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 November 21st, 2022
Below is the short summary of all updates from the US Consulates, and Embassy in India from November 2021 until November 21st, 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 November 21st, 2022. The appointments for H/L Category are full for next few months. All the 100,000 Slots opened were booked. They are not sure if they will open more bulk slots in 2022. They say that the wait time for the same cut in half after many booked appointments. They have started interviewing first-time B1/B2 applicants starting this September month. All the slots in late 2022 and 2023 are not placeholder slots. Second batch of F1 Slots for Spring 2023 applicants will open in last week of November. They will open slots for F1 first refused applicants towards the end of the F1 season for spring 2023. Also, for dropbox stamping, they said in August that it can take anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks as per US Embassy and they can expedite dropbox cases. But in October they said it is taking about a week if all is good with the application. Read below and the 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.
- You can check US Visa Dropbox Tracker to know the current processing times as shared by users.
- Extremely Limited Visa Appointments : No Change, US consulates are operating in a very limited capacity as of November 21st, 2022 in India.
- US Consulates say they are about 70% capacity now and will resume regular operations before September 2023, if things stay normal as per latest update by Mr. Don Heflin in Facebook Live on September 29th, 2022.
- The lifting of the travel ban to the 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: US Consulates have started interviewing first time B1/B2 applicants starting in September and also opened slots for the same applicants. Though they are limited in number, they are processing the same. You can check some of those users shared B1/B2 Visa Stamping Experiences for 2022
- F1 Visa Appointments for Spring 2023 : The first batch of the slots for F1 Visa applicants was opened around the last weekend of October. Many students were able to book. The second batch will be released in mid to late November. They suggest checking around these times. Also, they have not given dates for the First time rejected f1 applicants’ slots info for spring.
- US Visa Dropbox Criteria 48 months from Expiry StatusExtended: 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 an interview waiver will end. See the timeline section below for official links, screenshot of news.
- If you are planning for H1B Dropbox stamping, check H1B Visa Dropbox Process – Step by Step Guide with Screenshots
- US Travel Ban lifted for Vaccinated: US Govt lifted the travel ban for fully vaccinated individuals starting from November 8th, 2021. Below is a 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
- Vaccines List for Travel: US Dept of State announced that they will follow CDC Guidance for vaccines. They will accept FDA-approved or WHO-approved vaccines only. Check List of Accepted Vaccines in US Travel
- US Embassy/ Dept of State Updates: US Dept of State gave press release confirming the news and CDC guidance. Check Official US Dept of State Press Release
- Agents Fraud Booking Slots: In the past, 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. Also, recently in October 2022, they clarified telling that using agents is not illegal as it is used for convenience, but they said user would not need one for booking slots. They will release more slots in bulk to make it level playing field.
- 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. They are opening Dropbox slots even for 2023. All of these slots are not placeholder slots.
- MRV Fee Payment Validity Status: The US Visa Appointment application Fee (also called MRV Fee) for payments that will be made from October 1st, 2022 will be valid for 365 days. All the applicants must schedule an appointment using that fee receipt within 365 days from the date they actually made the payment. Read more at MRV Fee Validity
- Emergency Appointments(EA) Status, Guidance: If you cannot find a Visa slot, you can apply for a 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.
- There is an option also now in the online system that allows dropbox applicants to choose for an in-person appointment if there is an emergency. They updated their system in October 2022
- Due to the extreme amount of demand, they have slowed down the approvals of EA requests . You can check US Visa EA Tracker
- Update for 2022 and 2023 from Head of US Consulates in India: There was a Facebook on September 29th, 2022. where Mr. Don Heflin outlined plans for 2022 and 2023 across India Consulates for various visa types. Below is summary
- US Consulates to release 100K Appointments for H/L visa dropbox applicants for 2023.
- 82K F1 Visas were issued in India this summer and highest ever from India..
- F1 Slots for Spring 2023 to open in mid-Oct and mid to late November.
- No more placeholder slots, all are going to be real slots.
- Read full details at US Consulates in India Appointments for 2023, Fee, How it would work.
- Previous Updates from April 2022: US Visa Appointments in India – 2022 updates by Head of Consulates.
- Similar update from November 2021: Guidance by US Head of Consulates in India for appointments for early 2022.
