Malaysia is a popular destination for many expats, who travel to the country for tourism, business and residence. Although Malaysia’s economy has been significantly growing over the past few years, the rate of this has somewhat slowed recently. However, there are still jobs available in many industries. If you are thinking of travelling to Malaysia, whether for work or pleasure, read on to learn about the necessary visas and permits.
Will I need a visa?
You will need a visa to visit Malaysia if you are planning to live and work there. However, citizens from around 97 nationalities will not need one to either enter the country or stay there for up to 90 days. For example, this applies to you if you are from the EU, Britain, the USA or Australia.
Some other nations, such as Hong Kong and Russia, will have visa-free entry for 30 days.
For longer periods, you will need to apply for a visa. Your application will depend on whether you need a single-entry or a multiple-entry visa, as well as your reasons for applying.
How do I apply for an entry visa?
The Malaysian government has set up an online application system to accept applications for electronic visas (eVisas) and electronic travel registration and information (eNTRI). This can be accessed by citizens from a number of countries, such as India.
Your passport will need to be valid for around six months.
You can apply for:
• A visa with reference – this requires the express permission of the Immigration Department of Malaysia; it is granted to professionals, expatriates, students and spouses of Malaysian citizens
• A visa without reference – this does not require any permission or reference from the Immigration Department of Malaysia, and tourist visas, visas for a social visits and eNTRI visas come under this category
In the second category, you can apply for a single-entry or a multiple-entry visa.
This is issued to foreign nationals who require a visa to enter Malaysia mainly for a social visit. It is normally valid for a single entry and for a period of three months from the date of issue.
A multiple-entry visa – you may require this visa, for example, if you are intending to enter the country mainly for business or government-to-government matters – is normally valid for a period from three months to one year from the date of issue. It does not permit you to remain in the country for more than 30 days, and it can not be extended.
You will need to submit:
• Proof of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay in Malaysia
• A valid and confirmed return ticket
Tour groups are not eligible to apply for the multiple-entry visa.
You may wish to apply for a Malaysia my second home (MM2H) visa for longer term residence. This is not a permanent residence permit. It is a form of a social visit visa that allows for multiple entries and exits and has some basic financial requirements:
• Liquid assets of 500,000 MR (US$120,000)
• A minimum offshore income of at least 10,000 MR (US$2,400)
• A passive investment of 300,000 MR (US$72,000)
You will need to submit:
• Three months’ worth of your most recent bank statements
• A medical check
• Copies of the IM.12 or social pass form
• Your passport
• A letter of good conduct from your country of residence
• A certified birth certificate
You will also need to pay a security bond and a personal bond.
How much does it cost?
The eNTRI visa processing fee is around US$23.
A long-term visa costs around US$23.
An MM2H visa costs around US$23.
How long does it take?
A tourist visa can take as little as 24 hours to process. The MM2H visa may take longer. It is advised that, if you are applying for a visa, you do so in good time before you travel.
What will I need to apply for a work visa?
Malaysian job permits require quite a large degree of bureaucracy. Employers must first apply to the Immigration Department for a visa with reference (VDR) approval before employing foreign personnel.
You must be under 50 to apply for a work permit in Malaysia, if you are from overseas. The government also imposes a quota, known as a dependency ratio ceiling (DRC), on certain sectors, and imposes a levy. This is to encourage employers to hire local rather than foreign workers. The more highly skilled the foreign worker, the lower the rate of levy they carry.
A VDR application must include:
• VDR application form
• A quota approval letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs
• Original receipt of payment for levy
• IM.12 and IM.38 Forms
• Security bond: deposits / insurance guarantee / bank guarantee (the insurance guarantee must be stamped and valid for at least 18 months )
• A copy of your passport
• One recent photo
• Medical certificates from the medical centre in your country of origin (valid for three months from the date of issuance)
• Evidence of the Foreign Worker Compensation Scheme (insurance)
• Evidence of an insurance policy from the Health Insurance Protection Scheme Foreign Workers (SPIKPA)
You must remain in your home nation while your VDR is pending approval from the Malaysia Immigration Department. You will then only be allowed to enter the country at authorised entry points using the VDR issued by the Immigration Department and the entry visa issued by the Malaysian Attachés Office in your country of origin. Your employer must ensure that the clearance process is done within 24 hours of your arrival time. You will then need to pass a medical check.
You can work for up to 10 years, but you may wish to apply for permanent residency.
Bringing a pet into Malaysia
You can bring your pet into the country with you, but regulations are quite strict. Your pet must be at least three months old and will need to have:
• A microchip
• A rabies vaccination and certificate
• Additional vaccines
• A Vet Health Certificate (Form 7001)
• An import permit
• USDA endorsements
• Quarantine at Kuala Lumpur Animal Quarantine Station (KLAQS)