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US Visa Interview Waived for certain H1B, L1, H4: GUIDE

The US Department of State made a significant announcement in late December 2021 that eased many of the Visa stamping issues for many non-immigrant visa holders. They announced that they are expanding interview waivers for many visa types if applicants meet certain conditions starting from January 1st, 2022. Also, they extended the 48 months US Visa dropbox eligibility rule as well. This article covers all the details related to the same.

Background – US Consulates Limited Operations, Visa Slots Issues

US Consulates have been operating with very limited capacity since early 2020 due to the COVID Pandemic. The situation of US Visa slots availability has been limited globally and many are scrambling for visa slots. US Consulates Visa Slots Situation in India is even worse due to the high demand and many are bending the rules by paying agents for slots.

Firstly, US Consulates are not able to open appointments for in-person visa stamping for many applicants due to the social distancing requirements for applicants due to COVID. Secondly, the Consulates said that their offices are not set up for social distancing, so can’t open more slots or increase capacity by adding more officers. Thirdly, US consulates staff are not fully available due to the pandemic situation with travel restrictions. Finally, the local conditions in many countries are unpredictable with lockdowns, and restrictions with the new Omicron variant scare of highly transmittable nature.

Considering all the above, including the contributions of non-immigrant work visa holders, the US Department of State has made a significant decision to waive in-person visa interviews for certain types of temporary work visa holders, students, and a few other visa types. In addition, they are extending the 48-month dropbox stamping for renewals as well.

Now that you have the background, let’s dive into the details on what was the announcement and how it would work. We have divided the announcement details into sections for easy review.

US Visa Interview Waived for certain H1B, H4, L1, Other Work Visas

The US Dept of State after working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has given the authority to US Consular Officers to waive in-person visa interviews for certain temporary work visa applicants if they meet certain criteria as listed below.

Temporary Work Visa Types that are eligible for In-Person Interview Waiver

Below are the visa types that are eligible for an in-person interview waiver, if they meet the requirements in the next section:

  • H1B Visa, H1B1 Visa
  • H4 Visa
  • H3 Visa
  • Non-blanket L Visas ( L1A, L1B, L2)
  • O Visas ( O-1, O-2)
  • P Visas (P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S)
  • Q Visas ( Q-1)

Requirements for In-Person Interview Waiver

You need to meet all of the below 4 conditions to be able to be considered for an in-person interview waiver. It is up to the discretion of the Consular Officer to give you an interview waiver, just meeting the below conditions does not guarantee an in-person interview waiver.

  1. You need to have a petition approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS). Basically, this is something that your employer would apply with USCIS for working in US before you go for stamping and it is mandatory for stamping.
  2. You need to be applying for Visa Stamping in your country of Nationality or Residence. For example, if you are an Indian citizen, you can only apply in India or alternatively, if you are an Indian citizen, but live in Germany due to your job with a proper work visa, then you can apply in Germany as it is your place of residence.
  3. You need to have any type of US Visa issued in the past. It does not have to be in the same category. For example, let’s say you are applying for H1B Visa, but you previously had B1/B2 issued, then you are eligible.
  4. You should have never been refused a US Visa at Visa Stamping. If you had an administrative processing refusal like 221g, then it should have been overcome or waived. You should have not any potential ineligibility aspects on your application (this is not clearly defined by them on what they mean)

Requirements for Interview Waiver for VWP Country Citizens

If you are a citizen of a country that is participating in the Visa Waiver Program(VWP), then you need to meet the below conditions. You are eligible for an interview waiver, even if it is your first-time visa stamping based on a first-time petition filed by an employer in the US if you meet the below conditions.

  1. You must be a citizen of VWP designated country as per the US Dept of State
  2. You must have previously traveled to the US using Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before.
  3. There are no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility aspects on the application ( This is not clearly defined by them)

How long is the above interview waiver eligible for Work Visa holders?

The above interview waiver for the temporary work visa holder is until the end of 2022. It means that it will be until December 31st, 2022. As of November 2022, we do not know, if it will be extended beyond end of December 2022, we will update this article as we have more info.

