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Malaysia - Visas
While it may not be necessary to obtain a visa, all visitors are required to have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from their arrival in Malaysia. It is possible that a visitor will be denied entry if their passport is set to expire in less than six months after their arrival in Malaysia. Make sure that your passport is up to date before you leave, as renewing it may be difficult in Malaysia.
Countries that require visas: Afghanistan, Angola, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Congo Democratic Republic, Djibouti, Equat. Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Servia Montenegro, Sri Lanka, United Nation (Laissez Passer), Western Sahara, Yugoslavia.
Commonwealth countries that require visas: Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mozambique.
Visas can be obtained through one of the Malaysian diplomatic missions, or through a new electronic platform called eVisa and eNTRI. Visitors of some nationalities have to pay a visa fee as well.
For those who do not come from visa-exempt countries, the Malaysian government offers three different kinds of visas.
Single Entry Visa - This type of visa is valid for a single entry into the country and expires three months from the date of issue. This is the most common type, and is sometimes called a social visa. Some people have been able to renew visas for an extended stay, but it is advisable to check with immigration authorities upon arrival to avoid any confusion later.
Multiple Entry Visa - This visa is valid for multiple visits within one year, but they must be no more than 30 days long. The visitor must be able to prove they have sufficient funds for their stay and a return ticket. This type of visa is mainly for foreign nationals who travel to Malaysia for business or government matters. Citizens of China and India are permitted to apply to a multiple entry visa for social visits, and there are small fees involved. Group tours are not eligible for a multiple entry visa.
Transit Visa - This type of visa applies to anyone who needs to travel though Malaysia after landing at a Malaysian airport. Some visitors from Commonwealth countries are not required to obtain transit visas, but this is subject to change.
There are several documents required to apply for a visa. These documents include:
• Visitor’s original passport
• Two photocopies of the passport
• Two photocopies of the visa application form
• Two passport sized photos of the visitor
• Air travel ticket, along with two photocopies and proof of a return ticket
• Bank statement / traveller’s checks
• Receipt of payment of visa fee
Additional documents are required for visitors who are students, workers, dependents, or visiting professionals. This takes the form of a letter of approval from the Malaysian Department of Immigration, or other agencies, along with two photocopies.
Restrictions to entry
There are certain criteria that visitors have to meet to be granted entrance to Malaysia. Strict codes of conduct are observed, and this is extended to visitors. Malaysian immigration officials developed a list of guidelines to determine whether a visitor is allowed into the country. One can be considered a ‘prohibited person’ if:
• They are unable to show that they have the means to support themselves and any dependents, or unable to prove they have employment waiting in Malaysia
• They are suffering from a mental disorder or having been diagnosed with a contagious disease that would be dangerous to the Malaysian community
• They refuse to submit to a medical examination if requested by an immigration officer
• They have been convicted of a crime and not received a full pardon.
• The Director General determines whether the offence is serious enough to deny entry
• They are a prostitute, or were in the past
• They attempt to bring other people into Malaysia for the purpose of prostitution
• They advocate the violent overthrow of any government
States of Sabah and Sarawak (Island of Borneo): These states have special entry requirements. It is required that visitors show their passport, even though they are coming from another Malaysian state.
Dual Nationality: Malaysia does not recognize dual nationality. This is really only applicable for those who have Malaysian citizenship as well as American or British citizenship. Authorities may demand that you chose one or the other. Make sure you have the appropriate passport.
US / UK-Israeli Dual Nationals: Israeli Nationals are not permitted entry to Malaysia, and showing an Israeli passport may cause problems for those with dual nationalities. Do not show your Israeli passport if this is the case.
Visa Overstays: Malaysian immigration authorities patrol ports of departure to make sure that visitors do not overstay their visa. If a visitor does overstay their visa, they will not be allowed to leave Malaysia until the matter is resolved with the immigration authorities.
Carry your passport with you at all times in the event that you are questioned by immigration authorities. Be sure not to overstay your permitted stay, whether it is 90 days or longer with a work permit. Penalties for illegal immigration are strict, and involve jail time and large fines.
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