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US Visa Renewal – Requirements, Process

Renewing a US Visa does not require in-person interview, if you meet certain criteria. The process is very straightforward and seamless. US Visa renewal is popularly called as Visa stamping using “Interview Waiver” option or popularly as Dropbox Stamping. In this article we will look at the general requirements and give links for guides for Visa renewal using Dropbox option by Visa Type like H1B, H4, others.

Eligibility Requirements for Interview Waiver or Dropbox Stamping

To be eligible for US Visa stamping using Interview waiver option, the applicant has to meet all the below requirements.

  • You need to have Visa renewal in same category. It means that, let’s say you have renewal for H1B, your previous visa in passport should be H1B as well.
  • Most recent visa should have been issued in your same country (home country)
  • Visa was received after Jan 1, 2008
  • Your visa should not have annotations like “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”
  • You visa should be issued after 14th birthday
  • Your US visa was not lost, stolen or cancelled.
  • There were no US visa refusals in any other visa class, since your recent visa issuance
  • If applying for H, L or R visa, it should be valid or expired within last 12 months.  Also, if it is other classes of visa renewal, it is still same 12 months requirements (should be valid or expired in last 12 months). This can vary sometimes, if US Dept of State choose to extend this. during Pandemic, they have extended this to 48 months until Dec 31st, 2021.

Other General criteria to be met for other visa types, ages

  • Blanket L1 holder do not qualify for Dropbox or interview waiver. Only Blanket L2 Spouses are eligible
  • If you are applying for F visa, you should be at same school for which your previous visa was issued.
  • If applying for J visa, your DS-2019 is also issued by same institution as it is on previous visa.
  • Children under 14 years of age are eligible for dropbox
  • Adults over 80 years of age are eligible for drop box, if their recent visa application was not refused.

If you meet the requirements, then you need to follow the below steps

Steps to apply for US Visa Stamping using Dropbox

Below are the very high level steps for US Visa stamping using Dropbox Option.

  1. Complete DS-160 form Online
  2. Create a profile on CGI Federal Webstie
  3. Complete the questionnaire and check eligibility for Dropbox on CGI Federal Website
  4. Once eligible, pay required fee for US Visa
  5. Book Dropbox Stamping Appointment
  6. Drop off all documents on the appointment date
  7. Visa Process done by US Consulate, check Status online
  8. Collect Passport with US Visa Stamped
  9. If visa not approved, collect documents and attend in-person interview.

H1B Visa Renewal using Dropbox Process

The process to apply for H1B Visa renewal is no different from above listed general steps. The main differences are in the questions asked in context of H1B, they would ask you for Petition details, etc. We have done a detail guide with screenshots. Check COMPLETE Guide to H1B Dropbox Process, Step by Step with Screenshots

Other Dropbox Visa Stamping Visa Guides for other visa types are being worked on. Stay tuned.


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