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Envoy: Easy for M'sians to get visa to travel to the US
Published on: Thursday, January 18, 2018

Alor Setar: It is actually easy for Malaysians to get a visa to travel to the United States, said US Ambassador to Malaysia Kamala Shirin Lakhdir, adding that it was the general perception among Malaysians that it was complicated and hard to obtain one.

She said that if Malaysians were interested to travel to or study in the United States, the obstacle was not the visa usually.

"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 said.

Kamala spoke to reporters after visiting the American Corner at the Kedah State Library here Wednesday.

She also said that the Embassy of the United States in Kuala Lumpur would continue to work with the Malaysian government to get Malaysia listed in the United States Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) although the US would not increase the number of VWP new countries in the short term.

She said the embassy was working closely on several factors and issues such as border and passport security.

"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)," she said.

Malaysia expressed its desire to get listed in the US VWP during the talks between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the then US President Barack Obama when the latter visited Malaysia in April 2014.

The programme will enable Malaysians to enter and stay in the United States without a visa for a maximum of 90 days for tourism or business.

Currently, citizens of 38 countries and territories are eligible for visa-free entry into the United States under the VWP.

Kamala also said that this year Kedah would receive 12 teachers under the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Programme to guide local English teachers while serving as cultural ambassadors for the US and improving the English language ability of Malaysian students.

She said they were among 100 American participants of this year's ETA Programme and would begin their 10-month assignment to assist Malaysian English teachers at secondary schools in nine states at the end of this month.

The ETA is a bilateral programme administered by the Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange (MACEE) and the Malaysian Education Ministry and supported by the Embassy of the United States.

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