Home » US Immigration - Visas » US Visa Stamping India Updates [Jul 2023]: Temporary Disruption Dates Jul 26-28

US Visa Stamping India Updates [Jul 2023]: Temporary Disruption Dates Jul 26-28

US Consulates and the US Embassy in India give one of the highest numbers of US Visa stamping appointments globally due to the sheer number of applicants from India. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been delays and a shortage of US Visa appointments in India. The US Department of State, and the US Embassy in India continue to give news alerts, and updates on their website, Twitter, Emails, etc. on how they are handling US Visa appointments in India and the current operation status of their services across US consulates and Embassy in India.

On this page, we track all the updates from official and unofficial sources, including users’ feedback and experiences. It is divided into sections with a summary, and timeline for easy review. We continue to update this page, you may bookmark this page.

Summary of all Updates from US Consulates in India as of July 24th, 2023

Below is a short summary of all the latest updates from the US Consulates and Embassy in India that are relevant as of now and up-to-date as of July 24th, 2023. You can check the timeline section below for additional details with links to the official sources

  • US TravelDocs Update: (updated)Temporary Disruption to the US Visa Appointment booking site from July 26th to July 28th, 2023. Cannot book appointments, no customer service calls, no fee payments during these days. Services resume on July 29th, 2023. See more details in the timeline section.
  • US Embassy said they had processed over 600,000 US Visa applications in India as of June 12th, 2023. Their goal is to process 1 million US visa applications in 2023.
  • There is no requirement to be vaccinated, if you are traveling to the US. The vaccination requirement ended on May 11th, 2023. Check US Dept of State Update
  • When to contact for Dropbox, 221g Cases: US Embassy, and Consulates say to wait for 21 days for pending Dropbox cases, before you can contact them for any update. For 221g cases, they say to wait for 60 days. If you email them before, you will not get any response from them.
  • F1 Visa Stamping Slots for Fall 2023:
    • US Embassy has opened a second batch of visa appointment slots for Fall 2023 on June 18th for mid-July and mid-August 2023 appointments. In the first batch, they opened thousands of appointments and they were all filled.
    • F1 Visa Appointments for first-time refused applicants for Fall 2023: They said they would open slots for previously refused applicants during the last two weeks of August 2023 (mid-August 2023).

Did you know you can track passport status online? Check US Visa Stamping – Passport Tracking Statuses meaning

  • New Online System for US Visa Services in India: USTravelDocs has mentioned that they will have a new online system for US Visa Services from July 29th, 2023.
    • They suggest making payment before July 24th, 2023, and having the profile up to date.
    • The online system will not be available from July 26th to July 28th for the system change.
  • First Timer B1/B2 Appointment Slots: US Consulates have started interviewing first-time B1/B2 applicants starting in September 2022. They plan to process over 1 million appointments for B1/B2 applicants in the 2023 calendar year. You can check some of those users shared B1/B2 Visa Stamping Experiences for 2023
  • US Visa Dropbox Criteria 48 months from Expiry Status Extended: They changed the dropbox eligibility criteria to 48 months from expiry, instead of 12 months. On December 23rd, 2021, they extended this indefinitely. Again, in December 2022, they confirmed the availability of the 48-month dropbox rule for 2023 and beyond as well. There is no deadline on when the 48 months rule for an interview waiver will end. See the timeline section below for official links, screenshots of news.
  • Agents Fraud Booking Slots: In the past, in response to some users’ concern that some agents are charging 6k to 8k INR for visa slots, US Consulate Mumbai is asking to report fraud to MumbaiF@state.gov with all relevant details. They say that information will be kept confidential. So, if you see someone doing fraud, report it. Also, recently in October 2022, they clarified telling that using agents is not illegal as it is used for convenience, but they said user would not need one for booking slots. They will release more slots in bulk to make it level playing field.
  • Dropbox Stamping Slots – H1B, H4, L1, B1/B2, Others: US consulates all across India are giving Interview Waiver/ Dropbox slots for H4, H1B, and other visa renewals. They are opening Dropbox slots even for 2023. All of these slots are not placeholder slots.
  • MRV Fee Payment Validity Status: The US Visa Appointment application Fee (also called MRV Fee) for payments that will be made from October 1st, 2022 will be valid for 365 days.  All the applicants must schedule an appointment using that fee receipt within 365 days from the date they actually made the payment. Read more at MRV Fee Validity
  • Emergency Appointments(EA) Status, Guidance: If you cannot find a Visa slot, you can apply for a US Visa Emergency Appointment as needed. You need to meet the criteria if you want to request one. Read Guide to Apply for Emergency Appointment in India.
    • There is an option also now in the online system that allows dropbox applicants to choose for an in-person appointment if there is an emergency. They updated their system in October 2022
    • Due to the extreme amount of demand, they have slowed down the approvals of EA requests . You can check US Visa EA Tracker
  • In-Person Interview Waiver for Certain Visa Holders: in December 2022, US Dept of State announced that they would give interview waiver for certain work visa holders and others as in below :
    • H1B, H4, L, O, P and Q visa holders who meet certain criteria will get in-person interview waiver until end of 2023 ( Dec 31, 2023) .Also, F1, M, J visa holders who meet certain criteria would get in-person interview waiver until end of 2023 ( Dec 31, 2023)

If you have not done emergency appointment requests in past, read Step by Step Guide to Apply for US Visa Emergency Appointment in India

To check US Visa Slots available in India from Community in a crowdsourced platform, register at www.VisaJar.com, download their extension, activate, and contribute. This is to prevent agents and avoid lockouts in CGI Federal. It is free and community-driven!

Below is the timeline of updates from the US Consulates and Embassy that are tracked regularly. You can check the official updates reference links in the below timelines. They are usually tweets or website updates from the US Consulate/ US Embassy.

July 24th, 2023: Below are the latest updates since last update on July 11th.

Visa Fridays Q&A : US embassy had visa fridays Q & A session on Jul 20th, below is the summary of the updates from the session.

