Cliché as it may sound, time flies; and I realized this when my ten-year multiple-entry US Visa was expiring in December 2019. Just like that, a decade had passed & it was time to go through the renewal process. Though I don’t have specific plans to visit the US in the near future, I thought it would be best to renew my US Visa even before my current one expired, should I suddenly have to fly out. Besides, I’d want New York to always just be a plane ticket away – and not a plane ticket & a visa application away, right? This was when I learned about the Dropbox Eligibility via this link, which I was fortunately qualified for. While the said link notes the necessary steps, I decided to make a more detailed guide based on my actual US Visa Renewal experience.
I. Dropbox Eligibility
First & foremost is knowing whether or not you qualify for the Dropbox Eligibility. If you answer “yes” to all the conditions below, then good news – the renewal process will be easy breezy for you!
- I have a previous B1/B2 visa that I wish to renew.
- My visa was issued after July 1, 2007.
- My prior visa was valid for at least five years.
- My prior B1/B2 visa is still valid or expired within the last 12 months.
- I am a citizen of the Philippines.
- My prior visa does not say “Clearance Received” or “Travel with Employer”.
- I have my passport with my B1/B2 visa in my possession.
- My name, date of birth and gender on my last B1/B2 visa do not need to be changed or corrected.
- My most recent visa was issued on or after my 14th birthday.
- The last time I applied for a B1/B2 visa it was approved.
Throughout the process, I would ask friends & family about the renewal steps, and I noted a few misconceptions that I validated were not true about qualifying for the Dropbox Eligibility. Summarizing it here, for the reference of future applicants.
Again, to qualify for the Dropbox Eligibility, the following conditions are not necessary.
- I have visited the US or a US territory within the last “x” years.
- I used my prior B1/B2 US Visa via travelling to the US or to a US territory.
- My prior B1/B2 visa has not expired yet.
II. Document Preparation | DS-160
Step 1 – Pay the visa application fee. You can find the details for payment here.
Applicants can actually opt to fill-up the application first, which is what I did & I just entered the payment details before finally completing my DS160 Form.
Step 2 – Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.
Start your DS-160 Nonimmigrant Form via this link. Upon prompting the beginning of your application, you are immediately taken to a page, depicted below. I cannot stress this enough: take note of the reference number under “Your Application No.” at the very start!
You’ll surely need it if you retrieve your application or make any changes later on. I made the mistake of not taking it down the first time, so I ended up having to do the application form all over again.
Documents and details you’ll need while filling-up the application:
- Passport Cover Page
- Soft copy of your 2 x 2 U.S. Visa Photograph
- Planned details of trip to the US: these don’t have to be set in stone & can be an estimate (this includes dates & address(es) of where you’ll be staying)
- Names & relation to travel companions, if any
- Details of prior trips to the US or US Territories
- Previous US B1/B2 Visa
- Social Media Details
- U.S. Contact : Family / Friends in the US who can vouch for you (you’ll be asked to provide their address & contact details)
- Personal Information: Work / Education / Training
Almost everything in the application form is straight-forward & direct, here are a few things to take note of, if ever you get confused (like I did) along the way:
- Type of Visa: If you were previously issued a B1/B2 Visa, then this is what you should renew. Even if the B2 Visa is the only one that pertains to Tourism, you should apply for the same type of your prior US Visa should you want to do it via Dropbbox.
- Ten-printed: There will be a question of whether or not you have been “ten-printed.” As long as your prior US Visa was issued after 2007, then you can answer “yes.” If otherwise, answer “no.”
- Passport Book Number: For Philippines Passport Holders, since our passports only have a number, tick “Does Not Apply” when asked for the Passport Book Number.
After completing the form, do not forget to print and save your confirmation page, whose header will look something like this:
Step 3 – Once you complete filling-up the form, the next step is to create or sign-into your account via this link, and click “Update Profile.” Input the necessary details, including your DS-160 Confirmation Number (note that at this point, all payments must be completed), and you should be good to go!
Step 4 – Check your account’s dashboard and if you followed all the steps above, then you should see an icon indicating you’ve received your Interview Waiver Letter.
This will enlist the documents to be sent via the Dropbox.
III. Consolidation of Requirements
As listed in the Interview Waiver Confirmation Letter, consolidate the documents below to ensure all requirements are aligned prior to going to your chosen 2Go branch.
- Interview Waiver Confirmation Letter
- Current valid passport
- Old passport with previous B1/B2 visa;
- 2 photos, colored with white-background, unretouched, 2×2 in photograph on glossy paper, taken within the last 6 months, in neutral facial expression and with both eyebrows and ears exposed
- DS-160 Confirmation Page
IV. 2Go Dropbox
Deliver your documents via any assigned 2Go Branches, fill up the necessary documents they give you on the spot & you’re all set! Some branches are open on weekends too, so you don’t have to take a leave just to drop off the documents – incredibly convenient!
Note as well that the delivery address they’ll follow is what you’ve registered in your account online through the “Update Profile” step and not what you indicated in the 2Go Form.
Visa processing time is said to typically be three working days, but do take into account the logistics, which from my count started from the day my documents were lodged thru 2Go to when I received my passport with the new B1/B2 US Visa; with a total count of 6 working days. Summarized timeline as follows:
- 24 November, Sunday: Passed Documents via 2Go Alabang Branch
- 26 November, Tuesday: Embassy Received my Passport (as confirmed via the Track Your Application link)
- 28 November, Thursday: Thanksgiving Holiday (no processing, so not part of the count)
- 3 December, Tuesday: Passport with the approved B1/B2 US Visa received
Throughout the whole process, you can also track your application via this link. Just be sure to have your Application ID at hand for quicker checking. Once your visa is approved, you’ll actually see it real-time updated on the tracker, with the status “Approved.”
And now, you’re all set! Again, remember that the waiting time can vary depending on the amount of applications they have, the distance from your registered delivery address, and of course: the intricacies of your application; but don’t fret if it takes longer than usual! More often than not, your visa will get approved if you’ve qualified for the Dropbox Eligibility anyway.
Hope this post helped you one way or another, but should you have any additional questions or concerns, feel free to leave a comment down below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy US Travels!