US Consulate - Embassy COVID-19 News Updates

COVID-19 Updates – Flights to US Citizens, Green Card Holders to US

In US Immigration - Visas by KumarUpdated : 92 Comments

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 Citizens Eligibility and Green Cards for Flight Evacuation.
US Travel Document Care Giver for Evacuation

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.
US Embassy India COVID-19 Updates - Dropbox - Visa Appointments - 221g - Cancelled
Facebook page update - US Embassy India - Cancelled Dropbox Appointments 221g
  • 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.
US Embassy India - Visa Dropbox Accepted and 221g Documents Accepted
  • 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.
US Visa Appointments Cancelled from March 16 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.
USTravelDocs Update - COVID - Dropbox and 221g cancelled
  • 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. USTravelDocs Website - Update Appointments Cancelled India
  • 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. 
Dept of State Guidance to Reschedule Appointment Coronavirus

FAQs – US Consulates Updates with COVID-19

When will US Consulate Open for Appointments in India ?

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.

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

No, starting from March 20th, Dropbox and Interview waiver appointments are cancelled as well. There is no estimated date for availability.

As Visa appointments are cancelled, will there be refund of Visa fee?

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.

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 March, April, June ?

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.

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. You need to wait for their next guidance. Talk to your airline, employer and make arrangements accordingly.

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

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.

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

No, you cannot submit anything. Everything is cancelled until further notice.

Official Sources, Links

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 ?

   

Other Articles


Comments ( 92 )

  1. Sukanya

    I had a Dropbox on 23rd March. And the eligibility for Dropbox ended on April 5th.. really worried if they ll again allow the Dropbox or I’ve to attend the interview 🙁
    Anyone has any idea about it?

    1. Sunny

      https://chat.whatsapp.com/Bvmoi51CuX48r9j583o88j

      We are discussing about people in similar situation and sharing news as well.

  2. Patel

    Received the following response from U.S. Visa Service Desk today when asked about passport status:-

    Dear Applicant,

    Thank you for writing to the U.S. Visa Service Desk.

    As of March 16, 2020, the United States Embassy and Consulates in India have cancelled immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments. As of March 20, 2020, all interview waiver and biometrics appointments are also cancelled, and the U.S. Embassy and Consulates will no longer accept 221(g) document submissions. All document collection centers also remain closed.

    We will resume visa services as soon as possible, but are unable to provide a specific date at this time.

    If your appointment was among those affected, please continue visiting our websites www.ustraveldocs.com/in and https://in.usembassy.gov for updates on resumption of our services. At that time, we will provide additional information on how to reschedule your interview appointment. MRV fee payments remain valid for one year from the date of payment.

    If you have an urgent matter and must travel urgently, please follow the guidance provided at www.ustraveldocs.com/in to request an expedited nonimmigrant visa appointment.

    Please note there are travel restrictions for certain countries. Visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html and read the section “Presidential Proclamations Regarding Novel Coronavirus” for more information.
    Alternatively, you may resend your inquiry upon resumption of routine visa services.

    Please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/gss_india to share feedback on the services we provide.

    Sincerely,
    U.S. Visa Service Desk.

      1. Sunny

        From US Embassy India:

        Nonemergency visa services will resume at future date when COVID-19 related social distancing practices are no longer required.

        1. Sunny

          Which could mean April end since even USCIS plans to resume their work from May first week. Fingers crossed. I do not think it should extend that time frame since even this years applications will be due for interviews. I’m very optimistic. Unless something really crazy happens and these guidelines get extended.

          1. administrator
            Kumar

            Sunny,
            It all boils down the current COVID-19 situation, which is unpredictable at this moment…

      1. Swati Sharma

        Hi Kumar,

        Thank you for replying. I had a dropbox on 18th Feb. My passport was returned without stamping with a 221G slip asking to appear for an interview after a week. I appeared for an interview on 27th Feb where I was given one more 221G yellow slip asking to submit a few documents online and my status was changed to “Refused”. I submitted the documents on 5th March. I noticed that on 13th March my “Case Last Updated” was changed but the status is still showing “Refused”. Any idea what does change in “Case Last Updated” would possibly mean?

        I am really worried after they have stopped the 221G processings 🙁

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Swati,
          The last update means that some action or activity was done on that day. Unfortunately, not much can be done, all we can do is wait… I understand you are worried, so are we all with the global situation…The situation is not in your control, so, do not worry too much…Stay positive…

  3. Praveen

    I had my dropbox appointment on 16th March, submitted all documents but not seeing any updates for my application. Are they still processing submitted applications or they are not working at all?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Praveen,
      They stopped processing of all petitions as per the update given…I doubt it, if they are processing now…

    2. Patel

      I’m in the same boat, submitted passports on Mar 19, and they stopped accepting drop box applications from Mas 20.
      Till Mar 23 status was – Application Received
      On Mar 24 status changed to – Administrative processing

      1. Praveen

        Yep same here. Status changed yesterday (24th) from “Application Received” to “Administrative Processing”. Will update if anything changes.

