When you apply for a US Visa renewal and you meet certain criteria, you can get it stamped in your passport without attending an in-person visa interview. This kind of visa stamping process is called an ‘Interview Waiver’ option and is popularly called the ‘Dropbox Stamping’. The same interview waiver option is available for H1B Visa renewal as well.
In this article, we will cover the step-by-step process for H1B visa stamping using ‘dropbox’ or the ‘interview waiver’ option. We will cover all areas like H1B visa dropbox eligibility requirements, booking appointments, documents checklist, how it works with employer change or H1B Visa Transfer situations, and status changes. Also, it will include changes to the Dropbox requirements in recent times during the pandemic.
The first step to applying for H1B stamping using the interview waiver or Dropbox option is to ensure you meet all the general required criteria for a typical interview waiver or dropbox. Let’s first look at the eligibility requirements in the context of an H1B visa.
H1B Visa Dropbox Eligibility Requirements
Below are the general eligibility criteria for getting an H1B Visa stamping using dropbox or the interview waiver option. You must meet all the requirements below to be eligible for dropbox stamping:
- You should have H1B Visa Stamping done before and have US Visa foil in your passport of type H1B. Dropbox or interview waiver is only possible for H1B Visa Renewal.
- Update: the US Dept of State has provided some exceptions due to the long wait times, even for first-time H1B visa stamping applicants. The key requirement is they need to have had any US Visa stamped in the past. This provision is valid until December 31st, 2023. We cover this in detail in the next section.
- Your H1B Visa was stamped in your passport after Jan 1, 2008
- Your H1B visa stamping in your passport should be issued after your 14th birthday
- Your H1B visa stamp in your passport was not lost, stolen, canceled, or has CWOP written on the visa.
- There were no US visa refusals anytime in the past. Not just the recent one.
- (Not applicable until the end of 2023)
Your H1B Visa should be valid or have expired within the last 12 months.
- Some exceptions apply from now until Dec 31st, 2023, where the US Dept of State has waived in-person appointments for H1B holders if they meet requirements such as having a valid US Visa issued in any category in the past and applying from the country of residence. You can check the full requirements at H1B Visa Interview waived if the applicant meets certain conditions.
- Also, in the past, during the pandemic in 2021, they extended dropbox eligibility for H1B holders to 48 months from expiry.
- (Not applicable anymore as the US Dept of State removed it in April 2023. Check US Department of State Twitter Update ).
Your H1B visa stamp in your passport should not have annotations like “Clearance Received” or “Department Authorization”
- (Not applicable now) In the past, there was a requirement that the applicant’s previous H1B stamping should be from the same country. However, the same country requirement was removed in 2021 due to the pandemic situation, as consulates were not fully operational. Check Question 7 below which has an updated screenshot of the question.
Also, if you are over 80 years of age and applying for an H1B Visa renewal, then you need to only meet one condition, which is your most recent US Visa application was not refused.
Dropbox Option for certain first-Time H1B Visa Applicants
As US Consulates across the globe are operating in a very limited fashion globally due to the COVID pandemic, starting from Jan 1st, 2022, until December 31st, 2023, the US Department of State has given Dropbox Stamping option for certain first-time H1B Visa Applicants, if they meet all the below eligibility criteria.
The applicant needs to meet all the below six requirements to be eligible for H1B Dropbox as a first-time H1B applicant:
- USCIS Approval Notice: You need to have an H1B Visa petition approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services(USCIS). Basically, this is something that your employer would apply for with USCIS for working in the US before you go for stamping and it is mandatory for stamping.
- Residence Country: You need to be applying for H1B Visa Stamping in your country of Nationality or Residence. For example, if you are an Indian citizen, you can only apply in India or alternatively, if you are an Indian citizen but live in Germany due to work with a proper work visa, then you can apply in Germany as it is your place of residence.
- Previous Approved US Visa: You need to have any type of US Visa issued (approved) in the past by a US Consulate or Embassy. It does not have to be an H1B Visa Stamp. For example, if you have previously issued B1/B2 or F1 Visa in your passport, then you are eligible.