  • F1 Visa Appointments, Slots – First time, refused: They said that they would release the appointments for applicants attending between August 21st to 31st will be released soon. This will also include the appointments for first-time rejected/ refused F1 visa applicants. They suggest checking once or twice a day to avoid locking out yourself. They say that it is enough to know if slots are released.
  • B1/B2 Appointments: They said they are focusing more on the F1 visa appointments and interviews at the moment and will release more slots for B1/B2 starting from September 2023. Also, they say that they keep releasing B1/B2 slots on a rolling basis, so they suggest to keep checking now and then to get slots.
  • Name change – Apply for new Visa: If your name changed due to marriage and got new passport, they said that you need to get a new US Visa to match your new passport name.
  • No show, Natural Calamity: If you have missed an appointment due to natural calamity due to floods, etc. they suggest sending the details to the embassy email as the system will not allow normal expedite requests.
  • Previous 214b denial: They said that you can get a visa after 214b denial, if the interviewing officer believes that you have overcome the concerns of the previous officer.
  • Agents asking 10k, 50k for slots: They said, you do not need an agent to book an appointment or pay them to book the same. They say that the solts are released in bulk and big lots. They say all the normal users and agents would have same chance to book.

USTravelDocs Changes outage Dates:

  • USTravelDocs again changed their outage dates to July 26th to July 28th. The new system would be available from July 29th, 2023.
  • You cannot really do anything during the dates Jul 26-28. If you need to pay fee do it before Jul 25th, 2023.
  • The same message was updated on US Embassy India website as well. Below is the screenshot of the updated notice from them on USTravelDocs and US Embassy India websites. Also, see the link from Facebook page of US Embassy linked below
Changes to US Visa System Changes Date in India - Jul 26th to July 28th, 2023
Changes to US Visa System Changes Date in India – Jul 26th to July 28th, 2023
Update on Dates on US Embassy India website
Update on Dates on US Embassy India website

July 11th, 2023: Below are the latest updates since July 5th, 2023.

Update on Jul 11th, 2023: USTravelDocs India updated today saying they are moving the outage dates. The updated outage dates are between July 18th and July 21st. The system will be available on July 22nd, 2023. See the below screenshot from their website.

Change in USTravelDocs Outage Date for India Update
Change in USTravelDocs Outage Date for India Update
  • US Embassy updated their official website confirming the changes to the US Visa Appointment booking website that are upcoming on Jul 18th. (12th. )
  • US Visa Appointment booking website at ustraveldocs.com will not be available from July 18th to July 21st (Jul 12th to Jul 14th). You cannot do any of the below during this time
    • You cannot book appointments.
    • You cannot pay fee. Payment services will be unavailable from July 17th, 2023.
    • You cannot call customer service
  • The services will resume on July 22nd (Jul 15th, 2023.)
  • The new support email from July 22nd (Jul 15th, 2023.) is support-india@usvisascheduling.com
  • If you have anything that is pending in your profile, complete it as soon as possible.
  • If you have paid the fee, but have not associated the profile with your fee receipt, get it done before the outage.
  • See the below screenshot of the news update from US Embassy India website and USTravelDocs India website
US Appointment Booking Site Disruption News by US Embassy India
US Appointment Booking Site Disruption News by US Embassy India
USTravelDocs Update - Service Disruption
USTravelDocs Update – Service Disruption

US Embassy had Visa Fridays on July 6th. Below are the updates from the same.

F1 Visa Slots in India, Refused applicants:

  • US Embassy said they released thousands of F1 Visa Appointments and they were available as of Friday to book.
  • They plan to open appointments for previously refused students soon. They did not mention any specific date though.

B1/B2 Appointments Slots India: They say that they are releasing appointments as per their capacity and suggest checking the appointment booking website regularly to book B1/B2 Slots.

H1B Visa Renewal within USA : They said they do not have start date for the pilot yet. They suggest checking the website for official announcements. You can check US Visa Stamping within USA for more info

Check Visa Navigator : They suggest checking US Visa Navigator for any questions: https://tinyurl.com/NewDelhiVisasNav

Check more details of Visa Fridays Q &A Thread

July 5th, 2023: Below are the latest updates since last week.

  • It has been a quiet week since the last update due to the July 4th long weekend holiday in the US and across all US Consulates.
  • There is no new update from the US Embassy in India or consulates. Everything continues to be like in before weeks.
  • There is no news from the community on the release of bulk slots over last weekend.
  • You can check the below update from June to get a full idea on the current status of the US Consulates, Embassy in India.

Pending Interview Waiver/ Dropbox Cases, 221g Administrative Processing Cases

  • US Embassy in Delhi and Consulates have quietly updated their Visa Navigator Questions, saying that, if you submitted your documents for Dropbox/ Interview waiver stamping, then you need to give them 21 days (3 weeks) before contacting their office for an update.
  • The 21 days should be counted from the day you submitted your documents.
  • They will not respond to your questions if you contact them before 21 days.
  • For 221(g) Administrative Processing, they suggest waiting 60 days before reaching out to the US Embassy or Consulate. If you reach out early, you will not get a response from them.
  • See the below screenshot from their Visa Navigator pages
US Visa Stamping Dropbox Wait time - 221g Wait time before Contacting
US Embassy Delhi and US Consulates guidance on when to contact for Dropbox, 221g pending Cases

June 26th, 2023: Below are the most recent updates from the last week until today.

US Visa Stamping within USA: The White House made an official announcement that they will run pilot for H1B Renewals within the US later part of this year and much more next year. Check out Official News summary of US Visa Stamping within USA News

US Embassy had Visa Fridays Q&A last Friday(June 22nd, 2023), below are the updates from the same.