Interview Waivers for certain F, M, J visa Applicants

US Dept of State is extending the previously approved policy to waive the visa interview for certain students, professors, research scholars, other specialists who apply for F (F1, F2), M, and academic J visas if they meet all of the below criteria:

  1. They must be applying for the US visa in their consular district of residence. Basically where they live.
  2. They must have a previously issued US visa of any type. It means, any type of successful US visa stamping like B1/B2 or others in the past.
  3. They must never had any US Visa refusals in the past. If had 221g administrative processing, they should have been resolved and got Visa stamping done.
  4. Also they do not have any apparent ineligiblity or potential in-eligiblity on their application ( this is not fully clear what they mean)

These details were issued earlier this year 2021 and are not available on the US Dept of State website now. You can check the below screenshot or Archive.org for the actual info

F1 Visa - M and J Visa In person Interview Waivers Conditions
F1 Visa – M and J Visa In-person Interview Waivers Conditions

Interview Waivers for certain F, M, J visa Applicants from VWP Countries

If you are part of the Visa Waiver Program countries, you need to meet the below conditions. There is one change from the previous announcements, which is also updated in the below conditions. You can be a first-time visa stamping applicant as well.

  1. You must be a citizen of the VWP designated country as per the US Dept of State.
  2. You need to apply for a US visa in your country of residence or nationality ( VWP country)
  3. You must have previously traveled to the US using Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before. This is the new change that is added.
  4. There are no apparent ineligibility or potential ineligibility aspects on the applicant for visa issuance. ( This is not clearly defined by them).

Again, even if you meet all the above, it is up to the discretion of the Consular Officer to give you an interview waiver, just meeting the above does not guarantee an interview waiver.

How does Interview Waiver Work in CGI Federal System ?

On Jan 1, 2022, USTravelDocs / CGI Federal Website, which is used to book the US visa appointments, got updated with the new Interview Waiver exception that was announced by the US Dept of State on Dec 23rd, 2021. Below is how it works in the CGI Federal website booking system.

They added two new questions and re-used previous general interview waiver/dropbox questions to make this new interview waiver rule work. Below are the questions and confirmation.

New Question: Do you have previous visa in any class issued?

You will see a new question in the beginning that asks every applicant “Do you have previous visa in any visa class issued ?” as in the below screenshot. If you answer yes to this question, then you will get subsequent typical dropbox questions asking about annotations like “Clearance Received or Department Authorization”, and other questions.

Do you have previous visa in any visa class issued
Do you have previous visa in any visa class issued

New Question: Have you ever been refused a Visa before?

Also, you will see a new question at the last that asks “Have you ever been refused a visa before?” as in the below screenshot. This is a key question that will be considered for the new interview waiver rule.

Have you ever been refused a visa before
Have you ever been refused a visa before

Interview Waiver Confirmation

If you answer “Yes” to the first new question that asks about if you ever got a US Visa and “No” to the second new question that asks about your previous US visa refusal, and if you meet the general dropbox requirements ( check H1B Dropbox Complete Guide for the questions ), then you will get a confirmation that says you are eligible for interview waiver.

The confirmation screen looks like in the below screenshot. It is similar to general dropbox confirmation. The below screen is the latest with the option to book an emergency appointment if needed. This was updated in October 2022.

Change Dropbox Appointment to Regular for Emergency Appointment
Change Dropbox Appointment to Regular for Emergency Appointment

Below is the original old Dropbox appointment confirmation that used to appear from January 2022 until October 2022. This screen changed and looks like in above screenshot.

Visa Interview Waiver Confirmation Screen after New Rules
Visa Interview Waiver Confirmation Screen after New Rules

US Visa Renewals using Dropbox – 48 Months Rule

The US Dept of State has extended the 48-month US Visa Renewal rule using the Dropbox option indefinitely. It means that there is no deadline as such when this will end. This was supposed to end on December 31, 2021. See the below screenshot confirming the same.

