Home » US Immigration - Visas » US Visa Appointments India: 2022 Updates for F1, B1/B2, H1B, L1 by Head of Consulates

US Visa Appointments India: 2022 Updates for F1, B1/B2, H1B, L1 by Head of Consulates

Last year in November 2021, there was a Facebook Live Q &A session on US Visa Appointments situation in India organized by US Embassy. In that session, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs for India, Mr. Don Heflin took the time to answer questions about US Visa appointments, the overall Consulates operations situation in India.

On April 18th, 2022, US Consulate in Chennai hosted a similar Facebook Live Q & A session with him. In this article, we have summarized the key points and guidance for various visa types appointments and how it would work in India for the same going forward this year.

Overall US Visa Appointments, General Operations of US Consulates

Below are some of the updates regarding the overall situation at the US Consulates and Embassy in India and updates that apply to all kinds of visa types

  • Mr. Don Heflin said that this year marks the 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties between India and USA for US Visa issuances, since India’s Independence and it is a great partnership.
  • US Consulates & Embassy plan to operate at about 2/3rds of their capacity for 2022. The goal is to issue about 800,000 visas in the next 12 months.
  • Plan to have full operational capacity by mid-2023
  • Understand demand – Appointments up to 1.5 years from today :
    • He said that currently they are not aware of the actual backlog as they don’t know the exact demand with the current setup of the appointments booking.
    • To know the exact demand and backlog, they plan to open up US Visa appointments well into the future like 1.5 years (one and half years) from today. That will help consulates assess the demand and plan accordingly.
    • Unlike now, these slots opened far in to the future like 1.5 years from today will not be placeholder appointments and applicants can use those appointments that are even after 1.5 years
  • COVID related Issues : Consulates were not able to open fully as normal during COVID due to typical issues like staffing issues, budget, hiring people, etc. They had to prioritize visa types due to the limited capacity.
  • Why getting blocked of 72 hours: It is the refreshing thing that is blocking in. System thinks as bot. The slots will be open slowly now and then, not going to be big bang like last year
  • Can someone pay more to get an US visa appointment ? US Consulates does not have such option and will not have it in future as we do not believe in such thing. They look at the purpose and give slots, but not for more money. They have turned down slots for many important connected people as well.
  • Cancelling June Appointments ? If any of your US Visa appointment was booked recently in last couple of months for June 2022, then it is not a placeholder. If you booked before than 2 to 3 months, then it was a placeholder appointment and may get cancelled.
  • About 8 to 9 days ago US Consulates quietly opened many visa slots all around the country.

For current updates on US Visa Stamping and US Consulates Situation in India, you should check: US Visa Stamping India – Consulates Latest Updates Timeline

Dropbox Appointments (Interview Waiver) Updates

Updates on F1 Visa Appointments in India

  • As per Mr. Don Heflin, last year 62,000 F1 Visas were issued in India. This year, the plan is to interview more F1 students and issue more F1 visas.
  • Unlike last year, US Consulates cannot wait till mid-June to open up F1 slots for Fall 2022 applicants. They will open slots around mid-May and start interviewing applicants for Fall 2022 starting from June 1st, 2022.
  • F1 Students Visa Interview Booking Policy Change :
    • US Consulates are making a policy change for F1 appointments allocation to have this year’s student visa season look like last year.
    • Last year, US Consulates opened slots around June 14th, 2021 and all slots were taken out. So, many F1 student applicants did not get a chance to do a second interview chance( if rejected). These students with a slot gave their best shot in the one slot they got and many got visas on their first attempt.
    • The policy change for 2022 would be to block out(prevent) F1 student applicants, who were rejected in the first interview, to apply for second, third, or further attempts for an F1 interview.
    • The goal of the US Consulates is to make sure, more first time F1 Student visa applicants are given an opportunity to go for visa stamping and present their case the, rather than giving more chances to rejected applicants. They believe that the approval rate of rejected students in first interview is usually lower in the subsequent second or third attemts, and hence making this change.
    • Suggestion from the consulates to Students is to not think about the second or third interview slot and give the best shot in the first interview.
  • F1 Interview Waiver: There was a policy given last year with US Visa Interview Waiver eligibility for certain F1 Applicants, with any previous approved US Visa. In that context, if you have a previous B1/B2 Visa valid, you can get an interview waiver based on that previous B1/B2 visa and apply for a Dropbox appointment for F1 Visa Stamping.
  • Also, Mr. Don Heflin said that Bank Statements are not mandatory documents for F1 students. They want to know the real reason a student is planning to study in the US and they are not interested in knowing about student life or the program.
  • Also, it was clarified by them that all the above F1 visa related appointments guidance will be applicable for M Visas and J Visas as well.
  • F1 Dropbox slots would also be be open in middle of June.

