US Visa Dropbox Appointment New Changes Details Article

US Visa Stamping India: Dropbox Appointment Must, if eligible: Sep 1

In US Immigration - Visas by KumarUpdated : 217 Comments

US consulate general in India quietly updated their visa processing website ustraveldocs.com today, making changes to the way they process US Visa stampings using Interview Waiver option, popularly called as Dropbox. There was no official press release on the US consulate or embassy page on this topic, but an unclassified document was released last week that was circulated in social media and the ustraveldocs.com home page was updated with small alert. Though we got a copy of it, we held on to it as we received no confirmation from US embassy. In any case,  in this article, we will look at the changes to US Visa dropbox or Interview Waiver process, what it means to anyone going for US Visa stamping and FAQs on the same.

To get an understanding of current process, you may read some of previous 6 H1B Dropbox Experiences in India and recent H4 Dropbox Experience in 2019  to get idea of how they were processed until Aug 30th, 2019. Now that you know the previous process, let’s dive into details of what’s new.

What has changed with US Visa Stamping Renewal with Dropbox Option in India ?

Starting September 1st, 2019, if you are eligible for US Visa Interview Waiver, aka Dropbox option, you must schedule an appointment date to drop off your passport and all the supporting US visa application documents. This is applicable for all drop box option/ interview waiver applicants filing for their US Visa renewal or stamping in India.  The biggest changes are three :

  • In the past, you had an option to go for drop box, but it was not mandatory, and you had a choice. Now, it is mandatory for you to go for drop box option, if you qualify for interview waiver.
  • In the past, no appointment was required with Visa Application Center, but now you must schedule an appointment beforehand to drop off your documents.
  • In the past, the average processing times for interview waiver or dropbox was average of 3 weeks and there was no SLA.  Now, from September 1st, the dropbox applicant will get a decision on their case within 7 to 10 business days from the day they submitted their documents. This is going to be very helpful for many!

What does the text on the Official Visa Application Center Website Say ?

There are some text additions and removals on the US visa application processing website of India. Below are the screenshots of before and after the changes done to the interview waiver option / drop box option. It clearly tells that “eligible applicants MUST schedule an appointment date”.  

USTravelDocs India Website Text before the Mandatory Appointment change

US Visa Stamping Interview Waiver or Dropbox - Info Before Sep 1st Changes

USTravelDocs India Website Text after the Mandatory Appointment Change  

US Visa Stamping Interview Dropbox New Changes from Sep 1st on Appointments

How does the Dropbox appointment confirmation look on USTravelDocs?

Thanks to our readers for sharing the below. If you are eligible for Visa Dropbox, you will get a confirmation like below to schedule the appointment. It clearly tells that you need to schedule an appointment and gives you directions for next steps.

Schedule Dropbox Appointment Confirmation after New Change on USTravelDocs website

What has NOT changed in the US visa interview waiver or Dropbox Option ?

The primary criteria for US visa interview waiver or dropbox option has not changed. The documents required has not changed, you are still required to submit all the required documents.  Besides the above, there are few more subtle changes on how the overall new process will work. They are covered in the frequently asked questions. Check below FAQs.

What all US Visa types does the new mandatory Dropbox Appointment Impact?

It applies to all of the US visa stamping applications that are currently eligible for interview waiver or dropbox. Below are the some of the most common visa types that are relevant for our readers

  • If you are H4 Visa holder waiting for approval with Biometrics and traveled out for stamping, then it applies to you.
  • If you are a H1B or L1 visa holder applying for visa renewal, then it applies to you.
  • F1 visa holder going for visa renewal, who are studying in same school for which visa was issued in the past

Check out recent H4 Dropbox Experience using Dropbox Appointment Process

Also, check out H1B Dropbox Appointment Stamping – 221g Green Slip Experience Mumbai

Now that we know, what the change is and who all it applies to, let’s look at some of the most common questions like when can I book appointment, can someone else drop documents, can I do it from US, where all can I go, etc.

Can I schedule dropbox appointment before going to India, when in US ?

Yes, you can schedule the appointment from US or anywhere in the world, before you arrive in India to drop off your documents, if you are eligible for interview waiver or dropbox option.

How many days will I get Visa decision with New Dropbox Changes ?

You will get a decision on your visa stamping within 7 to 10 business days from the day you dropped off your documents.

Can someone else submit my visa application documents at dropbox location ?

