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,
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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