US consulate in India has made the dropbox appointment mandatory starting Sep 1, 2019. Earlier, you could submit your visa paperwork any day and any time as per your choice.
Dropbox At VAC Location Based on US Embassy
You have to choose your preferred US embassy to take appointment and then drop your documents to the corresponding drop-off location:
- New Delhi Embassy– drop at New Delhi, Chandigarh, or Jalandhar processing centers.
- Mumbai – drop off at Mumbai, Pune or Ahmedabad processing centers.
- Chennai – drop off at Chennai, Bangalore, or Kochi.
- Hyderabad – Can only drop documents at Hyderabad.
- Kolkata – should drop off documents at Kolkata.
A visa application center (ASC) employee will review the document checklist before accepting the application for delivery to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
The ASC (Application Service Center) is also called OFC location and is also used for taking your fingerprints.
If you miss your drop-off date, you are allowed to reschedule. After missing the appointment, your receipt will be marked as “unused” within 24 hours.
You will be allowed to select a new drop-off date and print a new drop-off letter once your receipt is marked “unused”.
You can change the drop-off location by re-scheduling your appointment.
You will not be allowed to change your US embassy selection if you have been asked to come for visa interview after dropping your documents.
You should be physically present in India to apply for a visa from a U.S. Embassy in India.
You are allowed to schedule your documents drop-off even when you are outside India but would need to be physically present to drop them.
As a matter of fact, your passport is needed to be dropped off too.
Your friend, relative or an agent can drop the documents on your behalf on the date and time of your appointment.
Appointment is mandatory.
Yes, you need to carry a paper based photo which is as per US visa requirements for dropbox.
Dropbox Processing Time 7-10 Days
US embassy has mentioned that you will receive a decision on your case within seven to ten business days of submission.
This should help speed up total processing time for people working in US on H1B and L visa and visiting India for their stamping.
Note that this timeline will not be honored if you are issued form 221g. These are part of administrative processing and there is no fixed timeline especially in case of DS 5535 security checks which are taking 14 days to 8+ months for security clearance.
Dropbox Appointment Dates Not Available?
It is possible that you may not see the available dates for future months as has been reported by many users.
Example, If current month is Dec, then you may only see dropbox availability for Dec only.
If you want an appointment next month, then you should wait till the next month dropbox slots are opened by usaTravelDocs.
Missing Documents on Dropbox Day
The ASC employee will review your application package to make sure you have
submitted all required documents for your visa class. If any documents are missing, you will be asked to provide them that same day.
If you do not provide all the required documentation, you might not qualify for interview waiver and will be asked to schedule interview appointment.
Official US Consulate Notification
You can read the full text of US Consulate Notification for Dropbox appointments:
Open link in new window.