- No US Visa Refusal: You should have never been refused a US Visa at Visa Stamping. If you had an administrative processing refusal like 221g, then it should have been overcome or waived. You should have not any potential ineligibility aspects on your application (this is not clearly defined by them on what they mean)
- US Visa lost or stolen: Your most recent US Visa in your passport was not lost, stolen, or canceled.
- Issued after Jan 1, 2008: Your most recent US Visa was issued after January 1st, 2008
Check complete details on the above at US Visa Stamping Dropbox Option for certain H1B Visa applicants.
Also, many are confused, about if they need a new H1B Visa stamp after changing employers, let’s look at the details now.
H1B Dropbox Eligibility for Change of Employer
Many H1B applicants, who have done a change of employer or transferred to a new employer assume that they are not eligible for dropbox submission. They are misguided by the fact that their previous H1B visa foil glued in their passport has their previous employer’s name and they may not be eligible for dropbox.
To give you more context, when your H1B Visa was issued by the US Consulate, the H1B Visa foil that was glued in your passport would have the H1B Sponsoring Company name and the petition number details on it under the annotation section, as you can see in below screenshot. Having the previous company name is the cause of the confusion. Many assume that they may not be eligible for H1B Visa using the dropbox option.
The reality is that the employer name on the US Visa is only an annotation added for reference of the CBP officer. It has nothing to do with Dropbox stamping eligibility. As long as you satisfy all the general eligibility criteria for H1B Visa Dropbox, as listed in the above section, you are eligible for H1B visa stamping using the Dropbox option.
Also, to confirm the above, when you fill out the visa details and answer the questionnaire on US Visa CGI Federal Website, you will not be asked for your previous employer information or what your visa stamp annotation says. All they ask for are questions about your visa expiration date and general criteria. That’s another confirmation that you are eligible for dropbox stamping, even if you have a change of employer using an H1B transfer. Also, we have many users on our blog and social media channels who got stamping done after the H1B transfer. So, it is confirmed based on users’ experiences as well.
Now that you understand the general requirements for H1B stamping using dropbox, let’s look at the step-by-step process.
Step by Step Guide to Apply for H1B Visa Dropbox Appointment
The process to apply for H1B Visa stamping using the dropbox or interview waiver option is not very different from the general visa renewal for other types of visas. It is mostly the documents you submit and your eligibility criteria that matter.
For background, you can read How to Apply for a US Visa for general guidance on the US Visa stamping process. Let’s look at each of the steps now.
Step 1 – Complete Non-immigrant US Visa Application (DS-160) Form online
You need to complete the Online Non-Immigrant US Visa Application and complete all the details related to your current H1B sponsor and previous employment information. You will be asked to select a location for the visa stamping or interview when you start the DS-160 form. Select the best city that you can think of where you would go for stamping. See the below screenshot.
The city you select here does not really matter. It can be different from the city where you actually go for stamping or submitting documents.
The DS-160 form is very lengthy and asks for a lot of information. It can take time to complete this form. Also, when you submit the DS-160 form, you will get a confirmation number. The DS-160 confirmation number is also the same as the Application ID. You will enter the DS-160 confirmation number or Application ID in the next step during the appointment booking for Dropbox stamping.
Step 2 – Create a Profile on US Visa Appointment Booking Website
After you complete the DS-160 form, you need to create a new user profile on US Visa appointment booking website. Depending on the country managed, this website is different and managed by CGI Federal. Below is how it looks:
- H1B Visa Stamping in India: If you are looking for H1B dropbox stamping in India, then you need to register and create an account at www.USVisaScheduling.com. You can check the step-by-step guide to creating an account on USVisaScheduling.com website.
- H1B Stamping outside of India: If you are looking to get H1B stamping outside of India, then you would either use https://portal.ustraveldocs.com/ website or https://ais.usvisa-info.com/ to book an appointment. You need to register an account on the respective appointment booking website for the country to pay the fee and book an appointment.
