The trouble with US Visa

Recently, I helped my aunt to apply for a tourist visa to US for Malaysian. Very broadly, the steps are:

(1) Apply online.

(2) Pay visa at Standard Chartered

(3) Make appointment for interview

(4) Collect visa

Sounds simple, right? Not at all lol.

Here are the troublesome spots:

(1) Not only do you need a computer connected to decent internet speed, you need a scanner (to upload photo) and a printer (to print out confirmation). Maybeeeeeee it's ok to assume that everyone has a computer and internet access but a printer? A scanner? It's ridiculous to buy them just for this purpose, isn't it?

(2) They do not tell you in advance all the details needed. Sure, the usual "get ready your passport" etc were there but how about the address of where you're staying in US? The phone number? Details such as the visa number of your previous visa and when were your last 5 visits to US? Fortunately, and for this I give them plenty of kudos, you can save the application halfway and continue later.

Here's an interesting nugget of information I found out recently: once given, the visa allows you to arrive at any US port of entry but whether you get into US after that is entirely up to the immigration officer there. So, in theory, you could be armed with a 10-year visa, bought a return ticket to, say, Los Angeles, arrived at Los Angeles airport and then denied entry by an immigration officer there. What a way to while your time away, eh? However, on hindsight, this discretionary power is rational and necessary but nevertheless it's a scary thought, isn't it?

Here's another one: the visa granted does not tell you for how long you can stay in US. No information whatsoever. Again, it's up to...yup, the immigration officer to determine. You could jolly well have planned a 5-month stay but the officer could give you just 3-month. Too bad, huh? Fortunately in this case, there is some sort of guidance gathered from various sources online.
6 Responses
  1. JokerPJ Says:

    Can use a DSLR or even a smartphone camera instead of a scanner.

    Their visa last for 10 years while our own malaysian passport last for only 5 and cost a bomb. Most country last up to 10 years. who is more idiotic... herm...

  2. Piko-chan Says:

    That's why I never even thought of going to US for vacation, unless it is work related which all these craps are handled by the company relevant department.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Yeah, I've heard about all the hassle people have to go thru' to get a US visa. Cousins I know got denied because the interviewer said they expressed no enthusiasm whatsoever about going to the US. It was their brother in US who wanted them to visit. Their application fees went down the drain. sr

  4. Jaded Jeremy Says:

    Errr my aunty's previous visa in 2005 lasted only for like 1 or 2 years only. That's why she has to reapply.

    You still need to physically go to embassy for interview, don't you?


  5. William Says:

    When KH and I entered UK, they chided us for not having the address where would be staying on hand. Took a while to dig it out from the luggage.

  6. Jaded Jeremy Says:

    I presumed it's not something you were notified in advance? I always keep a copy of my sis's address in OZ because it's required to fill in their arrival card form.