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H1B Dropbox Eligibility- Criteria & Process
March 25, 2022
4 mins
A young woman is seated in a US embassy office, receiving her visa document. The USA flag and files are beside her.

Key Takeaways:

In this article, you will learn about:

Dropbox Eligibility H1B for Renewal of Existing US Visa

Usually, when you are applying for a new H1B visa, you need to provide your biometrics and also attend the visa interview in person. But, if you already have a visa and want to renew it, you need not go through the entire interview process again if you meet certain criteria. You can just go ahead and submit a few visa documents at the VAC (Visa Application Centre). Soon, your new visa will be issued. This process is known as Dropbox Visa Stamping or Visa Interview Waiver. The word "Dropbox" does not refer to any actual box. Instead, it is the facility through which you can submit your documents.

There is a lot to learn about H1B Dropbox Eligibility, but before that, get acquainted with the H1B visa process.

H1B Dropbox Eligibility- Analyzing the Criteria

Who is eligible for dropbox H1B stamping? Let us take a look! You are eligible for dropbox if you:

  • Have to renew your visa in the same category. E.g.: if your previous passport is in the H1B category, your renewal should also be for the H1B category.
  • Received your visa after January 1, 2008.
  • Got your visa after your fourteenth birthday.
  • Do not hold a visa with specific annotations like "Department Authorization" or "Clearance Received."
  • Have never held a US visa that has been canceled, lost, or stolen.
  • Didn't have to face any US visa refusals in any other visa class ever since the recent issuance of your current visa.
  • Hold a valid visa. If it is expired, then the expiry date should be within the last twelve months. ( Applicable for H, R, L, or any other class of visa)

New Changes in Dropbox Eligibility H1B Since COVID-19

The h1b visa dropbox eligibility rules had changed a bit in 2021:

As per the new eligibility rules US Department of State has increased the 12 months from the expiry date to 24 months from the expiry of the previous US visa. This step was taken to reduce the public risk due to the spread of COVID-19. This interview waiver or dropbox rule was applicable till 2021 March 31.On March 11, 2021, a press release was issued by the US Department of Statement about the expansion of dropbox eligibility from 24 months from the date of visa expiry to 48 months from the date of visa expiry. This rule was applicable till December 31, 2021. After that, again, on December 23, 2021, the US Department of Statement changed the 48-month timeline indefinitely. To get the latest information about the same, you can check https://www.state.gov/expanded-interview-waivers-for-certain-nonimmigrant-visa-applicants/.

As per this temporary rule, the consular officer has the authority to waive an in-person interview requirement for a foreign national applying for H-3, L, P, Q, O, H-4, or H-1 visa under the below-listed conditions:

The applicant:

  • Applies for a visa in their own country of residence or nationality.
  • Has never been issued any other type of visa.
  • Does not have any potential or apparent ineligibility.
  • Has never been refused a visa/ refusal was waived or overcome.

The H1B Dropbox Appointment- Process to be Followed

In the usual case, you need to visit the CGI Federal's website to register your account and schedule the US visa appointment. The Dropbox appointment booking process is almost similar. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Register an account at the CGI Federal – US Travel Docs India.
  2. You will be provided with a questionnaire wizard by the CGI Federal appointment booking system. You can start by giving answers to each question. Your eligibility will be determined based on the answers you provide.
  3. If you are eligible based on the answers you give, the system will provide you with an automatic confirmation about your h1b visa dropbox eligibility.
  4. Once you view the confirmation screen, you will be further prompted to add your Machine Readable Visa(MRV) fee payment receipt details. Next, you will be prompted to book an appointment to drop the necessary documents.

Also Read: All You Need To Know About the H1B Dropbox Waiver

Documents You Need to Carry Along for a Dropbox Appointment

You will need several documents for dropbox. It is always better to cross-check and ensure that you have all the documents with you before the submission date. Some of the documents you will need are:

  • Bank statement for the past twelve months.
  • Recent photograph
  • Current passport
  • Copy of submission letter obtained after submitting the form DS-160
  • Recent pay stubs.

Be Better Informed With TechFetch H1B

Though Dropbox is a welcome step that reduces the pressure and time taken to process visa applications, getting a Dropbox appointment is still a matter of concern. But with the time limit changed to 48 months from the date of visa expiry, more people will get a chance to apply and utilize the Dropbox facility. Visit TechFetch H1B - a platform with sufficient information regarding H1B visa.

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

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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