      2. Patel

        On Mar 25 application status is still “Administrative processing”
        But surprisingly, passport tracking status changed to “There is no status update available for the passport number submitted” when earlier, the same status was “passport is still with us embassy/consulate”.

        Anyone who submitted their application around Mar 19, please share your experience

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Patel,
          Interesting, no sure what is going on…maybe they are not updating system. Try to call the National Visa Center…Do update here for everyone benefit.

          1. Patel

            Praveen –
            CEAC status changed to – Issued on March 26
            But passport status is still showing the same till this date – Your passport is still with the US Embassy/Consulate.

            what about you? did you see any update for your passport?

        2. SJ

          Hi Patel, I’m in the same boat. My visa status was also updated as “Issued” on Mar 26th; but haven’t seen any update since then. I sent them an email asking for the status of my Passport and they said that the delivery centers are closed until further notice. I’m guessing we will not get the passports until after the lockdown is over. Please keep us posted if you see any further status updates. Good luck.

      3. Mahi

        I had my interview on February 19, they kept my passport during interview and returned it back after March 2nd with a white slip which says administrative processing, but again on March 18 they requested to submit my passport again (client verification done) last updated date was changed to March 18. On march 19 i have submitted my passport and on March 20 I have received email to pick up my passport . Last updated date changed to March 20 but the status still shows refused. My question is will they send my passport back as I haven’t picked it up in 14 business days? Also as all the verification is done why will they ask for my passport again if it is not for stamping?

        Please any suggestions are greatly appreciated. In a panic mode right now unable to concentrate on anything.

          1. administrator
            Kumar

            Mahi,
            Try to call and email them with the situation and then pick it up once it opens up…

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Mahi,
          Don’t worry about the online status, sometimes it can be inaccurate. if they have sent you a notice to pick up passport. You should pick it up. Check the passport status on UStraveldocs site. call them immediately.

          1. Mahi

            I called them several times but the call center is closed also I have mailed them and they said everything is closed that is the standard reply I receive every time from them . I guess they will be closed till April 15. Also have you seen any cases where the status is incorrect on ceac but still stamping is done ?

          2. administrator
            Kumar

            Mahi,
            There are some users, who have said so, where the stamping status shows administrative processing but the stamping was approved…

    3. Praveen

      CEAC status changed to “Issued”. Seems like they are working on already submitted applications, just not accepting new ones. Are courier services running during this time? Wondering how long it can take to receive passport.

        1. Sunny

          221G interview when will they resume in delhi ! Can I go to Canada to get stamping ? I was called for Interview after Dropbox. Please help

          1. administrator
            Kumar

            Sunny,
            We have no idea, when they will resume. You may go to other place, but beware they may send it back to home country for processing…

    4. Patel

      on March 26 –
      CEAC status changed to – Issued
      Passport status – Your passport is still with the US Embassy/Consulate

      (Earlier, I was tracking passports on incorrect URL, thanks Praveen for sharing correct url)

      1. Puma

        I am in a similar situation.. I had submitted passports for Dropbox on 18th Mar @ Chennai VAC, but CEAC status shows “No Status”.. Passport tracking says Passport @ consulate. Not sure what my status is now..

        1. Don

          My passport was requested on the 12th and sent to Chennai. CEAC status is still refused and passport is with the consulate. Puma, Would you mind updating in case you receive an update or passport back? I’ll do the same.

          1. administrator
            Kumar

            Puma,
            I dont know…Call National Visa Center. Some of these statuses are new as there is no processing now.

    5. Praveen

      Update:
      So today I see the passport status change to “There is no status update available for the passport number submitted”. Visa status is still “Issued”

      1. Mahi

        Seeing the same status “There is no status update available for the passport number submitted” from April 5th as my 14 days period is over for passport collection. I have received email to collect my passport on March 20 at 3.15pm. Unfortunately was not able to collect my passport due to lockdown from then. Do you think the 14 day rule of sending passports back to consulate implies now also ? Confused actually. Is anyone in the same boat?

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Mahi,
          Did you try calling them or emailing them. They are aware of the lockdown, so don’t worry, you would be able to pick it up once they open.

          1. Mahi

            I have tried calling them and also mailing them, no one answered the call and the email reply was automatic I guess. So hoping for the best.

          2. Mahi

            Also is there any way that we can raise our voices so that anyone can atleast know about people like us who are stuck in india and unable to go back to usa at this time. I know everything is pretty bad over there compared to our situation , but people talk about extending grace period of 60 days to 180 days. Then we should be able to talk about people who are stuck here with no one replying on any of our status or anything. Even our jobs are at risk . Sorry if I am trying to be over cautious but I guess we are the only people whose voice is not heard of. Ofcourse we will travel only if situations get better but there is no clear response to any of us from embassy on what the process is .

