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Dropbox Appointment Booking shows VAC instead of IW

Getting a US Visa renewal using Dropbox or Interview Waiver(IW) option is one of the most widely used options to get a US Visa after the initial visa stamping. Most of the applicants qualify for the dropbox option unless they have some restrictions or their stamped US Visa has annotations like “Clearance Received”.

Since September 2021, you need to book an appointment to drop off documents as part of the US Visa renewal using the dropbox option. The dropdown in appointment booking shows VAC, instead of IW starting from November 28th, 2021. This is very confusing for many. This article is aimed at addressing the confusion.

Before Nov 28th, 2021 – Dropbox Appointment Booking had IW

When you apply for US Visa Renewal using the dropbox option, as part of the appointment booking screen to drop off documents, it used to look like in the below screenshot. It used to show the page heading as “Schedule OFC Appointment“ and the dropdown to select interview location used to say ‘IW‘ at the end. In the dropdown, IW stands for Interview Waiver that indicated that the booking was for a dropbox or visa renewal appointment.

In fact, the IW at the end was one of the easy ways for anyone to know that they were booking an interview waiver or dropbox appointment. But, this changed starting from November 28th, 2021.

Schedule OFC Appointment - Dropbox Stamping IW
Before December 2021 – Schedule OFC Appointment – Dropbox Stamping IW

US Visa Biometrics Appointment Booking Screen has VAC

When you book an in-person US Visa appointment, the first step is to book a biometrics appointment. When you are booking the biometrics appointment, on the booking screen you would see VAC at the end of the consulate name as you can see in the below screenshot.

VAC Stands for Visa Application Center. When you see VAC at the end, it is a confirmation for the user that you are booking an appointment for giving Biometrics at the VAC office before your in-person visa interview. This still continues to be the same for Biometrics appointment booking even after Nov 28th, 2021.

In the past, having VAC vs. IW at the end of the dropdown was one of the key indicators for the applicant to identify if their appointment booking was going to be biometrics or Dropbox. But, this changed after Nov 28th, 2021.

Schedule OFC Appointment with VAC at end of City name Dropdown
Schedule OFC Appointment with VAC at end of City name Dropdown

Confusion – Dropbox Appointment Booking shows VAC

Starting from Nov 28th, 2021, the US Visa Dropbox appointment booking screen started to show VAC on the appointment booking screen dropdown, instead of IW. It looks like in the below screenshot. This is the source of big confusion to many. Many are not sure if they are booking a Biometrics appointment or Dropbox appointment. The last few letters at the “Select Interview Location” dropdown, next to the consulate name now shows VAC for both Biometrics and Dropbox appointment bookings. Many did not book slots and some are still in confusion.

Dropbox Appointment Shows VAC instead of IW in Dropdown
Dropbox Appointment Shows VAC instead of IW in Dropdown

Having VAC can mean Dropbox Appointment as well

Based on many users’ experiences in the past 10 days or so and also confirmation from USTravelDocs Customer Support, it is confirmed that Dropbox or Interview Waiver Appointment booking screen would also show ‘VAC‘ for the last few letters at the “Select Interview Location” dropdown, next to the consulate name. It will no longer show ‘IW’ for dropbox appointment bookings.

We do not know the specific reason for this change, but many users were able to drop off documents and even get visa stamping done after they booked the slot using the VAC in the dropdown. So, it is proven to be working and we have confirmation.

How to verify, if you booked Dropbox Appointment with VAC in dropbox ?

There are a few things you can check to make sure you are booking or have booked a dropbox appointment

Before Booking – Dropbox Eligibiligy Confirmation Screen

When you do the visa questionnaire on CGI federal portal (USTravelDocs website), you would get a yellow screen with confirmation that tells you are eligible for a dropbox appointment. It looks like in the below screenshot. If you have got this, then you are booking a dropbox appointment slot.

Congratulations you qualify for the Interview Waiver Confirmation for H1B Visa Dropbox in CGI Federal Portal
Congratulations you qualify for the Interview Waiver Confirmation for H1B Visa Dropbox in CGI Federal Portal

After Booking Appointment – Verify Booking screen, Confirmation letter

After you book the appointment, you should check two things to ensure you booked a dropbox appointment and not a biometrics appointment. The first one is the appointment confirmation letter that you print after making the booking.

For Dropbox or Interview Waiver appointments, you would only see VAC details on the appointment confirmation letter first page. It will not have the details of the Consular Appointment. It looks like in the below screenshot for dropbox appointments.