B1/B2 Visa Appointments Updates

  • B1/B2 Fresh Visa or first-time applicants: Appointment Slots for first time B1/B2 visa applicants are planned to open in the next few weeks.
    • The actual B1/B2 Visa interviews are planned to start on Sep 1st, 2022.
    • They will be opening them in 500 slots per day.
  • B1/B2 Dropbox appointments are open for the 3rd week of July 2022.

H1B, L1, H4, L2 Visa Appointments Updates

  • In the next 12 months, US Consulates in India plan to process about 300,000 appointments for H and L visa categories ( H1B, H4, L1, L2)
  • Most of the dropbox slots for for H1B, H4, L1, and L2 Visas are not available for the summer. They are oversubscribed. Few slots may open now and then depending on capacity.
  • The dropbox slots for H and L visa would would be opening for September and far beyond in the future, in the upcoming weeks. The key thing is you will get a slot, but it could be far in the future, just need to plan accordingly.
  • You can get H1B, H4, L1, or L2 visa in-person appointments for the 3rd week of July 2022 in Chennai.
  • Blanket L Visas :
    • Dropbox is not possible for Blanket L Visas due to technical reasons and they need in-person appointment.
    • Blanket L visa – Interview slots to open in the middle of June.

Emergency US Visa Appointments in India Updates

  • Changes to Placeholder Slots :
    • Going forward, visa applicants no longer need to book a fake or placeholder slot that will be cancelled in the future.
    • They will be able to retain the slot that they booked far into the future, if their expedited request is not approved.
    • If you get an expedited approval, then you don’t have to cancel it
  • Emergencey Appointments are prioritzed for situations like death in family, serious hospitalization, business person on critical business work to create jobs, etc.
  • No Emergecney appointments would be given for applicants to attend graduation ceremonies or weddings.

What do you think of the above changes? Do you think they will help solve the issue ? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments section below

Official Facebook Live Video Recording

You can watch the video recording of the actual session at below link

   

Other Articles

97 Comments

  1. My current location is Toronto, Canada and I am on an ICT visa(from 2018). My H1b application got picked for the 2020 lottery(applied from Chennai) and due to covid situation I have done my first H1b stamping in Toronto consulate last March 2022. I have a valid H1b Visa up to Aug 2023. Now I am planning my vacation this year end and planning to travel to the USA from India in Feb 2023. Since my stamping done in Canada, I should travel from Canada to USA? or can I travel to USA from India, because I heard from my friends I can travel to USA only from first stamping country(Canada) when travelling first time to USA. Do we have any restrictions like this?

    Reply
  2. I Think That USA must Outsource Bio-metrics to Indian Passport Offices/Post Offices and Do Interview online. Better would be Just Do Online Interview, IF it is Essential, and Do Bio-metrics on Arrival at Immigration at the Landing City Airport.

    New Ideas need to be adopted.

    Reply
  3. I am trying to schedule OFC appointment for H1 in Chennai. I have been checking for couple weeks and it still says No appointment available. Do you know when the next set of slots will be available?

    Reply
  4. I am applying for B2 visa for my father, when I try to book the appointments..I get the slot available for biometric process but as soon as I try to book consular appointment it only shows dates available from Aug/Sept 2023. The announcement is that B1/B2 appointments will be resumed from Sept 2022, then why are we not seeing available slots for this year still? Any information on this is highly appreciated! Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  5. Are you aware of any slots opening up soon for H1B Dropbox. I have been logging in everyday since June 25th and there are no slots available. Any information on that would be helpful.

    Thank you

    Reply
  6. HI
    I need to book H4 Visa interview slot for my spouse and kid. i dont see any slots. When can i expect slots to be open. PLease suggest

    Reply
  7. Hello. I too have a conference to attend in the mid of September. No slots are available, as I have been checking since the last few days. Any chances for me to get a slot for interview till August?

    Reply
  8. Hi,
    I am applying for B1 for an important course workshop + meetings in the first week of September 2022. I have paid the money and been trying to seek an appointment at Mumbai for the last 10 days. Every time the website shows available time slots and then on selection it disappears – showing no slots available. This has happened to my other colleagues too, facing the same issue.
    I have written under the feedback section almost everyday, without any satisfactory response

    We don’t even know after paying visa fees, it is worth pursuing given that there is no clarity from the visa offices about this. Can anyone guide if this is a system error or we are missing anything?

