Malaysia has a number of different visas available to fit the nature and length of any expat's planned visit. Regulations vary according to nationality – for example, expats of certain nationalities may enter Malaysia for a period of up to 14, 30 or 90 without a visa for tourism or business purposes.
All those arriving in Malaysia should have a passport valid for at least six months, a valid return ticket and proof of funds to sustain themselves while in the country.
Tourist visas for Malaysia
Tourist visas for Malaysia can either be single- or multiple-entry.
Nationals of some countries are able to obtain a visa on arrival, valid for one visit of up to 30 days. Expats who don’t qualify for a visa on arrival will need to apply for a visa at their local Malaysian embassy or consulate before departure.
A single-entry visa is valid for one entry of up to 30 days within three months of the date of issue. Multiple-entry visas are issued to foreign visitors intending to travel in and out of Malaysia a number of times, and are usually for business or official government matters. Multiple-entry visas are usually valid for three to 12 months from the date of issue. Each entry into Malaysia is for a maximum of 30 days.
Select nationalities can apply for an eVisa online, while others will have to apply through their local embassy or consulate. The eVisa is valid for 90 days from the date of issue and grants multiple entries of up to 30 days total during this period.
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 with their family on a long-term basis. The programme requires that expats 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.
Successful applicants will get a 10-year visit pass and multiple-entry visa, renewable every 10 years. Expats generally aren’t allowed to be employed under this programme and must be over the age of 35.
Permanent residency in Malaysia
Expats wishing to work and live in the country permanently can apply for residency in Malaysia. Permanent residency applications fall into one of several categories:
High net-worth investor
Highly skilled or talented individual
Spouse of a Malaysian citizen
Alternatively, expats can apply for permanent residency by making use of the points-based system. Points are given according to one’s age, qualifications, language proficiency and employment, among other criteria. To take this route, a specified minimum of points must be attained.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
►Planning on working in Malaysia? Find out all you need to know about Work Permits for Malaysia.
►Read about the country's business environment and etiquette in Doing Business in Malaysia.
Are you an expat living in Malaysia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Malaysia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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