H1B Visa Renewal Stamping Dropbox Experience – Chennai, India 2014

In Visa Experiences by Kumar266 Comments

One of our readers, Sathish has shared his detailed H1B Visa Dropbox Renewal experience with us. I believe, this is the first experience for Dropbox submission. It is written very clearly and gives you a clear picture of the exact process.  Congrats to Sathish on his Visa Stamping and Thanks to him for taking time to share his experience with our readers. You can share your experience with our readers here

Background Info:
—————-
I am working in EVC ( Employer-Vendor-Client) model. I got my first H1B visa stamped till Sep 2013 in Chennai last year. I visited Chennai again this year and I was eligible for Dropbox since it is not more than 12 months since my visa was expired (and same petitioner & same visa category).

Document Checklist for H1B Visa Dropbox Renewal :
——————-
1. Passport (Both old and new). – Mandatory Document
2. DS160 confirmation page. – Mandatory Document
3. Dropbox confirmation page. – Mandatory Document
4. Visa fees receipt.
5. I797 Document Photocopy. – Mandatory Document
6. I129 Document Photocopy. – Supporting Document
7. LCA Document Photocopy. – Supporting Document
8. Employer Verification Letter. – Supporting Document
9. Payslips of last 6 months. – Supporting Document
10. 2013 W2. – Supporting Document

H1B Visa Dropbox Submission Process
Appointment : No Appointment needed for Dropbox.
Location : TPL House, Teynampet, Chennai.

I was at VFS office around 10am and was asked by security personnel to stand in queue that was formed for Passport pickup (There will be less number of dropbox cases so there wont be separate queue for it).

Step 1 : Preliminary Documents Checking by VFS Agent – Changed Photos
I had to wait for like 20 mins before security personnel let me in. A VFS agent checked all my document before letting me inside the building. He was checking my DS160, Dropbox confirmation letter and my photos. He asked to me bring different photos since my new passport had the same photo. I was explaining for sometime like it is never mentioned anywhere in US Travel Docs that same photo from passport should never be used (same photo from old visa should never be used however). Agent told he can still let me in but it is not worth the risk and I would be sent back to bring new photos. I didnt want to take any chance so I went out again to take new photos. With new photos I didnt have to stand in queue again.

Also my surname in new passport is left blank by mistake, so I had consulate put an observation in my passport. VFS is checking for any observation page if Surname in Passport and DS160 are not same (Just in case if anyone is having observation made in passport).

Step 2 : Documents Submission, Fee payment
I went inside the building and waited for my turn to get called, roughly like 15 minutes. VFS agent in one of the windows requested me to submit the documents. I submitted my Passports, I797 photocopy (original is not required), DS160 confirmation page, dropbox confirmation page, Visa fee receipt, 2 photos. VFS agent gave visa fee receipt back to me. He was checking all the documents and making entries in his system at this point. It took like 10 minutes. In the meantime, I asked him whether I can submit any supporting documents. His answer was NO and the documents that I had produced thus far are good enough. His answer was resounding enough to convince myself so I didn’t ask any further question about supporting document. Finally he said I am all set and I can check the status using my passport number and expect passport in a week. He gave me the signed dropbox confirmation letter back for reference.

This is my 4th successful stamping experience(all in Chennai) for 3 different visa categories, obviously the dropbox one is the hassles free enjoyable experience of all.

Key Things to Remember
For dropbox, My recommendation would be just to submit the mandatory documents when VFS agent request you to submit the required documents. I carried supporting documents only for the reason that when VFS agent ask me to submit any of them I should be in a position to submit instead of telling I don’t have one. Even if VFS agent had told YES to my question on submitting supporting docs, I was intended to submit only employer letter & payslips (just to prove I am with same employer). Guys working on EVC model, take it easy on Vendor letter/Client letter. Dropbox is working like a charm, so please keep it simple. At least my personal view.
I got automated mail from US travel docs that my passport is ready to be picked up in like 2 days time. Here are the timelines for reference.

Hope USCIS keep this dropbox option for H1B stampings for good and long 🙂

Processing time – 3 Days ! 
Dropbox Submission – April 21st
Passport was ready to be picked up by – April 23rd.
Passport was picked up my me on – April 28th.

General Info – H or L Visa Renewal  :

If you are renewing your H or L Visa with the same employer and your current visa is still valid or expired within the last 12 months (Blanket L1 is not eligible ), you may be eligible for Dropbox visa stamping. To check your eligibility, you can visit  the US Consulate Website

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Comments ( 266 )

  1. Oscar Vinson

    Hi Kumar,
    thank you for sharing your experience on this, and I must say it is really informative and helpful for those who would like to apply for visa using the method you indicated here. I do have a question or maybe a request for additional information to add to your article, what are the instances when a person is not allowed to go through the process of H1B Visa Dropbox Renewal?

