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WASHINGTON, Sept 11— The inability to fill up visa application forms properly is the main reason why Malaysia has yet to qualify for the United States’ visa waiver programme.
“Malaysians just seem to be unable to fill the forms correctly. For the country to qualify for the programme, there must be no more than 3 per cent rejection of applications for visa.
“But the failure rate is still hovering between 3.4 per cent to 3.7 per cent and majority of the rejection is because the forms were not filled up correctly,” Malaysian Ambassador to the US Tan Sri Zulhasnan Rafique has said.
Zulhasnan said Malaysia has met all other conditions to be part of the programme “long ago” with exception to the rejection rate.
To date, Malaysia has fulfilled six out of the seven statutory requirements:
- No visa requirement imposed on US citizens travelling to Malaysia;
- Usage of e-passport as per International Civil Aviation Organisation specifications;
- Deportation of Malaysians who overstay in the US;
- Signing of the Homeland Security Presidential Directive No. 6 Arrangement;
- Signing the Preventing and Combating Serious Crime Agreement; and
- Exchange of information on Stolen and Lost Travel Documents.
Under the programme, Malaysians will be able to travel to the US for tourism, business or transit for up to 90 days without a visa.
US Ambassador Kamala Shirin Lakhdir had confirmed that Malaysia is just short of the approval rate required to qualify for the programme as it had a 96.7 p cent approval rate for US business (B1) and tourist (B2) visas.
Zulhasnan acknowledged that the forms were “a bit intimidating” and could be quite difficult to fill.
“I hope that Malaysia will qualify for the programme but Malaysians applying for US visas must play their part and be very careful.”
The US visas can only be applied digitally and comes in several parts including creating a personal profile, paying for the visa application, setting an appointment for the interview.
Applicants must go to http://www.ustraveldocs.com/my/ to start their application. They are advised to read every sentence of the application guide and to contact the helpline for further enquiries before submitting the form.