  • F1 Visa Stamping for Fall 2023, Refused Applicants, Stamping :
    • F1 Visa Slots for previously rejected applicants would open during the mid-August timeframe. Their focus is first-time applicants and first-time rejected applicants have to wait until mid-August.
    • F1 first-time stamping(fresher) slots are now available across all the consulates in India. They suggest checking the USTravelDocs Portal as they continue to open slots.
  • Previously refused Tourist Visa Impact on F1 Stamping: If the applicant has previously refused tourist visa to the US, it would not have any impact on the F1 Visa stamping.
  • No specific update on B1/B2 or H1B Visas during the update by them.
  • Check the Visa Fridays Q&A

June 19th, 2023: Below are the latest updates from last week until now and wait times for US Visa appointments in India.

F1 Visa Appointments/ Slots for Fall 2023 :

  • US Embassy in India updated on June 18th, 2023 that they have opened F1 Visa interview appointments for Fall 2023 applicants for mid-July to mid-August 2023 across all the consulates in India. Below is the link for the lastest official update.
  • They suggest checking USTravelDocs.com to book the visa stamping appointment for Fall 2023.
  • They plan to open slots for F1 visa applicants who were refused first time in the last two weeks of August 2023.
  • US Consulates continue to process B1/B2, H1B, H4, L1, L2 and other visa appointments as usual. The demand now is for the student season and their focus is on the same visa types.

Below are the current US Visa Appointments Wait times in India Across all the US Consulates and Embassy. You can also check the trend of US Visa Appointment wait times in India acros all consulates.

US Visa Appointments wait times in Hyderabad as on June 19th, 2023
US Visa Appointment Wait times in India - New Delhi
US Visa Appointment Wait times in India – New Delhi
US Visa Appointment Wait times in India - Kolkata
US Visa Appointment Wait times in India – Kolkata
US Visa Appointment Wait times in India - Chennai
US Visa Appointment Wait times in India – Chennai
US Visa Appointment Wait times in India - Mumbai
US Visa Appointment Wait times in India – Mumbai
  • US Embassy processed over 600,000 US Visa applications from Indians this year as of June 12th, 2023. They plan to process over a million by the end of 2023. Check this link and below screenshot.
US Visa Applications Processed reach 600,000 for Indians
US Visa Applications Processed reach 600,000 for Indians

New Online System for US Visa Services in India:

  • USTraveldocs System is getting an upgrade and they are moving to a new system from July 1th, 2023
  • They suggest having everything up to date by July 10th, 2023 as system would not be available from July 11th, to July 14th, 2023.
  • Below is the official update from their website.
USTravelDocs - US Visa Services System Changing in India from July 15th, 2023
USTravelDocs – US Visa Services System Changing in India from July 15th, 2023

Updates from mid-February 2023 until mid-June 2023

Unfortunately, in the last 4 months, due to unforeseen circumstances, we did not update the status of US Visa appointments in India. Apologies about that. We are back and will continue to update this page with latest updates.

February 13th, 2023: Below are the updates from February 7th, 2023 until now.

  • US Consulates continue to be operating in full swing to clear the wait times with the recent measures announced in January 2023. You can check previous weeks updates below for more on the same.
  • CGI Federal URL Changed: Over the weekend, the CGI Federal URL changed from domain that ends with for with force.com to salesforce-sites.com

US Embassy in India had Visa Fridays Q & A last Friday on Feb 9th, 2023. Below is summary of the key answers from them

  • F1 Visa Appointment Slots – Summer 2023:
    • They said that they are ‘preparing for a small student season in April’, who are planning for Summer intake.
    • They said the slots would open up in batches in weeks leading to each student season. They suggest checking the website for the availability of the slots.
    • No mention of any date when they will open slots.
    • There will not be any slots open for March 2023. If your program starts in March or April, they suggest talking to the school and deferring the admission.
    • Regarding slots for first-time refused F1 applicants, they said it will vary by availability and have not confirmed and suggested checking the website.
    • Below is screenshot of the info from their FAQs
F1 Student Season for Summer - April Slots Info FAQ
F1 Student Season for Summer – April Slots Info FAQ
  • B1/B2 Appointment Slots: They say that they continue to open B1/B2 slots periodically as availability permits on their end and suggest checking the website continuously.
  • H1B Slots for December 2023: They did not mention any specifics other than saying, it depends on many factors. They suggest booking an appointment before leaving the US for stamping as it is unsure.
  • You can check the full Visa Fridays FAQs or click below

February 7th, 2023: Below are the updates from starting of February 2023.

  • US Consulates and Embassy in India have picked up the pace of processing of US Visa applications based on the measures they indicated in January.
  • In January 2023, US Consulates and Embassy processed over 1 lakh(100,000) visa applicants. This is one of the highest monthly totals ever since July 2019 as per them.
  • B1/B2 Stamping outside India – Bangkok: US Embassy has said that, if you have plans to travel to Thailand, you can get B1/B2 stamping done in Bangkok, Thailand. All you need to id book an appointment for B1/B2 in Thailand. They say that the Bangkok US consulate has capacity to handle India applicants seeking B1/B2 visa. Check below the facebook post.
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January 31st, 2023: Below are the updates from the beginning of 2023 until end of January

Visa Fridays Q &A was held on January 26th, below are the key updates

  • F1 StudentsSpring 2023, Summer 2023: They said, interview slots are all done for Spring 2023 and. if you have not got a slot, defer admission. If you are looking for Summer 2023, they will release slots before the summer visa season, so stay tuned. Similar to before, even for summer intake, they will release slots for first-time applicants and then only for those refused applicants.
  • B1/B2 Visa Slots: They confirmed that they released over 200K visa slots and they will release more as they have capacity.
  • No specific questions or updates were there for H1B, H4 or L Visas
  • You can read full Visa Fridays FAQ Comments on Facebook.com

On January 22nd, US Embassy announced some big initiatives to reduce the visa appointment wait times in India. Below are the key steps from the announcement