    Reply
  9. Hi
    Can we take the Biometric Appointment in one location (say Chennai) and the interview in another location (say Delhi)?

    Reply
  10. Hi,
    I got my h1b lottery for 2022 in April, it’s my first time and I don’t know about the whole process. I reached out to my employer but I couldn’t get a proper answer.
    I am currently working in Singapore. The employer in the US mentioned my joining date in October..Can you suggest how much time will it take for me to complete the process and what the process looks like for me, do I need to go to India?
    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • Neha,
      You should ask them, if they filed the H1B petition or not as June 30th is the last date for the same. You can check the status of your petition online. Ask them about that.

      Reply
    • Hi Neha,
      I am also in quite similar situation except that I am in India. I think you do not need to come to India, you can appear for interview in Singapore also. First thing you can check with your employer is that they have filed the petition for you or not. My employer filed my petition on 26th June. We are waiting for response form USCIS office now. I think after that we need to select the slot online and go for visa interview. As I heard from my friends, slots are not available in near future due to covid impact. It seems very difficult to get the slot in Sept-Oct. If we are lucky then only we can get it in Sept-Oct. Otherwise, it can be in Nov-Dec or in Jan-Feb also. As per USCIS earliest starting date can be October, but if visa is not granted, we can’t start on that date. Hope it helps.

      Reply
  11. Does anyone have any recent experience of consular appointment in Mumbai or other location in India? Checking this because most people are using dropbox service these days.

    Please advise.

    Reply
  12. Hi Kumar,

    I have booked an OFC and interview appoint for H1B for Oct 2022, Mumbai location slot in June 1st week. I have read somewhere that these are placeholder appointments and they might get cancelled in future. Can you please advice on this.

    Thanks for the help. & advice.

    Thanks,
    Jitten

    Reply
    • Jitten,
      it depends on when you booked them. If it was done few months ago, yes, they are placeholders. But, if it was booked in the last 1 month, they may not be palceholders. You can reach out to UStravelDocs to confirm

      Reply
      • Hi Kumar,

        Thank you so much for the reply. I have booked this appointment in June 1st week of 2022.

        I did write to USTravelDocs and asked the same question posted above. They also did not give satisfactory reply. Please see below reply.

        “In response to your question, our records indicate that you have successfully schedule your appointment. So, we would request applicant to kindly proceed for the appointments as scheduled.

        Also, we would like to inform you that if there will be any cancellation of the appointment then the U.S. embassy/consulate will inform you accordingly.”

        Thanks,
        Jitten

        Reply
        • Hello. I too have a conference to attend in the mid of September. No slots are available, as I have been checking since the last few days. We’re you able to prepone your interview from October to June?

          Reply
  13. Hi Kumar,

    Hope you are doing well.

    My H1B was applied in 2019 and approved in 2020 and its recently stamped in June,2022 but expiration date which is printed on passport is September 5, 2022. Also, client position for which petition was filed in not available now.

    I have few queries around it:-

    a) As Sept 5, 2022 is near, can we apply for extension in India itself and if yes then
    i) Do we need a client or available position to apply for extension?
    i) In case I got extension do I need to go to stamping again in India before going to US?

    b) I have not worked in US and having fresh H1B. Can I change my employer even before going to US and if yes then other employer has to file the H1b transfer with extension and then do I need to go to stamping again in India before going to US?

    Thanks,
    Ramesh

    Reply
    • Ramesh,
      a. Yes, you can. You need support info from client to apply for it.
      b. This is grey area, but as you had stamping done, you maybe able to do it.

      Reply
  14. I have a valid visa till September 2022 and approved I-797A. Can I visit India and return before my visa expiry? How early do we have to return to US before our current visa expires ( a day, a week, or a month before expiry)

    Reply
    • Deepak,
      yes, you can. No such rule. You can even enter a week before expiry. Just ensure that you have approval notice much beyond that 10 days or your employer has plans to extend.

      Reply
  15. Hello,

    I have I140 approved from A company. Job loss changed to H4EAD(long wait) and got another job now got approved H1B(ttransfer and extension after six years) from B company. I havent went to stamping since my F1visa now I want to go . Here are my questions
    1: Can you go for H1b visa stamping for dropbox or will it be interview?
    2: I140 is of different company then H1b will that create any issues?

    Thanks

    Reply
  16. Hello,
    My husband is trying for a J2 interview appointment since last week. OFC is available but if he gets to the appointment page it says please click a different OFC date… is anyone else facing the same problem? Are we doing anything wrong?
    Any help on this would be very much appreciated!!! Thanks!