Yes, you can ask someone else like your friend, spouse or travel agent to submit your visa application documents on your behalf. You need to ensure, all the documents as per checklist are in there.  Also, submitting parties may need to provide their identity documents as well

What if I miss US Visa dropbox Appointment, can I re-schedule ?

Yes, you can reschedule the appointment. They will mark your receipt as unused after 24 hours and then you can re-schedule to new date and print new confirmation letter for drop off of the documents.

What do I select for Drop off Appointment ? Date, Time Slot ?

You select the location of drop off and the date for the appointment. No time slot is given, you are free to submit documents anytime from 10 AM to 4 PM on that day. See below. Drop off Date and Time for Dropbox Appointment

Can I schedule visa dropbox appointment for me and my wife at the same time?

Yes, both of you can technically select the same date and drop off documents together. As the there are no time slots, you can visit together between 10 am and 4 pm on that day and drop off documents together. See above screenshot on the timing.

Can I submit documents in a different location than on my Drop off letter ?

No, you can only submit your visa stamping documents at the specified dropbox location on your drop off documents confirmation letter. This would be selected, when you book the appointment for drop off of your documents.

Can I send my documents from US for dropbox using International Courier ?

No, the applicant need to be physically present in India to submit the visa stamping documents. Only the appointment scheduling can be done, when you are in US.

Where can we drop off documents for US Visa stamping with new process?

It is suggested to select dropbox location to drop off documents at the below centers based on where you plan to give visa interview. If you were to be called for interview, you will be called in the respective consulate that is tied to the relevant drop off location. So, choose this carefully, if you prefer a choice.
Applicants for Delhi Consulate : Drop off at New Delhi, Chandigarh or Jalandhar centers
Applicants for Mumbai Consulate : Drop off at Mumbai, Ahmedabad or Pune centers.
Applicants for Chennai Consulate : Drop off at Chennai, Kochi or Bangalore.
Applicants for Hyderabad Consulate : Drop off at Hyderabad Center.
Applicants for Kolkata Consulate : Drop off at Kolkata Center

Can I change the visa interview location that I was given after drop box submission ?

No, you cannot change the US Visa interview location. You must attend the visa interview at the location you were asked to attend.  It is important to choose your preferred drop off location tied to the consulate as listed above, when you book the appointment.  

After dropbox submission, I was called for in person interview, Can I skip it ?

No, you must appear for the interview. You cannot skip, if you were asked to attend the visa interview.

Is it really mandatory to schedule an appointment for Dropbox with new process ?

Yes, it is mandatory. You will need to select the appointment date, location to drop off your documents. It is not optional anymore.

What if I am missing documents during Submission ? My options ?

You will be allowed to get the missing documents and submit on the same day. If you cannot submit as per checklist, then you cannot submit on that day, you will need to re-schedule your dropbox appointment.

I have already printed interview waiver confirmation, do I still need appointment ?

No need to schedule appointment, if you have already printed visa waiver letters. You have till September 30th to submit the documents using walk-in. See below from the website. Guidance for existing Dropbox Appointments

Can I see Sample Dropbox Appointment Letter ?

You can check out at Sample US Visa Dropbox Appointment letter

Below is the document that was circulated in Social media from past week, you can check it out.

What do you all think of the new change ? Is it going to be good ? Your thoughts ?

References : USTravelDocs.com – Visa Waiver official Page  

   

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Comments ( 217 )

  1. sowmitha

    I attended drop box appointment in Chennai on January 6th, now I have received my passport back, along with a 221g form, asking me to attend in person interview, carrying the required documents. It is mentioned that i do not have to schedule an appointment and can directly come for interview, once operations resume.

    My doubt is, because my drop box appt was in Chennai, should I go for the interview only in Chennai or can I attend in any other locations?

    1. Meeraprince

      Usually if we get 221g we can do direct Walk in to consulate office during business hours. Not sure currently they allowing direct Walk in for 221g cases.
      I would be more interested it you can share more information if you already attended.

    2. Meeraprince

      Usually if we get 221g we can do direct Walk in to consulate office during business hours. Not sure currently they allowing direct Walk in for 221g cases.
      I would be more interested it you can share more information if you already attended. If you selected Chennai as your consulate office during appointment schedule then you should go to Chennai consulate office only.

  2. Priyank

    Hi,
    I am eligible for visa Interview waiver(B1/B2) but I don’t see any available slots for Chennai IW. I have been waiting for more than 2 weeks but still do not see any available appointments. I only see available slots for New Delhi. Any idea when these slots would open up?