You need to complete basic information about yourself. Depending on the country you are planning to applying for Dropbox stamping it will look different.
Below is the screenshot of completing applicant’s personal details on USVisaScheduling.com, which is for Dropbox stamping in India.
If you are using portal.ustraveldocs.com and getting stamping in another country, it will look different from above.
As there are two to three US Visa Appointment booking systems that are used now globally, in the below sections, we will clearly put a heading and tell what wesbite the screenshot is for to avoid any confusion.
Step 3 – Complete Visa Type, Personal details, H1B Petition Details, Dependents info
Depending on the country you are going to get stamping from, the steps look different as the websites are different. Below are the steps for India & outside India. First, let’s look at the steps for stamping in India.
Steps on USVisaScheduling.com Website for Stamping in India
On USVisaScheduling.com, you need to click on the Start Application to fill out a new application for H1B dropbox. Below is a screenshot of how it looks.
You need to select the below Visa Options. Each of the fields would be a drop-down, select the below accordingly for H1B Dropbox
- Country: This will be prepopulated to India and you cannot change this.
- Visa Type: Non-immigrant
- Embassy/Consulate/OFC: Select the US consulate or Embassy that is applicable to your location of stay in India. While there is no restriction, it is ideal to choose that fits your location of stay.
- Post Visa Category: As it is for H1B Dropbox, you would select the visa category as ‘Employment-based visas’.
- Visa Priority: This will be prepopulated to English and you cannot change this.
See the below screenshot on how the actual visa options screen look on USVisaScheduling.com for H1B Dropbox stamping.
You need to seelct the visa tag as H-1B and then click on Continue button. See the below screenshot on how it looks
You need to enter the additional details of DS-160 and Petition Information on the next screen. You will need to enter the below
- DS-160 Confirmation Number: This is the confirmation number after you complete the DS-160 form online. It is also called the Application ID.
- Petitioner Name: This is the H1B Sponsor name as it appears on the H1B Approval Notice
- Petition Request Number: This is the H1B Receipt number as it appears on the H1B Approval Notice.
- Petition Start Date: This is the “Valid from Date” on the H1B approval notice. Do not worry about the time. It can be anything on the same date. The date is the important thing to note.
- Petition Expiration Date: This is the “Valid to Date” on the H1B approval notice.
It looks like in the below screenshot on USVisaScheduling.com website.
After this step, you will be taken to answer the H1B Dropbox questionnaire. To clarify, this flow is different from the flow that used to be on the previous portal.USTraveldocs website. You can go to Step 4 below to continue the guide for USVisaScheduling.com
Steps on USTraveldocs Portal Website for Stamping Outside India
On USTravelDocs Portal Website, once you add your basic information, you will need to select “New Appointment / Schedule Appointment” from the menu on the left-hand side. You will be asked a set of questions in a guided wizard format, you need to complete them by selecting the relevant ones as applicable for an H1B visa. The guided wizard looks like in the below section screenshots.
1. Select Nonimmigrant Visa
First, you need to select the visa type either Nonimmigrant or Immigrant. H1B Visa is a Nonimmigrant Visa, you need select that in Step 1 and click on continue. See the below screenshot on how it looks.
2. Select the country and state of residence
You will get an option to select the country or state of your residence. You need to select the right country or country and state combination as per your residence and click on continue. This will be listed as Step 2 in the wizard. See the below screenshot on how it looks
3. Select the Language of the Visa interview, Visa Category, and Visa Class
Next, you need to select the language of the interview that you plan to do if you have to go for an interview. In general, dropbox does not require an interview, but in case, they want to interview you, you need to select that and click on continue.
In the past, there used to be multiple languages to select on this page, but they removed it in late 2022. If you need any specific language support, you can request it during the interview at the consulate on the day of the interview. You would see this listed as Step 3 in the wizard as in the below screenshot
Next, you will be asked to select the Visa Category, which is relevant to H1B Visa. You need to select the option “Employment-based visas” option and click on continue. It will be listed as Step 3 and looks like as shown in the below screenshot.
