Visas for Malaysia
Updated 2022-05-19 14:22

Before traveling to Malaysia, it is advisable to check with the nearest Malaysian Embassy or Consulate regarding entry requirements. There are indeed different visas and fees that vary depending on the purpose of the visit, the length of stay and nationality.

As detailed in our Traveling to Malaysia article, citizens of 95 countries are visa-exempt for social visits lasting less than a month, and several of these nationalities are allowed to stay there for up to three months without further formalities. However, the passport must be valid for at least six months after entering Malaysia, and a return plane ticket is often requested.

Single entry visa, multiple entry visa and rransit visa

There are three types of visas for those who wish to enter Malaysia. The single-entry visa is valid for entry within three months from the date of issue. It is particularly suitable for vacationers. The multiple-entry visa is valid between 3 and 12 months and is reserved for business or government trips that do not exceed 30 days each. And there is the transit visa.

Some nationalities are allowed to remain in transit in Malaysia for up to 120 hours without a visa as long as the person arrives and leaves the country from the same airport and has a subsequent air ticket, as well as the documents required to get to their final destination. However, a transit visa may be required for certain nationalities. The persons concerned must leave the airport before their connecting flight.


Depending on the purpose of your visit, you will need to apply for a visa with or without reference.

To obtain a visa without reference for a social visit, you will need to provide:

  • The original of your passport.
  • 2 copies of your passport.
  • 2 copies of the visa application form (form IMM.47).
  • 2 passport-size identity photos.
  • The original and 2 copies of your return plane ticket.
  • A recent bank statement or traveller's cheques.
  • Proof of payment of visa fees.
  • A letter of invitation if necessary.

The IMM.47 visa application form can be downloaded from the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs portal. It is also available at the counter of any Malaysian immigration office. If you choose to download, be sure to print the document on two A4 pages, forms printed on both sides of the same sheet are not accepted. Those who wish to complete the document by hand after printing it can do so.

If you are going to Malaysia as a student, dependent or professional, or looking for work in Malaysia, you will need to apply for a visa with reference. For this, you must first obtain authorization from the Immigration Department and include it in your file with the documents mentioned above, except the bank statement.

Work permit

To work in Malaysia, you will need to receive a work permit, also called an Employment Pass (EP). This pass is granted for a contract of up to 5 years on the Malaysian peninsula, and the Expatriation Committee or the relevant authority must give its authorization before the work permit is issued.

Expats will only be able to work for the company stated on their work permit, and they will need to reapply if they change companies.

A company wishing to employ an expatriate must register online through the Department of Expatriate Services portal and, upon approval, can then submit an application for a work permit on behalf of the expatriate. This site is set up to ‘provide efficient and innovative services to expatriates and companies', and it allows expatriates to obtain a work permit within 5 working days. The company will have to prove that the position cannot be exercised by a local and that the potential of the expatriate person is of vital importance.

You will need to meet minimum salary requirements and a minimum contract period to obtain the work permit. In addition, you will also need to hold a senior management position, either in middle management profession with experience and qualifications, or be highly qualified and possess indispensable technical knowledge.

The following documents are required for the application for a work permit:

  • Letter of application or letter of assignment
  • Hiring letter or employment contract
  • Complete application forms
  • Letter of authorization from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Original receipt of payment for the claim
  • Copy of the employee's passport
  • Passport size ID photos
  • Copy of the employee's CV and qualifications
  • Medical report from the employee's home country, approved by the Malaysian Ministry of Health

Dependency pass or long-term social residence permit

Holders of a work permit will be able to apply for a dependency pass for their spouse, their children under 18, their parents or their parents-in-law. The dependency pass is valid as long as the work permit of the person providing financial support for the family is valid. They will also be able to apply for a long-term social residence permit for their children under the age of 18, their parents or their parents-in-law if these family members are financially independent.

Professional Visit Permit

A Professional Visit Permit (PVP) is granted to foreigners who have professional skills or qualifications and are employed by a foreign company but are working with a company in Malaysia. With this permit, they are allowed to provide their services or undergo practical training with a Malaysian company for up to 12 months.

