USTravelDocs, the Official U.S. Department of State Visa Appointment Service, announced that effective April 4, 2022, applicants can submit their interview waiver applications free of cost at any of the Visa Application Centers (VAC) where the Embassy or Consulate is located in India.
However, if the applicant wishes to submit at any other location that is not a US Embassy or US Consulate, a nominal fee of INR 650 per passport will be charged in cash, at the time of submission.
What is the US Visa Interview Waiver Program?
US Visa interview waiver program is popularly known as the US Visa Drop Box facility. Drop Box facility makes Visa renewals quick and easy for applicants by removing the in-person visa interview requirement.
Under the Interview Waiver program or US Visa Drop Box facility, if you meet certain criteria, you can apply for a US Visa renewal and get your passport stamped without attending an in-person interview.
In the past, Dropbox facility was only available to visa holders whose visa was valid or expired in the last one year or twelve months. During the pandemic’s peak, in August 2020 the U.S. Department of State extended the eligibility requirements to enable more visa holders to qualify for this facility.
Earlier in the year, The US State Department has announced an additional 20,000 Dropbox interview waiver appointment slots in various US consulates in India, which will be made available by Spring of 2022.
The announcement was a relief to applicants who were reluctant to travel to India due to the pandemic-induced challenges and lack of available appointments.
Where to Find the Official Source of the Drop Box Stamping Announcement 2022
You can find the information on the website of USTravelDocs India under the “Non-immigrant Visa” section.
Can Us Visa Applicants Drop Off Documents at Any VAC Location?
Yes, US Visa applicants eligible for an interview waiver or Dropbox submission can drop off their documents at any of the 11 locations listed for Dropbox US Visa Stamping. Unlike in the past, there are no restrictions on the location of your VAC.
Can I Drop Off My Documents at a Different VAC Than My Selected Embassy or Consulate?
Yes, you can drop off your documents at a different location than your selected Consulate or Embassy. If your preferred VAC is not a Consulate or an Embassy, you will have to pay a nominal fee of Rupees 650 only.
Suppose you selected Hyderabad Consulate, but you are currently in New Delhi or Mumbai. In the past, you could only submit your documents at Hyderabad VAC. As per the announcement, effective April 4, 2022, you can drop your documents at any of the listed VACs across India below:
- New Delhi
Free Drop-off and Pick Up Locations for Us Visa Stamping 2022
All US consulates and Embassies in India offer free drop-off or submission of US visa documents. The list of free drop-off and pick up locations for US Visa are:
- Chennai VAC
- Hyderabad VAC
- Kolkata VAC
- Mumbai VAC
- New Delhi VAC
Paid Drop-off and Pick Up Locations for Us Visa Stamping 2022
If you are submitting or dropping off your documents at a location that does not have a US Consulate or US Embassy in the city, there will be a fee of Rupees 650 per applicant. The list of paid drop-off and pick up locations for US Visa are:
- Ahmedabad VAC
- Bengaluru VAC
- Chandigarh VAC
- Jalandhar VAC
- Kochi VAC
- Pune VAC
Can I Pay the Drop-off and Pick up Visa Fees by Card or Gpay?
No. A nominal fee of Rupees 650 per applicant will be charged in cash at the time of submission for applicants submitting their Visa documents at any other location that is not a US consulate or US Embassy.
Can I Submit My Documents Without a Drop Box Appointment?
No. Documents can be only submitted with an appointment on the appointment date exclusively.
Can I Make an Early Visa Appointment?
Applicants can request an expedited appointment through the online appointment system. However, you must already have a confirmed interview appointment date to request an expedited appointment.
Unfortunately, applicants eligible for Dropbox with an appointment will have to wait for more slots to open up. The good news is that USCIS has recently announced plans to ramp up Visa processing. More slots are likely to be available soon with additional funding and resources.