If you are a Malaysian and planning to visit the USA for a vacation or on business, then you need to get a Non-immigrant Visa. Well, unless you wish to wait for the so-called “No Visa Needed to visit the US” promise as announced by some minister recently, by all means, wait.
However, if you can’t wait or are as skeptical as I am, concerning the no-US Visa-needed “promise”, then just apply for one.
Before you start, visit this website by the US Department of State – it has everything you need to know about how to apply for a non-immigrant visa. The Americans are really thorough and clear in their instructions – all you have to do is to read every instruction and just follow accordingly. Everything is stated and explained. From my personal experience, the sequence of steps are a bit different from what’s published on the website. So, just to give you an idea of the whole process, let me summarize the present application processes below:
STEP 1: Get your Photograph ready
Even before you start filling up the online application form DS-160, you should get your photograph ready. All the requirements for this photo are listed out comprehensively here. Believe me when I say “comprehensively” as full instructions are given on the exact size, photo composition, facial expression, what to wear and there’s even a Photo Tool in the website to guide you on how to upload your photo. It’s not difficult to do this, just make sure your photo fits the required sizing given and there’s no problem uploading your photo successfully when you complete the DS-160 form.
STEP 2: Complete the online DS-160 Form
Please read through the guidelines before you fill up the form. Once you have completed it, do review it before submitting. Once you have submitted, you can’t amend anything in it. Every individual, including kids must complete his/her own DS-160 Form online.
Once you have submitted it online, you get a Confirmation barcode & number via email. You need this number to schedule your interview later. Attached in the email will be your Confirmation Page in PDF format. You need to print out the Confirmation Page and bring the hardcopy with you to the interview.
STEP 3: Create a Profile
Next, go to this section and create your personal profile. You need to have this in order to make payment and schedule your interview appointment.
STEP 4: Payment of Visa Fee
You are required to pay a non-refundable and non-transferrable visa fee after you have submitted your DS-160 Form. Log into your Profile account and select “Fee Payment” from the Dashboard and complete the payment. Do note that it’s non-refundable… you won’t get your money back even if your application is rejected. Presently, it’s RM640 (US$160) and it can be easily paid via online bank transfer and even the online platform called “JomPay”! Now, how easy and convenient is that?! Thank goodness they have now included these flexible payment channels. It used to be very restrictive ( payments could only be made via bank draft or cash bank-in in just a few selected banks!). Full instructions on Payment can be found here.
I paid using the online bank transfer option. Once the payment has cleared (usually 1 working day, for local banks), you will get an email the next day giving you your UID (Unique Identification) number, aka “MRV Receipt No.” You can also see this number when you log into your Profile account.
STEP 5: Schedule Interview Appointment
Once you have your UID/MRV Receipt No., you can schedule your interview appointment via your Profile account. The first available appointment will be highlighted and you can also choose your preferred date/time after that stated “first available” date.
***My advice is: please choose a time slot after 10.00am and try not to select Monday or Friday. I’ll explain below.
Once you have scheduled your interview appointment, you will receive an email for “Appointment Confirmation” with full instructions on what to prepare/bring along for the interview. Print out a hardcopy of this Appointment Confirmation to bring along when you go for the interview.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE INTERVIEW?
Now this is one part of the process which is NOT mentioned or elaborated in their website. So, from my recent personal experience, I’m sure these notes will be useful. Here’s the step-by-step procedure when you go for your interview:
- The early morning appointments (between 8.00-10.00am) will see the biggest crowd at the US Embassy in Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. Why? It’s because most Malaysians have this perception on “go queue up as early as possible to get the earliest queue number so that can finish and go home soonest!” This does NOT work here.
The crowd is mainly caused by people whose appointments are much later, yet they go there as early as possible, based on the above perception. There is NO necessity for this. In fact, there will be a delay in calling out the batches. My appointment time was 8.30am and this slot was only called at about 9.15am!