- 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)
- On Jan 1st, 2022, CGI Federal/UStravelDocs website got updated with new questions that implements the new interview waiver rule. Check timeline below for more info.
- Check complete details at article : US Visa Interview Waiver for Some visa types, Dropbox Extended
- 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 the US Embassy website.
Timeline, Official Links to Updates from US Consulates in India until November 21st, 2022
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.
November 21st, 2022: US Embassy had Visa Fridays Q&A on Nov 17th, below are the updates from the same session.
- US Consulates continue to be operating in a limited fashion, with no changes in the overall situation.
- F1 Students Appointments for Spring 2023, Refusals: They said the visa appointment slots for fresh F1 students applying (without refusals) will be opened in the last week of November. They will also open lots for first-time refused applicants towards the end of the F1 Spring 2023 season. No specific date was mentioned by them, they suggest to keep checking the online system. Also, they suggest re-applying for F1 after refusal if there are changes in the info that you want to present to the consular officer or if the circumstances have significantly changed.
- H and L Visa appointments(H1B, L1, H4, L2): They said slots are pretty much full for the next few months and they said that they have been opening slots for H and L categories as space allows. They say slots are still available for late 2023 and suggest booking.
- B1/B2 Visa Slots: They said that they opened a large batch of slots in Spring 2022 for B1/B2, but they got filled quickly and continue to open slots as conditions allow them. They say, they will open new slots as capacity allows. They suggest checking online.
- IR1/CR1 Visas Processing: No change from the previous week, they say that they will follow a proper sequence and process applications in chronological order.
- Check below for the actual Q&A
November 8th, 2022: US Embassy had Visa Fridays Q&A last week, below are the key updates from the same, including regular updates.
- H1B, H4, L1, L2 Visa Slots: They said that due to high demand H and L visa appointments have long wait times and they fill quickly when released. The appointments are full for the coming months for H and L visa types. But, they will open more H and L slots as conditions allow. They may release slots on short notice as well, so they suggest checking the website regularly for availability.
- F1 Spring 2023 Slots, Refused: Most of the discussion and questions were around refused slots for first-time refused applicants.
- For first-time refused F1 applicants, they said that they will open visa appointment slots toward the end of the season. No specific date or week was stated by them.
- As far as regular Spring 2023 slots go, they released a large batch and most of those slots are booked. The next big batch of slots will come later part of November. This is also in their FAQs
- Fewer Slots in Delhi: They said that slots released are based on staff availability. Also, that’s the reason for long wait times at some consulate locations than others.
- B1/B2 Visa Appointments, Renewals, Reschedules: They said that the demand for first-time B1/B2 was high and the current wait time is long. They are trying to add resources so that they can offer more appointments. No timelines were given for this.
- They said that it is unlikely to have another batch of B1/B2 visa slots released in 2022 and say you might get lucky, if someone cancels.
- They suggest keeping checking the website for any rescheduling of the appointment. They say some people cancel appointments and you may get lucky in rescheduling.
- They said it can take anywhere from 10 to 30 days to get a passport with a US visa after the submission of documents for B1/B2 renewal.
- IR1/CR1 Visas Processing: They clarified again regarding the confusion on some later submitted CR1 and IR1 applicants getting processed than the ones that were submitted before. They again confirmed that, except few exceptions, who got expedited approvals, they are processing in order as they were submitted. They say to be patient and it will be processed in the right sequence.
- Check below for full details and actual Q&A responses.
November 2nd, 2022: Below are the key updates from last week until now.
- No changes in the US Consulates’ situation or the way they are operating in the last week or so. Everything is as in the previous week. Check the previous week updates.
- F1 Visa Slots for Spring 2023: The first batch of F1 slots for Spring 2023 were open around October 30th and many F1 applicants were able to book. There seem to be lesser slots for Delhi based on feedback from users due to more demand.
- US Visa Appointment Wait Times for Dropbox: The US Department of State website now shows the wait times for interview waiver/ dropbox as well by the consulate location. You can see the below screenshot on how it looks for New Delhi. You can enter any city and see the latest wait times at US Dept of State Website
October 25th, 2022: US Embassy hosted Visa Fridays Q & A on Facebook last Friday, Oct 20th. Below are the key updates from the same. No other new updates.