Next, you need to select the Visa Class, which is H1B Visa. You need to select the option that says “H-1B – Temporary worker in specialty occupation” and then click on continue at the bottom. It looks like this, as in the below screenshot.
You will get a chance to review and confirm the details you have entered until now as a summary. Verify the details and click on continue. It will be listed as Step 6 and looks like in the below screenshot.
4. Enter Your Personal info, Passport details, contact info, mailing address, Petitioner info
After that you will need to complete personal data like passport, address info, contact info, mailing address, DS-160 info, etc. Also, under the “Petitioner” section, you need to enter the USCIS-approved H1B visa petition details including the H1B Case Receipt Number on the same page. It looks like this, as in the below screenshot.
5. Add Dependents, Child Details
Once you go past this screen, you will get a chance to add your dependents. This option is to add your dependents as applicable if you are taking your H4 Dependents (spouse and children) for visa stamping along with you. You will need to click on the option that says “Add by Name” as it looks in the below screenshot.
If you click on the Add by Name option in the above screenshot, then you will get an option to add the spouse or child-related DS-160 and all their personal details here. It looks like this, as in the below screenshot.
Step 4 – H1B Dropbox Eligibility Check Wizard
In the next step, you will be asked a few questions related to your H1B Visa Stamping status to check, if you are eligible for dropbox or not. You need to answer them correctly based on your situation.
The H1B Dropbox eligibility check wizard questions are technically the same for stamping within India or outside of India. Just the way they are presented in the system are different as they are two different websites. We will highlight it under each question, how it looks on each of the websites.
Below are each of the questions and answers that most of the H1B Visa renewal applicants answer:
Question 1: “Do you have a previous U.S. visa in any visa class issued on or after your 14th birthday ?”
Response: If you had any US Visa issued in the past after you turned 14 years old, you would answer ‘Yes’. This includes H1B Visa as well.
Example: If you had B1/B2 from the past issued by a US Consulate/ Embassy, and now applying for H1B for the first time, then you would answer ‘Yes’ to this question.
Starting from January 1st, 2022, with the new Dropbox Eligibility option for certain first-time H1B Holders, you see a generic question asking about any US Visa, instead of an H1B Visa. Do not be worried or confused, if you see this. The below screenshots highlight the changes. This new option is valid until the end of 2023 ( Dec 31st, 2023).
See the screenshot below of this question on how it looks on the USVisaScheduling.com website for booking H1B Dropbox appointments in India. Once you select the option, click on the ‘next’ button.
See the below screenshot on how it looks on portal.ustraveldocs.com website for booking Dropbox appointments outside of India.
In the past, you used to get the question that is tailored to H1B asking about previous H1B visa but now it does appear now with the new option of Dropbox for certain first-time H1B applicants with any US Visa issued in the past. The new change without specific question tied to H1B visa is valid until December 31st, 2023.
In the past, there was a question on ‘Clearance Received’ or ‘Department Authorization’. Starting from April 2023, the US Department of State removed that question. Even if your visa has an annotation that says ‘Clearance received’ or ‘Department Authorization’, you would still be eligible for H1B Dropbox. If you do not know what this means, you may read What is ‘Clearance Received’ or ‘Department Authorization’ annotation?
Question 2: “Was your most recent U.S. visa lost, stolen, canceled, revoked, or marked CWOP?”
Response: Check, if your most recently issued US Visa meets all the below conditions:
- It was not lost or stolen (meaning, you did not lose your passport with your US Visa in it)
- It was not canceled or revoked (it could be for any reason like DUI, or by CBP, etc. )
- It should not be marked as CWOP (Cancelled without Prejudice). For more, read What is CWOP, how it looks? why it is stamped? meaning?
If your answer is ‘Yes’ to all the above 3 points, then you would answer ‘No’ to this question. This question applies to your most recent US Visa, it could be H1-B Visa or any other visa.
See the screenshot below on how it looks on USVisaScheduling.com for appointment booking inside India. Click on the button that reads ‘Next’ after selecting the correct option.
