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Interview Waiver Program for H visa holders

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@ rajdevireddy

Did you or What is your opinion on this? Do we have to schedule a finger printing appt if you qualify for IWP 'DropBox', I mean I got my 3rd H1B in Oct 2012 so it is infact issued after Nov 1, 2008 and an 'YES' to rest of the criteria defined under IWP 'DropBox'? The only diff between IWP and IWP DropBox to me sound like the visas issued after August 1, 2004 and November 1, 2008...

Please advise.

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I just read this announcement on the Chennai US Consulate website - http://chennai.usconsulate.gov/

  • Announcing the expansion of the Interview Waiver Program! Beginning on November 19, 2012, children up to age 14, students returning to the same school and same program, and temporary workers on H1-B and individual L1-A or L1-B visas may be eligible for the Interview Waiver Program. Details can be found athttp://www.ustraveld...v-visarenew.asp.

Now, even the H1-B workers can use the Interview Waiver Program. Only catches are,

1. Previous visa should have been issued after Nov 1, 2008 or Nov 1, 2004(Only finger printing appointment needed)

2. Previous and Renewal visa should be in the same category.

3. Previous visa should have been issued in india.

4. No recent visa refusals.

5. Previous H1-B visa is still valid or should have expired in the last 12 months.

6. Previous visa not annotated with "Clearance Received"

Do these sound valid ?

I think it will take 1 or 2 weeks time to get feedback or more on this process w.r.t H1-B workers availing this Interview Waiver Program.

Hi Rajesh

In my case, answer is "Yes" for all points u mentioned above but I have a doubt on question 5..

When they say previous H1-B visa expired in last 12 months, does it mean stamp on passport or I-94 on 797.

I had H1 stamp till Sep 2010, but got extension and in US from then. Am I eligible?


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Just putting it out here so others going through this get an idea.

So I opted for the interview waiver for H1B and went to the OFC in Chennai to give my finger prints and submit document. I got the passport back in one week but there was no visa stamped! Instead there was a 221g and it said I have to attend an interview in person. Mine was the best case possible for interview waiver according to the criteria listed on the ustraveldocs website - sane employer, same class, prior visa stamped in India and afer 2008 so on. I had confirmed this by calling customer service a couple of time before I planned to opt for IWP. I also had all possible docs they could ask for in my packet thet I submitted at OFC and I got a 221g. Good thing is it said I can just stop by at the consulate any time and need not book an appointment again. I did that and I was asked nothing, the officer said thanks for showing up and done, visa was approved...If they plan to make the candidate attended an interview any way I wonder why they even have the interview waiver program for H1B. I would have saved my self some unnecessary travel back an forth to Chennai and some nervous days in India had I just attended the interview with out going for IWP.

It would be interesting to know if IWP worked for any one for H1B renewal


Do u think I am eligible for IWP?

My criteria:

F1 stamping in India and came to USA in 2006

Converted from F1 to H1 in USA in 2009 - Validity Sep 2009 to Sep 2010 - only 1 year

Went to India in November 2009 and got H1 stamping in India till Sep 2010

Came to USA in Dec 2009

Applied for H1 extension in August 2010 and got extension till June 2013.

No employer change

I am in USA after I got my extension in August 2010 and did not leave USA

I will apply for my extension this April 2013 as my H1 expires in June 2013 and if it gets approved, can I go to India after June 2013 and use this Dropbox or IWP for my stamping without going to interview in the embassy?


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@ enigma006

I don't think you are eligible for IWP. Here is my understanding based on your notes, you might have been eligible for your current H1B had you done your stamping pre August 2011 (assuming we are time traveling here!). It still won't apply to your new H1B you would get this year since it does not clear Item 5 as you never got your previous H1B (Aug 2010-Jun 2013) stamped on your passport. Does that make sense?

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Thank you all for the detailed account of your experiences. I'm also planning to take the drop box route since I meet all the criteria for the Interview Waiver Program (IWP). I have not started the application process yet and I apologize in advance if these questions sound silly:

1) Does one need to take an appointment at the Team Stanley office or can I just walk in?

2) Do you have to go the Stanley office in your region or can one go to any of the 11 locations in India?

3) I got my most recent H1 stamping in 2010- so would I still need to go to an OFC center?


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I have the following questions. Any help is very much appreciated.

1. My last visa was stamped in Nov 2011 in Mumbai consulate. I do not remember whether I was ten printed. How do I find out?

2. I qualify for IWP. Do I need any appointment for the dropbox submission or just walkin? If appointment is required, does anyone know the current wait times in Mumbai consulate?


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