You can read complete details on how the 48-month rule works at article: Guide to 48 Month Dropbox Stamping Rule. You may also check Step by Step Guide to H1B Dropbox Stamping

48 Months Dropbox Rule Extended Indefinitely
48 Months Dropbox Rule Extended Indefinitely

Also, US Consulates have extended the H2 Visa (temporary agricultural and non-agricultural workers) interview waiver rule until the end of 2022 ( December 31st, 2022)

Latest News Updates: New Interview Waiver Implementation, Slots

January through November 2022: The US Consulates continue to provide interview waiver options for certain visa holders as listed above. There are no issues reported as such by our user community from the beginning of the year until November 2022.

As of November 2022, we do not know, if the above option of interview waiver would be extended beyond the end of December 2022, we need to wait and see. We will keep this page updated as more info is released by the US Dept of State.


January 1st, 2022: Today, US Dept of State rolled out the new Interview Waiver rule that was announced on Dec 23rd, 2021 that waives in-person interviews for many who meet the requirements as mentioned in the above article. We have added a new section in the above article that shows the new questions and how the system works.


December 28th, 2021: Below are the latest update on the implementation of the new interview waiver rule :

  • US Consulates in India annouced that they will be releasing 20,000 Interview Waiver Slots to cater to the new interview waiver option announced by US Dept. See below screenshot from US Embassy website.
  • There is no info on when these 20,000 slots would be released.
  • There is no official update from US Consulates or Embassies on how this would be implement yet . Also, no update from the community as well.
Interview Waiver - 20000 slots for Spring in India Update
Interview Waiver – 20000 slots for Spring in India Update

December 23rd, 2021: This is up to the US Consulates and Embassies on how they will implement this new interview waiver rule. In the past, when we had the 48-month dropbox rule that was announced, it took about a week for the USTravelDocs ( CGI Federal System) to be updated to reflect the announcement. As of now, all we can do is wait for the US Consulates or CGI Federal updates.

We do not know the exact date on when they would implement this new interview waiver rule as well. We will update this page with details as we have more information.


Overall, it is a good move by the US Dept of State to reduce visa slots issue for fresh visa applicants. It may or may not help everyone, but does make the situation better for a few of them, who are eligible. I wish, they did this for everyone to avoid the visa slots issues.

We have worked with VisaGrader.com website team and built a US Visa Slots Tracker by Country for the community to have visibility on slots and when they will open. If you are checking for slots, do add slots availability for community benefit.

What do you think of the announcement on interview waivers for certain visa holders? Share your thoughts in comments below.

Reference : Official News on US Dept of State

   

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274 Comments

  1. Is anyone able to book H1B dropbox appointments for april, may or june. I have been trying to book an appointment but all I could see is random availabilities in the month of november and december 2022 and nothing else. Please comment if anyone has seen dropbox appointment availibilities.

    Reply
  2. Hello , Thanks for putting this forum together.
    – My latest H1B visa has been expired in 2016.
    – Now, I have an approved H1B petition till 2023 end.
    – There were rejections , stolen or annotations.

    Looking at the latest questions at step 7 of the CGI – I don’t see the 48 months clause in any of the questions explicitly mentioned.

    So though my VISA got expired in 2016, Am I still eligible for Interview waiver Drop box ?

    Reply
  3. Hi,
    My L1B was expired in 2010 and visa never got rejected. My H1B is in process. Now am I eligible for interview waiver? I am applying from India.

    Thanks

    Reply
  4. Namaste! Vanakkam!

    I am a L2 visa holder. I’m renewing my L2 status. My question is – can I get L2 visa stamping appointment without my husband who is the L1 visa holder? I need to go to India now and if I go I need to get stamped before returning. He cannot come now.

    If I can indeed get it stamped by myself, what kind of appointment would that be? Dropbox or interview?

    Please let me know at the earliest. I would like to travel ASAP if possible. I’ll be so grateful.

    Thank you so much.
    Padma

    Reply
  5. I have my H1b visa stamped on Jun 2016 and the visa is already expired. My i-797 got approved till 2024. My passport got renewed in 2020. I haven’t gone to India since 2016.
    There were no ‘Rejection’ for any of my US Visas.
    Now with the new rule, am I eligible for dropbox?. I am planning to travel to India in March/April.

