If you plan to renew your H1B Visa, you may be eligible for Dropbox / Interview Waiver option. Since September 2019, if you plan to use Interview Waiver/ Dropbox option for US Visa renewal in India, you need to book an Appointment for US Visa Dropbox . While many cases get US visa stamping done with drop box directly, some cases end up in additional administrative processing. One of our users, Sagar Mehta, who blogs at themeltingblow.com, had to go through administrative processing and got a 221(g) Green Slip for the same. He was kind enough to share his experience with our readers. Thanks a lot to him for taking time to share his experience. You can also share your experience with our readers by emailing us at redbus2us(at)gmail.com or share in forum
H1B Visa Dropbox Stamping with 221g Green Slip at Mumbai
Background – H1B Dropbox Eligibility: I planned to visit India in November’19 as I haven’t been to India in 3 years and my VISA stamp was expired in April’19. I thought, I am still eligible for a visa drop box because it has not been a year from my H1B Visa Stamp expiration and this time I didn’t have to go through fingerprints and interview process.
Dropbox Date Scheduling– “Schedule OFC Appointment” Confusion
During appointment booking process, when you go to the scheduling screen, you will see title “Schedule OFC Appointment”. It is very confusing for many to see the term OFC here. The reason is that OFC, which means Offsite Facilitation Center, is typically used for giving Biometrics before US Visa Interview. Now, for Dropbox Appointment, what does this screen mean ? Does it mean there are biometrics to be given too ? can be confusing…Anyways, I was too…Firstly, there is no need to give biometrics here for dropbox. It is just that US State Department is using the same booking system for both visa interview and dropbox and hence the title is misleading. In any case, if you see the term “Schedule OFC Appointment”, do not be confused, it is nothing but the actual dropbox appointment booking page. Below is the sample screen. You need to select the Interview Location here to see the actual dates. You can pick any location of your choice, I have picked Mumbai as it is closer to me. See below. Your dropbox locations are based on the location of the interview you pick, so pick the consulate accordingly.
Once the booking is successful, you can see the confirmation of the date on the home page as well like below.
You can change the appointment dates as well, they will appear in the history of dropbox appointments. See below.
You can check out Sample US Visa Dropbox Appointment Letter to get an idea on how the Dropbox Confirmation looks like.
Submitting Documents at Dropbox Location for H1B Visa Stamping
So, I chose Ahmedabad to submit my documents as it is the closest dropbox location from my hometown. On November 13th, I reached to Ahmedabad dropbox location around 12:30 PM and it took about 1 hour to finish the formalities including waiting in the queue (both outside and inside), submission of documents. They asked me to submit below documents.
H1B Dropbox Stamping with Appointment Checklist:
- DS-160 copy
- H1B Dropbox Appointment Letter copy
- Current I-797 copy (H1B Approval Notice)
- Passports (Old Passport with US Visa and new passport).
That’s all the documents I submitted. I was very happy. The entire process went smooth as silk. In the end, the consular representative told me that it may take up to 7 to 10 days to receive your passport back from consulate.
After Submission, got Courier with 221(g) Green Slip.
On 10th day, 22nd November (Of course it has to be Friday) I received my passport in a courier. I opened a package and what I see. They haven’t stamp my VISA and instead they gave me the green 221(g) slip. It looks like below.
221g Green Slip – Administrative Processing for H1B Visa Dropbox
As seen in the 221g green slip for my H1B visa stamping, I needed to go through Fingerprint Verification and an Interview. They have ticked those two boxes with red ink. The only positive thing was, it was a walk-in interview. I didn’t had to schedule an appointment neither for fingerprint verification nor an interview.
I was so confused at the time. Since I never faced such situation before. Do I need to go to OFC location for fingerprint verification or do I need to go direct to Consulate. After getting help from Kumar (RedBus2US) it was clear that I only had to go to US consular office.
Process at Consulate for giving Fingerprints, Interview in Mumbai with 221g Green Slip
On very next Monday on 25th November, I reached to Mumbai consular office at about 10AM. What I see was about 30 to 35 people were in queue for 10:30 time slot. (FYI: 10:30am time slot is dedicatedly for 221(g) or walk-in Interview). I stand in the line. The person who was managing the queue came to me and asked me not to carry any mobile phone or any electronic device. He asked me to take my iWatch off since it was not allowed to wear as well. At about 10:20am they started let people in the consular office.
As I entered, the consular office, as usual I had to go through a security. They asked all of us to wait in the chair, outside of actual consulate office but inside their premises.
Fingerprint Verification Slip Inside Consulate with Window number
Around 11:00AM they took a bunch of 221(g) people inside and collected our 221(g) receipt, I-797 copy and Passport. After doing initial check they gave us everything back with an additional slip stapled with 221(g). Looks like below.
As per the slip I have to go for fingerprint verification first and I must go to window number mentioned in the slip. It may change, for me it was 35. It was very long queue just to get fingerprint verification done. It took almost 30 mins to get the fingerprint verification done. And now it was the interview time. I went to the window.
H1B Visa Interview Questions with 221g Green Slip
Below are the questions asked by Consular Officer(CO)
- Me: Good Morning Officer.
- CO: Good Morning.
- Me : How’s your day so far ?
- CO : Not so bad.
- CO : What are your job duties?
- Me : I started explaining my job duties. (Before I finish my answer)
- CO : Your VISA has been approved.
The interview hardly lasted for 30-40 seconds. Yes, you heard it right 30-40 seconds. On one hand I was happy that the interview was not so bad but on other hand I was so angry that just for 30-40 seconds of interview, they gave me 221(g). They didn’t even let me finish my answer. The overall process in US consulate took about 2 hours.
Passport with US Visa Stamped – Delays
Due to thanksgiving holidays, there was a slight delay of about a week or so and I had to delay my travel by a week because of this. While I was waiting, the online status showed as Administrative processing like below..
Do not be worried, if you see this message. It is normal, others also had similar status, when they were waiting…Anyways in the end I received my passport with H1B VISA stamped after a week.
US Port of Entry : Also, there was no issue while entering the states. It was pretty standard US Port of entry Procedure and nothing different. Hope it helps everyone !
You may also read H4 Dropbox Experience with New Appointment System
What has been your experience with Dropbox and 221g ? Anything that I missed ?