Saturday, 11 May 2013

USA: Visa Application Tips for Malaysian

Before boarding a plane to New York, eating peanuts while watching some movies on your seat and singing Alicia Keys version of New York out loud, you need to ensure some basic knowledge are fully furnished. 

And I am writing in the context of non-immigrant visa, because I do not have the intention to leave my beloved country at all. This checklist is very useful to all bimbos and himbos who may need help:

A. Preliminary Checklist - Do you know why are you going to U.S?
Seriously, different types of visa issued to different type of purpose - tourism, business, study, temporary employment, official mission etc. Hence different requirements, charges, application forms apply. 

Ask yourself. Why are young going to U.S?

Kalau awak tanya saya U.S tu di mana, saya sarankan awak terjun tingkap dengan gaya akrobatik sekarang juga. 
B. Application Checklist - What I need to do to apply?

One: Prepare a photo of yourself. No not a self-snapped photo where you make funny faces or pushing your lips to the front. Tiba-tiba teringat video YouTube MC for 5 days. Haha. Get it printed for few copies. And get the soft copy. You need to upload the soft copy of your photo into the website later on. 

Two: Switch on your computer, laptop or ipad and go to US Embassy Website for Malaysians. Owh, ok, go browse your facebook and update your tweet whatsoever first... 

Three: Complete DS - 160 Non Immigrant Visa Application Form online. Good luck. This would consume almost one hour. Perhaps two. Seriously. Once completed, print the confirmation page only. Bring the printed confirmation page to the Embassy on the date of interview. Any questions? Don't ask me. Ask him

Four: Schedule your interview. Create your profile here. Remember, DO IT EARLY. I am not kidding you, DO IT EARLY. Say what? DO IT EARLY! The earlier you book your appointment, the sooner you'll get your interview slot. Advisably, please, please, please apply for U.S visa three (3) months before your flight date. Once applied, there is nothing in this world that can help you to expedite the process since it is the sole discretion of the U.S Authority. Hence, DO IT EARLY. 

Five: Prepare your visa fee. Sorry, it is non-refundable. Payment to be made in local currency (MYR) at any branch of Standard Chartered Bank. Check out the branch of Standard Chartered Bank HERE. Just tell the officers that you are paying for US application visa and they will give you special form to be filled in. Again, remember your purpose of visit and the code number as such information is required to be filled into the special form. Take a copy of the receipt for your own record.

C. Appointment Checklist

One: Check the timetable for your interview session. Apply your leave on that day.  Oh, yeah, identify the location of the US Embassy HERE. 

Two: Prepare a file, incorporating all necessary documents: 
Passport - make sure it is not within 6 months expiry date.
Form DS-160 (printed out) confirmation page.
Application fee payment receipt - to indicate you paid.
Photo - according to the format. Even though you've uploaded one, just bring one, in case they asked. 
Other supporting documents - basically to show that you do not intend to migrate to US.. things like your appointment letter for your current job, your property you have here, your money in your account, showing you are able to fund your own trip there etc. 

D. Interview Checklist

One: Depart from home early to avoid crazy traffic of the beloved city of Kuala Lumpur. Parking is not provided in the compound of the embassy, so you need to park your car at the nearby roadside. So come early before 7 so you can get one. Or if you are not driving, it is a walking distance from LRT Station Ampang Park.

Two: Dress for the occasion. Wear casual smart shirts and dress. Show them you are a civilised person. That will somehow create an impression.

Three: Fine you went out early. But you will find yourself queuing outside of the embassy. This is normal. Wait patiently for your turn.

Four: When they call out for a specific interview session, listen! If it is your time, go inside. You would have to leave all your electronic devices outside, including your wallet etc. Basically you are leaving almost everything outside. It will be just you and your documents. Don't worry, the guards will take a good care of your stuff.

Five: Go inside. Take your number and wait for your turn at the waiting room on your right. Fine, I've been hearing complaints about how the Indian guards at the entrance (not at the main gate, the ones at the main gate are friendly) had been rude, but it's okay. You are there for no harm, right? So ignore him. In the waiting room, there would be comfortable seats and tv just to kill your time. Rest rooms are here, so you can go and do your business.

Six: Wait for your turn. There are three separate interviews at three ATM like counter (with closed door).

