Most Malaysians know this: to visit the United States, you need to apply for a tourist visa. Each application takes time to fill up lengthy forms as well as queuing up at the US Embassy in Malaysia.
However, in 18 months, that will soon change: Malaysians may not need a visa to visit the US.
According to The Malay Mail Online, the Malaysian Immigration Department is working to upgrade its systems to comply with US guidelines. Once complete, Malaysia will be the 38th country where its citizens would not need to apply for a tourist visa to the US for visits 90 days or less, shared Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
During President Barack Obama’s official visit in April, Malaysia expressed interest in joining the Visa Waiver Programme and Obama agreed to consider Malaysia’s request.
“During President Obama’s visit recently, he estimated that the process would take a year-and-a-half but we are confident with the current system at the Immigration Department here, we will only need to upgrade a couple of things and we are confident we can implement it within a shorter amount of time,” the minister added.
Ng Mei Mei, 50, lauded the move by the Government as she was put off by the visa application process when she went through it last year.
“I waited in the rain to get inside the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur as there was no shade and we could not bring our handphones inside,” said the general manager to The Star, who has a son pursuing a double degree in Pennsylvania.