Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Visa Interview Experience at US Embassy Malaysia

Assalamualaikum and Hello people :D

Yesterday I went for my visa interview at US Embassy Malaysia, located in Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.

First thing first, what must you bring?
  1. Appointment Confirmation Letter 
  2. IC / Driving License (preferably IC)
  3. Passport
  4. I-20 Form
  5. DS160 Confirmation Page
  6. Visa Fee Receipt (that contains your Unique ID)
  7. SEVIS Fee Confirmation Page
  8. SEVIS Fee Receipt
  9. Financial Statement/ Affidavit
  10. Offer letter from the university
  11. One passport-sized photo (Bring two photos at least, just to be on the safe side).  

P/s: DO NOT staple all the forms together. Let the person in-charge at the counter check your documents one by one. You don't want to annoy him/ her right?

I actually had picked a wrong day for my interview. My dad turned out to have class on that morning (he's a lecturer), so he couldn't drive all the way to the embassy. And I, for a minute, had forgotten that my sister hadn't finished her EdExcel A-Level Exam yet, and my dad had to send her to college too. So, I had to take a cab (or train) to go there, but it didn't really matter because my mom was there to accompany me. My dad sent us off at KL Sentral and we took a cab from there to the embassy which cost us about 14 Ringgit. Oh for those who are travelling by car, keep in mind that no parking lots are provided by the embassy. Though there is a parking area nearby, you still need to walk because it's quite far. And I'm not fond of walking. So taxi is the best transportation medium. If you want to walk from nearby train station, it will take you about 10 minutes. Still one of the best options available, but just don't wear high heels. Haha.

I arrived at exactly 6.59 am -- the sky was still dark blue and the traffics were still fine although more cars had started filling up the roads.

American Embassy from far.
Taken from Google Images.
American Embassy, Malaysia.

 And... I thought that I was the first one to arrive. To my surprise, many had already lined up, which were all Chinese.

So... "What's wrong with the Chinese?", some of you might ask.
There's nothing wrong lah, but what I want to imply here is that I always and definitely will see more Chinese wherever I go for things like this (meetings, formal events). Malay? None of them or perhaps one or two, so to speak. Seriously, early bird catches worms (this is my favorite quote actually. You'll see me using this sentence repeatedly in this blog). If you arrive early, you can settle down, check your documents, relax, get treated/ served early and finish real fast. There are absolutely no disadvantages of going early. By going early, I don't mean like, if your appointment is at 11 am you gotta arrive by 7 am. That's absurd. Just arrive 30-20 minutes before your appointment and you'll be fine.

Okay, back to business.
I quickly walked to those people and lined up at the back end of the line. I was the 10th, I think. Well, it wasn't really a straight line as no one stood up. We all just sat on the benches provided outside the embassy which were installed in one straight row, so it would still look like one straight line but with people sitting down instead of standing up. Around 7.20 am, the Indian male guard walked towards us and summoned those whom appointment time was 7.40 am to line up. My appointment time was 8.20 am, so I sat still. So, those whom had already booked 7.40 am appointment went to get their visitor pass to enter the building. Basically, you will need your IC and appointment confirmation letter to get your visitor pass. The person in-charge at the counter will keep your IC until you are done with the interview and return the pass to him. He will also check your name on the list and tick it off. The appointment sequences are 7.40 am, 8.20 am, 8.50 am and so on. Those who chose for 8.20 am appointment were called at around 7.40 am and I am so happy to be the first person for that slot :) Feels like my bangun-awal-pagi effort had paid off.

After getting our visitor pass, we were required to line up again, this time to enter the building. If you arrive late, you will notice that there are two lines. The lines are next to each other, but the outer one (close to the benches) is for registration and obtaining the visitor pass. The other line, lying next to the building entrance, is for those who have obtained the visitor pass and are waiting to enter the building.

We were lining up for the security check. The guards would let two persons each time to enter the building and undergo body scan and bag screening. I don't know if this is true or not, but some of the blogs that I read prior to attending the interview mentioned that if you happen to bring a water bottle, you need to drink it in front of the guard. Security procedure. All electronics items are to be left inside the locker. It is safe, insyaAllah :) Like for me, I left all electronics items (including my handbag) with my mother since she was waiting outside. I just carried along my purse and the file that contains all the documents required. The guard was looking for my bag and any electronics items, so I said I left it with my mother. And she said, "Oh, that's good". She was kind. Actually, everyone working there was pretty kind and friendly.

