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 : 57 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

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

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  

   

Other Articles


Comments ( 57 )

  1. Krishna

    We went for a drop box appointment with my kids to hyderabad drop box location. To our surprise the officer asked us to book an appointment for in-person interview for my 14+ year old kid , but accepted our passports. Not sure why? The next in-person appointment is not until 28 days. She will be missing her school and its worrisome. Can something be done in such cases?

  2. Arahvinth

    Dear friends/admin, just checking again since I’m seeing mixed advices. I had applied for H1B re-stamping back in early Aug, but if I go back to check my interview waiver in the USTravelDocs webpage, there is no mention on scheduling appointment for dropbox. Should I continue as such or schedule one through ‘new application’? I’ll be traveling in India only by mid Nov. Appreciate any inputs on this! Thank you.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      When you try to book for interview, you will be asked to answer few questions, based on that you will get a confirmation, if you are eligible for Dropbox, then only you will see option to book appointment for dropbox, you cannot see it beforehand. Try adding your info and booking appointment, also do update what happens with your situation here for everyone benefit.

      1. Arahvinth

        Hi Kumar, thanks for your inputs. I wanted to avoid risk of waiting till later, so I clicked on the ‘new appointment/schedule appointment’ link and went through a series of questions like you mentioned. It picked the receipt# from my last payment. I was able to select dates that ties well with my travel plans (drop box appointments usually have a larger slot sizes than regular VIs).

  3. Aman

    I have two queries as below. Any help is appreciated.

    1. My B1/B2 got expired on 10th Oct 2018 so do I apply for Drop Box and drop off the documents before 10th Oct 2019 ?
    2. The Visa was issued from Kenya, so renewal can be done from India using this Waiver program ?

    Any idea what are the current dates available for submission.
    Thanks

  4. Sona

    I completed us travel docs forms and got interview waiver confirmation letter before September 1st. But I am going to India in October 9th only. What can I do?. There is no option for me to take appointment in us travel docs site. If I click continue on the application, it is just taking me to old interview waiver confirmation letter.

  5. Victor

    We completed DS 160, made fee payment for appointment and got “Interview Waiver Confirmation Letter” in August. There is no mention of taking drop box appointment in “Interview Waiver Confirmation Letter”. But we are going for drop box in October only. Looks like we have to take appointment after September 1st.

    Can anyone tell where can I take a dropbox appointment?

    1. Aravind

      I am also in same situation. I have “Interview Waiver letter” from August and there was no option to take an appointment at that time. But now it looks like we have to take appointment. Can I just go to drop off location without taking an appointment in October?

      1. Victor Abraham

        You need to go through the process once again using “New Appointment” option. You will be able to reuse your receipt number as you reach the payment step. I recently took another appointment using “New Appointment” option.

  6. Victor

    We completed DS 160, made fee payment for appointment and got “Interview Waiver Confirmation Letter” in August. There is no mention of taking drop box appointment in “Interview Waiver Confirmation Letter”. But we are going for drop box in October only. Looks like we have to take appointment after September 1st.

    Can anyone tell where can I take a dropbox appointment?

  7. PH

    Hello,

    I’m eligible for dropbox option for my H1b renewal however, I’ve hardly 10 days of vacation. My attorney advised me to choose interview over dropbox without knowing the recent rule change so that I can get my passport within 3 to 5 days. Can someone please tell me what are my options if I don’t want dropbox.

  8. SB

    Can anyone please tell until what time I can change the document delivery address (i.e. passport pickup address) on ustraveldocs for dropbox applications? Would I be able to change the passport pickup address even after submitting my dropbox application?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      SB,
      You should be able to do it, if it is not too late after submission. Login and give it a try, it should be possible. Also, do update here for community.

  9. Jithu

    I was shown eligible for dropbox and after entering payment receipt its now asking me to take OFC appointment ? I am confused.. So Is this still dropbox? Anybody with this experience ?

    1. Aliana

      After going through dropbox process for visa stamping, if I am called for interview at consulate. Can I go walk in any date? Or they provide date? Or I have to schedule appointment from the available time slots?

  10. JackMA

    Kumar: I did a successful H1 transfer recently and got it approved and soon my dependent decision will also arrive. I would like to know if i just joined a new company and got an approval then AM i eligible for dropbox. Can you please list step by step we need to follow to submit dropbox.

  11. Ninad

    Is this for people who submit an application on ustraveldoc after 1st Spt?
    Because I submitted end of Aug and now in Spt but in my process it said you don’t need to schedule any appointment, I am confused now

  12. Navdeep

    Hello! I found out about this today and I reach India on the 11th, but I’m only there for 10 days. Due to some miscommunication with the customer care executive, my account got frozen (we were both logged in at the same time) and now I cannot see the dates available in Delhi
    Would anyone know if there are any appointments available within that time duration?
    I’d really appreciate it
    Thanks

    1. DK

      Hey, I too had the same issue where my account got frozen. After waiting for almost 71 hours, I was able to schedule my dropbox appointment. There are plenty of appointment slots available throughout the month of September in New Delhi. You also have option of submitting your documents in Chandigarh or Jalandhar. But I’m sure you’ll find something in Delhi itself. Good luck!

