Home » US Immigration - Visas » US Visa Stamping India Updates [Jan 2022] : Do NOT Cancel in-person appointments

US Visa Stamping India Updates [Jan 2022] : Do NOT Cancel in-person appointments

Some of you would have scheduled US Visa interview appointments scheduled in India, due to the unprecedented COVID-19 Situation in India and across the globe, US State Department continues to give news alerts on their website, Twitter, emails, etc. on how to handle US Visa appointments and the current operation status of their services. On this page, we track all updates from official and unofficial sources, including users feedback and experiences. It is divided into sections with a summary, timeline for easy review. We continue to update this page, you may bookmark this page.

Summary of all Updates from US Consulates in India as of January 18th, 2022

Below is the short summary of all updates from the US Consulates, Embassy in India from March 2020 until January 18th, 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.

  • In-Person Interview Waiver for Certain Visa Holders : On December 23rd, US Dept of State annnouced 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 Dec 28th, 2021, US Embassy in India said that they will release 20,000 slots for Spring 2022 based on this new interview waiver rule. So far, they are not yet fully released. Check timeline below for updates.
    • 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
  • US Travel Ban lifted for Vaccinated : US Govt lifted travel ban for fully vaccinated individuals starting from November 8th, 2021. Below is summary of the same.
    • How will it work : You need to be fully vaccinated and also have negative COVID test, which should be taken 1 day before departure to travel to US. It used to be 3 days before travel and changed to 1 day before travel starting from Dec 8th, 2021. For more info, read US Travel Ban to be lifted from Nov 8, 2021 for Vaccinated
  • Extremely Limited Visa Appointments : No Change
    • No official update yet on when the consulates will open for regular operations, they all continue to operate in limited fashion.
    • On Jan 11th, 2022, US Embassy said that they will not give anymore F1 Slots for Spring due to the COVID situation in India. They will not cancel existing appointments. Check timeline below for more info.
    • As per guidance by US Head of Consulates in India for appointments in Nov 2021, we will see more appointment slots for Jan 2022 to May 2022.
    • The lifting of travel ban to US does not mean that you can get appointment to get visa stamping.
    • There is no change in the situation in terms of how consulates operate. They are still operating in limited fashion with limited appointments.
  • US Visa Dropbox Criteria 48 months from Expirty Status Extended : 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 extened this indefinitely. There is no deadline on when the 48 months rule for interview waiver will end. See timeline section below for official links, screenshot of news.
  • Agents Fraud Booking Slots : 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.
  • Dropbox Stamping Slots – H1B, H4, L1, B1/B2, Others : US consulates all across the India are givng Interview waiver or Dropbox slots for H4, H1B and other visa renewals.
    • B1/B2 Slots for renewals opened starting from December 5th and they are available for January 2022 and Feb 2022. More slots continue to open.
  • MRV Fee Payment Validity Status : US Consulates in India have extended the MRV fee ( Visa Appointment Booking Fee) payment validity until September 30th, 2023 (extended in Nov 2021 by an year) to make sure all applicants get time to schedule visa appointment. It is updated on the US Embassy and USTravelDocs India Website.
  • 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 . You can check US Visa EA Tracker
  • 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 are processing 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 not 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 US Embassy website.

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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.

January 18th, 2022: Below are the latest updates from the last week until today.

  • No change in the overall situation of consulates, they all are operating in limited fashion. Check previous week’s update for details.
  • 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.
Interview Waiver Appointment - Convert - Cancel Guidance by US Embassy India
Interview Waiver Appointment – Convert – Cancel Guidance by US Embassy India

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.
US Embassy India not to open more F1 Slots for Spring 2022
US Embassy India not to open more F1 Slots for Spring 2022
Should I cancel my in person visa interview Appointment
Should I cancel my in-person visa interview Appointment

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.
Do you have previous visa in any visa class issued
Do you have previous visa in any visa class issued
Have you ever been refused a visa before
Have you ever been refused a visa before

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
When will new appointments be released in India
When will new appointments be released in India?
Interview Waiver - 20000 slots for Spring in India Update
Interview Waiver – 20,000 slots for Spring in India Update

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.
48 Months Dropbox Rule Extended Indefinitely
48 Months Dropbox Rule Extended Indefinitely
Interview Waiver for Certain Visa Holders and Extension of 48 months Rule
Interview Waiver for Certain Visa Holders and Extension of 48 months Rule

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.

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.