    Reply
  6. Hello, I have a H1B dropbox appointment in Mumbai in March. I would like to move that to June 2022 but no slots available for June-July-Aug 2022. Would some slots become available in these months? Any insight will be helpful.
    Kind Regards,
    KB

    Reply
    • K B,
      This is a million dollar question and no one would have an answer. It is likely they will open, but getting it is subject to lot of unknowns.

      Reply
  7. Is there any way that we can see the answers of all questions in CGI portal based on which it got decided for Dropbox or in person interview???

    Reply
  8. Hello,

    I have a past expired F-1 visa and I am currently on H-1B. My previous H-1B petition was denied for COS after RFE. I filed it again with a different company and got approved.
    The article says “You should have never been refused a US Visa at Visa Stamping” but my denial was for a change of status and never went to the consulate for it.

    Am I eligible for the interview waiver?

    Reply
  9. Hello, Could you please share a list of documents we should submit if we were on day 1 cpt previously? I’m going for stamping for the first time and am eligible for interview waiver.

    Reply
  10. Hi,

    I got a waiver for in person interview and was able to book slot for early Feb. Will I have to physically be present in India at the time of the appointment? Or can I send the documents from US via a friend who will drop them off?

    Reply
  11. does scheduled in person interview qualify/ change to waiver. I didn’t choose new application and my appointment currently is inperson. Should i leave that and attend inperson or cancel and rebook the appointment with dropbox eligibility.

    Reply
    • Manohar,
      Based on the requirements, if you qualify, you can try that option. But, there is no guarantee that you will get the open slot. It is your discretion. If you have something confirmed, you can go ahead with it.

      Reply
  12. I have scheduled appointment for my First-time H1 visa stamping this year 2022. I got the Interview Waiver questionnairre in CGI and its dropbox process for me. But I didn’t see anything related to Biometrics appointment.

    Is the biometrics going to be during the dropbox, at the time of submitting the documents and passport?

    Reply
  13. Hi,
    I need help with my parents tourism visa (B1/B2).
    Initially they have their consular interview scheduled in Mar2020.
    They have completed their biometric appointment in Feb2020.
    But due to pandemic their consular interview did not process as the embassy was closed.

    Now they are eligible for drop box as their initial visa under the same category was expired in June 2018.

    When I login to CGI is don’t see any option on scheduling for dropbox.
    How can I get into this option?
    Do I need to create a new account and try doing it again?
    Should I create a new DS160 form and make a payment again?
    Basically should I redo again to see the Interview waiver option?

    Please guide me. I am struggling to get them visa from last 2 years.
    Thanks for your advice.
    The

    Reply
  14. Hello,

    I have a dropbox appointment under the new IW program and the list of documents to submit has an end-client letter but my client does not provide me any such letter. What should I do in that case? Also, if they did not ask me during the dropbox appointment and later asked me to upload or submit the client letter, what should I do?

    Reply
  15. Hello, been trying to get B1/B2 Dropbox for my parents in Mumbai. Came to know some slots opened in early Dec, were those for Mumbai or Delhi? I am constantly checking since last 6 months and have not seen any slots. Do you have any idea when new slots in Mumbai would open? Thanks!

    Reply
  16. Hi, I want to know if it is okay to take h1/h4 visa drop-off appointments in any cities in India other than our resident city (which is Kolkata)? Or, there are chances of getting 221G?
    Please help!

    Subarna

    Reply
  17. Thanks for the comprehensive article. Some of us with existing in-person appointments now qualify for IW. How do we avail this option? Should we cancel and look for a new appointment ? CGI website doesn’t seem to ask questions for rescheduling.

    Please help as lot of us are in this situation.

    Reply
  18. Hi,

    Can someone please tell me if I am eligible for Dropbox. Currently my H4 extension is in progress and I am hoping it will be approved in a months time. I have a F1 visa refusal in March 2021. I was trying to check the appointment for H4 Dropbox. What should I answer for “Have you ever been refused a visa?”. Since am planning a H4 dropbox, will this question be particularly for H4 category?

    Reply
    • Hi Raksha, did you get to know about this? I am almost in the same boat. What happens when you answer “Yes” to “Have you ever been refused a visa?”