- F1 Visa Slots for Spring 2023: They say that the appointments for Spring 2023 applicants will open soon, they suggest keeping checking their website and appointments will open soon. They say that there is still plenty of time for the Spring season and they will do their best. They also expect to have a record-breaking winter season for F1 visa interviews. For refused applicants also they will follow same process like Summer, but no dates were given on when they will exactly open.
- IR1/CR1 Visas Processing: There is some confusion on some later submitted applicants getting processed than previous applicants. They say except few exceptions, who got expedited approvals, they are processing in order and not to worry. They say most categories are not being interviewed for DQ dates in January.
- B1/ B2 Visa Appointments: They say that they are opening appointments whenever they can, but the demand is higher than what they can accommodate. They say that it is unlikely that they will release more slots in 2022 for first-time B1/B2 applicants. Small numbers may come if someone else cancels. They also say, if you have an emergency request, you can submit expedite request by attaching relevant proof. Also, if you have clearance received in visa annotation, you can request for expedite appointment for renewal.
- How many times reschedule: They did not exactly tell you how many times you can reschedule in India, but said that, if you see the message on the top that this is the last opportunity, then it is your last option. FYI, they said in the previous facebook that they may change the times one can reschedule in India with new changes to system.
- H1B, L Visa Slots : They say that they can’t say when they will open more slots as they have already released 100K slots. Also, they say it is unlikely that they will have more slots for November and December. They opened and they were quickly filled. They continue to say that you should take an H1B, H4 or L visa appointment that you get in the system, it could be for a later date like 2023, but just take that for now.
- F1 Defer Admission – No need of visa : They confirmed that you do not need a new visa stamping again, if you already got F1 Visa stamping for Fall and for some reason if you defer to Spring for the same school. Your I-20 needs to be valid though during travel.
- Have two different Appointments: for a situation, where the user had B1/B2 appointment for Oct 2023 and plans to apply for L1 appointment, they said that you can hold two different appointments at the same time for two different visa types.
- J Visa Appointments: They say that now J Visa appointments are different from F Visa appointments and keep checking back for availability.
- You can read full Q & A here
October 17th, 2022: Below are the updates from the beginning of October until today.
- US Consulates continue to be operating in a limited fashion as in the previous month.
- US Embassy updated that as mentioned in Facebook live previously, they released 100,000 H and L Visa appointments and thousands have booked appointments.
- They say that wait times for H and L visas for both first-time applicants and dropbox have been cut into half.
- Also, in the first nine months, they processed over 160,000 H & L Visas in India and they continue to prioritize H1B and L visa holders. See below post
- US Embassy had Visa Fridays on October 6th, 2022. Below are the updates
- Release of Bulk Slots: They said that they plan to release another set of bulk appointments in upcoming weeks. This is in response to someone who missed booking in first batch. They suggest not checking more than once or twice a day to avoid freezing of the account.
- Expanding facilities, Staff : They said that they are expanding facilities in Hyderabad and getting more temporary staff to help, including more permanent staff to cope up with the demand.
- F1 Refused Slots for Spring 2023: They said they do not have a set date for release of slots for previously refused F1 applicants, they will announce the exact dates in the upcoming weeks on the same. They suggest working with the school and extending I-20 if your dates are close and don’t have a slot.
- DS-160 Location: They say that location you select on DS-160 does not matter. You can have it as Mumbai and then attend interview in Delhi and Biometrics in other city too. No need to change the city in DS-160.
- Dropbox Visa Processing: They say processing time is about 5 business days, if all goes well.
- B1/B2 Stamping outside of India: They say that you may go and get stamping of B1/B2 visitor visa in another country if you have the means to go and the country you plan to go offers slots and interviews. They suggest checking the US consualtes website in that country and then plan.
- Agents Booking Slots: They continue to say that “you do not need an agent for booking and they are releasing bulk appointments to help general users book slots during batch release”. Also, they clarified that using agent is not illegal and some use. But, they say that you should not need to use one to book slots, you can book when slots open in bulk.
- 221g Cases: They said that they know the delays with 221g pending administrative processing cases and they are trying their best to process them as they cannot be expedited.
- Locking of Accounts: A user asked that he did login only 3 times a day and 12 clicks, but still got locked. The embassy replied that they have not heard of that and suggested “not to check more than twice a day and then the user should be ok”.
- Immigrant Visa Delays: They answered saying that they will look into the order of processing of immigrant visa applications as some who filed later to dates. This is for CR1 Visa.