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.
US Visa Appointments Guidance Nov 2021
US Visa Appointments Guidance Nov 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.
US Visa Fee ( MRV Fee) Validity in India Extended until Sep 2023
US Visa Fee ( MRV Fee) Validity in India Extended until Sep 2023

October 25th, 2021: Below are the latest updates from the last two weeks until today.

  • No Changes in the US Visa appointments situation in India. Only limited appointments. Below are official tweets
  • No Changes to the B1/B2 Appointments. This was one of the most frequently asked question and US consulate did not give any information on this. See below screenshot and check Top 10 FAQs of week on US Embassy Website
  • US Travel Ban will be lifted from Nov 8th, 2021 for fully vaccinated persons.
B1/B2 Visa Stamping Slots Situation in India – Oct 2021

October 11th, 2021: Below are the latest updates from last week until today.

  • No change in the visa appointments availablity or consulates operations status. Everything continues to be in limited fashion. Check previous week update, it is all the same info on visa appointments.
  • Rumor : US Travel Ban Lifting may get delayed as per Forbes article.
    • The main reason is due to two things : Firstly, the delays related to US Federal Agencies to sign off on everythingl ike White House, Dept of Transport, State Dept, National Institute of Health. Secondly, the systems in place inside US to validate the vaccination status from travelers.
    • US Does not have sophisticated way to track and validate vaccination status of individuals coming in from other countries, inlcuding their citizens. See below snippted by UK Minister
UK Minister Info on Travel Ban
UK Travel Minister quote on lifting US Travel Ban – Source Forbes article

October 4th, 2021: Below are the latest updates from last week until today.

  • RumorsUS Travel Ban to be lifted from Nov 1st : There was a tweet last week from Official Twitter account of Austrian Ambassador to US stating that White House intention is to lift the travel ban from November 1st, 2021. But, it is not confirmed yet. See below tweet.
    • Until we have an official date, it is not confirmed. Do NOT book your tickets based on rumors.
    • Still NO official update from US Embassy in India as well on the lifting of travel ban.
  • The US consulates and US Embassy continue to be closed for regular operations and only handling limited appointments like in previous weeks.
  • No change in B1/B2 visa stampings. Very limited visa renewal using Dropbox Appointments. Check below tweets and previous weeks updates.

September 27th, 2021: Below are the latest updates since Sep 19th.

  • US Travel Ban to be lifted for Vaccinated : On Sep 20th, 2021, US Govt announced that they plan to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated individuals starting from early November 2021. You can check all details at US Travel Ban to be Lifted from Nov 2021 – Summary, FAQs
  • The travel ban when lifted would also be applicable to India too as the new policy is based on individual’s vaccination status, rather than country of origin.
  • We do not have any official update on US Embassy India website yet related to the new travel ban lifting guidance.
  • No change in the consualte operations or the availability of the slots across India. Everything is in very limited mode as like previous weeks.
  • B1/B2 visa stampings has not resumed yet. Only limited interview waiver or Dropbox Appointments. Check below tweets and previous weeks updates.

September 19th, 2021: Below are the updates from the last three weeks.

  • No changes in the US Consulate Operations in a couple of weeks. As of Sep 19th, US Consulates continue to be operating in a limited fashion with limited slots.
  • Only Emergency Appointments and Dropbox with NIE approvals can go for stamping.
  • We do not know when the consulates will open for regular stamping for everyone. Travel Ban continues to be in effect as well.
  • US Embassy confirmed again on Sep 12th saying that, if you attend US Visa interview for new visa, you will be assessed for NIE. So, you must have NIE to get visa, otherwise, you may end up getting 221g form for not having NIE. Also, if you are H1B, they suggest to submit proof during request of Emergency appointment. See below tweets from official US Embassy account.
  • US Embassy also updated on Sep 8th confirming that they understand the demand for H1B and L1 related appointments and will open more slots as conditions allow them. See below tweet.

August 30th, 2021 : Below are the updates from the past two weeks

  • No Change in the general consular operation status. They all are operating in limited fashion with limited appointments.
  • No official updates on the US Embassy website, when they will open up for other visa types. While there are some rumors posted on some news sites that they may resume H1B from next week, nothing is confirmed by US Embassy yet.
  • US Embassy confirmed that they gave around 55K F1 Visas for Indian Students, which is the highest record and that many students would board planes to study in US. See below tweet
  • NIE Requests can take up to 3 weeks for the response, so they ask everyone to wait. Also, they say they cannot guarantee a decision as well within that time. In fact, many users took much longer time to get the same. See below tweet.