      Reply
    • Hi Raksha,

      Have you been able to find answer? I am in the same boat. Do you get further questions when you say “Yes” to “Have you ever been refused a visa?”

      Reply
  19. I will be applying for first H1B stamping and I am eligible for interview waiver.

    Will I be able to book a joint drop box appointment for H4 dependent who does not satisfy the interview waiver criteria ?

    Reply
    • I would like to know the answer to this as well . Im in the same situation, but reading through the article, since they have mentioned H4 along with other visas for the IW criteria, it looks like H4 will also need to follow the same process.

      Reply
  20. Hi all,

    I am applying for first time H1-B approved in 2020. I have an active F1 visa right now (Consular processing H1-B) and F-1 was approved back in 2018 without any issue. However, in 2014 I got a J-1 visa with annotation “Clearance Received” (approved after 221(g)). Does this affect my eligibility for interview waiver in India?

    Reply
  21. Hi,
    Is the new Interview waiver applicable for kids under 14 years even if both parents visa stamp expired (within 48 months), one parent in USA and other parent can submit the dropbox documents along with the kid?

    Thanks,
    Karthik

    Reply
    • Karthik,
      Usually, after you both get the visa stamp, then you can apply for kids under 14 to get stamping under dropbox. This is normal process and not new.

      Reply
  22. I am confused about my scenario to answer – Have you ever been refused a Visa before ?

    I had applied for B1 few years back which was rejected first time and then approved the next month, So based on this point – ‘who have never been refused a visa unless such refusal was overcome or waived’.

    So the answer is Yes but since it was overcome, should I answer No?

    Reply
    • I have the same question as well. My F1 visa was reject first time, it was approved when I reapplied.

      Am I eligible for visa waiver program?

      Reply
    • I am also in same delima, I got H1B extension approval last week. Previously i had L1B then extension got rejected in 2018 (after 3 years). Got H1B approved in 2019 and now extension approved in Jan, 2022.

      so I got L1B extension denied once. Am I still eligible for interview waiwer scheme?

      Reply
  23. Hi,

    I am planning to travel for the first time stamping ( H1B) to India, I haven’t scheduled an appointment looking for a dropbox option as I am eligible – Please can anyone tell me how would I know to book a dropbox or visa Interview?
    If I book a regular appointment would it be converted to dropbox?
    or Can I book a direct dropbox appointment?
    any information around this process would be grateful.

    Reply
    • Hi Naveen,

      How you are eligible for dropbox for first time H1B stamping.. if you don’t mind sharing?
      Even I want to know if I am eligible for dropbox, as I have not visited India since H1B change of status and no stamping yet

      Reply
  24. Hello,

    I do have a In Person Interview on Jan 24th for my H1b Stamping. Do I need to book again to get the Interviewer slot or the Current slot is good enough to get the Interview Waiver ? How do we get that ? any one has any information regarding this.

    Reply
  25. I am curious if these Interview waiver appointments are same as the Dropbox appointments for other non-immigrant visa as J-1. From my account (seeking O-1 visa), I see zero availability but with my husband’s account (seeking J-1) there are multiple dropbox appointments!!!

    Reply
  26. I had my B visitor visa application rejected in 2013 with 221g. I applied for F1 visa in 2016 and got approved & stamped.

    Now I am on H1B and want to travel for first stamping.

    Does interview waiver apply in my case due to my B visa refusal or does my F1 visa approval nullify that ?

    Reply
  27. Hello All,

    I am trying get dropbox appointment as I am eligible for the interview waiver. But the website still shows that there are no appointments available. Have they started issuing dropbox appointment? Also since my daughter and wife are not eligible for the same interview waiver, I have taken them off from the dependent list while taking the appointment. Is that how it should be right? Please Help.

    Reply
  28. Hello,

    Thanks for the information. I have submitted the DS-160 form and paid the visa fees for my H1B stamping. Previously like a lot of people, I was logging into the CGI website trying to find a data. After reading the above information, once I log in I cannot see the page that asks the question “was a previous visa issued ?”. Should I click on new application, fill the form again and link with my existing fee receipt ?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  29. “Did your most recent application result in you being issued the visa?” – Didnot get this question. Can someone explain what exactly asking about.