  • They are increasing permanent staff assigned to Consulates and Embassy in India
  • They will be processing interview waiver cases remotely to clear up backlog
  • They will do interviews on Saturdays across all consulates and Embassy to reduce the wait times
  • They have also extended the hours in Mumbai during weekdays to address more cases.
  • They are also getting more visa officers from Washington DC to temporarily from January to March 2023 to address the backlog of cases.
  • Recently they issued more than 250,000 B1/B2 appointments
  • Below is the screenshot of the press release. You can read the full press release on US Embassy India Website
US Embassy India Press Release to reduce Backlog in India
US Embassy India Press Release to reduce Backlog in India

US Embassy had ‘Visa Fridays Q&Asession on Jan 13th, 2022. Below is the summary of the key updates from them

  • F1 Students Slots – Spring 2023: US Embassy said that they have no more slots available for F1 students who plan to travel to the US for Spring 2023. They said that the visa appointment slots for first-time applicants, as well as previously refused students are completely full for January and they will not release more slots. They suggest talking to the school and deferring the admission.
    • Summer 2023 Slots: They say that slots for F1 applicants for summer may open periodically and suggest to keep checking the website.
  • B1/B2 Visa Slots: They said that they recently released more than 200,000 visa appointments slots for B1/B2 visas and they plan to release more as their load permits. They suggest keeping checking the USTravelDocs website for appointments
  • Reschedule appointment – How many times: They confirmed that you can reschedule your appointment 3 times. You will need to pay for new MRV fee if you want to reschedule after 3rd time. see below screenshot for the same.
  • H/L visa appointments : There is no new update related to availablity of the slots for H1B/ L visa applicants from the US Embassy.
reschedule appointment - 3 times
Reschedule appointment – 3 times

December 26th, 2022: Below are updates until today since last week.

December 19th, 2022: US Embassy had Visa Fridays Question and Answer session on December 15th, below are the. key updates

  • F1 Visa Slots for Spring 2023(Refused, First time): US Embassy said that they have opened slots for first-time refused applicants and also regular first-time applicants in December, and they are pretty much full for December, and January. They say that their capacity is full for F1 visa appointments. They suggest delaying your start date or deferring admission if you cannot get a slot.
  • B1/B2 Visa Slots: They did not offer any exact dates on when they plan to open slots for B1/B2, but said to keep checking as they open large batches when time permits.
  • Reschedule Appointment: They confirmed that you can reschedule your appointment four times.
  • Missed Appointments: They said that if you miss your appointment, you can reschedule, but you would not be able to book any appointment during the next 90 days window.
  • Check full Q & A on Facebook page of US Embassy
Reschedule US Visa Appointment - 4 times
Reschedule US Visa Appointment – 4 times

December 15th, 2022: Below are the updates from the start of December until today

No changes in the US Consulates’ status in terms of their operations; everything is still operating at limited capacity.

US Embassy had Visa Fridays Q&A on December 2nd, below are the updates from the same session.

  • H1B, H4, L1/L2 Slots Visa Appointments: US Embassy continues to say the previous update stating that the appointments are full for the next several months, and they plan to open slots as conditions allow. They said that they would soon open H/L visa appointment slots and suggested keeping checking. They did not specify any date or number of slots they plan to open.
  • B1/B2 Visa Appointments: Similar to before, they say that you should continue to check their website regularly for slots. They say that they release large batches of slots, and it usually takes a day or two to fill, so regular checking will help book a slot. They did not give any details on how many they plan to open or when.
  • F1 Visa Applicants – Refused Slots for Spring 2023: US Embassy said there will be a short window in January 2023, where they will interview F1 applicants with a previous refusal. The slots for this window will be opened soon, they did not mention any date.
  • You can check full updates at the below Facebook Post

November 30th, 2022: US Embassy had Visa Fridays Q&A on Nov 17th, below are the updates from the same session.

  • US Consulates continue to be operating in a limited fashion, with no changes in the overall situation.
  • US Embassy updated on Nov 28th saying that they have opened quite a few B1/B2 dropbox slots across Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Check below tweet from them.
  • F1 Students Appointments for Spring 2023, Refusals: They said the visa appointment slots for fresh F1 students applying (without refusals) will be opened in the last week of November. They will also open lots for first-time refused applicants towards the end of the F1 Spring 2023 season. No specific date was mentioned by them, they suggest to keep checking the online system. Also, they suggest re-applying for F1 after refusal if there are changes in the info that you want to present to the consular officer or if the circumstances have significantly changed.
  • H and L Visa appointments(H1B, L1, H4, L2): They said slots are pretty much full for the next few months and they said that they have been opening slots for H and L categories as space allows. They say slots are still available for late 2023 and suggest booking.
  • B1/B2 Visa Slots: They said that they opened a large batch of slots in Spring 2022 for B1/B2, but they got filled quickly and continue to open slots as conditions allow them. They say, they will open new slots as capacity allows. They suggest checking online.
  • IR1/CR1 Visas Processing: No change from the previous week, they say that they will follow a proper sequence and process applications in chronological order.
  • Check below for the actual Q&A

November 8th, 2022: US Embassy had Visa Fridays Q&A last week, below are the key updates from the same, including regular updates.

  • H1B, H4, L1, L2 Visa Slots: They said that due to high demand H and L visa appointments have long wait times and they fill quickly when released. The appointments are full for the coming months for H and L visa types. But, they will open more H and L slots as conditions allow. They may release slots on short notice as well, so they suggest checking the website regularly for availability.
  • F1 Spring 2023 Slots, Refused: Most of the discussion and questions were around refused slots for first-time refused applicants.
    • For first-time refused F1 applicants, they said that they will open visa appointment slots toward the end of the season. No specific date or week was stated by them.
    • As far as regular Spring 2023 slots go, they released a large batch and most of those slots are booked. The next big batch of slots will come later part of November. This is also in their FAQs
  • Fewer Slots in Delhi: They said that slots released are based on staff availability. Also, that’s the reason for long wait times at some consulate locations than others.
  • B1/B2 Visa Appointments, Renewals, Reschedules: They said that the demand for first-time B1/B2 was high and the current wait time is long. They are trying to add resources so that they can offer more appointments. No timelines were given for this.
    • They said that it is unlikely to have another batch of B1/B2 visa slots released in 2022 and say you might get lucky, if someone cancels.
    • They suggest keeping checking the website for any rescheduling of the appointment. They say some people cancel appointments and you may get lucky in rescheduling.
    • They said it can take anywhere from 10 to 30 days to get a passport with a US visa after the submission of documents for B1/B2 renewal.
  • IR1/CR1 Visas Processing: They clarified again regarding the confusion on some later submitted CR1 and IR1 applicants getting processed than the ones that were submitted before. They again confirmed that, except few exceptions, who got expedited approvals, they are processing in order as they were submitted. They say to be patient and it will be processed in the right sequence.
  • Check below for full details and actual Q&A responses.