August 16th, 2021: Below are the updates from the past three weeks until today.

  • No changes in the status of the US Consulates operations or availability of appointments across India. The status continues to be like in previous weeks.
  • US Embassy India conducted Visa Fridays, where they answer questions on the many aspects of US Visas. This happend on Aug 13th, 2021. No new updates were mentioned in that. Everything is as past. They did not indicate anything on if anything would change in Consualte operations.
  • As per US Embassy, they are opening very few slots for H1B, H4 and they fill fast. They suggest to take a placeholder slot and then ask for Expedite appointment, if you are eligble. They also confirmed that B1/B2 is not allowed as per proclamation. They strongly suggest anyone in US, if planning to come to India to be prepared for delays, if they need to get stamping. See below.
  • WhiteHouse is working on a plan, where they may require all foreign travelers to US to be vaccinated. They believe that this is needed to safely open the border without causing too much spike in cases and safely. It is not final or official yet, but still being worked on as an option. We need to wait and see, what would come out of this. This news was reported by Reuters on Aug 5th, 2021.
  • Limited availability of Dropbox for all visa types, except B2 visa. Also, there is no NIE given for B2 visas, even if you have the visa to travel. Some have taken the route of going to Mexico or other country and spend 14 days there and then travel to US as a workaround for this.
  • There is no estimated date or time given by US consulates on when they will open the consulate for regular operations.
  • Also, Travel Ban may not be lifted in the near term citing the Delta Variant issues. This news was confirmed by Reuters based on information from WhiteHouse officials. So, be prepared and plan your travel or NIE accordingly.

Jul 26th, 2021: Below are the latest updates in the last three weeks.

  • No Change in the consulate operating status across all the consulates. All are operating in a limited fashion.
  • F1 Slots : US Consulates say they are opening more slots for F1 students. In some cases, they are allowing Emergency Appointment as well. They also mentioned that they are aware of the high demand and continue to add more slots. See below tweets from US consulate.
  • Report Agents charging for Slots : US Consulate Mumbai is requesting users to report details of agents or anyone doing fraud by selling visa slots for money like 6K to 8K INR. You can report them at email MumbaiF@state.gov. The consualte says they will keep everything confidential. See below tweet.
  • Interview waiver or Dropbox appointment are given for all visa types, except B1/B2 visas. Of course, they are limited in nature. US Consulate Mumbai confirmed that they are giving extremely limited slots for interview waiver ant they fill quickly, check below tweet.
  • Check Latest US Visa Stamping Experinces shared by Users for July 2021
  • See below tweets for latest official update on the above

Jul 7th, 2021 : US Dept of state announced that they have changed the National Interest exception (NIE) validity from 30 days to 12 months. This is effective from July 6th, 2021. Also, this will apply to previously issued NIE exceptions by the consulate as well. The same was confirmed by US Embassy in India as well. See below Official screenshots and links

Below is the revised guidance from the US Dept of State on their official press release

NIE Valid for 12 months from the date issued Change by US Dept of State
NIE Valid for 12 months from the date issued Change by US Dept of State

Below is the update on the US Embassy India website confirming the same in the FAQs

NIE Valid for 12 months from US Embassy India website
NIE Valid for 12 months from US Embassy India website

Email response from US Embassy in Delhi in India NIE valid for 12 months and says it applies to existing ones as well.

National Interest Exception now valid for 12 months - Email from US Embassy Delhi
National Interest Exception now valid for 12 months – Email from US Embassy Delhi

Jul 4th, 2021: Below are the updates in the last three weeks.

  • Consulates General Operations: Though the situation in India is getting better with fewer new COVID cases, there is no change in the overall consulates operation status. All of them are still closed for regular operations and still operating limited fashion. There is no estimated time when they would open regular operations.
  • Student Visa Appointments : As of July 2nd, 2021, US Consualtes update that they continue to add more slots as it permits. Previouly, on June 25th, US Embassy updated that they released more slots for F1 students going for Fall 2021. Also, they updated the US Embassy website saying that they continue to add more and more slots for F1 students. See below screenshot
    • They confirmed again on June 28th saying that they cannot expedite F1 students’ appointments for Fall 2021. They will open more slots for the same. Students need to work with School for adjusting start dates or get flexibility.
  • Mumbai Consulate is providing very limited interview waivers and other work visa slots. Not fully opening them yet. Also, essential services for US Citizens continue to be provided.
  • Dropbox Slots: All other Consulates, except Mumbai, are opening more Dropbox Slots for H4, H1B and other non-immigrant visas. See below tweets by the official account.
US Visa Stamping status f1 update June 28-2021
US Visa Stamping situation at Consulates – F1 update June 28-2021

