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All You Need To Know About the H1B Dropbox Waiver
April 13, 2022
8 mins
Hands holding a flag of the USA and an envelope from USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services)

In this article, you will read about:

  • A brief introduction to H1B Dropbox
  • Eligibility criteria for the H1B Dropbox
  • H1B Dropbox application procedure

Getting a U.S. visa stamped into your passport generally mandates that you first apply for and attend a Biometrics collection appointment and a U.S. Visa interview session. However, the U.S. Consulate Offices in India introduced the Interview Waiver option in September 2019. Through this option applicants can forego the interview process and apply for U.S. Visa stamping appointments. The Waiver option is popularly known as the "Dropbox."

Let's look at the Dropbox option in a bit more detail.

A Brief Introduction to H1B Dropbox

The H1B Visa Dropbox Stamping is an Interview Waiver option available to applicants who meet certain eligibility standards. They can get their passports stamped with a U.S. Visa without applying for and going through an interview process.

Before taking a deep step about the H1B Dropbox, get yourself familiarized with all about H1B.

Here are three important points to remember about the Dropbox Stamping option:

  • The Dropbox is not an actual box.
  • The Dropbox option is only available for H1B Visa renewals.
  • The Dropbox option is not available for first-time H1B Visa stamping.

Eligibility Conditions for the H1B Dropbox Option

A candidate must meet the following criteria to be able to make use of the Dropbox option:

  • Older adults over eighty years of age and who have not previously been found ineligible for a U.S. visa application can apply for the Dropbox feature.
  • Children under the age of 14 years may apply for the Dropbox option, provided that they have no prior cases of being found ineligible for a U.S. visa and either parent has a valid visa in the category the child is applying for.
  • Dropbox or interview waiver is only applicable for H1B visa renewals. This means that the applicant must have an H1B Visa stamp and a U.S. H1B Visa foil in your passport.
  • This option is only applicable if your H1B was stamped into your passport after January 1, 2008.
  • There should not be a 'Clearance Received' notification on your visa.
  • The Dropbox option can only be applied to H1B visas that are currently valid or have expired within the last 12 to 48 months.

Who is ineligible for the Dropbox Waiver?

The following is an important point to remember:

You are not eligible for the Dropbox option when renewing your H1B Visa in India if your previous visa was issued in Canada or Mexico. It is common for students to get their U.S. Visa stamps in a neighboring country of the USA. This makes them ineligible for the H1B U.S. Visa interview waiver program.

Also Read: H1B Dropbox: The Complete Details

How to Apply for the H1B Visa Dropbox Option

If you are eligible for the H1B Dropbox waiver, you can follow the steps given below to schedule an appointment to drop off your passport, along with all the necessary H1B visa renewal documentation.

  1. Fill a Form D.S. - 160.
  2. Create a profile on the CGI Federal Website.
  3. Complete the Questionnaire Wizard you will find.
  4. You will now receive a Dropbox Appointment confirmation.
  5. Book your appointment.

Documents Needed for H1B Dropbox Application

Here is a comprehensive list of documents for Dropbox H1B:

  • The Dropbox Appointment Confirmation letter.
  • Names and contact information of managers at your current and previous places of employment in the U.S.
  • Current and previous I-797 Approval Notice copies.
  • Tax forms for the duration that you have worked in the U.S., such as 1040 and W-2.
  • The DS-160 Confirmation Page.
  • Your passport.
  • Your most recent U.S. H1B visa.
  • A Passport photo that meets U.S. Visa Photo specifications.
  • Payment slips from your most recent place of employment.
  • Bank statements showing all your banking activity, over the last 12 months, during your stay in the United States.
  • Employment Verification Letter - it is possible that they may only require copies of this document, so it is best to be prepared with copies.
  • If your application falls within a U.S. Travel Ban for Indian Travelers period, include the following:
  1. An Employer Letter indicating how you qualify for National Interest Exception(NIE).
  2. Optionally, you could carry a copy of the email confirmation from the consulate, which states that you qualify for NIE.
  • A Client Letter can be optionally included. Client letters are not usually required, but they may entertain them on your insistence. Some applicants could explain 221g situations without a client letter and submitted it as part of their Dropbox appointments.
  • Additional I-797 approval notices that you had received for any transfer periods. These are also optional and may or may not be taken, but you can request and submit them to be safe.

As in all cases of visa applications and procedures, failure to submit all the required and supporting documents on time can delay the processing of your case.

Detailed Procedure for Applying for the H1B Interview Waiver

It is important to note that applying for an H1B Dropbox waiver involves many steps and a lot of documentation. Careful planning and execution are necessary to make a successful application. Here are the steps in detail:

  • Fill and submit form DS-160 - the Non-immigrant Visa Electronic Application. Print the confirmation page you will receive at the end of this process.
  • Complete the registration process on the Website. The self-explanatory steps will guide you through scheduling your interview and answering the questions asked.
  • Pay the required application fee. If you are found eligible, a submission letter with the document checklist will be sent to you.
  • Gather all the stipulated documents and deliver them to any of the 11 service centers. It is good to keep a second copy of the documents with you. A CGI officer will review your documents and forward your application to the proper U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
  • Total processing time is usually a three-week period, but the time in reality might vary with each case. If any additional documents are required for further processing, you will receive communication about this via email.
  • If your application is approved, your passport and visa will be available to you at your selected Document Collection center.

A final note

Following the above steps carefully and correctly filing the documents needed for Dropbox H1B will ensure that your case will move forward smoothly. The process is relatively straightforward. It would be best to keep in mind that opting for Dropbox does not guarantee that you will get the H1B Visa renewed without attending an interview. There have been cases where applicants were asked to attend the interview randomly. Just remember to keep calm and handle it confidently.

If you are someone just embarking on your H1B Visa journey, come to visit TechFetch H1B website to gather all the information about your H1B visa.

**Disclaimer: H1B rules and regulations keep changing from time to time. For updated information, always refer to the USCIS official website.**

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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