Visas for Malaysia
All those entering Malaysia, whether for work or holiday, need to have a visa. However, nationals of some countries, including the US, Britain, Australia and South Africa, do not require a visa for entering Malaysia for short-stay tourist or business visits.
All those arriving in Malaysia should have a passport valid for at least six months and a valid return ticket.
Tourist and business visas for Malaysia
There are three different types of entry visa for Malaysia, namely single entry, multiple entry and transit. Nationals of some countries are able to apply for a visa on arrival, but generally, visas should be applied for before departure at a relevant Malaysian embassy or consulate.
A single-entry visa is normally valid for a single entry into the country and is binding for three months from the date of issue. Multiple-entry visas are issued to foreign visitors wishing to travel to Malaysia multiple times, and normally for business or official government matters. Multiple-entry visas are normally valid for a period of three to twelve months from the date of issue. Transit visas for Malaysia are for those entering Malaysia in transit to other countries.
Upon entry into Malaysia, tourists will have their passport stamped with a social visit pass, the validity of which depends on a person's nationality. While holding the social visit pass individuals are permitted to conduct a range of activities which are listed by the authorities. However, they will not be allowed to take up employment in Malaysia.
Malaysia My Second Home Programme
The Malaysia My Second Home Programme (MM2H) was introduced by the Malaysian government as a means of allowing foreign nationals to retire or live in Malaysia on a long-term basis. The programme invites foreigners to gain residence status for the applicant as well as their family/dependents.
As part of the programme, applicants will get a ten-year visit pass and multiple entry visa, which is renewable every ten years. Unless specific approval is sought, expats are not allowed to be employed in Malaysia under this programme.
Applicants are required to pay a fixed deposit into a local Malaysian bank; the funds must be left in the bank during the period of validity of the visa. The amount to be paid will depend on the age of the applicant. After the first year, expats can take out money to purchase housing, and for medical expenses and their children’s education, but must maintain a minimum balance, depending on their age and circumstances, in the fixed deposit account from the second year onwards and throughout their stay in Malaysia.
Permanent residency in Malaysia
Expats wishing to work and live in the country permanently can apply for residency in Malaysia if they fit into one of the following categories:
A high-net worth investor with a minimum of USD 2 million in a fixed deposit in a Malaysian bank
An individual with exceptional skills and talent who has been approved by a relevant agency in Malaysia
A professional with outstanding skills in any field who has been recommended by a relevant Malaysian agency and has worked in the country for at least three years
An individual who has been married to a Malaysian citizen and has lived in Malaysia for at least five years
Those who qualify under a point-based system whereby points are given according to one’s age, qualifications, language proficiency and employment, among other things. A minimum score of 65 out of 120 is required.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.