US consulate in India has made the dropbox appointment mandatory starting Sep 1, 2019.
Currently, if you are eligible for interview waiver (called dropbox), you can go and submit your visa paperwork any day and any time as per your choice.
Now, the process has changed and you will need to take prior appointment before visiting any of the Dropbox locations.
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.
Existing dropbox applications who generated their confirmation letter before Sep 1 can drop their documents without an appointment by Sep 30, 2019.
Dropbox Decision Within 7-10 Days
An interesting thing to note is that US embassy has mentioned that you will receive a decision on their 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.
The ASC center is also called OFC location and is used for taking your fingerprints too.
Dropbox Locations in India
You have to choose your preferred US embassy 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 and Kolkata should drop off at their respective visa application centers.
A visa application center (ASC) employee will review the document checklist before accepting the application for delivery to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
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.