FAQs

Q.1 How long does my passport have to be valid in order to apply for a U. S. visa?

You must possess a passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). (Malaysia and the United States do have such an agreement, and an applicant’s Malaysian passport need only be valid upon entry to the U.S. and for the duration of stay.)

Q.2 Do I qualify for the Visa Waiver Program?

Only if you are a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program country, in possession of a machine-readable e-passport, are traveling for temporary business or a visit of less than 90 days, meet other program requirements, and have obtained an authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). For more information on ESTA, please click here.
You must be a citizen of a Visa Waiver Program-eligible country in order to use this system. Malaysians do not qualify for the Visa Waiver program. Permanent residents of VWP-eligible countries do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program unless they are also citizens of VWP-eligible countries. We recommend you visit the Visa Waiver Program website before any travel to the U.S. to check if you are eligible for the VWP.

Q.3 What is the fee for ESTA and who has to pay it?

ESTA registration is required for all travelers to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. There is a US $14.00 fee for ESTA registration. The fee can be paid online by a credit or debit card with the Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. Third parties (travel agent, family member, etc.) can pay your ESTA fee for you if you do not have the correct type of credit card. If the ESTA registration is denied, the fee is only US $4.00.

Q.4 If I travel to the United States without ESTA, what happens?

Visa Waiver Program travelers who have not obtained approval through ESTA should expect to be denied boarding on any air carrier bound for the United States. If you are, by any chance, allowed to board, you can expect to encounter significant delays and possible denial of admission at the U.S. port of entry (i.e., arrival airport). ESTA registration usually only takes a few minutes to complete, authorization often arrives in seconds, and it is valid for two years.

Q.5 My passport has expired, but the U.S. visa in it is still valid. Do I need to apply for a new visa?

Any person who is legally present in Malaysia may apply for a visa here. However, applicants should decide where to apply based on more than just convenience or delay in getting an appointment in their home district. One thing to consider, for example, is in which consular district the applicant can demonstrate the strongest ties.

There is no guarantee that a visa will be issued, nor is there a guarantee of processing time. If refused, there is no refund of the application fee.

Applicants are generally advised to apply in their country of nationality or residence.

Q.6 How can I extend my visa?

The validity of a visa cannot be extended regardless of its type. You will need to apply for a new one.

Q.7 Do all nonimmigrant visa applicants have to come to the Embassy for an interview?

Yes, for most applicants. There are only a few exceptions to the interview requirement. The following applicants generally do not have to appear in person:

  • Applicants under the age of 14 or over the age of 79.
  • Applicants for A1, A2 (official travelers on central government business), C2, C3 (central government officials in transit on central government business) or G1, G2, G3, G4 (central government officials traveling in connection with an international organization, or employees of an international organization).
Q.8 I have a nonimmigrant visa that will expire soon and I would like to renew it. Do I need to go through the whole visa application process again?

Yes, each nonimmigrant visa application is a separate process. You must apply in the normal manner, even though you had a visa before and even if your current nonimmigrant visa is still valid.

Q.9 My passport has expired, but the U.S. visa in it is still valid. Do I need to apply for a new visa?

No. If your visa is still valid and unmarked or undamaged, you can travel with your two passports together (old and new), if the purpose of your travel matches your current nonimmigrant visa. Also, the name and other personal data must be the same in both passports (unless the name change was due to marriage), and both passports must be from the same country and of the same type (i.e., both tourist passports and both diplomatic passports).

Please note that is the name change was due to marriage, you can travel to the United States with both passports as well as your marriage certificate.

Q.10 I have dual citizenship. Which passport should I use to travel to the United States?

U.S. citizens, even dual citizens/nationals, must enter and depart the United States using a U.S. passport. As long as neither of your nationalities is U.S., you can apply using whichever nationality you prefer, but must disclose all nationalities to the Embassy/Consulate on your application form

Q.11 How can I extend my visa?

The validity of a visa cannot be extended regardless of its type. You will need to apply for a new one.

Q.12 Must I submit my visa application form electronically?

Yes, you will need to fill in the DS-160 and carry the CEAC confirmation copy when you go for your interview at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate.

Q.13 What is "administrative processing”?

Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant's interview by a consular officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply. Most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. Learn more.