There’s shade and benches at the area where you queue up
- You should arrive at the Embassy, at the most, 15 minutes before your appointment time. There is a reason why a time is given for your appointment. When you arrive at the entrance of the US Embassy, wait for the guard on-duty to call out the time slots. He will do this at intervals for the batches of applicants, eg he will announce “8.30am appointment, please come forward!” Once you hear your time slot called, make your way to the FRONT to queue up (there’ll probably be about 10-12 people per time slot) in front of a window where you have to show your passport and Interview Appointment Confirmation.
Once those have been checked, a sticker printed with your personal information will be stuck to the back of your passport. (see, they will be expecting you & this sticker has been prepared in advance!)
You will have to provide your Identity Card (which will be returned when you exit later) to get a Consulate Visitor Card to enter the embassy. Display this card prominently on your shirt/clothing (chest area).
- Next, queue up at the front, next to the entrance door. Don’t worry, the guards will tell you exactly where to queue. Once you enter, you will go through a security check and scan, just like at the airport. You need to remove your belt/shoes/keys/any metallic stuff and pass through the scanner.
- There’s a counter right after the security check for you to record and surrender your mobile devices eg handphones, tablets etc. You will be given a number disc to claim your item later when you exit – keep this securely.
- Yay – finally you get to enter the embassy building. Walk up the steps, enter through the glass doors and go through another security check. Yes, the 2nd check and scan! The Americans don’t take any chances, for sure.
- After the security check, turn LEFT and go to a counter where your passport will be checked and you will be given a Queue Number for your interview. The interview cubicles are also located here. You will then be instructed (there are guards and embassy staff there to guide you) to go across to the Waiting Room and wait for your number to be called. The Waiting Room is really comfortable with lots of seats, reading materials and TVs to keep you occupied. The washrooms are also located here.
- I waited about 15 minutes here and the guard came over to call out the Interview Queue Numbers, in batches. As my number was 107, I joined the group of applicants with no.100-110. We were then ushered back to the interviews section (the area where you got your queue numbers).
- Here you will be instructed to queue up in a cordoned zigzag line and wait for the first available officer in the cubicles to interview you. The doors of the cubicles are actually kept open and you can hear what’s being asked in there!
- What kind of questions are asked at the interview? Well, the first question asked will be “Why are you going to the US?” This will be followed by standard questions (well, I got asked these) like “Have you ever been to the US before?”, “Do you have any relatives in the US?”, “Which countries have you travelled to recently?”
** Be consistent in your answers based on what you have filled up in the DS-160 Form.
** Answer every question truthfully. Don’t underestimate the US Intelligence – they would have done their background checks, thoroughly.
** My belief is that the decision on whether your application is successful or not has already been made based on the information provided in your DS-160 Form and their background checks. I think the interview is just part of the procedure and not really the deciding factor, unless you present conflicting information at that point.
- You will be informed on-the-spot whether your application is successful or not. If successful, they will keep your passport to incorporate the visa and your passport will be returned to you after 1 working day. You can choose to have it couriered back to you or collected at their courier agent’s office in Petaling Jaya.
My interview was quick & easy – I was asked just about 4-5 questions and at the end of the 2-minute (probably less) interview, I was informed that my visa application was successful and the officer wished me “Welcome to the US & hope you enjoy your visit there!”
On my way out, I collected my mobile phone and NRIC at the gate. The time then was just after 10.00am and I noted that there was hardly any crowd at the main entrance by then. Hence, my advice to choose an interview slot after 10am. Mondays and Fridays are usually busier, generally speaking and if you can help it, try not to go during school holidays!
So, there you go, the whole process is not as daunting as many thought so. I’m told that every year, tens of thousands of Malaysians apply for non-immigrant visas to visit the US and 96% of these applicants are granted a visa.
Alice Yong says
Phew! That’s a lot of useful info you shared. Thanks for that.
Thank you for the detailed explanation and photos.
You are welcome, Kim – hope you get your visa!
Your guide is accurate. Good job. Having being thru the process, I will have to say that your ds160 application contains critical info that they will use to conduct background checks. Interview is a formality to reconfirm it. So be truthful in your ds160.
