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US Visa Stamping India Updates [Jun 2021]: F1 Slots Priority

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, timeline for easy review. We will continue to update this page, you may bookmark this page.

Summary of all Updates from US Consulates in India as of June 21st, 2021

Below is the short summary of all updates from US Consulates, Embassy in India from March 2020 until June 21st, 2021. All the below are current and effective. You can check the timeline section to get detail links and official sources, news screenshots in next section.

  • US Travel Ban – Extremely Limited Visa Appointments :
    • As of June 21st, 2021, there is no change in the situation. It continues to be the same as the guidance from past where US Embassy updated their website saying that they are now offering extremely limited appointments at all consulates ad US Embassy.
    • F1 Visa Appointments:
      • As per US Embassy update on June 15th and 17th, many F1 Students were able to book thousands of F1 visa appointments in July and August 2021 for Fall term. They also say that they are opening more and more appointments in the upcoming weeks for July and August.
      • US Embassy held a call outlining their plans for visa appointments for F1 visa holders and other visas on June 10th, Check Summary of Call on Latest US Visa Slots Status for F1, Others
    • 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.
    • All consulates & Embassy continue to be closed for regular operations and there is no estimated date when they will resume the regular operations.

Everything below until the timeline section is general guidance based on decisions from past and does not apply due to the travel Ban signed by President Biden on April 30th, 2021.


  • H1B, L1, H4 Travel Ban Expired : On March 31st, 2021 the Presidential Proclamation 10052, that banned H1B, L1, H4 and other visa holders to get US visa stamping or Travel to US expired.
    • It means that H1B, H4, L1, L2 and other visa who were part of PP 10052 can get visa stamping now at US consulates
    • All these visa types like H1B, H4, L1, L2 now can attend In-person stamping or Dropbox stamping. They do not need Chamber of Commerce Letter or any other exceptions.
    • US Dept of State has released a press release indicating the same. Check timeline.
  • Regular Operations Status : US Consulates, Embassy in India are not yet open fully for regular operations. You can only apply for Emergency Appointment, if you have a need to apply for US Visa stamping in India.
  • MRV Fee Payment Validity Status : US Consulates in India have extended the MRV fee ( Visa Appointment Booking Fee) payment validity until September 30th, 2022 to make sure all applicants get time to schedule visa appointment. It is updated on the US Embassy and USTravelDocs India Website.
  • US Visa Dropbox Stamping Status : US Visa Renewals using Dropbox is available for all visa types. But, due to consulates cancellations, you cannot attend any interviews until May 15th, 2021. You can try to book for appointments after that, if they are open.
    • They changed the dropbox eligibility criteria to 48 months from expiry, instead of 12 months. This was originally valid until March 31, 2021. On March 11th, 2021, they extended this until Dec 31, 2021 and changed the eligibility from 24 months to 48 months from expiry. See timeline section below for official link, screenshot of news.
    • 48 months Change in Appointment booking System : The USTravelDocs India system was updated with 48 months change on March 16th, 2021. See timeline for screenshot.
    • There is a huge demand for dropbox appointments and only limited slots are available. As the slots are released, they fill up quickly.
    • Check H1B Visa Dropbox Process – Step by Step Guide with Screenshots
  • 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 . Many are waiting for over a month. You can check US Visa EA Tracker
  • 221g / Administrative Processing Status : US Consulates are not processing previously issued 221g pending applications. You can reach out to consulate to get an emergency appointment, if eligible. Some were able to write to consulate and get appointment.
  • Visa Appointments Cancellations Status : Occasionally they are cancelling few appointments here and there due to situations with COVID or the consulate operations. But, majority of the users report that their slots are going on as usual.
  • Immigrant Visa Stamping : On Feb 24, 2021 President Biden lifted the Immigrant Visa Ban. All US Consulates are working on phased resumption. US Embassy in India updated that they have resumed processing of Immigrant Visas. US Consulate in Mumbai is reaching out to the previous pending cases and they will processed in chronological order. Due to backlogs, they say they cannot predict, when someone would get their interview slot. Check timeline for update from US Embassy website.

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


Below is the timeline of updates from 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 US Consulate/ US Embassy.