- Go Early than Appointment time: You cannot go to the dropbox center before your appointment time. You can only go at your scheduled time.
- You can check the full summary and questions on Facebook Page
September 29th, 2022: US Consulates organized a Facebook Live today with Mr. Don Heflin. He gave guidance on how consulates in India will handle appointments for rest 2022 and 2023. Read below:
- 100K H and L Visa Appointments to be released in October in India.
- There were quite a few updates and they will not fit here, we wrote a separate article on the same. Please read the full summary of guidance given by the Head of US Consulates in India for the rest of 2022 and 2023.
- You may also watch the full recording of the Facebook Live below
September 27th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from mid-September until now.
- US Consulates and Embassy continue to be in limited operations status and there is no estimated time when they will start operating with full capacity.
- US Embassy opened a lot of appointments on September 27th, 2022 for all visa categories. Check the latest tweet by US Embassy on Sep 27th.
- US Embassy had Visa Fridays Q &A Session on September 22nd, 2022. Below is the summary of key takeaways from their responses.
- H1B Visa, L Visa Slots:
- The US Embassy did not clearly tell when they will open slots for December 2022 or for next year. They suggest keeping checking the CGI Federal website. All they says is they will opened “soon”.
- They said they are finalizing their schedules and they will open slots for November and December 2022 as well. Again, on timing, they say “keep checking”.
- They say that H1B and L visas are treated the same in their system, with exception of Blanket L visas processed only at Chennai. They say that they open appointments on a rolling basis.
- They say they cannot share exact dates on when they will release dates for October to December. They try to release bulk slots now and then so that they do not disappear immediately…and again suggest to keep checking.
- B1/B2 Visa Appointments: They have opened some slots for even 2025, but they confirmed that they are opening a part of the full capacity of the dates that are very far into the future like 2024, and 2025. They suggest checking the website as they plan to release more B1/B2 slots.
- They said they moved away from Language specific appointments for B1/B2. Now all the appointments are in English. They suggest emailing ahead of time with the specific appointment information and language requirements so that they can work it out. See below screenshot.
- F1 Visa – Spring 2023 Appointments: They said that they have not yet opened the appointment for Spring 2023. So, they suggest keeping checking and not panicking about dates for spring now. They are expecting a big Spring stamping season for F1 students as well. Also, they say, you can apply for F1 stamping in a third country, but they suggest you first check and book an appointment before traveling there.
- December 2022 Slots – Various visa types: They have not released December slots yet for the current year and also future years for most of the visa types, including B1/B2. They say, it is their trickiest month and plan to release dates for December in various visa types in few weeks, so keep checking.
- Single Slots vs. Bulk Slots: They say that single slots appear when someone cancels their appointment, but bulk slots appear when they are released by the Embassy/Consualte. If you are looking for 2 or more slots together, you need to wait for the bulk slots option, so that you can book. So, keep checking.
- Using of Agents to book slots, Fraud: They clarified again that you may use agents to book appointments, but there is no need to use them. They have strategies to make it a level playing field for everyone and they will not share them with the public. Also, they suggest reporting fraud, if someone is taking advantage of the appointment system. See below screenshot for the exact text.
- Visa Stamping outside of India like Canada or Mexico : They suggest to check the US Embassy or consult that is in that country for more info and secure an appointment, before going there.
- Appointment Available, but not able to book : They say that usually VAC slot maybe available, but if they do not find an appointment for interview within 14 days of the VAC appointment, you will get the error message saying not available.
- H1B Visa, L Visa Slots:
September 12th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from early September until now.
- No changes in the functioning of the US Consulates and US Embassy in India, they all continue to be still in limited operations with focus on more dropbox and limited in-person slots.
- US Consulates in India issued a record number of 82,000 F1 visas this year so far. This visa issuance count is higher than in any other country in the world.
- B1/B2 Visa Appointments: US Consulates have started processing regular B1/B2 appointments starting in September 2022.
- US Embassy conducted Visa Fridays Q&A last week on September 8th, 2022. Below is the summary
- H1B/H4 & L1/L2 Visa Slots : They say that the dropbox visa slots for H1B/H4 and L1/L2 visas are booked for several months. They will open slots as time and capacity permit. This situation has not changed in the last few months.