November 2nd, 2022: Below are the key updates from last week until now.

  • No changes in the US Consulates’ situation or the way they are operating in the last week or so. Everything is as in the previous week. Check the previous week updates.
  • F1 Visa Slots for Spring 2023: The first batch of F1 slots for Spring 2023 were open around October 30th and many F1 applicants were able to book. There seem to be lesser slots for Delhi based on feedback from users due to more demand.
  • US Visa Appointment Wait Times for Dropbox: The US Department of State website now shows the wait times for interview waiver/ dropbox as well by the consulate location. You can see the below screenshot on how it looks for New Delhi. You can enter any city and see the latest wait times at US Dept of State Website
US Dept of State Website with Interview Waiver Wait times info
US Dept of State Website with Interview Waiver Wait times info

We have removed all the timeline of updates before November 2022 to keep the thread clean and up to date.

You can watch YouTube Video on where & how to check for US Consulates openings, wait times.

History of US Travel Ban for India, NIE (Reference only – Not Applicable Now)

The below history information is not applicable now ( after Nov 8, 2021). But, it is just general information for your background.

  • General Travel Ban Background : On April 30th, President Biden signed a Proclamation banning entry of most of the non-immigrant visa holder from India who have been physically in India for 15 days prior to their US Travel. As part of this, they canceled all appointments ( Biometrics, Visa Interview) at US Consulates and US Embassy in India until further notice. Read below articles on the Travel Ban Exceptions, NIE Details
  • Apply NIE while in US : You cannot apply for NIE when you are physically present in the US. You need to be in India and then only apply for NIE. Check US Consulate Chennai Guidance – Can you apply for NIE, while in US for full details.
  • NIE Validity 12 months : US Dept of State issued guidance indicating that NIE would be valid for 12 months from the date it was issued and it is valid for multiple entries as well. This is effective from July 6, 2021 and it will apply retroactively to previously issued NIE with old 30 days rule. Check more at Travel to US on NIE – 12 months Rule
  • 221g Given for Applicants without NIE
    • US Consulates are giving 221(g) Administrative Processing slip for pending visa processing applications or if someone does not fall under NIE. It says that the proclamation is in effect, so they cannot process and need more information. See below timeline for a sample form that is given for 221g.

FAQs – US Visa Stamping and Consulates Updates in India

What is H1B Visa Stamping in India Latest News ?

As of July 2023, you can apply for H1B visa stamping for both in-person and interview waiver. There are no restrictions as such.

When will US Embassy, US Consulates open fully in India for regular operations?

Currently, they are processing interview waivers and limited in-person slots. They plan to be at full capacity before September 2023. This is based on their update in the past, we do not know if this still holds true. They plan to process about 1 million us visa appointment in 2023.

Are Dropbox or Interview Waiver Appointments Available in India in 2023?

Yes, they are the most available slots. There are new provisions that make more people leverage the interview waiver/dropbox option.

As Visa appointments are cancelled, will there be a refund of Visa fee? MRV Fee Validity ?

No, there is no refund as such. In general, you have one year from the day you paid Visa fee to use the same. They updated in late September 2022 saying that, previous rules of 365 days to book apply now and everyone should book an appointment within 365 days from the issuance of the MRV receipt.

I am in the US, my US Visa is Expiring, should I get Stamping ?

You do not need a new US Visa if you are already in the US. As long as you have your I-797 approval valid and I-94 valid, you are fine. All you need to do is maintain Status. Read US Visa vs. Status Difference

Are US Consulates in India processing B1/B2 for first time applicants now?

Yes, they have opened slots for first time B1/B2 applicants and started interview from September 1st week of 2022 and continue to be available as of July 2023.

If you are from other country, you should check your local US Consulate Website for updated information.

Did you go for Visa appointment or Dropbox ? What was your experience ?


Other Articles


  1. Hello Kumar/Team,
    There are currently no available slots for H1B dropbox appointment in India during January, 2024. Are there any likelihood of such slots opening up soon for January, 2024?

    • Hi Kumar,

      I have the same questions. I see a lot of appointments available in September 2023 but none in Dec ’23 or Jan ’24. Just wondering whether they’re all booked out or haven’t been released yet.


      • Hi I have the same question re: early 2024 appointments – wondering if they just have not been released yet and if so when are they usually released?

  2. Hi Kumar,

    I got email from us travel docs on 28 Dec 22 that i need to appear for Re-Interview at any working day. I already attended interview on 13 Dec 22 with depended and got visa stamped on 19 Dec 22 and received passports. I am not sure why they asking for re-interview. Please suggest.

