating that if you are experiencing any flu like symptoms, you should re-schedule your appointment by at least 14 days. This is pretty much consistent with the USCIS guidance too. Also, they say that the appointment receipt is valid for 1 year.
FAQs – US Consulates Updates with COVID-19
There is no date given by US State Department on when will it open. All Visa interviews appointments are cancelled from March 16th, 2020. Dropbox appointments stand cancelled from March 20th.
No, starting from March 20th, Dropbox and Interview waiver appointments are cancelled as well. There is no estimated date for availability.
No, there is no refund as such. You will get a chance to book appointment once the US Consulate is open. You have one year from the day you paid Visa fee to use the same. Also, US Consulate will consider exceptions due to the Coronavirus Situation for all the visa appointments cancelled.
You do not need a new US Visa, if you are already in 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
They are technically cancelled, you cannot attend US Visa interview until the Consulate indicates that they will start taking appointments. They will give guidance in future and you will need to re-book your appointments.
No, there is nothing you can do until US Consulate accepts US Visa appointments. You need to wait for their next guidance. Talk to your airline, employer and make arrangements accordingly.
No, the 221g related processing is also cancelled starting from March 18th, you cannot submit your documents and they will not be processed until further notice.
No, you cannot submit anything. Everything is cancelled until further notice.
Official Sources, Links
- US Consulate India – News Alerts COVID-19
- US Embassy Dropbox Availability Facebook Post
- USTravelDocs India Home
- Travel.State.Gov – COVD-19 Updates Page
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 ?