Q.14 How do I read and understand my visa?

As soon as you receive your visa, check to make sure all your personal information printed on the visa is correct. If any of the information on your visa does not match the information in your passport or is otherwise incorrect, please contact the Embassy/Consulate immediately.

The expiration date of your visa is the last day you may use the visa to enter the United States. It does not indicate how long you may stay in the United States. Your stay is determined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at your port of entry.

Further information on interpreting your visa can be found at Questions About Visas.

Q.15 How soon will I know whether I qualify for a visa?

The interviewing officer will inform you of the outcome of your visa application at the conclusion of your interview.

Q.16 Can I arrange to get my passport and visa back earlier?

No, except in the case of a genuine humanitarian emergency. Applicants are urged to apply as far in advance of their travel date as possible.

Q. 17 Can I accompany a visa applicant to his/her interview?

The applicant is the only person allowed into the Embassy for a visa interview. Relatives, friends, co-workers, employers, lawyers, etc. will not be allowed into the building. Parents or legal guardians are advised to accompany any minor child (under 18) to the interview if the child is applying for a tourist visa. Children 13 and under do not need to appear in person. However, if the child is not present, only the parent or legal guardian of a minor child can apply for a tourist visa on behalf of that child. Parents or legal guardians must provide proof of relationship or legal guardianship status such as an original birth certificate or other court documents. Please note that applicants for student visas (F-1, M-1 and J-1) who are 13 and under must be interviewed.

Q.18 What is section 214(b)?

According to U.S. immigration law, every applicant must overcome the presumption that that they are an intending immigrant. In making the determination whether the applicant overcomes this presumption, the consular officer carefully considers the applicant's personal circumstances, travel plans, financial resources and ties outside of the United States that will ensure his/her departure after a temporary visit. Each visa application is adjudicated individually in accordance with U.S. law. Because of this case-by-case adjudication, the reason why a consular officer has determined that an applicant is ineligible for a visa is quite specific to that applicant's individual circumstances.

If a visa application is refused, applicants are given a written explanation of their refusal and what they may do, if anything, to overcome it. Because the consular officer's decision is final and a supervisory consular officer reviews each refusal, there is no formal appeal process for refused applications.

In lieu of an appeal, an applicant can choose to reapply. There are no special reapplication procedures. However, due to the cost of the application fee, reapplying is not recommended unless the applicant's situation has changed markedly since that refusal. If an applicant decides to reapply, they should be prepared to explain how their situation has changed.

For further information on 214(b) Click Here

Q.19 What will happen when I enter the U.S.?

Your airline should give you a blank I-94 (or I-94W for visa waiver travelers) and a Customs Declaration form 6059B. Each traveler must complete the I-94; only one Customs Declaration is required for a family traveling together.

A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States, but allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad to travel to a U.S. port of entry and request permission to enter the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States, and determine how long a traveler may stay. At the port of entry, upon granting entry to the United States, the Customs and Border Protection officer will put a small card, Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record in your passport. Visa Waiver Program travelers receive Form 1-94W. On this form, the officer records either a date or "D/S" (duration of status). If your I-94 contains a specific date, then that is the date by which you must leave the United States. Your Form I-94 or I-94W is a very important document to keep in your passport, since it shows your permission to be in the United States. Review information about Admission on the CBP Website. Also, see Duration of Stay.

Q.20 I did not turn in my I-94 when I left the United States. What should I do?

The I-94 or I-94W will normally be stapled to your passport by the CBP officer. Do not remove it. Airline personnel should remove it when you check in for your flight out of the United States. If you arrive home with the I-94 still in your passport, you are responsible for sending it, with proof of your departure (e.g. a copy of your boarding pass, frequent flier statement or passport showing both bio data page and page with entry into a non U.S. destination), to:

DHS CBP ACS
1084 South Laurel Road
London KY 40744 USA

Do not give it to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate or any other office. If you do not clear your departure properly with DHS you may be considered to have unlawfully remained in the U.S. and ineligible to reenter in the future.

Visa Refusals – separate page

The United States is an open society. Unlike many other countries, the United States does not impose internal controls on most visitors, such as registration with local authorities. In order to enjoy the privilege of unencumbered travel in the United States, aliens have a responsibility to prove they are going to return abroad before a visitor or student visa is issued. Our immigration law requires consular officers to view every visa applicant as an intending immigrant until the applicant proves otherwise.

