Why I Was Only Granted a One Time Entry United State (US) Visa

The beginning of the week, my brother and I went to the American Embassy located at Jalan Ampang to apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa. It was just a short 20 minutes drive from my house. I arrived in front of the American Embassy guard house at 8.30am since I’ve already booked an 8.50am appointment:

In Front of KL US Embassy
In Front of KL US Embassy
 

The booking was done online here and I’ve already prepared all the necessary documents. Among them were:

  • My Passport
  • Alliance Bank Pay Slip
  • The interview appointment letter
  • Filled DS-156 form
  • Filled DS-157 form
  • An official employers letter verifying my employment
  • My Itinerary
  • My event schedule

I had to hand over my handphone since they don’t allow handphone inside the Embassy. There were two metal detector door which everybody have to go through. Took a queue number and waited inside the waiting room.

The American Embassy Queue Number
My American Embassy Queue Number
 

The Mistake

Half an hour later, it was my turn and I surrendered all the filled documents only to find that my photograph were wrong. It had a blue background. The grumpy Indian lady then handed me a yellow slip and asked me to go out and take a new photograph that has a white background. It was my fault of not reading the instruction properly and entrusted the girl at the photo shop of the colour of the background since I thought she had done it before. What a waste of RM18 for that photograph.

I then walked half a kilometer to Ampang Park to get a new photograph with a white background. I discovered that different Visa application photo had different requirement when the shop asked me which country I’m applying for my visa. That place was expensive because I had to pay RM10 for just 2 pieces of photo. I should have gone for other shop but that’s the only shop I found which was opened at 9.30am and I am in hurry to get back to the Embassy before 10.30am. Because of this mistake, I had to take another queue number and was among the last to finish the interview.

The Interview

I lost track of the waiting time already, when my turn is up after gotten my fingerprints into their system, I was interviewed by an American lady. She asked about my company and why am I going to the US. I explained briefly about my company and the reason which was to attend a product update training, a business partner meeting and a conference. She then proceed and asked about my previous employment , my salary and my current job position. It was kind of lengthy (which my brother find odd since his interview was short) but of course I had to endure it.

She then told me the result of the interview, I was only granted a one time visit to the US. She elaborated on the reasons; it’s my first time going out of the country, I have to build more reputable career line (I guess she saw me as a job hopper) and I need to build more credibility on my profile. I almost argued with her but she said she could have refused my application but didn’t want to because she’s giving me a chance. I had to calm down after that because it would be difficult for me on my next application if my paperwork had some negative mark on it.

The validity period is only 6 months (it’s more than what my brother got last time-3 months) and once I stepped into the US, my visa will lose its validity.

The Disappointment

It was rather disappointing the fact that all my effort to get my passport done, getting my US Visa and all the additional hours of doing travelling research went pointless as there was a change of decision in my company’s management. I appreciated my boss for letting me know earlier that there was a slim chance of the travel trip would have to be revoked. However a part of me was also relieved I didn’t make it for the trip since I haven’t prepared anything for my luggage and all the additional spending I had to bare for the preparation of the trip in such short notice.

Anyway, I treat everything that has happened in my life as a good experience and it would always be treasured in this blog to share with everyone.

Can Enterprise Online Sales Demo Really Work?

I’m writing this post using my brand new upgraded WordPress 2.5 platform. I find it good enough although I do missed the big old dashboard that has all those big fonts. Anyway, last week Thursday night there was another webinar which I’ve forgotten that I’ve already signed up to attend it online. I just realized about it the last minute when I suddenly received a reminder e-mail just before the online webinar was about to start.

Since the webinar was organized by Citrix, the organizer had everybody attending to install their software in order for them to show their presentation slides. Unfortunately, the audio is only accessible by dialing a toll free US number. Again, I used Skype for this purpose. It was interesting despite living in Malaysia, I have the same facility as what my counterpart in the US have. I just love being online on the World Wide Web. Here’s a screenshot of my desktop setup. (For those of you who like to analyze what type of person I am, you can see what application I have on my desktop as well *wink*)-

Ashrufzz Desktop Preview
My Desktop Preview
 

I love how the Citrix online presentation flow was handled. I’ve been to a lot of presentation from my experience attending talks, seminars and webinars and normally I can spot which presentation can attract my interest. This one, eventhough I can’t see the speaker’s face, the presentation style is quite good plus there wasn’t so much of a hard selling effort. Here’s an interesting slide I’ve taken from my desktop screenshot while hearing to the webinar:

Citrix Online Webcast
Citrix Online Webcast
 

Last year in December, I attended an online presentation meeting with a Canada based company. They use Adobe Connect to perform their slideshows and again Skype as the main audio communicator. That was my first time I’ve ever experienced a one to one online sales presentation and it opened my eyes to a whole lot more the usability of the web. I recorded everything using Camtasia software for my keeping.