  • June 21st, 2021: No Change in the overall situation with the consulate operations in India. All of them are closed for regular operations and operating limited fashion. There is no estimated time when they would open regular operations.
  • As of last week, US Embassy said that thousands of F1 students have booked appointments for July and August. They also continue to add more of the appointments for July and August in the upcoming days. See below tweets.
  • Other than this, no changes, you can check the previous week update below for more details on the consulate operations call, and other updates.

  • 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 below video on where & how to check for US Consulates openings, wait times.

YouTube video

FAQs – US Consulates Updates with COVID-19

Are US Consulates, Embassy Open for Appointments in India ?

Due to the Presidential proclamation on April 30, 2021, that imposes a travel ban to the US from India, US Consulates and Embassy in India have canceled all US Visa stamping appointments until further notice. There is no estimated date when they will lift the travel ban.

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

As of June 2021, all appointments are cancelled including H1B Visa appointments. There is no estimated date when they will re-open the consulates.

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

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 estimate 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 ?

Due to US Travel ban from India, all Dropbox appointments are cancelled as well until further notice.

As Visa appointments are cancelled, will there be 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, 2022 for everyone booked during COVID-19 period. You will get a chance to book appointment once the US Consulate is open.

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

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

What happens to my Visa Appointments with US Consulate in India ?

They will be technically cancelled, you cannot attend US Visa interview until the Consulate indicates that they will start taking regular appointments. They will give guidance in future and you will need to re-book your appointments.

I have Flight to take, Job in US and need to leave to US. Anything I can do to get US Visa Appointment ?

No, there is nothing you can do until US Consulate accepts US Visa appointments. If you qualify for the US Visa Stamping Exceptions, you can book an emergency appointment with US Consulate. Talk to your airline, employer and make arrangements accordingly.

Can I submit 221g Related Documents at Dropbox Locations in India with COVID-19 Sitaution ?

Due to travel ban to US from India, US consulates are not accepting anything, including 221g related information or documents. Everything is on hold until further notice.

I had US Visa Interview in India, got 221g. Can I submit documents now ?

No, you cannot submit anything unless the consulate gives you a slot. In very limited cases, they are giving options, check with consulate.

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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414 Comments

  1. What about H1B visa? Not going to get any appointment soon? It looks as if only h1b people are getting affected with covid. Students won’t get covid even h1b with family relation with US citizen won’t get covid. Seriously? It’s such a joke. It just a way to put restrictions to H1b

    Reply
  2. Is NIE applicable for Drop-box appointments? I got an appointment for drop-box in Mumbai in July 1st week. Can I travel back to US after drop-box ? I may qualify under health-care services. ALso when should you submit NIE request before or after appointment?

    Reply
  3. I have a query.Due to pandemic my employer could not initiate stamping for my h1b.the petition os valid from oct 2020 to sep 2023.

    I heard in h1 i can stay maximum 6 yrs.So does this 6 year calculate the time i am outside Usa? or the clock will start from petition approved date i.e. oct 2020 in my case..please advise

    Reply
  4. Hi Kumar.

    I have a query.Due to pandemic my employer could not initiate stamping for my h1b.the petition os valid from oct 2020 to sep 2023.

    I heard in h1 i can stay maximum 6 yrs.So does this 6 year calculate the time i am outside Usa? or the clock will start from oct 2020 in my case..please advise

    Reply
  5. Hi,
    I am in US with H1b visa. My wife had to travel to India with our kids (US born). She needs visa stamping to travel back. Is it possible to apply for visa under emergency category since kids are US citizens ?

    Thanks

    Reply
      • Thanks for the reply.
        My kids are 8 and 4 old (no vaccination eligibility). Will the EA based on vaccination work out for them ?

        Reply
  6. I live in US on h1b visa, and my wife is in India. How can i setup her visa interview? I’m not able book any dates as soon as I try to select a date then next screen has a message of no dates available. Is the embassy closed?

    Reply
  7. Hi,
    For those who received appointment cancellation email, how many days before your appointment did you receive the cancellation email?

    Reply
    • Hi;

      I was told by the US TRAVEL DOCS customer support that they may or may not send the cancellation email. It’s the responsibility of the individual who has the visa appointment to check his/her status online. Also I was told that the appointment cancellation can be done by the concerned a week before or even a day before the biometric appointment. Hope this info helps.

      Reply
  8. Hi,
    My visa interview appointment cancelled twice. Does these also considered as count?

    I heard we can schedule only 5 times for one mrv fees?

    Reply

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