  • June 14th, 2021 : Below are the updates in the last one week until June 14th.
    • There is no change in the overall status of the consualtes operations. They all continue to be closed for regular operations. Only one key change is the opening up of slots for F1 Students going for Fall 2021. See below screenshot from US Embassy website.
    • There was a call with Head of US Consulates in India on June 10th, where they outlined all the situation and how they plan to operate in the next few months. Most focus would be for F1 students and they will open tens of thousands of appointments starting from June 14th, 2021. Check article : Status of US Visa Appointments in India in Jul, Aug for F1, H1, Others for full summary.
    • On June 14th, 2021, the system did open a lot of slots. But, there were lot of glitches in the system. There were slots mainly for F1 students, but there were few for other visa holders like H1B as well. The consulates did acknowledge the issue. See below tweet
US Visa Stamping India - June F1 Students Priority update consulate website
US Visa Stamping India – June F1 Students Priority update consulate website
  • June 7th, 2021 : Below are the latest updates in last three weeks as of today
    • No new changes last week. Still, regular operations of the consulates have not commenced.
    • US Embassy updated their website last week telling that they are handling some appointments in an extremely limited fashion. See the below screenshot.
    • If you have an appointment and it does not get canceled, then you can attend the interview. But, if you get a cancellation, then you cannot. So, very much unknown situation.
    • Also, you need to qualify for NIE to attend the visa interview. If not, there is a chance that you may get 221g.
US Embassy Updates - US Visa Stamping - May 24-2021
US Embassy Updates – US Visa Stamping – May 24-2021
  • May 17th, 2021 : Below are the latest updates in the last two weeks
    • US Consulates are issuing 221(g) form for Visa applicants who attended visa interviews around the proclamation time frame. It says that Presidential proclamation is in effect and they need additional supporting evidence to consider for NIE and issue the visa. Applicants need to submit all the supporting documentation to the consulate email. It looks as in below screenshot. Check US Travel Ban for Travelers from India – Exceptions List, Process for more info on what they need to submit.
    • No changes in the situation at all US Consulates and US Embassy. All appointments related to US Visa stamping – in person interview, dropbox, biometrics are cancelled until further notice.
    • Only essential services are provided to US Citizens and some Emergency Appointment. See below latest official update from US Consulate in Mumbai.
    • For F1 students, the US consulate suggest not to apply for Emergency visa appointment (EA), if the program starts after one month from today. Meaning, raise an EA only if your program starts within a month.
    • There is no estimated date when the consulates will start to issue more slots and return to before levels.
221g issued for US Travel ban for India Travelers
221g issued for US Travel ban for India Travelers
  • May 2nd, 2021 : Below are most recent updates as of May 2nd, 2021
    • All US Visa appointments in India cancelled at US Embassy in Delhi and all consulates in India until further notice. See below screenshot of news.
    • There is no estimated date when they will resume the Visa stamping appointments in India.
    • Consulates are only providing emergency appointment services for US Citizens.
US Visa Stampings India - May 2nd status
US Visa Stampings India – May 2nd status
  • April 27th, 2021 :
    • US Embassy website is updated with official announcement stating that all the Biometrics appointments, In-person visa interview appointments, Interview waiver or dropbox appointments would be cancelled until May 15th, 2021 across consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, including US Embassy in Delhi. Only emergency services for US Citizens and only approved emergency appointments will be honoured.
    • US Consulate in Mumbai is providing emergency services for US Citizens and limited emergency appointments for immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
    • See below screenshot and check Official Page of US Embassy
US Visa Stamping India Update - April 27 2021
US Visa Stamping India Update – April 27 2021
  • April 26th, 2021 : Below are the key updates from April 19th until April 26th.
    • US Embassy in Delhi Cancelled all in-person visa appointments, dropbox appointments from April 26th to May 9th due to severe COVID situation in Delhi. See below screenshot from US Embassy India website and tweet from them on twitter
    • Mumbai also continues to offer only emergency services. Other consulates are operating in very limited capacity.
    • Chennai started to send out Cancellation emails on April 25th morning for visa interviews, biometrics and Interview waiver appointments. As per the email the appointments are cancelled from Apr 26th to May 15th, 2021. See below screenshot shared by users for interview waiver and in person visa interview. Many other users reported they got similar cancellation email for Biometrics as well. Also, the US Embassy website updated on Apr 26th morning regarding the same, see below screenshot.
US Embassy Consulate updates Apr 26
US Embassy Consulate updates Apr 26
US Consulate in Chennai Cancels Interview and Dropbox in April 2021
US Consulate in Chennai Cancels Interview and Dropbox in April 2021
  • April 19th, 2021 : Below are the key updates in the last week, including today.
    • US Embassy in Delhi is cancelling all in-person interviews from April 20th to April 25th due to the curfew in Delhi. The initially said that they would cancel biometrics and dropbox, but later updated on twitter that Biometrics and Dropbox Appointments will be honoured this week. See below screenshot from Official US Embassy website and below tweets from them.
    • Mumbai Consulate continues to only operate in limited fashion for essential services.