  3. Hi All,

    Myself and my husband have valid US visa and after our son was born we have booked Dropbox interview waiver appointment for him. Currently we have April 2023 appointment which was last chance to book in the 5 th attempt. Is there any way we can see if early slots are available. I’m stuck with my kid here and my husband is already in the US. our son is just 5 months and staying away from his father is really sad. Can we write to the embassy and check in any way possible? We are now ready to pay the fees again and book an early appointment but cannot lose the current one and we have. It’s really frustrating. Kindly help if someone knows or have been in this situations. Thanks

  4. Hi, My wife had a L2 visa expiring in Feb 2023 based on my previous L1B visa
    I recently switched from L1B to L1A and now we are trying to apply for a fresh L2 visa for my wife from India. However, the drop box appointments we are getting are for Nov 2023. Is there a probability that we can get an earlier appointment or this is likely to be the first avaialble slot

    Also, is there any other way through which we can extend her existing L2 visa

  5. Hi,
    I have my H1B petition approved and in I-797B form with validity till August – 2023. I am a first-timer for a US visa, but considering the current slots scenario. what will happen if I-797B validity expires before scheduling slots?

  6. Hi,
    Has anyone had a Dropbox CoS L1B to H1B appointment after 4 pm, like 4.45 pm? On ustraveldocs – it says all the VACs working hours of 10 am to 4 pm: https://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/en/step-5#application-centers

    I’ve inquired with India support, they keep sending a general email and ask to go to the VAC at the scheduled time. I don’t know how to verify this.

    Please share if anyone has had this experience.

  7. HI

    For B1/B2 , the update from Consulate mentions all slots open in 2022 / 2023 are NOT Placeholder slots, which means they are actual appointments.
    I do see some dates open in Nov , Dec of 2022 and from Jan 2023. But there are no Consular Appointments available and I keep seeing the error- No Appointments available.

    Those who are attending the interviews now, could someone tell when they booked it and if they have been waiting for several months or more than a year?

  8. Hi All,
    I’ve booked my dropbox appointment for May 2023 with my existing passport details but my current passport is expiring in October 2023. I’m planning to renew my passport by Jan or Feb 2023, so do I need to cancel my existing appointment and redo the whole process with a new passport OR carrying old + new passport at VAC should be fine.

    Please suggest on same

    • You just need to carry your both passport. Email traveldocs support with copies of both passport and they will assist. DO NOT cancel appointment or restart the process.

  9. I am unable to schedule b2 visa appointment for my parents even after selecting 2025 jan dates, biometric appoitment is available but not for interview.. anybody in same situation or any luck with booking slots for the appoitment?

    • Hey Sidx,
      Even I got the earliest dropbox appointment for May 2023 and seems like no earlier than this month is open for now.

  10. I, with my two kids, qualify for the Interview waiver; we have been trying to get a Dropbox appointment for the last 12 weeks without success.
    The July 26, 2022 update referred in the above post mentions – “Under new Guidance If you are dropbox eligible and still need an emergency appointment, you need to answer the question “Whether you held a previous US visa” to ‘No‘ to book an in-person appointment and then submit an Emergency appointment request”
    How can I verify this guidance? I want to go ahead & choose this option but not sure to provide incorrect information by “No” to the question “Whether you held a previous US visa”

  11. Hi Kumar my son trying for Dropbox appointment slot for H1B visa stamping. Any guidance any specific timing we can check slots ? Like Indian Time or US day time also we should keep checking slot?

  12. Hello All,

    Could you please give more clarity on H1 Dropbox? Till was time the slots are booked already and when we can expect new slots open?


  13. Hi!
    I was looking for slots and did the questionnaire, I was eligible for interview waiver. But the website took me to book OFC and Consular Appointment.
    I booked an in person interview or late Sept in Hyd, as I was given no choice for drop box. (even though I was waived for interview)
    1) How long is it taking for passport return after in person interview in Hyd? (need to book my return accordingly)
    2) Did anyone else face this situation of “no dropbox”?

    • Wow ! I had the exact same experience @Sumiran.
      I also got OFC and Consular appointment only even though I am eligible for Dropbox.
      Can you pls tell me what did you do ?
      When I raised a question to the ustraveldocs team, they suggested that If I am confident that I should be offered Dropbox option, I should CANCEL my current appointment and go through the questionnaire again and answer it to the best of my knowledge and then i might be given the Dropbox option. But I dont want to cancel this hard earned appointment. I dont know if there will be any complications at the OFC and Consular appointments because I qualify for Dropbox Or maybe they dont care abt my dropbox eligibility and they will just process my Visa application without any problem.
      Not sure.
      Pls do sure your feedback and your experience.
      It will be of great help to me.


      • Any update on your situation, i also have a same situation. did you get the visa stamped and how long did it take to get the passport?

  14. Hi All,

    I have been looking for Visa Dropbox slots for almost 2 months now with no luck.
    I know this is a million dollar question but did anyone have any luck for any slots opening till this Dec 2022 ?

    Also, the current receipt fee is valid until Sep 30th 2023 (approx 1 year from date of purchase etc.) as I understood. However, if there is a scenario that I-797 gets expired is there a way we can use the same receipt by updating the new DS 160 in the CGI profile ? Is this dooable please advise. Thanks much in advance 🙂

      • thanks for the reply! Any location is fine 🙂 Any thoughts on fee we pay and chances wherein we need to for extension of H1-B meanwhile ?

    • Prathyusha,
      Yes, if your I-797 has changed, you can get it updated by calling support, also you can fill out new DS-160 as well and update the same. Do not worry, it is common thing.

  15. Good afternoon..
    I have submitted my USA B2 visa application..
    I am not able to see any slots.
    Can anyone please clarify whether the slots are opened & booked already or yet to be opened..
    If there’s an active Group for updates on B2 visa slots, please let me know
    Thanks and regards..

  16. Has anyone had any luck with booking appointments for even 2023? Today even on the OFC appointments page it is saying “There are currently no appointments available”

  17. Dear Mr Kumar ,
    You have been very helpful to everyone .
    I have an invitation to present my research papers (3 papers) for world Congress in August 2022
    I have applied for B1 visa for the first time
    I have attempted emergency application but it was not granted .
    How many times can I login and try to reschedule .
    Is it true that one can login and reschedule only twice ?
    If I have already attempted twice , what is the next option please .

