Some of you would have scheduled US Visa interview appointments scheduled in India, due to 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 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 May 17th, 2021
Below is the short summary of all updates from US Consulates, Embassy in India from March 2020 until May 17th, 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 – All Visa Appointments Cancelled :
- On April 30th, President Biden signed 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.
- In light of the US Travel Ban, All US Consulates and US Embassy in Delhi have cancelled all US Visa appointments that include Biometrics, In-person interviews and Interview wavier or dropbox appointments.
- US Consulates have given 221(g) for pending visa processing saying that proclamation is in effect, so they cannot process and need more information. See timeline for sample form that is given for 221g.
- All consulates continue to be closed and there is no estimated date when they will resume the appointments. So, we need to wait for the guidance from US Embassy
- Check Official News & timeline section for more.
Everything below is general guidance based on decisions from past and does not apply due to the travel Ban signed by President Biden
- 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.
- You can join the US Visa Stamping – India Experiences Group to get updates (only visa experiences repository, no communication)
- 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.
- You can join Telegram Group US Visa Appointment India
If you have not done emergency appointment request in past, read Step by Step Guide to Apply for US Visa Emergency Appointment in India
Timeline, Official Links to Updates from US Consulates in India until May 17th, 2021
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.
- 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.
The U.S. Consulate General Mumbai is only providing essential services to U.S. citizens and limited visa services until further notice due to the second wave of the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. (1/3)— US Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) May 17, 2021
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
All U.S. Embassy New Delhi’s in-person 𝐯𝐢𝐬𝐚 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰-𝐰𝐚𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐀𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐥 𝟐𝟔 – 𝐌𝐚𝐲 𝟗 in light of current pandemic conditions.— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) April 23, 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.
UPDATE: VAC appointments for biometrics and for interview waiver document drop-off for US Embassy Delhi will be honored this week. Visa interview appointments are cancelled through Friday, April 23. https://t.co/PGMXtX5R3M— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) April 19, 2021
Effective immediately, the U.S. Consulate General Mumbai will only provide essential services to U.S. citizens and limited visa services until further notice due to the second wave of the spread of COVID-19 and its variants. (1/3)— US Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) April 19, 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.
𝐀𝐩𝐩𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐭 𝐔.𝐒. 𝐄𝐦𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐲 𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐃𝐞𝐥𝐡𝐢 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐂𝐡𝐞𝐧𝐧𝐚𝐢, 𝐇𝐲𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐛𝐚𝐝, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐊𝐨𝐥𝐤𝐚𝐭𝐚 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐚𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞.— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) April 9, 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
Due to the temporary suspension of routine consular services across Mission India and given the overwhelming demand, there are a limited number of appointments that open on a regular basis and they generally fill shortly after they become available. (2/4)— US Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) April 1, 2021
- 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
Greetings! There is no set date for when regular visa operations will resume. Please monitor https://t.co/GCTDQLRHaa for updates on the consulate’s operational status.— US Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) March 22, 2021
Due to the temporary suspension of routine consular services across Mission India and given the overwhelming demand, there are a limited number of appointments that open on a regular basis and they generally fill shortly after they become available. (2/4)— US Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) March 22, 2021
- 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.
- 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
Greetings! The consulate has not fully resumed routine processing of nonimmigrant cases. There is no set date for when regular visa operations will resume. Please monitor https://t.co/GCTDQLRHaa for updates on the consulate’s operational status.— US Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) March 15, 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.
- 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.
The consulate is still closed for many routine visa services at this time and is only able to review emergency and mission-critical visa services as resources and local conditions allow. (1/2)— US Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) March 8, 2021
Due to the rescission of Presidential Proclamation 10014 the Consulate is restarting the processing of immigrant visa applications, including those in 221g status and those that had their appointments cancelled last spring. (1/3)— US Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) March 8, 2021
- 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.
The consulate is still closed for many routine visa services at this time and is only able to review emergency and mission-critical visa services as resources and local conditions allow. (1/2)— US Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) March 4, 2021
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.
FAQs – US Consulates Updates with COVID-19
Due to President proclamation on April 30, 2021 that imposes travel ban to US from India, US Consulates and Embassy in India have cancelled all US Visa stamping appointments until further notice.
As of May 2021, all appointments are cancelled including H1B Visa appointments. There is no estimated date when they will re-open the consulates.
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.
Due to US Travel ban from India, all Dropbox appointments are cancelled as well until further notice.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
No, you cannot submit anything unless the consulate gives you a slot. In very limited cases, they are giving options, check with consulate.
Official Sources, Links
- US Consulate India – News Alerts COVID-19
- 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 ?