    Reply
  30. Hi ,
    What is the email id for the US consulate in kolkata as I need to ask few questions and take help scheduling her H4 interview.

    Reply
  31. Hi ,
    I am in the process of applying drobox for myself and dependents which I used to do previously under single CGI ID. This time since my daughter turned 14 years , looks like she is not eligible for the drobox as her last Visa was stamped before she turned 14 and not after. So I created a separate CGI profile and after answering all the questionnaire she is not eligible for dropbox and so she needs to get appointment for Interview. I am not sure how to get emergency interview appointment as we are travelling this summer and she is in high school in US.

    Reply
  32. I have booked for l1b Blanket appointment in the month of Jan22. I am holding B1. Am i eligible for IW?

    Reply
  33. I have 2 kids age 10 and 5 years and they got h4 Visa stamped 3 years back . Will they be eligible for interview waiver ?

    Reply
  34. Hello All,

    I have one confusion for my eligibility for dropbox. In 2013, I applied for B1/B2 VISA and I got It without any issue. After that in 2017, I applied for an F1 visa, and during this time I got a 221g form and it got cleared but there was an annotation ” Clearance received” on my visa. Now on the CGI portal, they have a question that do you have an annotation like “clearance received” or “department authorization ” on your visa?. If I put yes, then the waiver is not applied. Can I put NO for this question because of my B1/B2 Visa?

    Reply
  35. The new question- “Do you have previous visa in any class issued ?” Does that include any other countries visa?

    Reply
  36. Hello Kumar,

    Thanks for this useful information. Any update on how to avail this waiver if you already have scheduled appointment, if you are eligible as per the interview waiver rule? Thanks.

    Reply
      • I am in a similar situation too. I sent an email to support-india@ustraveldocs.com and I got a rather standard reply without an answer to the specific question. Would definitely appreciate any information on this, thanks!

        Reply
  37. Hi, Thanks for sharing such a detailed post. I have checked my CGI portal and this new question is not yet added for F1 visa type. I see in your post you gave an example snapshot of H1B visa type, could you please also check once again for an F1 visa type and let us know if we can also avail this using CGI portal? Appreciate your kind support.

    Reply
  38. Hello,

    In past my L1b was not approved with below reason. What should I answer to question “Have you ever been refused a visa before?” YES or NO?

    “your blanket L1 petition is not clearly approvable under section 8 CFR 214.2 (I)(ii)(B), (C) or (D) or INA 101(a) (15)(L)”

    Reply
    • Hi Kumar,

      I have a B1 Refusal in 2012 but later I got my B1/B2 Visa in the year 2019.. As I have one refusal in the past, am I not eligible for the Interview Waiver?

      Reply
  39. Hello,

    I came to the US in Aug 2015 on F1 visa. Got H1b approval in Oct 2020. Have booked OFC and interview appointment in US embassy in New Delhi for March 30 and 31, 2022, respectively.
    My question is that, since I already have a previous approved F1 visa, do I qualify for an interview waiver? If so, do I need to reschedule for IW?
    Also, since I am living in the US and have an approved H1b, can I avail the dropbox facility and send my documents to India for H1b visa stamping?

    Best,
    Mandeep

    Reply
  40. The new question- “Do you have previous visa in any class issued ?” Does that include anytime expired VISA on your passport? any idea.

    Reply
  41. Can you please elaborate more on below rule?

    “You need to be applying for Visa Stamping in your country of Nationality or Residence. For example, if you are Indian citizen, you can only apply in India or alernatively, if you are India citizen but live in Germany due to work with proper work visa, then you can apply in Germany as it is your place of residence.”

    I am Indian Citizen and leaving in USA on H1-B Visa since last 10 Yrs. Based on above rule, if i understood correctly, USA is my place of residence and i can apply for visa stamping in USA.

    Is it correct undertanding? If yes, How to apply H1-B Visa stamping withing USA using this rule? Please advice.

    Reply
    • Pearl,
      I have the same questions. If you get the answer, can you please email me as well? (sasharma790@gmail.com)
      Thanks
      Saurabh

      Reply
      • Then what is the meaning of this statement?

