Quick Update - B2 Visa Approved

Putting this out here if it helps anyone:

This is for a B2 visa renewal for my mother who qualified for the interview waiver process at Chennai. Her visa just got approved this morning. Below is a brief summary of her experience.


  • 23-Feb-2022: Submitted DS-160 and paid via NEFT
  • 24-Mar-2022: NEFT payment was returned/refunded. No explanation given
  • 25-Mar-2022: Paid cash at Axis Bank. Got payment receipt right away
  • 05-Apr-2022: Dropbox appointment
  • 06-Apr-2022: Passport delivered to Consulate
  • 07-Apr-2022: Status updated in CEAC to “Application Received”
  • 19-Apr-2022: Status updated in CEAC to “Administrative Processing”
  • 20-Apr-2022: Status updated in CEAC to “Issued”. USTraveldocs status shows Passport is ready for pickup

After payment is made, the USTravelDocs website will show you have a receipt available for use. You will need this receipt (and the receipt ID) to schedule your dropoff appointment. While NEFT payment worked for most people, i lost 4 weeks in the process. My NEFT payment was kept on-hold at Bank Of America where the US visa fees are processed claiming some internal audit. As a result, i never got the payment receipt required for scheduling an appointment. None of my emails or phone calls resulted in anything meaningful. The bank finally reached out asking for more information (passport, Aadhar Card, Voter ID etc) but i had none of them as i am a US citizen. I sent my US passport and they refunded me back that amount in a few days. No context, no explanation, just returned the visa fees back to my account. Payment was made next day via cash at Axis Bank and receipt was unlocked in a few hours. This allowed us to look for a dropbox appointment

Scheduling Appointment For Dropoff
The first available appointment was 6-8 weeks away, sometime in May. I took the first one that showed up. Keep checking for last minute cancelations by other people as that frees up earlier appointments. I was able to reschedule a few times to get an move my appointment earlier to 05-Apr-2022

Dropbox Appointment at VAC:
Very straightforward. Contrary to what it says on their website, no biometrics were taken and no photos were taken by them. Applicants were asked to provide photos, which were expected to be in a 2x2 format. If you don’t have photos or have them in the wrong size, there is a photo studio inside the same complex that can get your pictures in 15 mins. That complex also has a “copy and print” service if you forgot to take copies or were asked for additional ones. One other thing to note: they might not allow anyone else besides the applicant inside the facility. If the applicant has other people accompanying them, they will have to wait outside. This is a hit or miss depending on who is guarding the gate. Some might allow people to sneak in.

Carry the following (whatever is asked in the appointment confirmation letter): Dropbox Appointment Confirmation, DS-160 Appointment Confirmation, 2x2 photos, Current passport and any other previous passports that has the previous B2 visa

CEAC Application Status
At some point, the status on the CEAC website will show “Administrative processing”. DO NOT PANIC. This status could mean one of three things

  • Your visa was approved and is being sent for printing
  • The consulate might need more information and will reach out to you
  • The consulate does not require anything from you but needs more processing on their end before they approve (background checks etc)

Most of the time, it would be the first situation for easy and straightforward cases but give it a few days before you start calling them

Misc info:

  • I-134 or bank statements were not asked. Travel plans/itineraries were not asked
  • Ensure your photos are in 2x2 format
  • NEFT payments “might” prove tricky if you are one of the unlucky ones that end up in their internal audit. Use cash payment whenever you can
  • After submitting application, they will stamp your appointment confirmation page and give it back to you. Store this in a safe place. You will need this document to pickup passport
  • Passport was available for pickup at USTravelDocs the same day. No appointment required for pickup
  • Because of a new rule that was in effect from 04-Apr-2022, applicants can drop off documents in any location in the country irrespective of where their consulate is. Expect the dropoff locations to be crowded
  • The helpdesk at USTravelDocs is the worst… ever. It feels they are paid to test our patience to make us question our intelligence and sanity. Terrible… both phone support and email support


Will update if i remember something else and hopefully this addresses all the ongoing uncertainty.

1 Like

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Thanks for Sharing. I think my mom’s b2 CEAC just changed to “Administrative Processing”, so hopefully it will be approved soon. Your post helped me a lot when you said “Do Not Panic”. I will wait for 4-5 days before calling them.