After that, I walked through another door and was stunned by the building. Hehe, serious cantik!

Taken from Google Images.
I couldn't see anything from the outside. After I finally entered the building, another guard told me to take a ticket number from the machine to my left. Press button A, as you are applying for Non-Immigrant Visa (F1 type). Actually, this one no need to tell also... Common sense what.

I was told to wait in the waiting room which was to my right. To my left, next to the machine, was where all the counters were located. Actually, seats are provided at the counter room too, but usually the seats are occupied and apparently, they (the embassy) don't like people to stand, that's why you need to go to the waiting room. But if you come early and there's an empty seat, go help yourself to the seat. Wait for your ticket number to be called. In the meantime, keep calm and take a deep breath. Muahaha.

Okay, I know this is getting boring. And I, too, am tired of typing. So, let's make it short and compact.

I was called three times to the counter. Well, everyone did.

1. Submission of the documents.
- It's either Counter 1 or Counter 2.
- He asked for my interview confirmation page and I-20 form. I took them out from the file.
- He asked me to sign and write my name at the bottom of the I-20 Form (There's a section for our signature).
- One question asked, "Have you been to the States before?". I was like, "Noooo, never". Very childish.
- Actually, I put all my documents in a file folder with clear protective sheets. Heck, I don't know how to describe the file. LOL. Umm, this kind of file? --->

Taken from Google Images.
He asked me, "May I have the passport, SEVIS Confirmation page, DS........".
Before he finished his sentence, I opened my file because I wanted to take the forms out.
So he said, "Oh. Everything's in there? Great. Just hand me the file".
I think it's because it's easier for him to select which ones of the documents are actually necessary and required by the embassy.
- The American guy took all the important ones, to check & key in the details, I suppose.
- Then, he asked me to wait till my number was called for the second time.

2. Fingers Scanning / Fingerprints Scanning.
- It was the counter next to counter 2, but they improved the counter by making it look like a small telephone booth, like a small guard house with a door.
- I was asked to scan all ten of my fingers. Two thumbs, four left-hand fingers and four right-hand fingers.
- Then, she asked me to wait for the third call.
- Finger scanning at Counter 3 or Counter 4.

3. Interview session
- Don't expect the interview session to be a nice, usual kind of interview lah. Haha. You are only going to stand through out the interview. Plus, it's only a short interview. About two to three minutes.
- Interview session at Counter 5 or Counter 6.
- Questions asked by the man to me:
  • Which university are you going to?
  • How long are you gonna be there?
  • Who's going to pay for your tuition fees? He then asked for the financial affidavit from my sponsor.
  • Do you have any bond with your sponsor to work with them later?
- Then, he said, "Okay. You're doing fine. You visa will be approved". I quickly said, "Oh thank you so much! Have a nice day". I smiled.
- He will return back everything (I-20 form, etc) that the person in-charge at Counter 1 or 2 took from you before, except confirmation pages for both SEVIS registration and DS160 form.

By 8.30 am, I was done! Yahoo, Alhamdulillah. I went out, returned the visitor pass and claimed my IC back. And there were nearly 100 people lining up outside to attend the visa interview. Everyone was standing :( It was so hot.. And so tiring.. So choose for earlier slot and make sure to arrive there 20 minutes earlier!

Here's the map to the US Embassy in case you needed one :)

Taken from Google Images.

I met Wan Ling, Syn Yee, Nirmessh at the embassy.
And met Amirah at KL Sentral. And saw Ryan at KTM Subang Jaya. Haha, what a day!
***************************************************************

P/s: I realize that I often write a long, dull blog post. Don't blame me, my writing is bad, I know. 
Actually, I often describe things in details because I like to observe things that happen around me -- and fortunate enough, I always remember what I have seen. Another reason is to avoid you guys from asking me the same questions repeatedly. Haha :P

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask if you have any inquiries :)
In the middle of applying to US university? Click here for the complete checklist of what to do, what to bring and whatnots! :P

Regards,
MizaFirzana Basir

42 comments:

  1. Hi Miza. Thanks for the info. It certainly sheds some light and lift some worry brows off some of us who are are intending to apply for visa to visit the states. thanks for the post. i find it very helpful. at least i know what to expect later on. anyway, all the best for your studies ! if all goes through, i should be taking my daughter with me ! :) thanks and have a nice day !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello MissJewelz :)

      Glad I could help! And thank you for the do'a. I appreciate it.

