H1-B Visa Priority = English?

Hi all,

My appointment confirmation says “English” in front of “Visa Priority”. Does this mean dropbox or interview?

I filled out my application a while ago and do not remember if I had chosen the drop off option and they haven’t mentioned it anywhere else either on my documentation.

Also, while scheduling an appointment I was only given the option to select a time and date for OFC which I was able to do successfully but as I understand if I was eligible for dropbox and chose that option I should have received a confirmation stating that explicitly with detailed drop off instructions. I did not receive anything like that. Has anyone else experienced this?

I had the same question. Could you please updated if you already got it stamped.

Hi Vinay,

Funny you asked this question when you did. I just picked up my passport earlier today. Here’s my timeline -

Oct 27 (Friday) - Drop off appointment
Nov 6 (Monday) - CEAC website VISA status - “Approved”
Nov 8 (Wednesday) - CEAC website VISA status - “Issued”
Nov 9 (Thursday) - CEAC website still says VISA status - “Issued” but according to the usvisascheduling portal (where you get your appointment confirmation) my passport was ready for pickup.
Nov 14 (Tuesday) - Picked up passport

So overall it took 13 days from the day I dropped off documents to the day my passport was ready for pickup. The overall process was mostly painless but a few things happened that were very frustrating.

Feel free to stop reading after this but I wanted to document some of my not so great experiences with this whole process.

  1. As I mentioned in the original post it was unclear what kind of appointment I had. I even reached out to customer service over email and was told that my appointment is what it says on the confirmation (very helpful!). I decided to just roll the dice and wing it on the day of. I prepared as best I could and brought copies of every single document I thought could be needed.

  2. Turns out I only needed to drop off documents. I did not need to get my picture taken or provide my fingerprints (this might have been because I have done this in the past as I was on an F-1 visa previously). This was a relief but I was informed that since I had filled out my DS-160 and paid the fee over a year ago I would have to go to the CEAC webiste and fill out the DS-160 again (most of the information would be pre-filled from original application) which would generate a new confirmation number. I could leave and come back at any time before 4:30pm on the same day and proceed with the drop off. Also the physical photograph that I provided (following US passport standard from CVS) was rejected apparently because my shoulders were slanted and the background wasn’t completely white. Both these things seemed very specific and certainly could be easily communicated over email or even on their website instead of in person while you’re there. Anyway the New Delhi location is inside a metro station and there are a plethora of corner shops set up in and around the station that offer their services to “assist” with exactly the kind of issues I and many others were facing.It was hard not to feel like the VAC and these corner shops were in cahoots which will become clear later. I almost succumbed to the sly tactics of one of these corner shop lackies who took me to his shop where they were “assisting” applicants by logging into the CEAC portal on your behalf. I naively thought I was being taken to a computer cafe where I would be doing all the work myself and pay them for the time but I was wrong. It was a small shop and there were two guys each behind a computer “fixing” DS-160s all day (or so I was told) and when it was my turn I was asked to provide my passport and answers to my security questions so they could login and fill the application for me. This did not sit right with me as I did not see the point of them doing what I could have done myself (even on my phone) and it was also worrying that once they logged in they would have access to all my personal and sensitive information (addresses, passport number, SSN, etc. you name it). On top of everything else they were charging 1500 INR for filling out a simple form which was mostly pre-filled to begin with. I was blown away with how brazenly these guys were operating in the name of helping people. Once I realized what was going on I swiftly walked away and literally filled out the new DS-160 on my phone right outside the shop. I went somewhere else to get a printed copy made of the new DS-160 as I had no trust in the corner shops in the area. Another interesting thing I found out while dealing with this situation was that you can’t change your security question or answer on the CEAC website for retrieving or creating a new DS-160 application. Technically you can but only by contacting customer service. You can’t do it yourself for some reason. Amazing!

  3. Once I had the copy of the new DS-160 the drop off process was straightforward. I got back in line at the VAC and handed over all the documents (passport, appointment confirmation, copy of i797, copy of employment confirmation). Right at the end I was asked to confirm my email and contact number (which had to be Indian) as I would receive updates on both once my passport was ready for pickup. I was given no other information about how to track my passport.

  4. After a few days I found out that you can track the status of your “VISA” through CEAC’s tracking website. Through the tracker once the status changed to “ISSUED” I was under the impression it would change to something like “document ready for pickup” and even if it didn’t that I would surely receive a text and email as promised. Well none of those things happened. I never received any emails or texts and the CEAC tracker still just says “ISSUED” even though I already have the passport in my possession.

  5. Yesterday just on a whim I decide to log into my usvisascheduling portal and lo and behold saw that my passport was ready for pickup and had been since last Thursday (4 days ago). Right away I checked my email inbox and spam folders and also my texts and did not see any messages. On the portal there is even a section called “messages” that shows that 2 messages had been sent to the correct email address as well as texts to my US phone number (even though I confirmed a local contact number while dropping off my documents).

All in all it was a very sub-par experience which certainly left a bad taste in my mouth. In summary, customer service I encountered was a joke, there was a prevailing disregard for privacy and security of sensitive information in and around the VAC and just a lack of clear information throughout the process which meant I had to extend my trip by a whole week.