What Is Section 214(b)?

Section 214(b) is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It states:

Every alien shall be presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status...

To qualify for a visitor or student visa, an applicant must meet the requirements of sections 101(a)(15)(B) or (F) of the INA respectively. Failure to do so will result in a refusal of a visa under INA 214(b). The most frequent basis for such a refusal concerns the requirement that the prospective visitor or student possess a residence abroad he/she has no intention of abandoning. Applicants prove the existence of such residence by demonstrating that they have ties abroad that would compel them to leave the U.S. at the end of the temporary stay. The law places this burden of proof on the applicant.

Our consular officers have a difficult job. They must decide in a very short time if someone is qualified to receive a temporary visa. Most cases are decided after a brief interview and review of whatever evidence of ties an applicant presents.

How Can an Applicant Prove “Strong Ties”?

Strong ties differ from country to country, city to city, individual to individual. Some examples of ties can be a job, a house, a family, a bank account. "Ties" are the various aspects of your life that bind you to your country of residence: your possessions, employment, social and family relationships.

Imagine your own ties in the country where you live. Would a consular office of another country consider that you have a residence there that you do not intend to abandon? It is likely that the answer would be "yes" if you have a job, a family, if you own or rent a house or apartment, or if you have other commitments that would require you to return to the that country at the conclusion of a visit abroad. Each person's situation is different.

U.S. consular officers are aware of this diversity. During the visa interview they look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors. In cases of younger applicants who may not have had an opportunity to form many ties, consular officers may look at the applicants specific intentions, family situations, and long-range plans and prospects within his or her country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.

Is a Denial under Section 214(B) Permanent?

No. The consular officer will reconsider a case if an applicant can show further convincing evidence of ties outside the United States. Unfortunately, some applicants will not qualify for a nonimmigrant visa, regardless of how many times they reapply, until their personal, professional, and financial circumstances change considerably.

An applicant refused under Section 214(b) should review carefully their situation and evaluate realistically their ties. They may write down on paper what qualifying ties they think they have which may not have been evaluated at the time of their interview with the consular officer. Also, if they have been refused, they should review what documents were submitted for the consul to consider. Applicants refused visas under section 214(b) may reapply for a visa. When they do, they will have to show further evidence of their ties or how their circumstances have changed since the time of the original application. It may help to answer the following questions before reapplying: (1) Did I explain my situation accurately? (2) Did the consular officer overlook something? (3) Is there any additional information I can present to establish my residence and strong ties abroad?

Applicants should also bear in mind that they will be charged a nonrefundable application fee each time they apply for a visa, regardless of whether a visa is issued.

Who Can Influence the Consular Officer to Reverse a Decision?

Immigration law delegates the responsibility for issuance or refusal of visas to consular officers overseas. They have the final say on all visa cases. By regulation the U.S. Department of State has authority to review consular decisions, but this authority is limited to the interpretation of law, as contrasted to determinations of facts. The question at issue in such denials, whether an applicant possesses the required residence abroad, is a factual one. Therefore, it falls exclusively within the authority of consular officers at our Foreign Service posts to resolve. An applicant can influence the post to change a prior visa denial only through the presentation of new convincing evidence of strong ties.

For information about visa ineligibilities other than 214(b), please visit the Department of State website at: http:travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/ineligibilities/ineligibilities_1364.html.

Q.21 I have been told to obtain a Malaysian Certificate of Good Conduct. What do I need to do?

The Certificate of Good Conduct application form is available from the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs' web site at http://www.kln.gov.my/?m_id=8&c_id=38

Q.22 I am going to Guam/ Northern Marianas Islands / Other Pacific Islands. Do I need a visa?

Malaysia. can travel to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands for up to 45 days for tourism or business purposes without a visa.  Further information can be found here.  Malaysians may enter American Samoa for up to 30 days without a visa.  Micronesia, the Marshall Islands (including Kwajalein) and Palau (all formerly parts of the U.S.-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific) are now independent countries and have their own rules on entry and immigration.  Contact their embassies or governments for information.  However, transiting Hawaii or other parts of the U.S. on the way to these locations requires possession of a U.S.  visa.To find out, go to Guam Visa Waiver Program website, a web site that has information about which

nationalities qualify for the Guam-only visa waiver program and which airlines are signatory carriers of this program.