    Thank you.

    1. Meeraprince

      We don’t see any pattern to open slots . I am on the same boat looking for slots. I see once in while few slots are available but really don’t know is there any criteria. Somebody said it’s open weekly and other said month starting but I don’t see such pattern. Best thing once in while login check there is note displaying about earliest appointment dare if you see that yes some slots are available otherwise it’s not available any slots. Don’t login very frequently account may locked for 24 hrs to 72 hrs. If slots available don’t click or Check on multiple dates then also you cannot book appointment. I really don’t know how many times or when it happened but we should be careful while access account

  3. Nishant

    Hi,
    I appeared for dropbox in Dec 2018 and back then I received “Interview Waiver Confirmation Letter” which I didn’t receive this time. I did receive the page which says “Congratulations, you qualify for waiver”. I want to confirm if the 6 page “Appointment Confirmation” letter which has drop box details and appointment location/ date details acts as interview waiver confirmation letter

  4. Seenu

    I am planning to go India this month and need to do the stamping. I have changed company last year and. I have a valid visa and valid till 2022. But my previous expired on Feb 2020 and same visa category (h1b) only changed company.

    My question is I am I eligible for Dropbox?

    Appreciate your response.

    1. Swami SP

      Hi Kumar, thanks for helping the community. Just wanted to know are the IW appointment dates filled up for Feb and March or do they open up at the beginning of the month?

      1. administrator
        Kumar

        Swami,
        They do not release like that. It is very intermittent. They release in short batches every week and even some open up everyday.

        1. Swami SP

          Thanks Kumar, one other question. I have chosen Chennai to fill up DS-160, but the chennai IW has been always like no appointments now, if other locations are available like Hyd or Mum or Delhi, can I choose a date there or it’s not allowed? In the IW dropdown I see 5 locations along with chennai IW. This is for submitting the dropbox documents.

      2. Meeraprince

        I am also looking in March but currently no slots are available.
        However I see few of them released in Feb an January for specific days for kolkotha and Delhi. But its completed very quickly 😣

    2. Meeraprince

      Dropbox questionaries don’t have anything on employer change so you should be eligible however just login and try to create new appointment and follow the steps then you will see Dropbox questionaries.

  5. DFHY

    Hello Kumar,

    I have valid stamped visa till 2021 January as a developer and now my employer have been raised H1b extension with a different role code and it have been in extension status (still no result yet ) .

    Once I get approval from USCSIS can I eligible drop box ? or Since my role is changed now do I need to go for fresh stamping ?

    Note that employer / location of office have not changed .

    Only Role changed

  6. Monender Sharma

    Hi,

    Could you please confirm if my visa pick up location and documents dropbox location can be different? I have filled my DS-160 for New Delhi and I am looking for any open slot for dropbox appointment. Currently, there are no open slots in New Delhi, but some in Mumbai. So, Can I select dropbox location for Mumbai and my documents pickup location same as New Delhi? Or if I select my passport pickup location and DropBox location same as Mumbai, but my DS-160 was filled for New Delhi?

    Thanks,
    Monender Sharma

  7. JaSiSa

    Hello Kumar,

    I have a question Can you please clarify on it .

    I have raised new H1b where it has been approved till 2022 .I havent went to H1b stamping since stamping is not yet open .here issue is I have passport validity only till 2021 May 19th.

    Question is –> Can I go for tathkal and get the renewed passport and go for stamping such that will I get validity till the H1b i797 visa I have ?

    or while submitting H1b visa I have my passport validity till May , sovisa also get stamped till that date ?

    Will wait for your reply .

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      JaSiSa,
      yes, that is a good idea to get new passport and then go with that. You need at least 6 months validity for visa too, so you need a new passport.

  8. Sahil

    Hello, i need one information.
    My Visa Expired on 31st March 2019 and applied for extension and got denied. I travelled back to India on 20th Novemeber 2019. After 8 months i have applied my H1 Cap Exempt and got approval for extension. Am i Eligible for Dropbox facility. The DropBox App shows i m eligible. Wanted to confirm on this.

    1. H1booc

      Yes sahil, you are absolutely eligible. I have exact same case. Old h1 b expired in 2019. Extension denied. Fresh h1b cap exempt approved in Nov ,2020. I did a dropbox in Dec 2020. Now I am back to usa on a h1 b.

    2. administrator
      Kumar

      Sahil,
      If the USTravelDocs system shows you are eligible for dropbox after you answer the questions accurately, then you are eligible.