Thanks, David. Yes, I agree – have to be truthful and consistent in everything submitted.
hi, i would like to know if any experience for my case. i went for interview on 28th July but the interviewer asked few basic questions and ended up didn’t mention it approved it or not. just saying ” have a good day” and they keep it my passport without further asking supporting document. i was so worried to know whether my visa is approved or not. then i checked online, my application is still under “administrative processing”.
how can we know whether our application of visa is denied?
Hi Shah, your interview was only last Friday – I think you would be able to know the outcome latest by tomorrow. Easiest thing would have been to ask the officer, at the end of your interview, whether your application was approved – they would have told you on-the-spot. What was your option to have your passport returned? It would have to be either have the courier company deliver to you or you pick up from the courier office. Perhaps you can already check with the courier company tomorrow whether they have your passport?
appreciated your prompt reply on this. i just checked this morning that my status have been changed to “ISSUED”.my collection option was pick up at courier office Aramex PJ.What is meant by “ISSUED”. Is my visa application approved? sorry for bothering you again.
i will check with courier office whether they have my passport.
I would view “Issued” optimistically and take it that your visa has been issued. I mean, if your application is not successful, it’s more likely that “declined” or “rejected” would be the status! Yes, do check with Aramex – they should have your passport latest by tomorrow as the US Embassy rarely takes longer than 3 days to process.
i have found a full term for ‘ISSUED” same as you informed.
“You visa was granted and is currently in the state of final processing. If you do not receive your visa within 10 working days please contact the consulate in charge to ask about your visa”
Thank you so much for help. and have a good day 🙂
Lim Chiu Yin says
Hi Pureglutton, I heard somebody was mentioned US visa must apply before 3 months we visit to US.Is that true? I have to go for business trip end of September, if 3 months needed I may have chance to miss my schedule. How long needed for the whole process from attended the interview till you got the passport with VISA approved.
Hi Lim, from my experience it took less than a month to get the visa. I submitted my online application on 24 May, scheduled the interview and my visa was granted on 14 June. They are pretty efficient these days 🙂 unless you choose a particularly busy time to apply. Good luck in your application!
Hello Pureglutton, I would like to ask u a matter pertaining to the US visa payment. Is it necessary for me to submit my DS-160 form first and only can make the payment online? For your information I have not submitted the form yet and plan to make the payment first, but I found no info through the dashboard ( I’ve created a profile) that allows me to make payment.
Hi Chai, if you have read my post thoroughly, you would know that you definitely MUST submit your DS-160 form before you can make payment. Please read Steps 1-5 in my post. If you have not submitted the DS-160, of course there won’t be any information on your profile for anything!
Seema Dass says
Dear, I m Anthony from Malaysia, would like to know how much money I suppose to have in oeder to pass my american visa. I failed in my first interview cause of insufficient amount. Pls email asap. Thank you
I really can’t answer this question as I don’t know how much is sufficient for them and there are many other factors that add up for the success of getting the visa (besides the money). If the reason for the failure was due to insufficient funds, it’s best that you ask them directly how much would be sufficient, for your case.
Susan Chan says
Hi! Pureglutton, thank you for your US Visa information. You done a great Job for us. Well, what’s documents do they ask? bank account and assets? What else they ask?
Hopefully i can get my us visa. I already brought my flight tiket without visa to hawaii as a promotion rate.
Actually, it’s advisable to get the US visa before buying the airticket. If you do not have regular income from employment or a business, I guess they would want to see some documentary proof that you can finance your trip.
Hi. Would like to know whether DS-160 and the interview requires us to produce our bank statement? And also, would it be better if I could get a friend to write me an invitation letter?
