One of our readers, Rajesh, got their H4 visa stamping done using Dropbox using the New Appointment Process at Hyderabad, India. He was kind enough to take time to share their experience with the community. Thanks to Rajesh for taking time to share their experience.
H4 Dropbox Experience Hyderabad– Background Info
I applied for H4 and H4 EAD with the new Biometrics process, was waiting for approval and finally ended up going for H4 stamping as it was taking too long. I had my H4 visa stamp still valid, but expiring in November 2019. My spouse H1B recently got transferred and we got 3 years on H1B, I went to H4 Dropbox to get new H4 Stamp until end of my spouse H1B.
US Visa Dropbox Appointment Booking Process – Complete Steps
- Complete DS-160 form : First you need to compete DS-160 form and then print confirmation page and save it.
- Register for Account to book appointment : After that you need to register an account to book an appointment at https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/?language=English&country=India
- If you already have an account, you can use that.
- Duplicate Profile Details: In my case, as I was trying to register account, it was giving an error saying duplicate profile exists. The fact was, my spouse already had an account as we did drop box in the past together. As I was traveling by myself, I needed to get a separate account for convenience. So, I called up customer service to create an account with my profile details and they unlocked it for me. I was able to do booking using normal process after that. It took couple of days for it.
Booking Appointment for Dropbox / Interview Waiver :
It is a total 3 steps process.
- Dropbox Eligibility Checker : Once you login, you will need to add yourself, then you will be guided step by step for drop box eligibility, where you answer questions about your age, your recent H4 stamping, etc. at the end, you will get confirmation that you are eligible for drop box, which is called as Interview Waiver. It looks like this in yellow background as you can see below.
- Pay Visa Fee : After the above screen, you need to specify document delivery / pickup option, which city you plan to pick up. After that you will get option to pay the fee for the visa stamping. It was 13,680 INR. You could use NEFT using Bank of America, IMPS or pay over the counter at Citi, Axis bank or DRUX PNB Bank. You cannot pay using your overseas accounts. You need an India Rupee account for this. We picked the offline Pay over counter option and asked our relatives to help us out.
- Cash Payment Advice Slip : You will need to print a cash payment advice slip and that need to be used at the Axis or Citi bank as it has a CGI reference number. It takes about a day after the fee was paid in bank for it to get activated.
- Booking Appointment for Documents Submission: Once you pay the fee and receipt is activated, when you navigate to the visa tab on home, you will get a popup on the payment screens saying a receipt matches and would you like to use that. You can say use existing receipts, then it goes to the screen to book appointment
- Schedule OFC Appointment / Drobpox Appointment: This is the most confusing part, when you go there, the screen does not say Schedule Dropbox appointment, it says schedule OFC Appointment. See below. They in fact mean Dropbox Appointment, but as they seem to be using the same system for normal visa stamping, it says so… but in this context, it means dropbox, so do not worry…Anyways, You need to select the interview location, where you plan to give interview, if there was a need for interview. This would also be the place for submitting your documents. The dates are displayed like below with slots available for a day in the bottom. You can select a day and then book, if that day is open. Once you book it, you should print the confirmation letter. You need to carry it along with you for the dropping off documents. The appointment letter has all details on what you need to submit.
H4 Dropbox Document Checklist
I carried the below documents to submit dropbox.
- H4 Visa Stamp Copy from passport ( expiring soon)
- Copy of approved H1B of my spouse
- Copy of previous H1B approval
- Copy of my spouse’s H1B Visa stamp ( expired )
- Previous copies of my expired H4 Approval notices.
- Previous copies of my H4 Visa stamp
- DS-160 confirmation page
- Interview waiver letter printed during appointment booking.
- Passport photo.
Dropbox Document Submission Process at Hyderabad, Photo
- Photo : As I have seen photograph issues reported by many users, I decided to take photo at the dropbox location. Inside the H4 Dropbox submission office, you can take Passport Photo for dropbox, they charge you 250 INR, expensive, but I guess easier for us rather than taking it another place and replacing it again.
- Not allowed Items : You cannot carry any electronic devices, including phones or anything with Bluetooth. Especially, if you use Apple watch kind of stuff, you should keep them away in your car or give it with your relatives.
- Document Submission : The process was very simple. In the beginning one person verifies the documents, before your documents are submitted at counter. I was missing my spouse’s recent visa stamp copy; I only had the previous visa stamp copy that was expired before that. I submitted it and hope it will go well. After the documents are verified, you go to the counter and submit the documents. You can submit anytime between 10 AM and 4 PM on that day. It took like 10 to 15 min for the process.
- Online Status Changes – Administrative Processing : I submitted documents and then checked online for the status of the passport on second day. It changed to “Administrative processing”, I was really worried on this, but on further research on similar experiences, it says it is common to see that. Anyways, on Day 3, the status changed from Administrative processing to “Issued”. I was relieved. Totally, the processing was done in 3 days. I got email to pick up passport on Day 4.
- Pick up Passport – My Brother : I did not go to the consulate to pick up passport. Rather, I wrote a letter indicating that my brother would be coming in to pick up passport and put in his details in it and his photo id info. It is the authorization letter. I also gave my Aadhar Card and Driving License as proof. He carried his driving license and passport that I mentioned in letter. He also carried the appointment letter. He was able to pick up the passport on my behalf without any issues. Total processing time from drop-off to pick up in 4 days.
- Also, luckily, in parallel, by the time I arrived in US, I got my H4 and H4 EAD approved and they were delivered to my address.