Yes, that's right, Malaysia might be the recipient of the United States' visa waiver programme (VWP) which will allow us Malaysians to travel to America without applying for a visa. Yes, those applications are kind of expensive. It now costs USD160 to apply for the visa and it's non-refundable even if your application is rejected. Don't worry though, 96% of Malaysians of 42,000 who apply yearly, pass this process based on this video done by the US embassy in Malaysia.
Our Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is confident that Malaysia will fulfill the requirements of the VWP sooner than predicted. Could this have anything to do with the sabotage we reported about earlier? We'd rather not speculate. During US President Barack Obama's visit to Malaysia in April, the POTUS said his government is prepared to work with Putrajaya to include Malaysia in the VWP. In the meeting he projected that the process will take 18 months.
It's not going to be completely free however as Malaysians will still have to seek approval through the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (Esta) which costs only USD14 (RM58.80).
If you've heard of some of the horror stories about Malaysians applying for a US visa, it may seem that these claims are unwarranted. As reported by Star2, rumours like the limitation of the amount of visas the US embassy releases a year is false. So is the fact that you need RM50,000 in your savings or that you need to line up at 5am at the embassy to get a spot. You are scheduled a fixed time and date for your embassy interview, all you have to do is show up on time and bring only the necessary documents.
Finally, here's a quick four-step guide to applying for a US visa if you need to get there sooner than 18 months from now:
Step 1: Create a user profile at www,ustraveldocs.com/my and pay the application fee. Steps are at the site.
Step 2: Take a visa photo following the specifications. White background at 2in x 2in. Your local camera shop should have the measurements.
Step 3: Complete the visa application form at http://ceac.state.gov/genniv/ its the DS-160 online non-immigrant visa application
Step 4: Make an appointment back at www,ustraveldocs.com/my. Once a date and time is chosen, you will be required to attend an interview. Try not to look suspicious.