I didn’t need to show any documents when I applied for the visa. It all depends on whether you are gainfully employed or have a sustainable business & income – the financing of the trip is important. So if you do have documents to prove this, it would be helpful to bring along. As for the invitation letter, I’m not so sure whether a private leisure visit needs that. I didn’t have one.
at the end of DS 160 form. it says “YOU MUST BRING the confirmation page and the following document(s) with you at all steps during the application process: Passport; Recent Photograph; 50mm x 50mm (2 in. x 2 in.), full face against a white background”
i have submitted the digital copy during DS-160, is it mean i need to print out the same photo in paper photo to bring to the interview?
Yes, please follow the instructions and bring along all the required items to the interview.
I noticed when filling in DS-160 there was no requirement for supporting documents eg. on trip itinerary, evidences of receipts, savings, etc.
As I only work part time I’m concerned my payslips will not be impressive, even though I’m going on an all inclusive (air fares, accomaodation and food) pre paid tour package. Can I insist on showing them my return flight tickets, tour package and my bank account savings? Any suggestions?
I believe that once you have submitted an application, they will do all the necessary background checks, including your financial standings. Yes you can bring along any financial documentary proof you wish but I doubt if you can “insist” they see them if they don’t wish to! No harm in bringing along your tour confirmation documents to show them – it’s really their prerogative to view them or not as granting of visa depends on many factors. Good luck in your application!
I am grant US Visa year 1995 and has visited US for business trip. 2013 Secondly apply US Visa is rejected and they issued Yellow paper under Section 214(b) is a provision of law found in the Immigration and Nationality Act and provides that a nonimmigrant visa applicant is presumed to be an immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer.
Do I have 3rd chance to get US visa?
Hi Fadzy, I’m sorry, I really can’t comment on this. It’s really up to the Consular Officer (US Embassy).
Hi , I wld like to ask… My parents plan to go US attend my sis convo. But, My parents can’t speak English at all … Wld it cause any problem during the interview and how to go abt it? Any translator there to help up? Thanks
That’s not a problem – your parents can bring you (or anyone else) in as translator 🙂
Hi, I have read the info from USA visa application there. Why they mentioned need to pay first then only to complete the DS160 form? (Step)Confused… ????
Please read the procedures in my post – many have followed those and didn’t have any problem.
Ann Chuan says
On the last page of the form “Sign and Submit”, after pressing the button sign, a message box appears with heading “Human Trafficking Prevention” and in it states that “Your application indicates that you are applying for an employment or education based visa…..” but then I am applying for a B1-B2 visitor visa with no intention of seeking employment or education. Is there any concerns?
It also mentions the reading of the “William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 Pamphlet. Do I just tick the box?
I’m sorry but I didn’t get that response so I can’t comment. Please check the procedures again – maybe at some point, you clicked on something different.
I need ur advice.
My interview was last Tuesday and I was refused visa.
My intended date of arrival is 10th April. The event I am going for is 14th & 15th April.
Is it possible I get another appointment begore 10th April?
What is the possible earliest date?
Am really desperate.
I’m sorry I can’t help you on this – I don’t work in the Embassy. Do you know why your application was rejected? If you are going to re-apply based on the same reasons/information, do you think the outcome will be any different?
Thank you very much, it is really helpful info. Appreciate.
You are most welcome! Glad that it helped 🙂
Abdoulie Darboe says
ist difficult for African who are in Malaysia here to get American visa
Not sure about that as I wrote from my experience as a Malaysian.
Hi pureglutton, thank you for the guide. I intend to apply for the visa before purchasing the flight ticket. Will they need to know where I will be heading to, which hotel I will be staying etc? Do they need me to show the flight ticket? I won’t be able to plan all that until I get my Visa. So just need to know if they asked for the above details when you applied. Thanks pureglutton.
From my personal experience, I was not asked which hotel I’d be staying nor to show any airticket. They didn’t even ask which cities I was heading but merely asked the purpose of the trip (which was “vacation” for me). That was my experience and I can’t vouch if this applies to everyone. If they grant you the visa, it really doesn’t matter which city you are going – you can go anywhere in the US! Just be truthful in your application – that’s the best advice I can offer. Good luck!