  18. Hello

    I am trying to schedule H1b visa stamp dropbox at Mumbai VAC
    but on cgi federal there are zero appointment slots available
    there are no slots even for 2023

    anyone idea when they will be opening up?

  19. I am aware that the US Embassy recently mentioned to “be prepared” for 3-4 weeks for stamping after dropping off the passport with documents. Is this universal or a worst case scenario?


  20. Hello,

    I’m looking for a H1B In person Interview slot availability for the month of September 2022, but I only see slots open from Jan 2023. Have anyone seen Interview slots in Hyderabad for the month of Sept yet?

    Thank you in Advance!

    • Abhi,
      They come and go very fast, hard to know. There are limited ones that came in earlier and we don’t know how this works on how many they open or plan to open.

  21. Hi,

    I have appointment for July mid for dropbox. I was wondering if there is any possibility that embassy will cancel appointment due to rising covid cases? Has this happened in January when there were rising cases?

    • Archana,
      No one knows. It may happen, due to the change in situations, many of these are not known until like the day of the interview or drop-off date of documents. Stay positive.

      • Hi Archana, I am looking for drop box but I don’t see any appointments. Have been trying since last 1 week. Any tips will be helpful

        • Soumya,
          This is a million-dollar question, no one knows. Everything you read online is their own theory based on their experience.

  22. Hi,

    My offer letter has employer name as A & B US LLP. But my approved petition (I-797) has A B US LLP. Probably for Petition USCIS does not handle & special character. I filled and confirmed my DS-140 as A & B US LLP in the employer field for VISA stamping. I am just thinking if it has to be A B US LLP then I will have to fill DS-140 all over again for myself, wife and daughter.

    While I am filling my details for VISA appointment, in Petitioner field do I need to put the exact name A B US LLP if it is okay to have A & B US LLP in DS-140 as employer. Or both are acceptable but Petitioner (VISA appointment Details) and Employer name in DS-140 should always be in sync. Please advise. Thanks.


    • Rohit,
      Whatever is accepted by the system, fill it out. It may sometimes not allow some character, use something that is close to that or use another character or words. if in doubt, reach out to support.

  23. What is the usual processing time for new B1/B2 visas? How long does it take to receive passport back after VAC appointment? This is for Mumbai consulate.

  24. What is the usual processing time for new B1/B2 visas? How long can I receive passport back after VAC appointment? This is for Mumbai consulate.

  25. Hi Kumar,

    I have been trying to get a F1 visa appointment for more than a week now and not able to get an appointment. OFC appointments are available but the visa appointment is not. I keep getting the same message below.

    “There are currently no appointments available. Please press the Back
    button and choose a new OFC appointment Date.”

    Is this because all appointments until mid-July are filled? Any idea when future F1 appointments will be opened?

    F. Khan.

  26. Hi Kumar, First I would like to thank you for providing timely updates on your site. I have a set of questions regarding my H1B case, my lottery got selected in April 2020 and the petition was approved till Sept 2023. Till now the interview is not scheduled due to unavailability of the slots.

    1) How do we know the real time appointment status for the H1B interviews? If so, how frequently do I need to check those data?

    2) My company says that placeholder appointments are available from March 2023. Should I wait till Sept 2022 for the further development of this or should I go ahead book that place holder appointment?

    3) 2 years have passed, since I submitted the documents during the H1B process, most of them might have expired, due to the validity clause on the document. Shall I provide those new valid documents in case VO requires it during the interview or do I need to re-upload the documents somewhere before the interview happens?

    4) Do you think the US Consulate will give priority to those petitions, which were approved earlier, but the interview did not happen?

    It will be useful if you can provide your inputs on the above concerns.

    • Sanjay,
      1, 2. Actually, most of the new ones are not placeholders as per their guidance. You can email the consulate and USTravelDocs , if you are in doubt.
      3. You probably need to carry all updated documents , otherwise you will get 221g.
      4. no, they will not do anything as such.

  27. Mr. Kumar,

    Luckily after lot of try today, i got OFC ( i believe this is biometric/Fingerprinting appointment in chennai location) and consular appointment on further date, i got in MUmbai consulate

    will this cause a issue ?

    need help please reply

  28. Looking for visa appointments for b1/b2 for my parents . saw date Oct 17 2022 but when trying to book it showed error.. Now I try to book I don’t see any dates in 2022 are all slots for B1/B2 gone.. I do see March 2023 but that is too far

  29. Hi Kumar

    Could you assist me with this. I have a previous H4 visa stamped in India and expired. I changed to F1 through change of status in USA and working on Stem OPT am I eligible for consular interview waiver in this case.

    • Sam,
      Yes, you maybe eligible for it, if you meet all other conditions. Do the questionnaire on the CGI Federal Portal, it will tell you.

  30. Hi, Please help me out with B1/B2 dropbox eligiblity, I have applied renewal for my old parents and paid MRV fee on August 23rd 2021.

    Their previous 10yr B1/B2 visa got expired in April 2016?

    i read that same visa class within 48 months of the prior visa’s expiration has been extended indefinitely ?

    its been more than 48 months, near to 5.5 years? are they still eligible for dropbox, pleaseeeeeee answer ??

    from the date i paid MRV, i am trying for their regular appointment slots, i see some dates for OFC when i proceed to next screen there are no dates available ( i tried for 4 consulate locations mumbai, hydrabad, chennai and also delhi), but i see same above response ofc dates i am able to slect and later screen no in-person appointment dates.

    can anyone help, going to agent will help? or any help you can provide is appreciated.

    • doddamani,
      They are not eligible. Only the rule fo 48-month got extended beyond Dec 2021, that is what they mean by indefinitely.
      This is same problem for everyone. We do not encourage agents. There will limited slots for B1/B2 and it can take time to get one.

      • Thank You Mr.Kumar for your prompt reply!

        Is there any specific timeslot in a day we have to look/login in CGIFederal site for appointment schedule ?
        its always same OFC appointment i can select/pick some dates, when navigated to next screen for consular in-person appointment there are no dates available message
        I’m missing anything ?