See the screenshot below on how it looks on portal.ustraveldocs.com for appointment booking outside of India
In the past, the above question used to say “in the same class for which you are applying“, now it does not show that anymore due to certain exceptions until the end of 2023.
Question 3: “Have you ever been refused a U.S. visa before?”.
Response: If you did not get any US visa stamping(including H1B Visa) refused at a consulate before, you would answer ‘No’.
This question is related to a US Visa that was issued at a US consulate or Embassy. This is not related to USCIS petition approval or denial.
The below screenshot shows how it looks on the USVisaScheduling.com website for India appointments. Click on the button ‘Next’ after selecting the correct option.
The screenshot below shows how it looks on the portal.ustraveldocs.com website for booking appointments outside of India.
Question 4: “Was your most recent U.S. visa issued after January 1, 2008? “.
Response: For this question, most of them would answer ‘Yes’, unless their visa was issued before Jan 1st, 2008. This includes any of your recent US visas, including the H1B Visa.
Important to note is that the previous visa could have been issued in any other country, does not have to be in the same country that you are attending your dropbox appointment.
Update: In the past, the question used to say “Was your most recent H-1B visa (temporary occupation, temporary worker or trainee) issued in <country name> after January 1, 2008? ” The <country name> would be the actual name of the country which you were applying for a visa from. For example, India, if you are applying from any consulate in India. But, this changed in mid-2021. Now, there is no country restriction as such.
The below screenshot shows how the question looks on the USVisaScheduling.com website for India appointments. Click on the button ‘Next’ after selecting the correct option.
The screenshot below shows how it looks on the portal.ustraveldocs.com website for booking appointments outside of India.
In the past, this question used to have an H1B visa in the question. Now, with the new dropbox option for certain new H1B applicants, it does not have that.
Confirmation on H1B Dropbox Eligibility, Option to pick Interview for Emergency
If you have answered the wizard questions as mentioned above and if you are eligible, you will get a confirmation saying that you are eligible for Interview Wavier or Dropbox.
“Congratulations! You qualify for the Interview Waiver. You will need to schedule an appointment to visit the Document Drop-Off locations to submit your documents but do not need to schedule a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.…”
Depending on the country you are submitting the documents, you may sometimes see the country and consulates or embassy information related to the same on this confirmation.
In the past, there was no option for someone, who qualified for dropbox, to attend an in-person interview, in case of an emergency. The US Dept of State modified this in October 2022 and now gives an option like below asking the user to select ‘Interview’ in case of any emergency and need an emergency appointment.
If you do not have a genuine emergency, do not select ‘Interview’, go ahead and click on ‘Drop-Off’ button.
Below is the sample screenshot of the confirmation message for appointments in India done using USVisaScheduling.com. It does not show any US Consulate/Embassy-related information.
The screenshot below shows the confirmation message on how it looks on the portal.ustraveldocs.com website for booking appointments outside of India.
You would get another screen that shows the below text with the next steps to follow, as shown in the below screenshot. Below is the confirmation message with the next steps for the process in India. It shows details about document drop-off and pickup options for a fee as well.
“To proceed with your interview waiver application
Step 1. Schedule an appointment to submit your documents.
Step 2. Print your appointment letter and follow the instructions on it.
Step 3. You should arrive at the time of your appointment. You will not be permitted to enter the facility before the time listed on your appointment letter.
Step 4. Drop off your listed documents at locations mentioned on the appointment letter.
Current passport and any old passports with a U.S. visa.
One photograph (as per U.S. visa photograph specifications…”
You need to click the “Drop-Off” button at the bottom of the message to proceed with your interview waiver/ dropbox visa application.
The screenshot below shows the final message with ‘Drop-off’ button as it appears on the USVisaScheduling.com for booking appointments in India.
The screenshot below shows the final message with ‘Drop-off’ button as it appears on the portal.ustraveldocs.com for booking appointments outside of India.
The below steps for adding dependents are only applicable for Dropbox appointment booking in India. It is not applicable to anyone submitting Dropbox outside of India.