- They also suggest H and L Visa applicants to not leave the USA, unless they have a confirmed appointment for dropbox / stamping. If anyone travels without planning and a confirmed slot, they say that applicants need to be prepared to stay for an extended period of time in India.
- F1 Slots – Spring 2023: They say that they cannot issue F1 visas 120 days before the start of the program date. So, suggest that F1 applicants check the CGI Federal website for the slots to open anytime in the upcoming period.
- B1/B2 Visa Slots: They say that they are opening visa slots as they become available on their side for B1/B2. Also, they say for users with B1/B2 slots booked for 2024 to keep trying if they want to find an earlier slot.
- Overall General Operations: They say that they continue to bring the situation to normal like before for visa slots, but they do not have a specific date on when that will be possible and suggest checking their website.
- H1B/H4 & L1/L2 Visa Slots : They say that the dropbox visa slots for H1B/H4 and L1/L2 visas are booked for several months. They will open slots as time and capacity permit. This situation has not changed in the last few months.
The U.S. Mission in India has issued a record-breaking 82,000 #studentvisas in 2022 to date, higher than any other country. This shows that the U.S. remains the most sought-after country for higher education. pic.twitter.com/BBv8LZT7oo— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) September 8, 2022
August 10th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from the end of July until now in August.
- US Consulates in India continue to be operating in a limited fashion as in the last few months. We do not have any new updates on when they will get back to normal.
- There are no new updates from last week.
- There was no Visa Fridays Q&A last week. The previous one was help on July 29th, you can read the update on that below.
- US Embassy in India had Visa Friday Q&A Session on July 29th, 2022. Below is the summary
- H/L Visa Dropbox Appointments (H1B, L1, H4): Dropbox slots are booked for the next several months for H & L Visa types. Very limited slots open occasionally as capacity is available on very short notice. So, users need to keep checking.
- F1 Slots: They have not clearly mentioned when they plan to open visa appointment slots for first-time refused applicants. They did mention in the past that they will open slots for refused applicants after Aug 14th, 2022. We need to wait and see. The only info they said is to keep looking and they will open on short notice.
- B1/B2 slots: They said they’re going to interview first-time B1/B2 starting in September.
- J1 Slots: They say that slots may open on short notice, so keep checking.
- You can check the latest US Visa Appointments Availablity in India based on data crowdsourced at VisaGrader – US Visa Appointments Slots Availablity in India
July 26th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from the beginning of July until now.
- No new developments in terms of US consulates operations status in the last four weeks, they all continue to be operating in a limited fashion.
- There was no Visa Fridays Q&A last week ( July 22nd, 2022).
- There most recent Visa Fridays Q&A on July 15th, below is the summary of the responses from US Embassy
- Visa Appointments are now open for all visa types
- F1 Visa Slots : Their focus is F1 students, and they have opened slots until Aug 14th. They plan to open slots for refused applicants in upcoming weeks. No date given yet. They will be opened for second half of August.
- H/L Dropbox Appointments : The dropbox slots are fully booked for several months for H/L Visa types ( H1B, H4, L1, L2). They plan to open slots now and then as time permits.
- B1/ B2 Slots : They have opened fresh B1/B2 slots until 2024 and continue to open slots. So, you can check the portal.
- Check full Visa Fridays Q &A on Facebook Page
- Emergency appointments: They gave additional guidance on Emergency appointments as below, including a video that outlines that
- Only in-person appointments are eligible for Emergency
- If you are dropbox eligible and still need an emergency appointment, you need to answer the question “Whether you held a previous US visa” to ‘No‘ to book an in-person appointment and then submit an Emergency appointment request. There is no guarantee that you will get the slot as it is on a case by case basis.
- If you hold a dropbox appointment and need emergency appointment, you need to cancel and book an in-person slot using above option.
- Watch below video shared by them.
- You can read the below updates in the timeline for the most recent updates
June 28th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from the previous two weeks until now.
- No changes in the overall US Consulates situation in India, they are still operating in a limited fashion.
- US Embassy updated on Jun 24th saying that they opened more F1 Slots for students planning to be in the US by mid-August. If you need to be in the US by mid-August, you must book a slot now. The slots they will open in the next round will be for interviews after August 15th, 2022. See the below tweet from US Embassy
Student visa appointments are available on our website. If you have an I-20, don’t wait! Future F, M, and J appointment openings at the Embassy and Consulates will be for interviews taking place after Aug 14, so if you need to arrive at school by mid-Aug, book an appointment now!— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) June 24, 2022
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Just note that you’ll need to leave us your passport for up to 3-4 weeks while the application is being processed. We can’t expedite/retrieve passport during this period, so make sure to drop off the passport only when you’ll be able to wait for full processing to be completed.— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) June 9, 2022
- 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
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.
