It looks like our hope of getting visa-free travel to the United States is not going to happen anytime soon, contrary to popular belief that it may be happening this year. Aww, man!
There were rumours last year that when Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak went on a working visit to the United States, one of the topics of interest would be pushing for Malaysia to enter the visa waiver program (VWP). PM Najib has actually been trying to gain visa-free travel since the Obama administration but to date, it has still not been approved.
According to MMO, US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdir said that the US is not planning on increasing the number of new countries in the VWP in the short term. Previously, it was reported that Malaysia was close to achieving visa-free status as we had met six of the seven requirements but we could not pass the last requirement as we are unable to fill up the visa application forms properly.
The embassy said that they were working on several other factors and issues such as border control and passport security. Lakhdir said that the US would continue to work together with Malaysia and said, “We will continue to work with Malaysia, particularly the Home Affairs Ministry and Immigration, but, for the moment, we are not adding new countries (to the VWP).”
Malaysians who were looking forward to entering the US without a visa and stay for a maximum of 90 days for tourism or business will have to continue applying for visas, but don’t worry, because Lakhdir said that it is actually very easy for Malaysians to obtain one.
She said, “I would like to tell Malaysians that if you apply for a student visa to the US, your chances of getting a visa are 99 per cent (according to last year’s statistics), and for travel and official purposes, the chances are 97 per cent.”
She was visiting the American Corner at the Kedah State Library on January 17 and said that this year, Kedah would have 12 teachers under the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Programme, which would guide local English teachers. The programme would see a total of 100 participants, who would be assigned to secondary schools in nine states to assist local English teachers.
Guess we’ll just have to continue applying for visas in the meantime! But at least we get to visit Morocco without a visa!
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