As per an official notification by the US Embassy and Consulates in India, the US consular sections throughout India are “now accepting drop box applications for F, M, and J visa renewals and H and L visa renewals who qualify for an exception to the Proclamations”. These can be done at Visa Application Centers across India – Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi.

US visaPurpose
F-1Academic students
F-2Spouses and children of F-1
M-1Vocational students
M-2Spouses and children of M-1
J-1Exchange visitors
J-2Spouses and children of J-1
H-1BFor Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models [Temporary Workers]
H-2AFor temporary agricultural workers
H-2BFor temporary non-agricultural workers
H-3For aliens temporarily coming to the US for receiving training or participating in an education exchange visitor training program.
L-1AFor a manager or executive transferred from any of affiliated foreign offices to another of the US employer’s offices in the US.
L-1BFor a professional employee, with specialized knowledge pertaining to company’s interests, transferred from an affiliated overseas office to another office in the US.

Applicants have been advised to determine if they are eligible for drop box processing. Eligibility can be determined by visiting the official website of the US Embassy and Consulates in India.

US student visa appointments are also available through the official website. Functioning with limited operations, US consular sections “remain closed for routine immigrant and nonimmigrant visa services”. While the notification categorically states that routine visa services are to be resumed as soon as possible, no specific date has been provided as such for the same.

As per a Presidential Proclamation – issued on June 22, 2020 – the US Department of State has temporarily ceased the issuance of H-1B, H-2B, L, and certain J visas. The derivative visa categories for the family members of such visa holders are also included.

However, these applicants might qualify for any of the “national interest exceptions”. Moreover, The US Department of State might also issue H-4, L-2, and J-2 visas to “otherwise qualified derivative applicants” qualifying for a national interest exception, such as an individual looking to join a principal applicant already in the US.

According to the National Interest Exceptions to Presidential Proclamations [10014 & 10052], “The Proclamation does not apply to applicants who were in the United States on the effective date of the Proclamation [June 24].” Additionally, the Proclamation is not applicable to those who had a valid visa in any of the classifications mentioned above and intend entering the US on that visa, or who had another official travel document that was valid on the date that the Proclamation became effective

The National Interest Exceptions also clarify that if an “H-1B, H-2B, L-1, or J-1 non-immigrant is not subject to the Proclamation, then neither that individual nor the individual’s spouse or children will be prevented from obtaining a visa due to the Proclamation”.