    • All the appointment cancellations would be notified to the applicant.
    • US Consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata are working normally with limited capacity.
    • Still none of the consulates are fully open for regular operations, they continue to be in limited operations with limited appointments. There is no set date given for when they will open for regular functioning.
US Embassy in Delhi Closed due to Curfew April 20 to 25th 2021
US Embassy in Delhi Closed due to Curfew April 20 to 25th 2021
  • April 12th , 2021 : Below are the key updates in the last 10 days .
    • No changes in Consulate status. All of them not yet open for regular operations. They continue to operated in limited fashion with limited appointments. There is no estimated date for them to be back to normal.
    • Starting from April 9th, 2021, US Consulate in Mumbai is only providing essential services for US Citizens and limited US Visa appointments. This is due to rise in COVID cases. See below screenshots & Tweet. Also, check US Embassy Website
    • For Mumbai consulate, they will notify the applicant, if there is cancellation of the appointment. If the Consulate does not cancel, then you need to attend as planned and slot given to you. Check Tweet
    • No impact for appointments at Consulates in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata or Embassy in New Delhi.
US Consulate Mumbai Update COVID - April 2021
US Consulate Mumbai Update COVID – April 2021
  • April 1st , 2021 : Below are the latest update in the last two weeks until April 1st, 2021.
    • The H1B, L1, H4 and Other visas Travel ban expired on March 31st, 2021. It means that now H1B, L1, H4 and other visa holders can get stamping done both in-person and dropbox without any restrictions.
    • US State Department said that for H1B, L1, Others who were part of travel ban, they would work on the cases that are currently pending and they would be prioritized accordingly. Read the press release in below screenshot.
    • Today US State Department Confirmed in a press release the expiration of the Presidential proclamation 10052. See below screenshot, Check Official News on Travel.State.Gov
    • US Consulates in India are not yet open for routine consular services with full capacity operations, they continue to be in limited capacity mode. They are giving limited slots for all visa types stamping and they fill up quickly. See below latest tweet below
Presidential Proclamation 10052 Expired News on State Dept Website
Presidential Proclamation 10052 Expired News on State Dept Website
  • March 22nd, 2021 : No changes in the US Consulates operation status, they all continue to be closed for regular operations. But, they are opening slots in limited fashion for all visa types across all Consulates. More dropbox stamping slots are open now with the 48 months change. See below tweets from US consulate Mumbai
  • March 16th, 2021 : USTravelDocs CGI Federal Website has the updated 48 months from Expiry question now. The main guidance is that you need to submit at least 7 days before deadline of your 48 months of visa expiration. See below screenshot from CGI Federal website. Read US Visa Dropbox 48 months – How does it work to know more.
US Visa Renewal - 48 months from Expiry in CGI Federal System
US Visa Renewal – 48 months from Expiry in CGI Federal System
  • March 15th, 2021 : Below are the latest updates
    • US Embassy India website is updated with latest guidance from State Department saying they will process the Dropbox or interview waiver applications with 48 months from visa expiry. See below screenshot.
    • Also, US Embassy Delhi is processing all visa categories now, but in limited numbers
    • The online appointment booking system USTravelDocs is not yet updated with the 48 month change. It still shows 24 months only as of today. We will keep you posted as the system gets updated.
    • US Consulates continue to be closed for regular operations, nothing has changed there. See below tweet
Dropbox US Visa 48 months - Embassy March 2021
Dropbox US Visa 48 months – Embassy – March 2021
  • March 11th, 2021 : Below are the latest updates
    • Today, US Dept of State made an announcement expanding the dropbox eligibility from 24 months to 48 months from Expiry and this change is valid until Dec 31, 2021.
    • It means that, if your visa has expired in the last 48 months, you are eligible for dropbox or interview waiver option to get visa renewal done. See below screenshot of the official State.Gov news.
    • You can read more details on how it works at US Visa Dropbox Eligibility 48 months – How it works ?
    • No update from Indian Embassy, US Consulates in India or USTravelDocs India on the latest update of Dropbox to 48 months yet. We will keep you posted once there is any official announcement from Indian consulates.
US Dept of State Expands Interview Waiver Until Dec 31-2021
US Dept of State Expands Interview Waiver Until Dec 31-2021
  • March 8th, 2021 : No changes in any of the status related to Consulate regular operations. All is same as last update from March 4th. See most recent tweet below from US Consulate in Mumbai. Also, they clarified again that they are processing all the pending Immigrant visa applications with them in chronological order.
  • March 4th, 2021 :
    • US Embassy India website is updated saying that they are now processing Immigrant Visa appointments as President Biden’s Lifted Travel Ban for Immigrant Visas. See below screenshot and check info at Official US Embassy India Link
    • All US consulates in India continue to be closed for regular operations (see latest tweet below).
    • There have been a decent amount of slots given to H1B, L1, H4, B1 visa holders in the last couple of weeks.
    • Many users in our groups shared they got stamping done. Some got 221g under 212(f) as they were not exempt from H1B travel ban. So, you need to be careful when you for stamping. It is not about getting slot, you need to be exempt.
Immigrant Visa Processing Resumed - India Consulates
Immigrant Visa Processing Resumed – India Consulates