    Reply
    • Poulamee,
      It is a common issue, it means the slots are not there. Many have same issue, do not worry. Keep checking.

      Reply
  17. Hi,
    I applied for a B1 visa previously and It was refused. I applied for the B1 visa in Barbados🇧🇧. Now, they don’t have visa appointments until 2024. Can I apply for either B1 or B1/B2 in India?

    Reply
  18. My college starts on August 15th and my F1 Dropbox appointment is on August 3rd. The process time takes 2-3 weeks and I’m worried if I will be able to make it to my college orientation. Will i be able to book an emergency appointment for an earlier date in this case?

    Reply
  19. My college starts on August 15th and my F1 Dropbox appointment date is on August 3rd. Since the process time takes 2-3 weeks, I’m afraid i wouldn’t be able to travel by August 15th. Can I book an emergency appointment in this case?

    Reply
    • Sneha, It is not worth going for it. Speak to your college and get an extension for it. Frankly you have enough time, usually they take about 10 days at max for delivery of passport and the whole process, if all goes well.

      Reply
  20. hi my first visa on may 10th was rejected due to experience ..passout is 2020 and due to corona waves only completed my internships..can i get or apply 2nd slot interview by 31st bcaz my college starts on 31st may..i m tensed plz suggest for slot booking

    Reply
  21. I am looking for H1 + 2H4 Dropbox appointment. Does it count as 3 appointments are as 1 ?

    Since now Consulates are opening only few slots, will I get a slot only if minimum 3 slots are available ? or I get a slot even if 1 is available ?

    Reply
  22. When i try for F1 Visa appoinment they Give me 2 options.
    1) Previously Refused – (My most recent application has been refused in the past 24 months)
    2) English – (Applying for the first time and my most recent visa was not being refused previously)

    I refused B1/B2 in Feb 2020 and its now 27 Month. Its totally confuse this 2 Options 1st said in 24 month and 2nd said first time and recently not refused.

    Can you give me suggestion which one is good for me??

    Reply
  23. Hi, I’ve been trying to get a dropbox appointment for over two months now, and log in everyday, but the entire time, I only see the same message, no appointments available!
    I do see some appointments available in person, but since I am eligible for dropbox, not sure if I answer some question incorrectly and choose the in person, is that ok? I am on an H1B and cannot afford to have issues with my stamping if I choose to answer questions in a way to get an in person appointment.
    I need to get to India and get my stamping completed, is it an option to go elsewhere to accomplish this or does it have to be India? My last stamped H1B expired in Sep 2018, and since then I’ve transferred jobs but been unable to get my visa stamped in India.
    Can I answer questions in a way that I choose an in person appointment and will that be ok?

    Thanks, FS

    Reply
  24. Sir, I had booked for my H1B US visa appointment from Chennai for 7th october 2022 but my appointment date shows has 7th october 2024, how to rectify it ?

    Reply
    • Prem,
      What does the appointment letter say ? If it says 2024, then you need to call customer support. They will help fix.

      Reply
  25. We are seeing a lot of biometrics slots for H1B for end of May in Delhi. Does this mean they are going to be releasing consular appointment slots soon for end of May?

    If there are no dates, is TCN processing in Nepal a viable option?

    Reply
    • TCM is a good option but you also need to prove your financial or family ties with non home country you’re applying through.. Let us know how does it went if you decide to go for it..

      Reply
  26. Hi,
    I have to travel for an urgent business need (audit) in August’22.
    Not able to book any slots. Will emergency application be helpful?

    Reply
    • Srushti,
      If it is critical and if you can get business letter, you would get approval for Emergency appointment.

      Reply
      • I requested an emergency appointment on April 27th with an urgent business need, and a letter from my company. It was rejected on the same day with the message “we will be releasing more dates on a rolling basis, please choose one that best suits your needs”

        I’m hearing from many that emergency appointments are only being approved for medical and humanitarian needs, is that true?

        I’m also in the same boat, I have an urgent business need to return by end of May.

        Reply
  27. I am trying to make a j2 visa . cannot find any slots since 3 months.consulate is replying a autogenerated mails about visa slots.any idea when they will be open?can we apply for emergency visa on family seperation.

    Reply
  28. I have completed finger prints for visiting visa, next day due lockdown my appointment cancelled. Do they reschedule or go for fresh appointment? Guide me

    Reply
    • Srinivas,
      You need to re-book them. You can email and ask them for the suggestion, if they can open Emergency slot for you.