        • doddamani,
          No one knows. You can check VisaGrader, they have analytics data on slots availability.
          You are not missing, it is just that slots are not there.

      • Hi Kumar,

        Thank you for providing timely updates on all visa types.
        I am trying to book appointment for first time tourist visa for my parents:
        1. Its letting me select an OFC appointment for June 2022 but then when I try scheduling a consular appointment – the system shows a message that “no appointments available at this time”.
        2. I tried selecting a different date in September or different Visa center and the same message shows up.
        I am very confused, are there no visa appointments for first time B1/B2 visa applicants in the year 2022?
        If there are no appointments in 2022 then I will have to get an appointment in 2023 which is too far, will I be able to cancel 2023 appointment and reschedule in 2022 if gets available.
        Thank you!

  31. Hi,
    I am in the US and got my H1b renewal approved (I-797). I am still waiting for my dependants’ approval (Wife and kid). I created my profile in ustraveldoc and added my dependants. I was expecting to book an interview as my Son I below 14 years. But I got an interview waiver. Is this fine? Can I get stamping for my dependants using my approved I797?
    Please advice.

    • Rohit,
      Usually for kids to apply for interview waiver, the parents both of them should have the visa. To avoid issues, get yours and your wife’s dropbox stamping done and then apply for your son’s dropbox.

      • Thanks, Kumar for the reply.

        Want to know if there is a way to book an interview so that I can go with my family and get the stamping with my approved I797.
        Please advice.
        Thank you!

  32. Hi my son who is in California got H1b in March 2020. Now he want to visit india for visa stamping for the first time.can he get appointments? Due to pandemic he could not visit india . It’s his first visit after getting H1b, before he was on OPT.

      • Hi thanks Kumar. He is planning to visit in the year end may be November December . So hopefully by that time slots will open? And is he eligible for interview waiver appointment ?

          • Hi Kumar
            It will be my son’s first time visa stamping. On what basis he will be eligible for interview waiver/ Dropbox?
            Eligibility criteria says person should have done visa stamping before…..

          • Gauri,
            No, he should have got F1 visa to go to the US right, that would help him with interview waiver.

  33. Hi I have been trying to schedule H1B dropbox appointment dates for the last 7 days. I cant seem to find a single date across any of the 5 locations. The calendar app does not even open. Is this normal? I am planning to visit in Jul/Aug and need to book tickets and apply for leave for both me and my spouse and all that will happen based on the appointment dates. When are the H1b dropbox dates expected to be released?

    • Rishi Varma,
      If no slots, nothing will open. H1B slots are very much sold out for summer. It is difficult for Jul/Aug, as per them they can only open some in Sep.

      • This is very sad 😞 my kid was so excited to meet his grandparents this summer.
        A related query – my parents have a B1/B2 expiring later this year in Jul. If I apply for their B1/b2 renewal, will they qualify for interview waiver and if yes are there slots available for B1b2 Dropbox?
        Thanks a ton Kumar! 🙏

        • Rishi,
          Yes, they can apply for interview waiver and apply for renewal now. Yes, slots are opening on a rolling basis for B1/B2 now.

          • Thanks Kumar. They qualified for interview waiver and got drop box dates in Sep. No dates earlier than September for B1/B2 dropbox. Is that accurate as per your knowledge?

          • Rishi,
            This is accurate and in line with guidance given by the US Consulate head few weeks ago.

          • Thanks Kumar. I was able to get their B1/B2 Dropbox slot for sep 2022. For my own H1b Dropbox slot I am seeing slots only from sep 2023😢 with nothing earlier. is that what you are seeing too?

  34. I’m so confused. It seems like they have been granting non-immigrant tourist visa appointments in recent weeks ( with constantly shifting # of calendar days to get an appointment) but yet this article states that they will not resume accepting those appointments until September of this year… Can you please clarify? Thank you!

    • Angie,
      The interviewing will start for these applicants in Sept for B1/B2 and H & L as well. The updates are accurate and reflect weekly updates from consulate.

    • The verbiage in the posts is accurate. Actual interviews will be post Sep 1. The chance to secure such appointments opens up shortly.

  35. Trying to book B2 Visa Interview appointments for my parents for Chennai Consulate for few weeks now and all I see are 2024 Dates, which is insane and tells me that the software is broken! Pathetic

    Dont know what to do and who to escalate this to. No one knows if and when this issue may get fixed

    • Raj,
      There is no way to escalate. If it is an emergency, you can request for an Emergency appointment by giving justification.

      • Thanks Kumar and I agree, I was just venting out. Its a shocker that we have such a terrible software that thousands of folks will be relying upon. In this day and age hard to imagine something so badly developed and always broken.

        • Raj,
          The irony is US Immigration software and processes are even worse when you apply for something with USCIS, and it not just the Dept of State website. I wish some day they get better.

  36. Can someone please help I submitted in Dropbox chennai April 26 th and ceac status shown as application received till now and cgi federal website not showing passport is with us embassy earlier it use to show passport is with us embassy consulate Can someone please let me know Chennai consulate email I’d if I can mail and ask them kindly help I’m very much worried or any hotline to call ?

  37. Hi Kumar,
    I am trying to look for visa dates in India for dropbox and it says No OFC dates available. It has been showing this message from 1 week. Is this expected?

  38. Hello,
    Can we reschedule B2 appointments that were cancelled in 2020 because of covid?
    are those payments valid? or do we need to pay again to schedule?

    I don’t see a option to reschedule. Their status is just showing as cancelled.

    • US Consulates in India have extended the MRV fee payment validity until September 30th, 2023 (check this post above). Just go ahead and schedule appointment in the portal whenever you find slots.

    • Thoushif,
      The payments must be valid, yes, you can schedule, if you can find a slot. If any issues, call support.

  39. I am looking for a visa appointment for later this year. When do they add new slots to the system? Does it have a schedule like a specific day/time etc.? thanks.


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