We have removed all the timeline of updates before March 2021 to keep the thread clean and up to date.

You can watch YouTube Video on where & how to check for US Consulates openings, wait times.

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

Are US Consulates, Embassy Open for Regular Appointments in India ?

Due to the Presidential proclamation on April 30, 2021, that imposes a travel ban to the US from India, US Consulates and Embassy in India have canceled all US Visa stamping regular visa stamping appointments until further notice. There is no estimated date when they will lift the travel ban. Currently they are only serving cases that fall under NIE or part of exemptions in proclamation.

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

As of September 2021, all appointments are cancelled including H1B Visa appointments. There is no estimated date when they will re-open the consulates. They are only accepting H1B Stampings that are part of NIE.

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

There is no estimated date, when it will be fully open for regular visa operations. They continue to update every week stating that there is no estimate date for opening of the regular visa operations due to COVID. See above timeline in article for most recent update.

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

Due to US Travel ban from India, all Dropbox appointments are cancelled as well until further notice. They are accepting limited NIE applications tied to dropbox.

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

No, there is no refund as such. In general, you have one year from the day you paid Visa fee to use the same. But, US Embassy in India has updated that they are extending the MRV fee validity ( Visa Fee) until Sep 30th, 2022 for everyone booked during COVID-19 period. You will get a chance to book appointment once the US Consulate is open.

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

You do not need a new US Visa, if you are already in US. As long as you have your I-797 approval valid and I-94 valid, you are fine. All you need to do is maintain Status. Read US Visa vs. Status Difference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, you cannot submit anything unless the consulate gives you a slot. In very limited cases, they are giving options, check with consulate. You also need to qualify for NIE.

If you are from other country, you should check your local US Consulate Website for updated information.

Did you go for Visa appointment or Dropbox ? What was your experience ?

   

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488 Comments

  1. I saw a note that B2 -visitor visa appointment slots are open, can anyone confirm if Visa appointment for B2 is open for Hyderabad location and visa stamping is completed

    Thanks

    Reply
  2. Hi,

    I am trying to get New H1B visa stamping slot in Hyderabad. Has anyone booked in past 2-3 days? Are you getting slots Dates? Where can I check availability? Please Help

    Thanks

    Reply
  3. HI
    I do see appointment slots open for B2 at New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, but when I select the time and click on next, it keeps saying that there is no slot available. Also, after multiple tries, it says that you have reached max number of page visits. Has anyone been able to secure a new B2 Visa appointment?
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  4. Hi,

    I am trying to get New H1B visa stamping slot. Has anyone booked in past 2-3 days? Are you getting slots for January? Where can I check availability? any telegram/ wapp groups?

    Thanks much!

    Reply
  5. Hi, I do see an appointment slots open for B2 from Hyderabad, but when I select the time and click on next, its keep saying that there are no slot available. Also, after multiple trails, its saying that you have reached max number of page visits and just complete the transaction. Its just confusing. Any one sees the same?

    Reply
    • Yes. I have been seeing the same issue for all appointment slots available in the various cities like Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai etc. Not able to select a slot and proceed further.

