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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 a 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 Eligibility 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 as in the below screenshot. If you have got this, then you are booking a dropbox appointment slot.

US Visa Interview Waiver Appointment Confirmation 2022 - Without Restrictions on Locations
US Visa Interview Waiver Appointment Confirmation 2022 – Without Restrictions on Locations

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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277 Comments

  1. I have got appointment for jan 6th for DELHI for H1B drop box. I am the alone applicant in my cgi profile and I did payment for myself.But still appointment confirmation is showing no of applicants as 2 but in MRV payments it is showing only one payment.Please guide me for t his

    Reply
  2. Hi everyone,

    I stay in Bangalore and will be submitting my documents in Bangalore. My nearest VFC is Chennai and I also selected Chennai Consulate while filling in DS160. Now when scheduling I am not getting Bangalore as an option and if I select Chennai, the first available slot is in March 2023. There are slots available in Mumbai VFC for November, can I submit my documents in Bangalore drop box by scheduling appointment in Mumbai VFC. Would it have any implication on my renewal application, apart from the possibility that I might have to travel to Mumbai if I am asked to appear for an interview?

    Reply
    • Hi Tushar,

      Do the slots display fine on your portal? For me it’s been showing no appointments available for the last 6 days! Do you still see any new ones? I live in Bangalore as well.

      Reply
    • Tushar,
      Yes, you can submit documents anywhere, there is no restriction. You would not see Bangalore anytime. You will only see the consulates during booking of the slot. It will not have any implication.

      Reply
      • Kumar,

        Any idea why some people can see so many slots and some like me can’t even see the calendar? I used to be able to see all slots and suddenly over night it stopped showing my calendars for all consulates.

        There isn’t a way they can all be booked out since they were all open for atleast 2 weeks prior. And like Tushar mentioned, he is able to see them and I cannot, though we checked at very similar times.

        Reply
  3. Hi,
    I am unable to see the dropbox slots for November 22 for first-time H1-B stamping, whereas other people can see them. How to resolve this issue? There are still slots available but I can’t book them.

    Reply
  4. Hi there, did any recently tried to book drop box or consular appmnt in any other countries(Canada, MX, UAE etc) ? if yes what’s the wait time.

    Reply
  5. Hi, I am eligible for drop-box(interview waiver) , after checking the dates for a while i found that dates are available for consular appointment in summer 2023 so i changed option to regular interview and booked it for summer as a backup plan, though i need to travel in nov to attend a wedding and have been checking everyday and didnt get any nov/dec 2022 consular appointment dates, is it possible to fill up another DS-160, pay MRV fee and try for drop box dates in 2022 ?

    Reply
    • AK,
      You cannot have two accounts for the same applicant applying for the same visa category. You can only hold one type of appointment for a visa type. If you are eligible for dropbox, you should not book regular, unless you need it for emergency.

      Reply
  6. hi all- I am facing a strange issue.

    1. Me and my wife, we are eligible for dropbox. We do see the yellow screen which confirms interview waiver.
    2. In the next screen we enter the passport delivery details
    3. After that it asks us to book personal consular appointment.
    I am confused why we need consular appointment.
    I am following up with support and sending them screenshots. Not much help.

    Please suggest.

    Reply
    • Vivek,
      Well, most of the times, the system is pretty good and there would be a reason based on how you answered questions. You can restart the questions and see, if that helps.

      Reply
  7. When i filled out questionaire for interview waiver eligibility, I got yellow screen, my parents’ previous visa expired in July 2018. But their dropbox appointment is in October 2022 ( more that 48 months after expiration. Does this mean I have to cancel dropbox appointment and schedule regular appointment?

    Reply
  8. Hi,

    I am a PhD student and need to renew my F1 visa. I am qualified for interview waiver and can see Hyderabad VAC appointments for December. I live in Pune and would like to use the Dropbox facility at Pune, can I schedule an appointment with Hyderabad VAC and drop my documents at Pune center? How long does it take for the stamping process?

    Reply
  9. Hi , I am eligible to dropbox, i have booked an appointment in November Hyderabad VAC but if i go and check in appointment’s history there visa priority shows regular.Anyone faced this issue

    Reply
    • Manisha,
      This is common issue. You can email the support and get confirmation. As long as your appointment letter says dropbox, you are usually fine.

      Reply
    • Hello,

      I just observed the same on my upcoming appointment in November. I had received appointment confirmation with Interview Waiver instructions, however if I go and check my Appointment History, it says Visa Priority as Regular. I have emailed the support group asking for clarification. If someone has or is facing same scenario, any updates will be appreciated

      Reply
    • Hi Manisha,

      It shows ‘Regular’ for me too. Did you get any confirmation regarding this? I reached out to help desk they gave reply ‘Kindly ignore the same and proceed with the appointment. Please follow the instructions on your appointment’.
      I have appointment in Delhi VAC at 4:45 pm but when I check the timings only biometrics open until 5 pm and interview waiver document submission open until 4 pm. It’s confusing. Please update here when you have any information. Thank you

      Reply
  10. Hi

    I booked VAC Chennai on Sep 2023 for parents B1/B2 renewal, does it mean we have to wait 1 year for biometerics and drop box will happen immediately after biometrics

    Please confirm
    Srini

    Reply
  11. Hi all,
    When I completed the visa questionnaire on CGI federal portal (USTravelDocs website), I got a yellow screen with confirmation that I am eligible for a dropbox appointment.
    Now when I go to book the appointment, portal is asking me to book VAC and also an interview date. I have gone ahead and taken one for sept 2023. but want to reschd it to earlier.
    please help on this issue.
    Regards
    VJ

    Reply
  12. Hello
    We made a NEFT Payment in unique account no. and IFSC of Rs 26240 only one time but due to system error of bank paid 3 times US VISA application fee of total Rs 78720 instead of Rs 26249 So I am try to get a refund for the extra paid of Rs 52480 .

    Reply
  13. 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
  14. 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
    • I am eligible for dropbox. But i answered below question wrong and i ended up booking in person interview instead of dropbox. Will it cause any issue in stamping ?

      Question which i answered wrong is

      Was your prior visa annotated clearance received or départemental authorization ?

      Reply
      • Sanat,
        if you knowingly did a mistake, you should rectify it. Any information you answered should be true. Anything you enter will be sent to US dept of state system and it will have mismatch…so, You should cancel and rebook to avoid any future issues.

        Reply
  15. 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
      • same issue for me. got the dropbox yellow page confirmation and booked slot in Delhi VAC. but the application history shows visa priority regular and my confirmation page has only VAC details..so does this mean i got drop box or inperson interview?

        Reply
    • i have the same issue. Confirmation page shows only VAC details but the appointment history shows visa priority regular for delhi VAC.I got yellow page with drop box eligibility confirmation.What to do now is it drop box or in person interview.

      Reply
    • Hi,

      Did you get any confirmation regarding this? For me also shows the same ‘Regular’ but confirmation email received only VAC details for drop box. My appointment time is 4:45 pm but when i look at the timings for drop box it’s until 4pm. Only biometrics open until 5 pm. Can you please update about your situation if you get any update? Thank you

      Reply
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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

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