    Your answer will highly be appreciated.

  2. Geetha

    at which step we will be shown an option of dropbox instead of interview?

    1. when filling DS -160 form
    2. or later when we add payment and when on appointment screen?

    my H1 visa has expired on May 6th 2016. and new petition is till May 2019. wanted to check if i am eligible and at which step the option to select.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Geetha,

      You need to complete DS-160 form and pay the fees. When you login to ustraveldocs site to schedule interview, it will guide you through some questions and put you in dropbox flow if you qualify.

      As the visa expired more than 1 year ago, you don’t qualify for dropbox.

  3. Sohil Kherani

    I don’t have the same employer but it is still saying me that I qualify to drop off my documents at the drop off location. is it possible? I answered the questions reading them twice. please anyone suggest. Also I will be visiting india for 10 days only is it enough time to get the documents back after dropping it off?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sohil Kherani,

      Few years ago they dropped the requirement of applying for visa through same employer. So as long as other requirements are met, you will be eligible for dropbox even after changing the employer.

      1. Sohil Kherani

        Thanks Saurabh. For my second concern, are 10 days enough for me to get the visa? They don’t show how much is the processing time for the process. I’m visiting india for only 10 days and I will be dropping my documents on day 1 as I land. So my 10 day period should be enough for the processing time to either get approved or get called for interview?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Sohil Kherani,

          In most of the cases when there is smooth sailing, 10 days is enough. However, you should have a back-up plan in case stamping runs into issues.

  4. Ali

    Hi,
    I’m in India right now… I have an approved H1 till 2019 for Client A with Location A, but I need to travel for Client B with Location B… my company has files LCA for Client B but not an amendment for Location B.. My I 797 belongs to Client A but i have the client letter from Client B can I go for a drop box without filing an Amendment… Please let me know

  5. Abhi

    Hello Kumar,

    I have question related to supporting documents for drop box. My existing visa is valid up to September 2018 and recently I changed my employer and I got new I 797 approval up to March 2020.
    I have an important work in India and I have to plan my travel this week. I am eligible for drop box and only worry is I am holding only one pay check from my current employer ( since I joined on 3rd April). How many pay stubs I need to have( from current employer) as supporting docs when using drop box ? Kindly help me on this. I have all pay stubs from my previous employer before joining with new employer. If it is risky I can postpone travel for another 1-2 weeks

    1. Vikas Garg

      For dropbox, you don’t need any paystubs. I recently got my Visa stamped via dropbox and wasn’t asked for any paystubs.

    2. administrator
      Saurabh

      Abhi,

      Stamping is not required as your previous visa stamping has not expired. Change of employer doesn’t warrant a new stamping. Still if you want to get a visa stamp from new employer, then carry the recent payslip from current employer and 2-3 payslips from old employer.

      1. Abhi

        But my immigration team asking me to go for stamping even my existing visa has not expired. They are saying port of entry and getting dependent visa will be smooth If I have new stamping . Please suggest which is ideal for my situation.

        I will get 2nd pay stub from my current employer next Friday. Kindly suggest whether 2 pay stubs are safe enough to carry as support documents if I go for stamping(drop box) during my India visit. I have all pay stubs from previous employer for last 6 months

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Abhi,

          Stamping is not required, but if they are suggesting to go for another stamping then you should follow their advise. Payslips should not be an issue as long as you carry most recent 2-3 payslips (doesn’t matter whether they are from new employer or new+old employer).

  6. Abhishek Agarwal

    H4EAD going to be revoked?

    Hi Sourabh, All,
    With your help I attained H4EAD last year and now I am working in the US on H4EAD. Now I am hearing news on the H4EAD freeze thing.

    1) Do you have any update in the freeze thing. Will it affect the existing H4EAD as well?

    2) If existing H4EAD is also revoked, can we apply for L1 being in the US being in H4 status? My company told they cannot apply for H1B on such short notice and they cannot apply for L1 for H4 people who are in US.

    3) Is there any other route to remain on some working visa?

    Always appreciate your help

    Regards,
    Abhishek Agarwal

    1. Abhi

      But my immigration team asking me to go for stamping even my existing visa has not expired. They are saying port of entry and getting dependent visa will be smooth If I have new stamping . Please suggest which is ideal for my situation.