      Reply
        • I qualify for dropbox appoinment. After paying required fees, while trying to schedule dropbox appointment, since late Oct’21, I used to see “<> IW” in the dropdown box. Seems like IW description in the dropdown box while scheduling a dropbox appointment has disappeared around mid Nov’21 and showing “< VAC” option. Either the dropbox appointments are not available or new slots are yet to be opened. I share the frustration of checking for open/available slots on regular basis with no luck. With a limit on no.of times onecan check in 24 hours and random timeline when slots are opened, if any, are causing more frustration. Hope Consulate opens enough dropbox appointments in near future

          Reply
  6. At last i got my company to process my H1B cap exempt petition. I travelled to US Jan 2017 to Jan 2018. Once i received my extension denial i came to India and they applied once again but it got denied. I have changed my company (B)and they are going to apply for Cap exempt petition for remaining 5 Years.

    1.Will the Twice denial from Company 1 will affect the process?
    2.Do we need denial copies for applying the cap extent. Since i have stayed above my visa validity. As per company(A) policy they don’t provide denial reason and document for denial.

    Reply
  7. My Husband who is on H1B was in company A from Jan 2015 to Oct 2017, company B from Oct 2017 to Oct 2018, company C from Oct 2018 till date. I am on H4 and went to India in 2017 and got stamping for company A till July 2019 as per the I797 at that time. Now I am planning to go to India alone on H4. Due to pandemic situation, the eligibility for Dropbox is 48 months from expiry of visa. Even though I qualify for Dropbox, I have a doubt regarding the employer change. The previous stamping was for company A and the one I will be going is for company C.

    1. Is the company change acceptable while going for Dropbox?
    2. Does that change my eligibility for Dropbox or will be a reason for my visa stamping rejection now?

    Reply
  8. I have my H1B visa interview and stamping here in Chennai on 19th of November. Given that travel ban is going to be lifted on 8th, would I need an NIE?

    Reply
  9. Hello,

    I am desperately trying to schedule a drop box appointment at the New Delhi
    VAC location for renewing my recently expired H-1B visa. I have been
    monitoring the website (www.ustraveldocs.com) every single day (3-4 times)
    for the last several weeks, but I am unable to see the calendar of
    appointments. Has anyone recently gotten a drop box appointment for H-1B visa renewal? Also if someone has any updates on
    when the visa office will resume operations and processing of dropbox
    appointments, please let me know. It will be much appreciated!

    Thank you.

    Reply
  10. Could someone help with our doubt – Can a us born kid travel back from india to usa transiting thru Dubai or London if his passport has less than 6 months validity with H1b visa holder parents..

    Reply
  11. Why does this article say US travel ban will be lifted on November 9th? Isn’t it November 8th?? All the media news articles say November 8th.

    Reply
  12. What about 221g received due to presidential proclamation 10199??..The ban is going to end on Nov8th.So can we submit our documents on Nov 9th directly?(we were just told to drop passports after travel ban is lifted for stamping)

    Reply
    • DS,
      The travel ban is supposed to end on that date. We need to wait for confirmation on this. The visa stamping part depends on the slots availability and host of other things, that is not directly related.

      Reply
    • You can have visa interview in different consulate so that you can 221g pending visas. If you are submitting your passport it will easily take 2 months to get your passport back. Better book a new appointment

      Reply
  13. I need to apply for Visitor’s Visa for my mom. I am a US citizen. But I am not able to get any appointment. Can anyone help?

    Reply
  14. Has regular H1b visa stamping resumed in India? After calling the Indian visa call center 703 520 2239 multiple times, they said that the regular visa processing has resumed… could someone please confirm?

    Reply
  15. Currently studying on H4. I am planning to go to India for F1 stamping. My husbands Traveldocs site profile is used for H1B/H4 stamping appointment. Do I need to create a separate new profile in TravelDocs site for F1? Can we look for appointments in same profile for H1B/H4 and F1 together? Appreciate your help.

    Reply
  16. Hello all, I attended for H1B visa interview on September 9th, 2021, at the US consulate, Hyderabad.
    At the end of the interview, the visa officer has kept my passport and informed me that my visa is under consideration for NIE and will let me know within 24hrs to 2days, and handed me a 221g white slip.
    I haven’t received any reply back from them yet! Did anyone else experience a similar situation, if so typically how many days did it take to receive your passport back?
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  17. Hey,

    I am trying to book an h1b extension dropbox appointment in New Delhi. I started this 5 days back ie from September 7th. Does anybody know what the current status is? How often are the slots released in Delhi? Are people getting slots?