      -Miza

      Delete
  2. thanks a lot :)

    I went for a visitor B1/B2 visa application before but am still anxious for my upcoming student visa application.

    Ur post assured me a lot that I'm well-prepared ^^V

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi may I know how you waited after the interview before you got your passport/ visa returned?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Usually, they will process your visa for 2 to 3 days after the day you had your interview. Like for my visa, it was approved on the next day. I was surprised too! But yeah. Sometimes, they may take a longer time. So I would advice you not to book any flight first before it is confirmed that your visa is approved. :)

      You can choose whether to let them deliver your passport to your house, or to pick your passport yourself (the latter was what I did)

      Delete
  4. Hi there! I've got a question.. Would the financial affidavit be the Financial Form when obtaining the I-20?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for the very LATE reply.
      Talking from the perspective of a student: I20 is the form you receive from your university once you have agreed to further your study in that particular university. you can only apply for your visa if you have the I-20 form..

      P/s: I am not quite sure with what you meant by Financial Form when obtaining I-20 though. i dont think you need any financial form to obtain I-20. But you DO need financial form when applying to a university.

      Delete
  5. Hi..May I know how long it takes you to collect the passport from the day of the interview?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Miza,

    Thank you for your blogs ! I am currently in San Francisco on O3 visa and I will be returning to Malaysia on January 2014 to apply for F1 visa. How did you answer for the question "how long will you be staying there ? " Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. Glad that it has helped a lot of Malaysians trying to get US visa.

      Umm, personally it took me and my friends only two to three days to get our visa approved and returned to us. I am not sure about your case though coz you've been staying in US before. I think it would be better if you try to call the us embassy in malaysia and ask about that. :) Sorry couldnt help much!

      Miza

      Delete
  7. Hi, I have to bring my laptop to the embassy cos I've to go to office after that. Can I keep my laptop iin the locker? Is it big enough to fit it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello.
      Yup, you can! Hmm in fact, you have to leave all electronics stuff there, before going in.

      Delete
  8. Assalaamu Alaikkum Miza,
    Thanks for sharing ur interview experience. I have a question related filling the names in DS 160.My wife is holding a Malaysian passport and there is no Given name,Surname sepeartion in the Malaysian passport naming convention.Its like X BINTI Father's name.Can you please guide me how we need to fill the given name and Surname in this case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Waalaikumsalam. I am not so sure what you actually meant, but this is how I filled in the form.

      First name: X
      Middle Name: -
      Last Name: Father's name

      1) I didn't put BINTI as part of my main name into the application form.
      2) Usually, there will be another question asking about 'other' name that you're known by, right after that. So I included the 'BINTI' here ==> "X BINTI Father's name". Because in Malaysia, this is how I am known as.

      Basically, it doesn't matter if you have BINTI or not in your visa. If you want to maintain that name, please do so. It's just that it will be difficult for people to know which one is your actual name because they might think BINTI is your middle name or something. So yeah.

      Delete
    2. Hi Miza,

      I've been worrying myself over this bin/binti stuff as I didn't put that in my DS-160. I've called up the embassy and the person said I should include everything as what's written in my passport. The thing is, I don't think the person understands my bin/binti concern. And you're the second proof I've read over the net that bin/binti is not necessary, giving me some kind of relief. I hope my interview will go smoothly.

      Delete
    3. Hello. Glad you mentioned about this again. Here's some more explanations:

      Although I purposely did not put BINTI in my DS160 form, the US embassy still included BINTI on my visa. Which is frustrating because I do not have BINTI in my I-20 (I-20 is kinda like an official letter as a proof of admittance to my university, and this is part of the forms that we need to bring to the visa interview). So I always have trouble now whenever I'm applying for something that requires all sorts of personal identification, like applying for credit cards, driving license etc. So although my name on my US visa and passport match, it does not match with the I-20 and I-94. It's not a big matter, it's just that I have to explain how BINTI is commonly used in Malaysia among the Muslims and it is not part of my name (and sometimes I'd just say that BINTI is my middle name haha)

      So, what I would recommend to all you Muslims Malaysians, if you have BINTI in your passport, just make sure that you use BINTI in all of your applications.