      I will get 2nd pay stub from my current employer next Friday. Kindly suggest whether 2 pay stubs are safe enough to carry as support documents if I go for stamping(drop box) during my India visit. I have all pay stubs from previous employer for last 6 months

  7. Swati

    Hi ,

    I had got my visa stamped in Oct -2016 valid till feb 2017 .
    my H1B got expired without travel .
    I have now got new petition filed in Premium Processing in Feb 2017 . Can I go ahead with DropBox facility for stamping or Do I need to go in person for stamping again . Kindly update

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Swati,
      Technically, you must be eligible for it. I suggest you give it it a try and check with USTravelDocs Customer support, just to be sure.

      1. Swati

        Hi Kumar ,

        For that matter I had called up to Chennai Consulate but they just asked me to look out at the link with the UsTravelDocs guide for dropbox , that if I meet that critera , it should be fine .

        Juts the point “Not travelled on previous Visa is keeping me unsure “.
        Not able to get any info anywhere . Do you suggest that USTravelDocs Customer support would be different from what I did . Ill give a try to that also .

        Thanks
        Swati

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Swati,
          I recommend to check with the USTravelDocs Customer support, just to be safe. Alternatively, you can also email the embassy, they will give you a response.

  8. Vikas Garg

    Hi, me and my wife have our stamping due and have got dropbox for our stamping.. So, just wanted to know the procedure for dropbox. Do me and my wife need to be present in-person at the VAC to submit our documents OR can anyone of us submit them for both OR can we send the documents with another person?

    1. swati

      Hi Kumar ,

      Thanks for the suggestion I had mailed the ustraveldocs support , They replied as as long as you fulfil all criteria and stamping is expired not more than 12 months you are eligible for interview waiver .

      Thanks
      Swati

      1. administrator
        Kumar

        Great Swati. Now, you have some sort of written proof. You can take that email copy as proof and go for the suggested !

        1. swati

          Hi Kumar ,

          I did a dropbox entry got my Visa stamped .
          – Got dropbox done on Friday 17th from office to bangalore VFS
          – Monday Morning Administrative Processing
          – Monday around 12 pm for me and kid Visa is issued for husband still administrative processing
          – Tuesday documents ready to be shipped
          – Wednesday documents ready to be picked but husbands passport still administrative processing .
          Got all documents
          but my husband (dependant) got blue slip in dropbox stating required for interview anyday between 8am -12 pm .
          What all documents might be required any suggestions .

          1. administrator
            Kumar

            Swati,
            In general, all the required documents supporting employment should be carried. Check out the visa stamping experiences section, there are tons of experiences with documents checklist in them.

  9. Kishore Kumar

    Hello Saurabh,
    My h1b visa was expired on Sept 2016 and I am planning to travel to india in April for a month time, currently visa is transferred to another employer and has validity till 2019. i i i have paid 190$ fee and got drop box(interview waiver) confirmation.
    But am unable to fix appointment for finger prints.
    Please let me know do we need to fix the appointment when Drop box is confirmed?
    Kindly advise

      1. kishore kumar pitchala

        Thanks Ashish.

        i heard that there are many H1B visa rejections( 221G ) during recent times,please let me know is it right?

  10. Phani Golla

    Can the drop box location and pickup location of the passport be different?
    I want to put Hyderabad as my drop box location, but for the passport return pickup in Hyderabad is only on wednesdays.So can i keep the passport return pickup location as Chennai?

    Please clarify!

  11. KARAN WATS

    Hello !! I have a visa extension for 6 days from June 24th to 30th June 2016 with my previous employer(6 days extension ) with approved I 797. Currently I am working with another employer with approved I797 from July1st 2016 to June 30th 2017.
    I am going to India and my question is that do I have to get both of these stamped or only the one I am currently on?

  12. HARIHARAN SWAMINATHAN

    I am confused to answer this one question “Is your previous H-1B visa still Valid?”
    1.There is no change in the Employer
    2.H1B visa was expired 2 Months Back (Previous I797 and Stamping on the Passport)
    3.New Visa extension I797 has validity upto next year

    Question: Is your previous H-1B visa still Valid? –> Should it be Yes or No?

  13. Paul Peter

    Hi,

    My current visa expires this month end (Oct 31st ) 2016 and I have got extension till 2019.I am eligible for Drop Box, Am planning for 10 days vacation on Jan end 2017 .My query is , 10 days is enough to get the passport after visa stamping through drop box ?Please advise.

    Jan 27 -Arrived India and went for Drop Box, When I can expect my Passport after visa stamped?Return to US planned for Feb 8.