  9. Shilpi Sharma

    Hi there,

    I am planning to go India on 10th Jan, I received Dropbox IW appointment on 15th. I am planning to come back end of January. Is there any risk or any any new rule to ban stamping? I read they are giving 221g in all cases. Please help.

  10. cg

    Hello,

    I am scheduled to travel to India between 26th December till 19th January and I am looking to book IW appointment at Mumbai however I am not seeing any dates available for Mumbai. Is there any way we can get updates on dates availability as they are available? I even tried to look up other centers like Delhi or Chennai for document drop off but I don’t see any availability. Additionally, they locked my profile for 72 hours probably due to frequent checking. Any guidance you can provide will be helpful.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      cg,
      Well, this is the sad situation of many, keep looking. You can join Telegram groups where they talk about the slots. One of such groups is https://t.me/us_visa_stamping_india

    2. Meeraprince

      I had same experience locked for 72 hrs. But I just did normal way of Accessing. But I login more times on same day I tried multiple ways of Dropbox questionaries to see the Dropbox eligiblity and few times I might clicked browser back button. This is what I am thinking as it is suspesiou activity for them 🥺. Regarding slot there is no specific pattern. You should login once in a while and check. I heard if you login for more times also account get locked. If slots available don’t click multiple dates that is also stoping you further.

  11. Pooja

    Hi, I am on H1B. I will need a visa stamping. I filled DS-160, paid the fees and I got an interview waiver(Dropbox).
    But I am still asked to schedule an appointment date for OFC on the portal and I am unable to find any slots. My questions are :
    a) Is OFC the same as Biometric?
    b) If yes, Do I need to get Biometric even though I have to use Dropbox for Visa renewal?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Pooja,
      Usually, if you are eligible for dropbox, there is no need for Biometrics. Yes, OFC is the place, where they take Biometrics.
      The online system can be misleading…when they say OFC for dropbox, they mean the actual appointment. It is a bug in the system. You should see IW in the dropdown next to the consulate city, then it means interview waiver.

      1. Pooja

        Hi Kumar,

        Thank you so much for the response. I have been trying to look for an answer to this for months!
        Yes, I do see an IW next to the consulate city.

        Dropbox locations are more than 5. The dropdown for OFC gives an option of just 5 cities.
        Do you think this is also a bug? Is there a way to choose a city that is not in the dropdown?

        With the pandemic, I would like to schedule the appointment somewhere closer to where I stay.

        Thanks,
        Pooja

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Pooja,
          No, it is not a bug. The way they are structured is, dropbox locations are grouped by consulate. You need to pick the consulate that has the dropbox location. Let’s say you pick Chennai, then you can drop off documents at Chennai, Kochi and Bangalore. Read above article, it has the list.

          1. Pooja

            Hi Kumar,

            Thank you so much for your response! I was able to find a slot just now in Jan. Thank you for helping a lot of people like me with your expert knowledge on this. Please keep up the good work, appreciate it! 🙂

          2. Rachana

            Hi! I am eligible for Interview Waiver and have got an appointment for drop box facility in Delhi in the month of January. I just wanted to check if my representative like a friend or a family member can submit my documents on my behalf in the consulate?

        2. vishal

          Hi, I’ve filled DS-160 and US travel docs says I’m eligible for waiver. But it’s not letting me see available drop-off date without paying fee. Do we generally get date we’re looking for? I’m landing on Feb 24 early morning and need the appointment for that day because I need to travel to my home town after that.

          Does anyone have idea about availability regarding dropbox appointment? Thanks !

  12. Nadi

    Hello,

    I have a situation,and very much in need for an expert opinion, kindly help.
    I have traveled to India in first week of March for attending visa interview, my husband was suppose to join me after a week of my arrival, before the interview date, visa appointment was booked for both of us L1 and L2( my visa category), due to pandemic it didn’t happen the way it was suppose to. Now he is in the US and I am in India,both of our visas are expired in April 2020. We got married in Nov 2019, and I had my L2 visa approved then based on that I got eligibility for doing dropbox, the very important doc we considered was my husband I 94 and his salary slips to prove his legal status, but now I have been asked to produce his valid I 129,which we don’t have, because his petition was suppose to be approved during the visa interview in month of March 2020 in India. Given this situation what best we could do, so that I can get back to him?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Nadi,
      Talk to your spouse’s company’s attorney and see what can be submitted. There must be some legal document that tells that he can work on L1 right ? So, that should be submitted along with company letter or something…

  13. sririds

    Hi Kumar,

    “If you are eligible for Visa Dropbox, you will get a confirmation like below to schedule the appointment.” when do we see this confirmation? when we fill ds160 or when we pay the visa fee and try to book appointment?