      Reply
  29. I am on O1 visa and got stamping last year. My wife is here on an O3 visa. I am planning to book an O3 visa appointment for her. She is eligible for drop box appointment but not seeing any slots for the last few days. I am not sure whether O3 drop box slots for summer will open up soon or is it completely booked out. I emailed the consulate and also sent messages via CGI/visa appointment booking website regarding this and got generic replies (i.e., they wouldn’t comments on appointments). Any comments? TIA.

    Reply
  30. Kumar Sir, I have expired F1 visa (Expired on 2020 April) Now my employer wants to file an B1 visa for me.. I am not sure if I am eligible for drop box or not can you please advice.

    Reply
    • Niranjan,
      You are likely to be eligible as you were issued a US visa in the past. fill out the questionnaire in the system, it will suggest.

      Reply
  31. Hi Kumar

    Do you know if any of the NEW B1/B2 slots have been opened now and we can book as I see its mentioned it should start from Sep. In visagrader, i can see some slots, not sure if I can book for new ones ?

    Reply
  32. Hello Kumar,
    Can H4 ( Dependent wife & minor kid) go to drop box together without the main H1(who is in US) ? Their earlier visas expired 2 years back.

    Thanks,
    Krish

    Reply
  33. Hello, myself Pranav Patel, I am looking for F1 slots as I want go for undergraduate, but currently no slots are available, this makes me little worried coz i wanted to go for this fall, please guide me the time ranges during day and night in which i could look out for slots…
    Also my us traveldocs acc has been frozen till 72 hours so does it get back before 72 hours..

    also when would the slots be opened for a greater time limit guide me please me sir/mam i am really tensed since i dont have any backups…

    final tips for booking a slot for F1 visa ..

    Reply
  34. Hello, I am waiting for slots to J2 visas . do we get slots in coming months ? can we apply expedited under the reason family separation and my son school admission needs visa confirmation ?

    Reply
    • Madhavi,
      That’s the plan, they said they will do it like F1, so you need to wait till mid may. You may try, but, not sure how it would work.

      Reply
  35. I see that other countries like Singapore have slots available for h1b dropbox . any idea if we can travel to a different country and to get our visa stamped ?

    Reply
  36. Hi All,

    I have a quick question regarding #travel during OPT.

    My situation is: My current EAD expires on 18th July 2022. I am leaving my current organization on 29th April 2022. I have secured a new job and the start date is 31 May 2022. I am planning to utilize the 30 days’ time off and have booked my flights to India from 12th May to 30th May 2022.

    My concern is, can I travel outside the USA when unemployed for those 30 days when on f1 opt? I do have an offer letter from my new company. I am planning to file my opt stem extension with the new company when I am back from India.

    Please suggest

    Reply
    • Ankur,
      Hard to say, it is usually a risky move… Having continuous employment is better for you to explain at the port of entry. Check with your DSO and make an informed call.

      Reply
  37. I am looking for H1+H4 dropbox appointment. Article says their could be few opened in June/July though all slots are booked. Can we expect slots to be opened for June/July ?

    When should we be checking them ? early morning IST ?

    Reply
  38. Kumar,

    My H1B dropbox appointment in Nov 2202 has been confirmed, how will I know its not a placeholder and wont get cancelled.

    Reply
    • Srini,
      If you had booked in the last month or so, then it should be real appointment. Also, you should have noticed during booking on the home screen the big message that said it. You can call them to confirm as well.

      Reply
  39. Hi,
    I am applying for J2 dependent visa and I got appointment in october. I want to reschedule it for earlier time. Will they open visa for J2 category also in coming months?

    Reply
      • Hi,
        As i said earlier that I have J2 visa appointment in October,2022. However, today they cancelled it. When I asked them why they cancelled it. They sent me this response ” In response to your question, we would like to inform you that due to rescheduling changes your appointments has been cancelled. we request you to reschedule the appointments”
        You cannot believe on what they are going to do. Because heflin on his FB live said that now they will not cancel that appointments.
        Anybody in this situation like me?
        Thanks
        Vipin

        Reply
    • Mahi,
      They should follow the same pattern as others. They did not explicitly share anything about O1 as such. You can write to them or tweet to them for more info.

      Reply
    • Al,
      You cannot usually apply for it without a placeholder slot. You can email the consulate, if it really urgent and get details on options.

      Reply
  40. Per the Apr 18th Q&A, are there no more H1B Dropbox slots till Aug 31? What do we do if we need one between now and Aug 31?

    Reply
    • I have the same question. I have to travel urgently to India but cannot wait till after September to come back. Are there emergency appointments still available?

      Reply
    • Pradheep M,
      That means they are already over the capacity for this duration. Well, wait for the next round of slots to open after Sep 1st.

      Reply

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