Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Passport and New MM2H Visa Stamp

Well last night I returned from Kuala Lumpur with my new American passport and my new MM2H visa stamp in that passport. I would not say that it was a pleasant experience and it was not as easy as I had been told. I had been told that you could either take a bus or a taxi and easily find the Malaysian Immigration department, which is located in Putrajaya. Some expat members of an MM2H website said the process was easy, as there were 2 windows dealing with MM2H, one for applications and one for extensions. The whole process would only take about 20 minutes.

On Sunday I took the Aeroline bus to Kuala Lumpur and stayed at the Corus Hotel, just as I had two weeks ago. Monday morning  I arrived at the US Embassy and waited to pick up my new passport. I waited and I waited. There were a total of 2 American citizens for passport services and I was the first one. Finally after 45 minutes of waiting my number was called. I went to the window where I was called to and there was no one there!. After standing for another 10 minutes a women came over and received my old passport and then gave me my new one. It took all of 30 seconds, after waiting for more than an hour. A totally inefficient system and a chance to see my tax dollars, at work or not.

Upon leaving the US Embassy I took the taxi back to the hotel where I had to make photocopies of every signal blank page of my new passport, to take to Malaysian immigration. When the photocopies were done I had to rush to Putrajaya to find the immigration office. Luckily the taxi driver I had prearranged knew where the building was and there was no traffic. After a 20 or 25 minute drive we arrived at my destination. My driver advised me go inside and ask at the information desk for the correct office. Easier said than done. I could not find anyone at the information desk and I could not find anyone who worked in the building, who spoke English. After about 15 minutes and two sets of obviously wrong  directions I finally went into someone's office and was led to the correct place. I grabbed a number and proceeded to the waiting area. There must have been over 1000 people waiting. And there were not 2 windows but 20 windows! After about 5 minutes I noticed an area where Caucasians and other obvious foreigners were sitting. I asked if they were waiting for the MM2H visas and luckily they were. There was only 1 window handling MM2H and there was a big sign saying the window would close at 12:30 for lunch and reopen about 1:30. It was now 11:15AM and I was waiting. Finally at noon I was called and handed in all of my documents. I was told to wait again to make my payment. Again my number was called and I made my payment and was told to wait again. At 12:25 my number was called and I received my passport and new visa stamp and the window was closed. I grabbed my taxi and returned to the hotel for lunch and a cold beer.

All in all it was a stressful day and I am glad it was over. I won't have to return to Putrajaya again for another 5 years. When I was in KL to hand in my passport application I took a cab from the US Embassy to my hotel and asked the driver if he ever goes to Immigration in Putrajaya. He replied that he did and gave me his card for my next visit. I called him when I had arrived at the hotel to arrange for everything on the following day. He picked me up at the hotel brought me to the embassy,waited, returned me to the hotel, waited again and then took me to Putrajaya, waited again and then finally returned me to the hotel. He charged me a very reasonable rate which I totally appreciated. I avoided a lot of stress by taking his taxi and I will definitely use him again. If anyone is going to Kuala Lumpur and needs a taxi for a short time or the day for business of sight seeing please give Zaini a call at 010-4311461. I am sure you will like his services as much as I did. I believe in giving someone a plug if they deserve it.

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