  13. Swarup

    Hi,
    The post location in my application gets automatically selected to Hyderabad after I select my state of residence. In the past however after going through the payment confirmation I could change my location of appointment to Mumbai.
    Now, I did the same and I selected Mumbai for my drop off after the confirmation. However, I am unable to change the post location from Hyderabad and it doesn’t let me change. Will I get rejected if I drop off at Mumbai or do I have to go to Hyderabad ? Is anybody facing the same issue ?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Swarup,
      In general, you should be able to select the choice of consulate. That part has not changed. Try calling the customer service. Your drop off location is based on your Consulate. Do share update, after you speak to ustraveldocs customer support here for everyone benefit.

  14. Sateesh

    I got interview Waiver confirmation page (on 30th Aug) in my ustraveldocs login, but I couldn’t find the link to schedule an interview when I logged in today (3rd Sept), how can I schedule an interview ?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Try checking today, the process is like normal Visa interview booking at the end, it will give you option for the select the dropbox location. Will post an article on this based on user experience. stay tuned.

      1. Sateesh

        Unfortunately I am reaching India on 30th sept morning, hence I have to schedule for drop box. I went back to the beginning of the page where we answer questions related to visa, when I got confirmation of the interview waiver, clicked continue and I could use old receipt, this time when I clicked ‘continue’ at the receipt page, it gave me an option to select the dates for OFC, here we have to select which IW locations we are applying, in my case it was ‘Chennai IW’, number of available slots were less from sept 30 (10, on Oct 1st 2019), then after date selection and clicking ‘continue’, we get the ‘appointment confirmation’ page, now it is neat and shows my DS-160 number as well.

        1. Sumit

          Hi Sateesh,

          I am in the same boat. My account unfortunately got frozen and I am waiting anxiously so taht I can login again. Apparently it is done automatically so I just have to wait.

          Did you see any open dates before September 30th? I have my tickets to reach India on September 20th and I had initially planned on dropping documents right on that day. (I started process on September 1st so I cant just walk-in before september 30th). It would be great if you can verify this. Thanks a lot.

          1. Sateesh

            Hello Sumit,

            As I scheduled already, I am not able to see the dates now. I remember entire September has availability on all working days. I could remember for the week of Sept 30, following is the information, For Sept 30 (5 available), Oct 1st (10 available), 2 (holiday), 3d (Not available ), 4th (12 available). The above dates are for Chennai IW

          2. Sumit

            Hi Sumit,

            thanks a lot for that valuable information. I really appreciate it. Looks like I may be able to get something during my travel dates. Fingers crossed.

            Thanks again.

          1. Sateesh

            No, you have to select your IW location (page mentioned as OFC page and it is confusing) and select date, after selecting continue, you will get appointment confirmation page, it will have list of places where you can submit documents based on your IW location

          2. Aakash

            I have the same question. I am live in Ahmedabad. After the interview waiver page, it takes me to OFC appointment page which only has 4 major locations Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi. It does not allow me to schedule any appointment in Ahmedabad. When I choose Mumbai (being nearest) then it schedules an OFC on a particular date. Does it mean I need to go to Mumbai for fingerprinting? or for dropbox? even though Ahmedabad is a dropbox location listed on the paper?

            Someone please please help. I am really confused.

          3. administrator
            Kumar

            Aakash,
            The trick is the word OFC, that is confusing to many. If you have got a dropbox confirmation, then you would not need to give Biometrics…when you try to schedule, it will show as OFC. Read Dropbox Scheduling Experience, it has all the details. After you select Mumbai, then, you will get option to drop off documents. The key thing is, if you will be required for stamping, then you need to go to Mumbai.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      If you are eligible for Dropbox, technically you should follow the process…But, as you have already done it before the rule was published, you maybe exempted. Just call USTravelDocs and then verify. Do update the info from them here for the community benefit as well.

  15. Roshan

    What is the typical wait to get droobox appointment? For regular visa interview it is 40 days currently at Mumbai. I have already booked tickets and as per old rules I was just going to walk in for dropbox. This rule has made life tough now. Anyone tried to book this appointment recently?

    Thanks.

    1. GP

      Go to https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/, click on new application/schedule interview. After you are done with all steps including visa fee payment, in the end it will ask you to pick a date for dropping your docs.
      You have to do this even if you have submitted your DS-160 earlier.

    2. administrator
      Kumar

      Roshan, There is no wait time as such. you are free to select available dates. we have a user experience that will be shared soon with screenshots, stay tuned for the article.

  16. Rajulal Patel

    The new introduced processing system for drop box category applicantions for stickering the visa is quite understandable & easy to follow. appreciated……

  17. Kiks

    My wife biometric has been completed but waiting for the h4 approval document I have already received my H1b and I plan to visit India this dec or oct can I choose just drop box for myself which I think I can- while my wife plans to travel next year feb can she also do drop box for h4 stamping?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      If both of you fulfil the general dropbox requirements such as expiration within 1 year, visa issued in India, etc. then you have to apply for drop box for you and your wife. As the article says, it is mandatory to apply for dropbox, if you qualify.

Leave a Comment

Comments Policy :
  • Comments are to drive conversation, add your thoughts, experiences, ask questions!
  • Do NOT write hate speech, swear words, or get into fight. Maintain etiquette
  • Enter your Name, valid Email, URL(optional - Facebook, LinkedIn profile URLs).
  • Your email will NOT be published. Do NOT post any phone numbers, email-ids
  • Do NOT post any links from other websites, unless official sites, University websites.
  • By submitting your comment, you agree to Term and Conditions of our website.