Adding Dependents in the new USVisaScheduling.com Website for Appointments in India
For H1B Visa Dropbox appointment booking in the new USVisaScheduling.com website, the adding of dependents comes at the end after the Dropbox confirmation message. You can add dependents by following the below steps.
If you want to add any dependents, click on the ‘+’ button, as shown in the below screenshot.
You will need to complete the below information, when you select to add a dependent
- Contact Information (name, email, language)
- Applicant details ( relationship, country of birth, etc.)
- Contact information (phone number)
- Mailing Address
- Passport Details
Below is how the screenshots of the same look like on USVisaScheduling.com
Also, you will be asked to complete the below information in subsequent screens about the dependent
- Visa Options (Country, type of visa, consulate location, visa category)
- Visa Class Tag ( H-4)
- DS-160 Info
- Petition Information (same as what was entered for H1B Holder)
- Document Delivery Information(pickup location, address)
Step 5: Document Delivery Location, MRV Fee Payment Receipt Number
You will get an option to specify the Document Delivery Option if you would pick up or choose the premium delivery option. Depending on your choice, pick the relevant option, and fill the relevant details, click on the button that reads ‘next’.
The screenshot below shows how it looks on the USVisaScheduling.com for booking appointment in India.
Below is how the same screen looks like on the portal.ustraveldocs.com for appointment booking outside of India.
Next, you will get Payment Options. Below is how it looks across two different sites.
Payment Options on USVisaScheduling.com
You will get an option to choose your payment options with the below payment types
- Citibank Cash
- VFS Credit/Debit Cards
- VFS UPI
- Druk Bank Cash
- VFS EFT
You can choose any of these options and make the payment. If you choose an option, you will get confirmation for the same and asked to make payment. Depending on the number of people, like dependents, you will get the fee bundled and shown as one payment.
See the below screenshot on how it looks for payment options on the USVisaScheduling.com
If you choose to claim receipts and click on claim receipts, you will get an option to enter the receipt numbers. This is valid for anyone who made payment before Jul 28th, 2023. Below is the screenshot on how it looks
Payment Options on Portal.USTraveldocs.com
You will get an option to confirm that your visa fees are non-refundable, you need to click on the confirm option as shown in the below screenshot.
Depending on the country, you will get visa fee payment options. It looks like the below screenshot. If you click on each of them, it will show the details on how to make a payment. You can make a Visa fee payment using that option.
Below are the payment options for Dropbox Stamping in India. For Dropbox stamping in India, you can either use NEFT or IMPS option as listed on the website. If you pay the fee at a bank over the counter at CitiBank, Axis Bank, or DRUK PNB Bank, then you will enter the receipt number in the box.
- MRV Fee Online Payment: Depending on the country you cannot pay using your overseas accounts. You need an India Rupee to account for this.
- MRV Fee Pay at Bank – Cash Payment Advice Slip: You will need to print a cash payment advice slip that needs to be used at the Axis or Citi bank as it has a CGI reference number. It takes about a day after the fee was paid in the bank for it to get activated.
After you make the payment and the receipt is activated, you need to enter the Machine Readable Visa(MRV) Fee payment receipt number. The amount shown will vary by country in local currency.
Using MRV Fee Payment Receipt: After you pay the fee and the MRV fee receipt is activated, when you try to navigate to the visa tab on home, you will get a popup on the payment screens saying a receipt matches and if you would like to use that option with a popup ‘Use Existing Receipts’.
It looks like this, as in the below screenshot. You can click on the ‘use existing receipts’ button and then it takes you to the screen to book an appointment. If not, you can enter the receipt number in the receipt number box and click continue, then it will show the below pop-up.
Step 6: Book an Appointment to Drop-off Documents
Schedule OFC Appointment Screen
OFC stands for Offsite Facilitation Center in the US Visa Appointments context.