That’s most helpful, pureglutton. Many thanks 🙂
I just got back from the embassy. My interview experience was also a super smooth sailing like yours. Thanks so much for your sharing!
That’s great to know, Fara! Have a good trip to the US 🙂
Hi pureglutton, thank you for the guide. I’m planning to get a US visa. i have a question. so, from the day you scheduled your appointment to the day of the appointment itself, how early could you get an appointment? was it within a couple of days or weeks?
I can’t really answer that because the scheduling is done by the US Embassy. My personal experience was the first available appointment was about 10 days ahead.
Hello! I’ve lost my MRV receipt and was just wondering if it was a required document for the interview. Thanks!
I don’t think that was required at the interview (from my experience).
Hi ! Can I know how long it take for them to return your passport with Visa ? Did you choose delivery option or pick up option ? Thanks !
I have mentioned this in my post – please read.
Noted that you have been asked this question “Which countries have you travelled to recently? in the interview. Do you know why or reason for this question? Possible related to immunization required to enter US after visited some countries especially in Africa.
I really do not know the reasons behind questions posed by the Embassy personnel during the interview! Maybe you’d like to ask them when you are there.
Hi, how long it takes to receive your US visa after successful interview?
Hello, it’s stated in my post – please read it thoroughly.
Low Pooi Hoon says
I wish to find out whether we can schedule the interview few months later after we obtained the visa online approval? Is there a tineline when we should schedule the interview?
Hi Low, I didn’t know you can get “Visa Online Approval” without the interview? In my experience, visa approval is only given after the interview. If you meant visa online “application”, it makes better sense. I think you need to schedule the interview as soon as possible because people usually want to get their visas soonest!
Hi, your post is very helpful. I’m a foreigner and currently working in a University as Lecturer in Malaysia. Recently, I got a job offer from the USA. Can I apply for US VISA from here? If yes, then how will I pay fees for 4 visa applications (me and 3 dependents)? Thanks
Hi, I’m sorry I can’t comment for non-Malaysians. It’s best you check with the Embassy.
Noor Mastura Mohd Mujar says
Hi, I have done my interview on 21st Sept. After 2 days, I was informed that my visa application need further verification. I check online and was stated as under administrative processing. Is anyone having similar case as mine? How long you need to wait after interview? Today is the 11th day post-interview and I need to fly on 11 Oct.
Hi, I was in the same boat as you. I have done the interview on 26st Sept and my status still under admin processing until today. May I know did you received your visa yet?
Oh yes, I have got my visa 🙂
Kathy Tan says
I just went for Visa interview this morning. My appointment was 9am. I am staying at Kota Kemuning and I departed from my house at 7am. But I only able to reach there at 8.50am due to traffic congestion…I almost late. But thank God we still manage to make it. The interview process is quite simple and smooth.
Good for you – hope you got your visa!
SC Chan says
Hi pureglutton, I’ve scheduled my interview with my teenage daughter next week. I intend to bring along some supporting documents, will photocopy do? Any idea if I have to bring along original as well? Thank you, pureglutton.
To be safe, bring the originals.
Hi PUREGLUTTON thanks a lot for the useful and accurate information into applying for US visa. I’ve a sister who lived there more than 10 years now and I plan to visit her there. Do u suggest me to tell the embassy people that I have a sis there coz some of my friends told me that if u have a relatives or friends there they might not grant u a visa coz they might think that u will overstay there.
I have a stable income and salary with house and car as well. I am also worry that single lady is a bit difficult to get the US visa.
I think it is best to answer honestly for any questions asked. Always tell the truth for questions asked. If they don’t ask, then you don’t have to volunteer the info. They would have done all the necessary background checks, never underestimate their intelligence sources.
Hi, I will assist my mom to apply Visa Application. Do you know create Profile should be under my email/name or my mum? My mum do not speak english, can i go into Embassy with her?
I think it’s best to create the profile using your mom’s information – after all, it is HER visa. Yes, you can accompany your mom to the Embassy as translator.