US visa processing in India re-opens for dropbox applications

The US Embassy and consulates in India have been primarily closed on account of the pandemic for many months now. While this should not primarily affect anyone since most international travel is also closed at the moment, the US had resumed consular services in a small way earlier this year. In Mid-August 2020, the USA resumed visa processing, but mostly to issue student visas for the upcoming school year.

Now, the USA has notified changes and will start accepting applications for non-immigrant visas via the dropbox processing again. As per a new update on the US Embassy India website,

Nonimmigrant Visas

Consular sections across India are now accepting drop box applications for renewals of all nonimmigrant visa categories at Visa Application Centers across India. Please visit our website to determine whether you are eligible for drop box processing.  For H, L, and J categories subject to Presidential Proclamation 10052, applicants must also qualify for an exception to the proclamation. A list of drop-off locations is available on our website.

Student visa appointments are now available through our website. Please continue to monitor our website for availability. These visa categories are a high priority, and we will make every effort to assist visa applicants in a timely fashion, while keeping our customers and staff safe.  However, due to our very limited operations, we will not be able to accommodate all requests.  We ask for your patience during this time.

Consular sections remain closed for routine nonimmigrant visa services.  We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date.  The MRV fee is valid and may be used to schedule an interview appointment in the country where it was purchased within one year of the date of payment.  If you have an urgent need to travel, please follow the guidance to request an emergency appointment.

This seems to be working at the moment for Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata Visa Application Centres only.

What is Dropbox Visa Processing?

The Visa Interview Waiver program allows applicants seeking a US visa stamp in their passports to submit a visa stamp application without having to appear for a personal interview with a US consular officer. This is valid for some Visa renewals in India, including the B1/B2 Visa. Check here if you are eligible for the Dropbox Visa process. You will need to make an appointment and drop-off your documents as per the checklist, and the passport with your new Visa is couriered back to you.

A new exception valid till December 30, 2020, is that visa renewal via Dropbox is being offered for those who had a Visa expired within the past 24 months rather than just the past 12 months.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Hi, I am planning to travel to India in 2nd week of February. I have filled out my DS-160 and am eligible for dropbox appointment. I live in Ahmedabad and per this article can do the drop off there-
    But I when go to book my appointment it only gives me the option of 5 main embassies. Has anyone faced the same before? Are other centers closed because of Covid?

    Any help or feedback is appreciated.

  2. Hi, am looking for drop box appointment in Hyderabad. Currently it is showing no appointments available. Is anyone recently booked for drop box appointment in Hyderabad ? Does any one know when it will open or what are best timings to check for the slots?

    • Same here, have they stopped giving more appointments or is it always like this since they opened dropbox in Sept?

        • There are agents/consultancies who charge money and provide you a slot for drop-box appointment. As for Hyderbad, only 1 counter is operating now. So, at the max 20 slots per day. I went to Chennai on Wednesday, for my drop-box appointment. There is an OYO room right in front of the Visa center. You can stay there, too.

          • Any recommendations for a reliable agent who will drop off documents at Chennai or Delhi locations, as those are the ones having openings currently and what are the typical charges. Appreciate any inputs.

  3. Hi Naveen,

    If I change my employer/petitioner, am I still eligible for dropbox. Please share your experience after Dec 3 and what all documents I need to carry.

  4. I visited India and I am looking for drop box appointment and it always show no appointments. Can any one know when are they going to open the slots?

  5. I see there are no available appointments in the selected Consulate (Chennai). Do we have to check periodically to see if they open up any appointments?

  6. Hi Bharath,
    You still have to select Chennai consulate and should go to the Bengaluru VFS office on the selected date and time to submit your documents. I just recently booked and my dropbox appointment is on 3rd Dec

  7. Hi All,
    I am also having the same questions.
    1) Are they opening slots just for next 2 weeks? I am seeing everything booked mostly.
    2) Can anyone share their processing time experience? how long is it taking? any 221g?


  8. Hello, This is Kiran and I am planning to Visit India in December. I am eligible for Dropbox, but wanted to know if Chennai offices are open and they are accepting and proccesing of Dropbox visa applications or not.

  9. Hello, This is Astha Goyal and I am planning to Visit India in December. I am eligible for Dropbox, but wanted to know if Delhi offices are open and they are accepting and proccesing Dropbox visa applications or not.

    Thank You.

      • Hi Astha/Venkat
        Yes Delhi VFS Offices are accepting the Dropbox applications.
        I had submitted by H1B Renewal stamping under Dropbox at Delhi Office on 10/23/2020.
        Waiting for the Passport now.
        Vivek Nagal

        • Hi Vivek,

          Any idea how many days they are taking to process. I submitted mine on 10/22 in Hyderabad and still the status showing as Application Received.


        • Hi Vivek,
          Thanks for the information. Can you please tell me when did you scheduled the drop-box appointment? I will in India after Nov 25 this year. Can I schedule drop-box appointment now or they are only available before two weeks?
          Thanks a lot,

          • Hi Neeraj,

            I am in the same boat as Vivek and you. I am planing to visit Mumbai afer Nov 25 and eligible for Dropbox. Not sure what the exepreinces are. Ive heard some people get 221g even for drop box but not sure. Do you know if there is any forum or site where people are posting their dropbox experiences.

            Thank you,

        • Hi Vivek,

          Did you have to select “Schedule OFC Appointment” option after CGI site showed “Congratulations! You qualify for the Interview Waiver”
          I am kind of confused, If I am eligible for drop-box, then why that site is asking me to select interview location from 5 available options.

          Their website shows 11 drop box locations

          but somehow for me, they are asking to select interview location from 5 consulates even after qualifying for drop-box.

          • Hi Aniket,

            I have the same question/concern that you have raised. I’m from Bangalore and there is a Drop off location in Bangalore, but the only option I see are the 5 consulates where I need to schedule my OFC appointment. Have you made an appointment and then in the next steps it asks you to pick a different drop off location?

            Has anybody else faced this who are outside of the cities of the 5 consulate offices?


              • Hi Bharat,
                Select Chennai as the location when you book the appointment.

                In the confirmation page it will ask you to visit any of the below 3 locations for dropbox
                1. Chennai
                2. Bangalore
                3. Kochi

                We can get 1/2 slots provided we have keep checking on a daily basis.

                I’m planning to come to India in Jan, then I will search for an appointment.

        • Hi Vivek

          How much in advance you took the appointment? Please let me know? I am planning to go to India in December but cannot see any availability right now. Does the slots open only two weeks in advance?

          Please reply

          Thank you so much

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