This screen is one of the most confusing parts for many. The reason is it says “Schedule OFC Appointment” or “Applicant Schedule OFC Appointment”. Many think it is for giving your Biometrics (fingerprints, photo). In general, Dropbox stamping does not need Biometrics. So, the appointment you book on this screen is for dropping off your H1B Dropbox Stamping Document and not Biometrics.
Update: Before November 28th, 2021, for dropbox or interview waiver appointments, it used to show “IW” at the end of the consulate name in the dropdown, where you select the interview location. This changed to VAC for dropbox/interview waiver appointments after Nov 28th, 2021. So do not be confused. You can check complete details about this change at US Visa Dropbox / Renewal – VAC vs. IW Confusion, New Change
If you are looking at booking appointment in India on the USVisaScheduling.com, you will get an option that says “OFC Post” and below that an option to “Select Date”. You can choose the Consulate where you would ultimately want your documents to be sent for stamping under the OFC Post. You can choose an available date and time by clicking on a box on the calendar that shows with ‘Green Borders’. The ones in red borders are not available. You will also see the slots available by time below once you select the date. You can choose the correct time slot as well here.
Below is the screenshot of the Dropbox location, Date and time selection on the USVisaScheduling.com website for India Consulates appointments.
If you are looking at booking appointment on the portal.USTraveldocs.com for booking appointments outside of India, it looks like in below screenshot. Even though the text says “Schedule OFC Appointment”, what they mean is the appointment for Dropbox to drop off your documents.
Step 7: Print H1B Dropbox Appointment Confirmation Letter
Once you book the dates, you would get confirmation of the same and it will show all the relevant information about your appointment. You would need to ensure all the details are correct. This looks slightly different based on the website you are booking on.
How to Print US Visa Appointment Confirmation letter on USVisaScheduling.com
If you are using USVisaScheduling.com for appointment booking in India, you would get a confirmation screen that looks like in the below screenshot. You may or may not see a proper print button this page. You can use Ctrl+P on Windows or Command+P on Mac to print out the confirmation letter. If for whatever reason you missed to print, you can print the same at the URL https://www.usvisascheduling.com/en-US/DropboxConfirmation/ . Verify the Visa Category and ‘Visa Priority’ to ensure, it is ‘Interview Waiver”, which means dropbox.
If you are booking on the portal.ustraveldocs.com for appointments outside of India, steps are like below.
After you book the dates, you will be navigated further to print the H1B Dropbox Appointment Confirmation Letter. It will usually be 6 pages. The first page would have your details, Appointment details, Document delivery or pickup info, fee information, and DS-160 details.
The second page would have the details of the Dropbox Location and instructions. See the below screenshots. The list of documents to be carried will be given on the rest of the pages by Visa type. Look for the one relevant for H and L Applicants. You can check more at Sample US Visa Dropbox Confirmation Letter
H1B Dropbox Document Checklist
Below is the list of documents that need to be submitted for H1B Dropbox Submission during the appointment :
- Dropbox Appointment Confirmation Letter
- DS-160 CEAC Confirmation Page
- Passport Photo as per US Visa Photo specifications
- All Original Passports with a previous US Visa ( if you have one, just carry that)
- Your previous US Visa that is valid or expired (it would be in your passport)
- Photocopy of your I-797 Approval Notice (Current & Previous)
- Employment Verification or Confirmation Letter (original or copy)
- (Optional) H1B LCA Copy (this was asked during dropbox for a few users in Mumbai)
- (if applicable) End Client Letter. If you work as a consultant for a client, carry the client letter.
- (Optional) Additional I-797 approval notices, if you had any in the middle for transfers. They may or may not take them. You can request and submit to be safe.
- You can check H1B Visa Stamping Document Checklist for full details
Never give any original documents, except your passport. If you give the I-797 approval notice original, you may not get it back. So be careful
You can carry either color printout or a black-and-white printout of your appointment letter/ confirmation page. Also for all supporting documents, carry originals and copies of the same. The originals can be verified as needed by them when they take copies.