  14. Manusha

    Hi,
    I got interview waiver but unable to see any dates to drop off my documents. What can I do for this? Is this a technical error? When can I expect to get Dropbox appointment. Please let me know.

    1. HM

      I am in the same boat. Looking for last 3 weeks with no luck. Did you find any slots? Is there any particular time in the day when I should be checking?

      1. SUNIL B S SAINI

        I am also trying for the last two months for my C1/D visa. It has happened twice that my a/c was frozen for 72 hours. Was told by the customer care representative to keep a gap of about 4-5 hours. This does not happen. chances of people loosing their job as with out a valid C1/D visa the company cannot arrange for our joining the ship.

      1. Prashant

        Hello, I have the same issue. Just paid visa fees but not seeing any appointments available for dropbox visa renewal. Any idea how long the wait is these days? How often do I need to keep checking?

      1. Katie

        Is there anyway out to cancel visa interview and get the refund of fee? I applied for B1/B2 visa for 4 of us and we got 19mar2020 date but they inform us all visa appointments were cancelled till any further notice and now we do not have any plans to visit next few years, Is there any way to get refunds?
        Secondly I moved to new place and my passport is also going to expire in next few months still us embassy not resumed the visa services is it possible to change the passport and address details in DS180 I filed in the month of Jan2020? Please help…..

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Katie,
          It is a non-refundable fee. They have clearly mentioned that it is non-refundable. You can check USTravelDocs website.
          You can create a new DS-160, if any details change before the interview. There is no issue with having multiple DS-160 forms. You just need to carry the latest one and submit the same at consulate.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Khushboo,
      You can register for account in UStravelDocs website and then you will go through the wizard, that will tell you, if you are eligible for it or not.

  15. Swathi

    Hello everyone, I’m currently in US on H4 and I’m planning to go for H4 dropbox appointment in January. Can I fill the DS-160 while I’m in US?

      1. Swathi

        Thank you Kumar.

        There is a question about the last 5 visits to US where I have to enter the number of months in the US in the last visit. Should I enter a tentative number of months based on when I’m traveling to India?

  16. Ravi

    Hi This is Ravi , Currently , I am at USA . My previous visa expired on 12/31/2019. I would like to go for new Visa Stamping. Even though there is 24 month dropbox option , it is applicable for me until Dec 2020 because 24 month option valid until Dec2020.

    My question is, I have DS 160 filled and going to pay Visa payment now .If I am not getting the dropbox appointment before 31st Dec 2020, how can I proceed for Dropbox? Do I need to go for an interview?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Ravi,
      You need to technically submit your documents before your 2 years period expires. If not, the system would flag for interview and you may no be eligible for dropbox.

  17. Nishant Pounikar

    Hi, When I first gave an H1B interview in 2017, I went through the process at Mumbai Location. Now that my H1B is renewed in 2020 and trying to get the stamping done through dropbox, I am unable to get the dropbox dates[appointments] in Mumbai.
    Is it okay, if I go for a dropbox from a different location for stamping like Hyderabad/Kolkata/Chennai?

  18. Donald Biden

    Why does the applicant need to be physically present in India to submit the visa stamping documents ? You said some one else can submit the documents on applicant’s behalf, then why does the applicant need to in India. Can’t someone just courier their documents to India ?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Donald,
      No, cannot. It is a requirement. There are many that need additional verification, in such cases, they will ask to attend interview.
      If that was the case, no one would go to any country, they would just do it from US only…

  19. MST

    Need Info; Is the Bangalore VAC (drop-off location for Chennai consulate) has resumed for accepting dropbox applications(h4/h1) as well as passport pick-up services?

    Appreciate your response.

  20. Anshul

    I just want to check, If I am eligible for my H1B Visa dropbox or not.

    Please go through below details-
    I was in US and my H1B Visa was Valid till 31st March 2019 and submitted documents for Visa extension but unfortunately my H1B Visa extension got Denial and I came back to India in October`2019 and I filed Cap exemption in Premium and got approval on 23rd June so I just want to know as per H1B presidential ban and after that some exemption has been given but multiple clauses are there and I am not sure whether I am eligible or not. Please suggest

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