    1. Gari

      Usually Yes should be sufficient, but you never know better to plan according to the actual said duration but tentatively should be fine.

  14. Swaroop

    Need your advice. I am in India currently on an emergency travel. I had changed my employer in May 2016. I have an approved petition from my new employer till March 2017. I also have valid visa stamp till February 2017 with my previous employer. I want to know if I am eligible for dropbox option instead of attending the interview for visa for H1B and H4.

  15. Gari

    Hi,
    Very useful and nice Q&A.

    Ive a situation -I have approved i797’s for primary and dependents all till May-2019 but primary petitioner (myself) not going out of US at the moment but dependents H-4’s (spouse & child) have to go to India and are eligible for IWP/Dropbox.

    Question: can my spouse go for Dropbox without primary (H1-B cannot travel and currently stays in US due to workload). do consulate also asks if primary (H1B) also has to appear mandatory for visa stamping in order dependents can get visa stamped without primary H1B along with them ?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Gari,

      Yes dependents can appear for H-4 visa stamping through dropbox even though you haven’t got the visa stamped for the extended petition.

        1. SAMY

          Hi Saurabh,

          Excellent site.

          My dependents are with me in the US. Their H4 visa stamping (obtained from previous employer) expired in Feb 2016 and my current employer extended their I-797 till 2019. My dependents, not me, are going for stamping next month. When I submitted the application online it gave me only drop box option but I have a doubt as their visa expired in Feb 2016. Could you clarify?

          Thanks,
          SAMY

  16. Yogi

    Hi There,
    My H1b visa was expired on June 2014, since then I have changed two employers and my current Petition (I-797) is valid till Apr 2019.
    Since my visa got expired more than 12 months ago and I also have changed 2 employers, am I still eligible for drop box option ? I plan to go India this Dec for 2 weeks.

    Please advise.

    Thanks,
    Yogi

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Yogi,

      You are not eligible for dropbox as the old visa expired more than 12 months ago. Change of employers has no impact on dropbox eligibility.

  17. Yogi

    Hi There,
    My H1b visa was expired on June 2014, since then I have changed two employers and my current Petition (I-797) is valid till Apr 2019.
    Since my visa got expired more than 12 months ago and I also have changed 2 employers, am I still eligible for drop box option ? I plan to go India this Dec for 2 weeks.

    Please advise.

    Thanks,
    Yogi

  18. Kishore

    Hi,

    My visa was expired on May 2016 and I am planning to travel to india on Nov for a month time, currently visa is transferred to another employer and has validity till 2019. Now i need to go new stamping. I have a renewed my passport recently.
    Will be eligible for drop box facility with change in employer and renewed passport? Kindly advise

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Kishore,

      You are eligible for dropbox even though you changed employer and have a new passport. Dropbox locations can be looked up on us travel docs site.

  19. Abhishek Agarwal

    Hi Saurabh,
    I applied for H4 in May’16 and got it stamped June 24 to Sept 10. I went to US in this period and applied for my H4 EAD. Now I have my H4 extension (I 797 A) approved and my H4EAD (I797) is approved.

    Now I want to travel to US on EAD:
    1) Should I apply for visa stamping?
    2) If yes, shall I apply for Drop box facility?
    3) how much time does this process take and what is the complete process?

    Regards,
    Abhishek Agarwal

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Abhishek Agarwal,

      1. EAD is not a travel entry document, but a visa is. So if your H-4 visa has expired, then you need to apply for one
      2. You may be eligible for dropbox if the old H-4 visa didn’t expire more than 365 days ago.
      3. Visa stamping if approved should be issued within 1 week.

      When did you leave US?

      1. Abhishek

        Hi Saurabh,

        I really appreciate on the prompt response from you!!
        I left US on 9th July ’16. Also, do you what all documents will be required for this?

        Regards,
        Abhishek Agarwal

          1. administrator
            Saurabh

            Abhishek,

            Mandatory documents are H-1 holder’s 797 copy, passport, dropbox letter. Supporting documents should also be carried (in case they are asked for) like marriage certificate.

  20. meenakshi

    Hi

    I have a strange scenario, can someone please help me here, My current H1 will be expiring in Jan 2017, I have filed my extension in premium with USICS already, i should be hearing from them in a week time. Now here is the lock, I need to go to India for a week time in November . I believe i would be eligible for the DROP BOX, but the question is my travel plan is only for 5 days,

    1)will that be suffice ?
    2) can i skip drop box inspite of having a new extension in US and use my old petition

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