          3. administrator
            Kumar

            Mahi,
            I am not sure, if it will work. Currently, there is a lawsuit in place to extend these. Check AILA Lawsuit USCIS COVID-19 Extend time
            You can always try to reach out to embassy and request for these…But, it is up to their discretion…You can work with an attorney or an immigration group like AILA and further proceed too, that’s another way…

        2. Sunny

          You can join our WhatsApp group and share ideas to raise your voice. I’m stuck in 221G interview myself. Hopefully the embassy will open on May 4th.

          1. Sunny

            https://chat.whatsapp.com/Bvmoi51CuX48r9j583o88j

            WhatsApp group for people stuck in india as a result of covid 19 us visa Services suspension

  4. Patel

    On March 18th, 2020, The USTravel Docs Website updated the alert on their page indicating the cancellation of all dropbox appointments from March 20.

    However, My parents had an appointment on March 19 and they submitted documents on March 19 at Visa Application Center at Ahmedabad.

    Does anyone knows, if embassy would still process the already submitted documents? The processing consulate is Mumbai, which would not have received documents on or before March 20.

    In this case, would Mumbai consulate still process the visa application submitted through drop box on March 19?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Sukanya,
      Well, I am not sure, if they will give you dropbox, if you pass a date…The reason is, their systems are programmed for it and may not change…Nevertheless, you can call or email them and clarify.

  5. Don

    I was asked to submit my passport on March 12th. I had assumed it was positive. Will they return the passport with the stamp now considering the recent update in processing 221g?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Don,
      Hard to know…they said they have stopped processing of 221g in India.. Not sure, which country you have applied in, email them.

  6. Jinesh

    Hey Kumar,

    thanks for helping people with their visa issues and doubts.

    My scenario:

    Went for visa interview on jan 17 and they gave me yellow 221g slip. Its been two months since I have emailed them documents. No response back yet. Is there anyway I can reach out to them or should I resent them my documents?

    I received 221g on 17 th jan. will they stop precessing my 221g due to recent corona announcement?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Jinesh,
      Yes, they are stopping the processing of 221g, that’s what was announced. Nothing you can do. Calling or emailing may not get you an answer…You may need to wait…Wish there was a better way.

  7. Syed

    Hi there,

    I had submitted my passports via Dropbox at the Bangalore VAC center. Unfortunately, my application was refused under 221G and I was asked to attend a visa interview at the Chennai embassy and bring a couple of documents with me.

    Is the embassy closed to all interview appointments insisting walk-in appointments?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Syed,
      I am not sure, how it works for your case, please call them or email them on the steps. General appointments are cancelled though. But, yours is a walk-in so not sure..

  8. Krishnadas

    Hai,
    My visa status changed from Refused to AP on March 10 2020. Still it is in AP. Since visa appointments have been cancelled, will the AP status remain for long time?

  9. Deepak

    Hello,
    I was issued 221g in January and now I received all docs asked by Consulate. However on 221g it was mentioned that I have to attend a walk-in interview at Consulate and bring the requested documents along with me.

    Question- Am I still eligible to attend the 221g walk-in interview or need to wait till all consular operations resumes?

    Thank You.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Deepak,
      You can definitely submit the requirements, but there are not interviews as per the alert…Not sure, how they will handle your case. The only way to know is to call the Consulate, try calling them or emailing them. Do update here for community benefit..

      1. administrator
        Kumar

        Sunny,
        Not much will progress, it is very difficult situation for most…be prepared for the worst and plan for alternatives.

        1. Sunny

          I have a b1/b2 visa and Canadian visa. Can I go to Canadian Embassy to attend an interview or go to the Us and get change of status done ? My petition is valid till 2021.

  10. Sidd

    For all those wondering and/worried, i asked the mumbai consulate and this is what the responded
    “Please note Mission India will continue to process nonimmigrant interview waiver (‘dropbox’) applications, and Visa Application Centers will accept document submissions for nonimmigrant applications that have been initially denied under Section 221(g).”

    @USAndKolkata
    however, will not process interview waiver applications. Therefore, if you have an interview waiver submission appointment [except for
    @USAndKolkata
    ] it still stands. In addition, Visa Application Centers remain open for document submission and passport return.

    “It’s only visa interviews that are cancelled.”

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Sukanya,
      US Embassy Confirmed that Dropbox appointments are available in all locations, except Kolkata. Check above article , it is updated now.

  11. Sidd

    How does this effect people who have already completed their interview process before March16 and are currently in Administrative Processing?

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Sidd,
          We have added a separate section with the links to official websites and pages for benefit of everyone. Check above article, it is updated now.

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