      And as a guideline, BINTI is NOT your family name nor your last name.
      It should be like this:
      First name: X
      Middle Name: BINTI
      Last Name/Family Name: Father's name

      And if you have more than one name, for example Siti Zaharah Binti Farouq (completely made this up), fill out your name as such:
      First name: Siti
      Middle Name: Zaharah BINTI
      Last Name/ Family Name: Farouq

      **** But if you already submitted all your forms, then you don't have to worry much. It won't matter much for the interview actually, because the officers at the US embassy kinda understands about this. The problem comes when you arrive in US as I have stated above. Hope this helps!

      Delete
    4. Hi. Just wanna ask.. for example my name is Siti Nurhaliza binti Mohd Amir. Is it ok if I fill out in the form as such:
      First name: Siti Nurhaliza
      Middle name: binti
      Last name: Mohd Amir

      Delete
  9. Hi, the payment need to be done through bank in at Standard Charted only?
    Is it possible to do Interbank Transfer (like for example from CIMBClicks to Standard Charted)?
    Thanks in advance!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not so sure about that. Standard Chartered has a specific form to fill up if you make payment at their bank. Anyhoo, try to check the website below, this might help you :)
      http://www.ustraveldocs.com/my/my-niv-visapay.html

      Delete
  10. Hi.. thanks for sharing the experience.. Can I know what are the difference between SEVIS Fee Receipt and SEVIS Fee Confirmation Page? How to get the SEVIS Fee Receipt? Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SEVIS Fee Receipt is like a big certificate, yellow in color, that will mail directly o your house as a proof that you had applied for it online before. It will be mailed to you and should reach you within two weeks. However, you can pay a certain amount (I think it was $30) if you want to get it within a week.

      You need the sevis fee proof for the visa interview. So, you can just print out the confirmation page if you still havent gotten your original receipt. The confirmation page is like the unofficial receipt, to say so.

      Delete
  11. Hi...need to know..how many days its take to schedule our visa appoinment?? Did we choose the date or they set the date for us??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello. I wrote about it here. Read the "Tenth Phase".
      http://mizafirzana.blogspot.com/2013/06/applying-us-universities-tips-checklists.html

      Delete
  12. Hi... I am going to study in the states next year and I am currently applying for my F1 visa. May I know where do you get the Financial Guarantee Form? I have filled one financial guarantee form before applying at my desired university.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi mizafirzana.! I am going on Friday,may i knw isit really no bags allowed??coz im goin alone:((

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hellooo :) Big bags (backpacks, handbags) and water aren't allowed after the security point. There will be a locker where you can put your belongings, but it can't be locked. I'm sure the guards are honest and kind and won't take anything la, but if you wanna play safe just bring a clear file folder where you can put your small, important belongings in it. Goodluck on your interview!! :)

      Delete
  14. Hi miza .AM GOING TO INTERVIEW in next week.But am afraid whether i will get visa or not .What are chances of getting f1 visa approved. I have 2 years experience in IT so will they accept and am from india working in malaysia

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi, what is the sponsor affidavit? Like a financial statement?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks mis Miza firzana... It's was so helpfull...U done a great job... Have a good day.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I just want to say that all the information you have given here is awesome. Thank you
    f1 student visa

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey thanks for sharing this informative blog, it seems very helpful i was looking for same kind of content about Malaysia Visa Fees

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for sharing, Miza, these are very useful informations, though I'm just going for backpack travel 😀

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Miza! How long did it take til your visa got approved?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Nice and interesting information and informative too. Can you pls let me know the good attraction places we can visit near Thailand. Please refer : Malaysia Visa Fees

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for sharing...they were so useful😊
    But i would like to ask about outfit of the day u went for the interview...Looking forward for your reply. 😁

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks for sharing all the details😊
    I would like to ask about your outfit of the day...Is it necessary to wear in formal? Like office lady?😯
    Looking forward for the reply😁

    ReplyDelete

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