An interesting perspective here is, not everybody is exposed to this new technique of doing demo presentation live on the internet. It might be useful at some point but there is so many technical aspect to take care of, at least initially. Anyway, the future of doing web conferencing online looks quite promising and I do look forward paying attention to it very closely.

Getting My Passport in Under 4 Hours

As soon as I stepped into my office last Monday morning, my boss showed up inside my working area and asked for me to arrange to hurry up and get my passport prepared for the trip to Washington. I never had a Malaysian Passport before so I had to apply for one. I tried to applied for my passport last year at Putrajaya Immigration office but they don’t accept application over there. My brother applied for it last 2 years and it was done in a day so I guess this time it would be the same.

I borrowed RM300 (I’m still broke though) and I was on my way to the nearest Immigration Department of Malaysia which is located in Plaza Metro, Kajang. The parking there is just RM1 and I parked my car just outside of the entrance of the office (4th floor). That’s not so bad right? Here’s a photo of the place:

Pejabat Imigresen Kajang
Pejabat Imigresen Kajang
 

After I bought the application form (RM1), I photocopied my Identity Card and attached my photographs along with my filled application form. The clerk at the counter checked my documents and found out that I didn’t include my birth certificate. I remembered reading that for MyKad holders, that is not necessary so I argued with her. Unfortunately, I found out that I’m not a MyKad holder. I’m just a regular IC holder since I was the early batch back then that has been changed into a new version of the IC.

I had to drive back home to get my original birth certificate, make a photocopy of it and then decided to try the Immigration Department in Kuala Lumpur instead. The office is located at Pusat Bandar Damansara, only 15 minutes drive from where I live.

Jabatan Imigresen Wilayah Persekutuan KL
Jabatan Imigresen Wilayah Persekutuan KL
 

The only thing I had to bare is the parking fees which is RM2.20 for the first hour and RM1.50 for the next subsequent hour. The place is definitely bigger than the one in Kajang and there’s larger crowd over there.

Instead of writing about my experience, this time I’ll just draw a diagram about it:

How I Got My Passport Process Flow
How I Got My Passport Process

Application Form and Supporting Documents
Application Form and Supporting Documents
 

Immigration Processing Counter
Immigration Processing Counter
 

The whole process took me less than 4 hours and I was back at my office by 3pm. The parking fee that I had to pay was RM6.70 and now I have my first passport ever.

My Passport
My Passport
 

My next step would now is to apply for the US Visa. I am now ready to fly anywhere in the world.

I Am Going To Washington?

Next month, proceeding the pre-training webinar I attended last week, there will be a big event that my company needs to attend to. It will be held at Hyatt Regency Bathesda somewhere in Washington DC. That’s like the other part of the world from where I’m standing. Here’s a view of the place taken from Google Maps:


Hyatt Regency Bethesda
Hyatt Regency Bethesda
 

Yesterday I just got myself a passport for me to go out from the country. My last time boarding a flight was 11 years ago and that was just a 45 minutes domestic flight. I’ve heard that to go to Washington would take 27 hours in total of the flight trip. I hope I’ll survive that..hehe..

I’m not really certain of whether or not I’m going for this business trip. It is up to my boss to decide (which I currently an influence over that) but at the moment I’m currently on a standby mode at the moment. I’m currently in the process of applying a US Visa. My brother went to US last year’s November but only got a 3 months validity period for his Visa. Everybody else gotten themselves 10 years which kind of puzzling everybody that time. He’ll be re-applying for his visa together with me since we are going for this trip together.

In my next post, I’ll be writing a post on how I got my Malaysian passport on the same day. I need to get myself prepared as well.

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