Documents Checklist for H1B Dropbox from Appointment Letter
As per the US Visa Dropbox Appointment Letter, below is the screenshot of the list of documents that you need to carry for document submission. There are two sets of documents they suggest. The first one is the list of common documents and the second is the documents that are specific to H1B visa applicants.
List of Common Documents for H1B Dropbox Applicant
List of Documents specific to H1B Visa for Dropbox applicant
H1B Dropbox Document Submission Process
The process to submit documents is pretty straightforward as listed below.
- You need to go to the relevant address of the documents drop-off location that is on the Dropbox Confirmation Letter.
- You need to go only during the appointment date and allowed times to the dropbox location in the appointment confirmation letter. This can vary by location, check the letter.
- They will verify all the documents and then take the listed documents in the above checklist.
- In India, they have changed the dropbox submission process allowing any of the consulates or VAC locations to accept the dropbox submission. Check Can Drop off US Visa Dropbox Documents at any Location now for full info.
- There is no requirement for the actual applicant to submit the documents. The documents can be submitted by a representative on the appointment date and time. The representative needs to carry a photo id to submit documents. The appointment letter would have all the details related to the representative submission process.
- Additional instructions like parking and other location-specific info would be listed on the confirmation letter.
- Due to the pandemic, there may be additional checks in place and health checks, so be prepared.
You may add your H1B Dropbox details anonymously at US Visa Dropbox Stamping Tracker to get details on current processing time trends and for community benefit.
Let’s now look at the next steps after the submission of documents.
US Visa Status on CEAC Website after Documents Submission
After you submit the documents, you can check your US Visa Status Online on the Consular Electronic Application Center(CEAC) website. Below is the typical sequence for the change of various statuses.
- ‘No Status’: This status does not appear for everyone, it can appear for a few. If this appears for you, do not worry, within a day or two, it would change to one of the below status
- ‘Application Received’ Status: You would see the “Application Received” status on the same day or by the next day after submitting documents.
- ‘Administrative Processing’ or ‘Refused’ Status: You may see the status change from ‘Application Received’ to “Administrative Processing” or “Refused” status. Do not panic, if you see these statuses. It does not necessarily mean your visa is refused or going through 221g. They are very common to appear in the middle during visa processing time. You may see these statuses for 3 to 4 days. Some users said they have seen this for a week or 10 days. So, do not panic. Read Why CEAC website shows Refused Status for US Visa?
- “Issued” Status: You will see the status change to “Issued” if your US visa was approved by US Consulate.
- After your passport is in ‘Issued’ status, you can track your passport status on CGI Federal Website. It will show the status of your passport is ready for pickup, and also once you collected your passport. You can collect your passport or it will be delivered to your address if you have picked that option. Read How to track Passport after US Visa Stamping, various Statuses meaning
H1B Dropbox Stamping Not Approved Situation
If your H1B visa was not approved by the US Consulate for some reason with the dropbox option, then you will be notified that your visa was not approved. The visa status on the CEAC website will continue to show status as “Administrative Processing” or “Refused”.
When you go to collect your documents and passport, they will return everything and also issue a 221(g) Administrative Processing slip that gives instructions on the next steps. Sometimes, the Consulate would ask you to appear in person on any day by visiting the consulate at a certain time and sometimes, they may tell you wait as it needs more processing.
Below is a sample screenshot of 221g issued for someone in Mumbai, India in January 2023, where they tell the applicant that their application requires additional processing and the consulate will contact them via email.
Below is a sample 221g issued by the Consulate for dropbox stamping that was not successful in August 2022 from New Delhi. In this case, it clearly tells that the applicant has to attend the interview. You also do not need to make any appointments. All you need to do is take your passport and go to the Embassy on any day before 10 AM.
Below is sample 221g given at Consulate for H1B Dropbox before pandemic asking to attend the consulate for interview on any day.
Overall, the process to renew an H1B visa, using an interview waiver/ dropbox option, is very straightforward and should not have any complications. Sometimes, even if your application is all good, they may call you for a random interview, so do not panic and handle it with confidence.
What has been your experience with H1B Dropbox stamping? Share your thoughts and inputs in comments section below.