        “You need to be applying for Visa Stamping in your country of Nationality or Residence. For example, if you are Indian citizen, you can only apply in India or alernatively, if you are India citizen but live in Germany due to work with proper work visa, then you can apply in Germany as it is your place of residence.”

        Reply
        • Pearl Joshi,
          US Visa stamping is not done inside USA. That’s a general rule as there is no US consulate or US Embassy. So, it does not apply.

          Reply
      • Also, If you have to apply for it from outside the USA ONLY, they why did they even mentioned the wording

        “This new authorization applies to temporary workers applying for H-1, H-3, H-4, L, O, P, and Q visas who meet certain conditions, including that they are applying for a visa in their country of nationality or residence.”

        You have also used the Germany in your example in the same meaning of country of residence.

        Or is it USCIS mistake to explictly specify that this waiver is for applying visa in your country of nationality or country of residence other than USA. Meaning if Indian Citizen living in Germany and got the USA H1-B visa, he can apply for US Visa in germany and he qualifies for Interview waiver if he meets other mentioned criteria as well?

        What is the point of this then? H1-B holder is allowed to do drop-box in their country of nationality from a lonnngggggg time.

        Reply
        • >What is the point of this then? H1-B holder is allowed to do drop-box in their country of nationality from a lonnngggggg time.

          Not necessarily, there are other subset of people who were not eligible for dropbox for H1B extension until this rule came in. Example: People who got their first H1B stamping in Canada despite being an Indian citizen and working in US on H1B. This rule enabled those people to avail dropbox facility for them.

          Furthermore, (I believe) earlier rule for dropbox facilities was only for people in the same class. (i.e H1B to H1B). This rule allowed non-similar classes of visa category(F1-> H1B ; B1->H1B and so on) to be eligible for dropbox.

          Reply
  42. Hello kumar,

    I came to US on F1 visa but now been working on H1B for some years. I am planning to go to India for my fist H1b visa stamping and use the visa interview waiver facility. But my f1 visa has “clearance received” annotation on it. Do I get the Dropbox facility or have to face an interview for stamping?

    Thanks

    Reply
  43. Thank you for the useful information. Quick question, I have an In-person visa interview scheduled on Jan-13 and 14, So will it change it to an interview waiver, Any information on it.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  44. Hello,

    Lost indian passport in usa with f1 visa stamp which is valid until Aug 2021. Applied for new passport, My visa status changed status to H1B in October 2020. Found the old passport year later , I have not reported that my visa is stolen. New passport has reason for issue is that “Old passport reported as lost”. with latest amendment for interview wavier program one of the requirement is visa not lost or stolen or cancelled. Please let me if I’m interview wavier

    Reply
    • Madhu, Did you get any updates on your case ? My passport was stolen and I have gotten new indian passport. My employer has confirmed that I am eligible for dropbox even though I had my previous H1b visa stamped from Canada in 2019 and my old passport that had the H1b visa stamp was stolen.

      Reply
  45. Hello All,

    what is the start date of new h1b visa waiver program, because when i am trying to apply i don’t see slots to schedule appointment for dropbox.

    Reply
  46. Hi Kumar,

    My daughter is now 14 years old and her last H4 was stamped when she was 9 year old. Is she eligible for H4 drop box waiver according to the new rule ?

    Thanks

    Reply
  47. Hello Kumar,

    I came to US on L2 visa in 2019, before L2 my B1 visa got refused twice in 2017,2018 respectively. Now I have changed my visa status to H4. Am I eligible for interview waiver ?

    Reply
    • Hello Kumar, I am also in the same difficult situation but there is no denial for the primary applicant . Please reply. Thanks !

      Reply
  48. Hello Kumar,

    Can you please let me know if I’m eligible for the Dropbox . I had L1b visa and came to US on 2011 and then changed to h4 . Then got my h1b visa on 2012 and I haven’t visited India till now. Since this is my first time stamping for h1b , Am I eligible for dropbox ?

    Reply
    • Hi, How did you get H1B without cooling period outside USA for more than year, For your question if you are ever refused US visa, You are eligible. Please share if it is personal question to my email sureshbollina_gmail

      Reply

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