STEM OPT Visa Renewal Questions


I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in May 2019 and since then I have been on my 12-month opt. Now I have been approved for my STEM OPT valid till July 10, 2022.

My F1 student visa has been expired since 29 June 2019 but I haven’t traveled outside the country since January 2019, so I didn’t get a chance to renew it earlier.

My understanding is that I qualify for the interview waiver (dropbox eligibility) if I go to renew my f1 visa within 12 months of it being expired. However, now due to Covid-19, the 12-month period has been extended to 24 months until December 31, 2020 so I am still eligible.

My question is that,

  1. Would it be advisable for me to travel back immediately and get my visa renewed while I still qualify for the interview waiver? I would assume that going through a visa interview again without the waiver would be much more difficult to get through.

  2. What are my chances of getting my visa renewal approved / rejected at this point of time through the dropbox?

  3. Biometrics required for dropbox renewal?

Any advice / information on this matter would be of great help.

Thanks and Regards,

Babbar Siddiq