Applicants whose placeholder appointments were cancelled may now reenter the scheduling system to book regular appointments. Appointments have been opened through 2023. See our website for availability: https://t.co/92HvXCGbAh— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) May 29, 2022
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.
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.
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
Due to the overwhelming demand, there are a limited number of daily interview waiver appointments, and they generally fill shortly after they become available. Please continue to monitor https://t.co/NWWVNbHYHX for appointments as they open. (2/3)— U.S. Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) April 7, 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.
Due to the overwhelming demand, there are a limited number of daily interview waiver appointments, and they generally fill shortly after they become available. Please continue to monitor https://t.co/NWWVNbHYHX for appointments as they open. (2/3)— U.S. Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) March 28, 2022
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.
Due to the overwhelming demand, there are a limited number of daily interview waiver appointments, and they generally fill shortly after they become available. Please continue to monitor https://t.co/NWWVNbHYHX for appointments as they open. (1/2)— U.S. Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) February 11, 2022
We are committed to facilitate legitimate travel to the U.S. and take your inquiries and concerns seriously. Here are some of our Consular officers providing updates and information on current consular services. Have a safe 2022! pic.twitter.com/Vea0uwvx1X— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) February 5, 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.
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.
Due to the overwhelming demand, there are a limited number of daily interview waiver appointments, and they generally fill shortly after they become available. Please continue to monitor https://t.co/NWWVNbHYHX for appointments as they open. (1/2)— U.S. Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) January 10, 2022
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.
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
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.
We will open additional slots soon. Continue to monitor availability and stay in contact with your university regarding flexibility on program start dates.— U.S. Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) December 27, 2021
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.
We are unable to speculate on future changes to policies regarding eligibility for interview waiver. Currently, the policy expanding interview waiver eligibility is set to expire on December 31, 2021. (1/2)— U.S. Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) December 17, 2021
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.
U.S. Consulate Mumbai will contact applicants who were refused under section 221(g) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) due to Presidential Proclamation 10199 as soon as possible with instructions on how to continue processing their cases. (3/3)— U.S. Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) December 6, 2021
Due to the overwhelming demand, there are a limited number of daily interview waiver appointments, and they generally fill shortly after they become available. Please continue to monitor https://t.co/NWWVNbHYHX for appointments as they open. (1/2)— U.S. Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) December 6, 2021
Please note, however, that the rescission of the previous Presidential Proclamation restricting travel from India does not necessarily mean that a U.S. Embassy or Consulate is able to immediately schedule all affected applicants for visa processing. (2/3)— U.S. Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) December 6, 2021
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.
Please note that the rescission of the previous Presidential Proclamation restricting travel from India does not necessarily mean that a U.S. Embassy or Consulate is able to immediately schedule all affected applicants for visa processing. (2/3)— U.S. Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) November 26, 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.
Please note that the rescission of the Presidential Proclamation does not necessarily mean that a U.S. Embassy or Consulate is able to immediately schedule all affected applicants for visa interviews. (2/3)— U.S. Consulate Mumbai (@USAndMumbai) November 2, 2021
The U.S. Mission to India invites all visa applicants to join a Facebook Live session hosted by our Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs, Mr. Don Heflin. pic.twitter.com/DLXA3wX4J1— U.S. Embassy India (@USAndIndia) November 8, 2021
We have removed all the timeline of updates before November 2021 to keep the thread clean and up to date.
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
As of October 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
Currently, they are processing interview waivers and limited in-person slots. They plan to be at full capacity before September 2023. See the above timeline in article for the most recent update.
Yes, they are the most available slots. There are new provisions that make more people leverage the interview waiver/dropbox option.
No, there is no refund as such. In general, you have one year from the day you paid Visa fee to use the same. They updated in late September 2022 saying that, previous rules of 365 days to book apply now and everyone should book an appointment within 365 days from the issuance of the MRV receipt.
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
Yes, they have opened slots for first time B1/B2 applicants and started interview from September 1st week of 2022.
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 ?