First counter, to submit your application documents including passport, interview confirmation letter, confirmation of DS-160 form and the visa photos. Then you would need to return to the waiting lounge again and wait for your name to be called. 

Second counter, you would be called once again to scan your fingers. Simple procedure here. Then you would have to wait at the nearby area, no need for you to return back to the waiting lounge. 

Three, to be orally interviewed. The officer in charge would be asking you questions at the counter while you are standing. A quick one, really. They have almost everything about you before them. I was informed, even your facebook account, your blogspot posts... every information and details were recorded comprehensively to assess your eligibility to enter their country. I was interviewed by a Japanese mix guy.

1. What is your job? How long have you been serving there?
(I answered confidently) I am a banker, I've been serving for 3 years.

2. What are your purpose of travelling?
(I saw the guy taking out some pink-ish form and filling it). I am representing Malaysia for a show choir performance in New York.

3. When are you going?
(I answered and immediately his expression changed)
The travelling date was two weeks away from the interview session. 

"I am sorry, I cannot confirm your visa within that time. You should have been here much much earlier."

He handed over the pink-ish form, which stated that I am subjected to administrative proceeding. Once you received this form, this does not mean that your visa is being rejected, rather, the officer are unable to confirm your status at the counter and they require further information for processing. You will receive feedback within 60 days.

Well, it was not my fault that the visa arrangement was done two weeks before the flight date. It was clearly stated that visa application should be done at least three months before. And nothing can go above the law of the US. This was clearly explained in the website. Regardless of whether you have connections with government officers etc. So this serves as reminder to all of you. APPLY VISA EARLY.

And it is justified for US authorities to ensure their safety by doing some administrative proceedings on some applicants. 

The next seven days, my life became a misery. I could not get enough sleep and didn't have appetite for food. I could not get off the visa thing off my mind even for a split second. I kept on praying that the visa would be approved soon. 

Visa Granted
A week later, someone from the US Embassy gave me a call that my visa was approved. I was happy beyond description. 

Visa Collection
You can either collect the visa yourself at Wisma MCA at Jalan Ampang (before 3 pm the next day - seriously if you are late, they would close the counter sharp at 3 pm) or have it delivered to you.

The Dream That Didn't Happen
Well, the performance didn't happen for some technical reasons. We didn't make it there. But I got a visa for 10 years. Please pray that I would be able to visit the beautiful city of New York one day...

I dedicate this entry for all my show choir members, who had been going through the waiting period with me. 

I love you people! 

From left standing: Olivier, Shahrul, Sachi Amira, Ayu Gurnitha, Nabila, Aruel, Anne, Eunice, Su Yee, David, myself, Zaha, Charl. Sitting: Joseph and Tash. Credit Photo so Sachi Amira

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9 Nukilan:

preeti said...

thanks for sharing this tips.I was scared for an interview questions that i wanted to follow.but by reading this tips now i got confidence that i can face all this questions.

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US Waivers Pardon said...

Thank you for sharing this about US Visa application. This was a great help for me since I have been looking for the best US Visa processing tips and advice all morning. Thank you for sharing this with us!

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moMiji said...

Hi thanks for sharing. Btw do we need to book flight ticket before applying for visa?

Hairi Tahir said...

I think you can do so, provided you apply for your visa early. As advised by the websiite of the embassy, get your visa preferably 2 - 3 months before departure date. Just in case, you will be subjected to administrative proceeding. Hope things will be smooth for you :)

sabrina cheng said...


Thank you for the tips and sharing here. I would like to know once the visa issue (approved) how long actually visa expiry?


ilaina said...

Hi thanks for sharing... ive received training invitation in US within 2 weeks before the training course begin. do you think i can make it? or better postpone? i suppose to go by this 26th jan..but my interview will be on this thursday 23rd jan, which left only 1 day processing if approved? any suggestion? should i postpone the training instead? and postpone the interview? im afraid they will see my application is too last minute.

Hairi Tahir said...

It depends on the Authority. Some will get three months. Some for 10 years. It is totally up to them, based on their assessments.

Hairi Tahir said...

sorry a bit late though. been on hiatus. better allocate for 2 months. we can never rush the Authority.

Hasliza said...

thank you for the tips shared...very helpful

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