VAC Appointment Information for Dropbox Stamping - Page 1 in Letter
VAC Appointment Information for Dropbox Stamping – Page 1 in Letter

But, if you look at the regular visa stamping with Biometrics and in-person visa interviews, it would have both the VAC appointment details and Consular appointment details. It looks like in the below screenshot.

Page 1 has Consular Appointment Details - Regular Stamping
Page 1 has Consular Appointment Details – Regular Stamping

The other thing you can review is the check the USTravelDocs appointment history screen. If you go to the CGI Federal website and check your appointment booking history screen, it will clearly indicate that it is an interview waiver appointment, which means renewal or dropbox.

US Visa Appointment Booking Hisotry Screen on USTravelDocs
US Visa Appointment Booking History Screen on USTravelDocs

Hope it is clear to everyone now on how to confirm and not be confused. What was your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

You can also read How to apply for H1B Visa Dropbox Appointment Step by Step Guide

   

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215 Comments

  1. I wanted to understand what the additional document requirements for b1/b2 visa re-issue (have dropbox appointment next week) apart from below:

    1. Passports
    2. Same Visa
    3. DS 160 confirmation page
    4. Interview confirmation page
    5. Passport Photo (US specification)
    6. Employer Certificate

    In case there is another channel or link, you can re-direct, I would be extremely thankful.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Laxmi,
      Others can also drop off documents. The appointment letter has all the details. Also, you can check on their website for full info.

      Reply
  2. Hi,

    We booked dropbox appointment slot (B2) for my parents. But the appointment confirmation letters shows only my dad’s details but says ‘Number of Applicants’ as 2. And down below, appointment letter shows DS 160 barcodes of both my mom and dad. Is this fine? Does this confirm that the appointment slot is for both my mom and dad?

    Reply
  3. I booked Dropbox appointment, since it showed me yellow screen of Dropbox eligibility and also my appointment confirmation page only shows VAC appointment details but when I checked my appointment history page it shows Visa Prioprity :- Regular
    What does it mean in person or Dropbox?

    Reply
    • Same for me – I booked a dropbox appointment and have even submitted my passport and documents to the Delhi VAC – but I happened to check my appointment history and it shows Visa Priority as “Regular”.

      Reply
  4. I am eligible for dropbox but I booked the inperson interview. Can I cancel the inperson appointment and book for dropbox? Should I pay $190 to do this?
    Will there be any problem or difficulties attending the inperson interview?

    Reply
  5. I have scheduled a date for drop box option for B2 visa. After booking the date if i want an earlier date how can i see the available slots and where can i see?

    Reply
    • you have an option called ‘Reschedule appointment’ where you can check for current availability and decide if you really need to reschedule

      Reply
  6. I am based out of Blr. ELigible for interview waiver for visitor visa. Is it ok to schedule apt at Delhi VAC and drop off documents at BLR since Delhi has more slots available.

    Reply
  7. Hi everyone,

    I completed ds160, answered all question correctly for drop box appointment, and got h4 visa interview waiver confirmation. But when I am trying to schedule an appointment for drop box its going to a regular visa interview slot and asking me to select OFC as well as INTERVIEW . What does this mean? Does this mean, I need an interview or is this how dropbox procedure works?

    Reply
  8. Hi everyone,

    I completed ds160, answered all question correctly for drop box appointment, and got h4 visa interview waiver confirmation. But when I am trying to schedule an appointment for drop box its going to a regular visa interview slot and asking me to select OFC as well as INTERVIEW . What does this mean? Does this mean, I need an interview or is this how dropbox procedure works? Thank you

    Reply
  9. Hello All,

    Just want to check few details,
    I am eligible for drop box as per CGI portal, and under one profile I have added 3 applicants (me (H1b) and my dependents (H4)).
    I got the appointment for Oct 2022 at 1pm (In the appointment confirmation I can see only VAC details, and no consular details ).
    But when I check the CGI portal Visa Priority is updated as “Regular”.I have below mentioned two questions.

    1) If I am eligible for drop box including my dependents, any idea why visa priority shows as “Regular”?

    2) Another thing, my visa appointment is on Sunday at 1pm, when I refer the CGI portal,
    submission of drop box timings showing as Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm (http://staging2012.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-main-contactus.asp). 

    So wondering what is my appointment corresponds to?

    Could someone please clarify?

    Reply
    • Even I am in same boat, I rescheduled my h1b appt and it shows regular in visa priority and only VAC for confirmation. Based on earlier threads, looks like its a common bug these days

      Reply

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