For visa denials, the law requires that almost all visa applicants be informed verbally and in writing the basis for the denial. This explanation always relates to a specific section of the INA.

Traveling to/from the United States

Q.23 How long can I stay in the United States?

Upon arrival in the United States, you'll present your passport (with your U.S. visa) to an immigration official, who will then determine how long you can stay, up to a maximum of 6 months in the case of tourist and business travelers. Remember, the validity period of your visa is NOT the length of time you may stay--it is simply the period that the visa may be used to apply for admission to the United States. Holders of multiple entry visas may enter the United States as many times as they like during the validity of the visa. Those with single entry visas may only enter once. A nonimmigrant who remains in the United States beyond the period for which s/he has been granted permission to stay may become subject to deportation.

Q.24 Can I use my Malaysian driver's license when I visit the United States?

Visitors who wish to rent cars and drive in the United States must have a valid driver's license from their own country. In some cases, an international driver's license may be required. You can contact individual car rental companies directly for specific information. Driver's licenses accepted in the United States are:

  • Any license issued by any U.S. state, territory or possession.
  • A license issued by a Canadian province.
  • A license issued by a country that participated in the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic or the 1943 Convention on the Regulation of Inter-American Automobile Traffic (Both Hong Kong and Macau are signatories to the 1949 Convention on Road Traffic).
  • A license issued by a country that has a reciprocal agreement with the United States.

However, if you are staying in the United States for an extended period of time (for example, as a student or temporary worker) the laws of the state where you reside may require you to obtain a local license.

Q.25 Which food products can I take to the United States?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) establishes criteria for the admissibility of plant, dairy and meat products returning with travelers and determines what may be admitted into the United States.

All travelers entering the United States from a foreign country must declare all:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Plants and plant products
  • Meat and meat products
  • Animals, birds, and eggs

Your declaration may be oral, written, or both, and must cover all items carried in your baggage and hand luggage. If you are returning from abroad, you will be given a Customs Declaration form on which to declare your agricultural products. You will also be asked to indicate whether you have visited a farm or ranch outside the United States. USDA officers inspect passenger baggage for undeclared agricultural products. Failure to declare any items may result in delays and fines of up to USD 1,000.

Agricultural products of U.S. origin, such as fruits, vegetables, meats, and birds taken out of the United States, cannot always be brought back into the country. These items should be declared upon returning. Consult in advance with USDA inspectors. The USDA also can be contacted at 00-1-301-734-8896 for information about the admissibility of plant or plant products.

Q.26 I forgot to turn in my I-94 when I left the United States. What should I do?
Q.27 I am a domestic helper. Can I accompany my employer to the States?

Under certain limited circumstances, a B-1 visa may be issued to a personal servant accompanying or following to join the employer on a temporary visit to the United States Contact the Embassy for information on requirements.  Servants of diplomats (A-3) and international organization aliens (G-5) can find information on requirements on the State Department’s website.

Q.28 I did not appear for my interview appointment, can I use the same Standard Chartered Bank fee receipt to schedule again?

Applicants who fail to appear for their scheduled interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy / Consulate are considered as No-Show applicants. If you are a No-Show, your Standard Chartered Bank receipt is deactivated.

In order to schedule a new appointment date with the same receipt, you are required to wait for two working days after the previous interview date, for the receipt to be reactivated.

Once the receipt is reactivated you can schedule a new appointment date.

Note: Your Standard Chartered Bank receipt is valid for a period of 1 year (365 days) from the date of purchase and entitles you to one appearance at the Embassy / Consulate. You may not purchase a new Visa fee receipt if it is still valid. Please check the validity of the Visa fee receipt before you proceed to schedule a new interview appointment.

If something substantial in your situation has changed (e.g. travel plans, employment), a new DS-160 is required. Use the saved version to update your information and submit the new form. This will create a new CEAC barcode. If nothing in your situation has changed, use your original CEAC barcode when making your appointment. Return to this website and schedule a new appointment within the validity period of the receipt following the same procedure used in making your original appointment.