    Any help is much appreciated.
    Thanks

    Reply
  18. Hello everyone

    I started my visa slot booking application
    But when I go to the NEFT payment page it is showing amount and amount expiry which is next week.. does it mean my payment expires next week and I have to pay again? That makes no sense to me. Plz help.

    Thanks
    Nikki

    Reply
  19. Trying to book first time H4 appointment. It shows a lot of dates. But whatever I select, it goes to the next page and says “No appointment available.” Is it like the biometrics are available but the interview is not?

    Reply
  20. Hi All,

    I am trying to find H1-B stamping appointment (new visa) but looks like no dates are available at all. Did anybody have any luck to book one? Are there any telegram groups which can give heads-up when the slots open up? If yes, can you please share the links.

    Appreciate all help.

    Thanks,
    Sonia

    Reply
    • Hey Sonia,

      I was able to book a H1b VISA stamping app for a NEW H1b visa stamping last Friday at the Kolkata Consulate (see below for my comment). At the time , at least for Kolkata consulate, there were quite a few slots available (both for biometric and in-person interviews). Now that the F1 rush is kinda over, I suspect the consulates are going to open up more & more dates for other VISA classes. I would suggest you keep checking. I am sure you will get one soon !

      Good Luck !
      Sam

      Reply
  21. Any idea when B2 Visa dropbox appointments will open up?
    Its been over 3 months that no appointments are available for IW (Interview Waiver/Dropbox) for B2 visa category

    Reply
  22. Hi Guys,

    Sorry there are typos in my last comment 🙁

    Today I was able to book H1b (New and first time) VISA stamping appointment at the Kolkata consulate. Looked like there were lots of dates (both Biometric and interview dates) available. I have been checking everyday since July 1st.

    Good everyone who is looking for H1B appointments.

    Reply
  23. Hi Guys,

    Today I was able to book H1b (New and first time) stamping appointment at the Kolkata consulate. Looked there were lots of dates available. I have been everyday since July 1st.

    Good everyone who is looking for H1B appointments.

    Reply
  24. Hello Everyone,
    Anyone able to book H1B dropbox appointment recently? I am looking for appointment in August in any consulate since my dropbox eligibility is ending on August 25th.
    What is the good time to check the appointment availability & how many times we can try in a day? I am keep getting the warning message “Reached maximum limit of visiting this page”.
    Any suggestions / advise please?

    Reply
  25. Hi All,
    My H1B petition got selected on last August2020, and I’m waiting for the visa interview & stamping now. Will they accept me into emergency appointments..?
    Or Will Booking appointments at random dates useful after lockdown?
    Please kindly advise..

    Reply
  26. I am on F1 stem extension it expires in 2023 also I got my h1 approval is it possible for me to travel to india and come back before october so i dont have to get my h1 stamped

    Reply
  27. I am eligible for H1b dropbox, however, there are no appointments available. I have been checking their page daily, however, it’s the same since past 2 months. Does anyone know when consulates are going to resume normal operations?

    Reply
  28. It appears that in addition to 48 months from expiration of previous visa, another condition has changed. The last visa does not have to be issued in the ‘home country’ now.

    The questionnaire now says: “Was your most recent H1B visa issued after January 1, 2008?”

    Reply
  29. Hi,
    I have an H1B visa appointment scheduled for next week. Do I need NIE to attend the visa appointment consular interview? Kindly Suggest.
    I have travel plans for August.

    Reply
    • Hi Suman,

      Hope you are doing good!

      When did you schedule your H1B appointment…Is it after June14th 2021 or before that…why Iam asking because…Iam trying for H1B Dropbox appointment since June 14th but Iam not getting a visa slot….And is it your H1B dropbox appointment??? Please reply my question it would be very helpful for me.

      Thanks in advance!

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

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

    Reply
    • Hi Sruthi,

      Hope you are doing good!

      When did you schedule your H1B appointment…Is it after June14th 2021 or before that…why Iam asking because…Iam trying for H1B dropbox appointment since june 14th but Iam not geeting a visa slot….Please reply my question it would be very helpful for me.

      Thanks in advance!

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

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

    Reply
  33. Hi Kumar.

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

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

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

    Thanks

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

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

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

    Reply
    • Hi;

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

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

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

    Reply
    • No its not considered as attempt. Mine was cancelled once and I have confirmed officially that cancelled appointment does not count as attempt .
      Thanks,

      Reply

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