The PVP is required for anyone traveling to the country to host conferences, training programs or seminars, whether these events are paid or unpaid. The application must be made to the Malaysian Immigration Department by the organizers and/or event sponsor. Please note that obtaining a social visit permit for this type of trip is illegal in Malaysia and is punishable by law.

On the other hand, those who go to Malaysia for business reasons (negotiations, discussions, partnerships, etc.) can do so with a social visit permit without being worried by the immigration authorities.

Setting up a business in Malaysia

Student visa

Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) aims to promote Malaysia as an international centre of education and acts as a benchmark for international student services. Being the only recognized gateway for international students in Malaysia, this centre promotes higher education in Malaysian universities and colleges, and other accredited training centres and language schools. Requirements vary depending on the type of establishment you are applying for, so be sure to check the application requirements and calculate entry fees once you have made your choice.

Students will need to apply for a visa before entering Malaysia, and there are two ways to do this. If you are a new student who has received a proposal letter from a public university or private higher education institution, you can apply for a student visa online, directly through the Education Malaysia website.

You can also apply for your visa through the host institution who will start the application procedure for your letter of authorization once you have made the payment and gathered the necessary documents. You will receive the authorization letter after at least 14 working days from the date on which your complete file has been received by EMGS. You can download the EMGS mobile app to track the status of your application and receive notifications.

For the student visa application, you will need to provide a passport size photo with a white background, a copy of all the required pages of your passport, a copy of your letter of authorization, your academic certificates and transcripts, a medical examination report, a personal commitment signed on your part by the host establishment, which will be submitted at the end of your studies. A certificate of no objection or a letter of eligibility will also be required for students coming from Iran or Sudan.

If you are a citizen who requires a visa to enter Malaysia, you will need to obtain a single-entry visa from your nearest Malaysian Embassy once you have obtained your clearance letter.


Since the end of 2015, companies registered with the Expatriate Services Division can apply for a social visit permit for international students at a recognized foreign university to carry out a short-term internship in Malaysia. The maximum duration is 90 days and participants from countries that require a visa must also obtain a single-entry visa before entering Malaysia. Passports must be valid for at least six months, although 12 months is recommended, and recipients of this visa must leave Malaysia at the end of their internship or when their visa expires, as renewal is not authorized.

Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H)

This program promoted by the Malaysian government allows foreigners who meet certain criteria to stay in Malaysia on a multiple-entry social visa for an initial period of 10 years. This license is then renewed.

It is available to citizens of all nationalities, and applicants are allowed to bring their spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21.

To be part of this program, applicants must be able to support themselves financially. Persons under the age of 50 must provide proof of liquid assets worth at least RM500,000 and present an employment contract granting them at least RM10,000 per month. If you are over 50, you will need to provide proof of liquid assets worth RM350,000 and your monthly income must exceed RM10,000. If you are retired, you will need to provide proof of a monthly pension worth at least RM10,000.

If you buy property in Malaysia that is worth more than RM1 million, these conditions may be lowered.

It is possible to apply for two types of part-time work through this program if you are over 50 years old. You can apply to be a part-time speaker, or you can work up to 20 hours a week for a company that can justify choosing to employ you over a local citizen.

Since March 2017, the MM2H centre has implemented an online application system to facilitate the procedure and manual application forms are no longer submitted.

Entry requirements

To be allowed to enter Malaysia, you will need to meet the following conditions:

  • Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry.
  • You must meet all entry requirements and obtain a visa beforehand if necessary.
  • You must be able to show a return air ticket to another destination.
  • You must present a negative PCR test dating back less than 72 hours upon arrival. A second test will be carried out at the airport.
  • You must be able to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay in Malaysia.
  • You must be able to provide proof of accommodation.
  • You will need to present a completed arrival and departure card to an immigration officer at the point of entry.
  • Your fingerprints will be scanned on arrival and departure.

Anyone arriving from certain countries in Africa or South America must be able to provide a certificate of immunization against yellow fever (Angola, Ethiopia, Senegal, Benin, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Bolivia, Gambia, and South Africa). South, Brazil, Ghana, Sri Lanka, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Burundi, Kenya, Suriname, Cameroon, Mali, Tanzania, Central African Republic, Niger, Togo, Chad, Nigeria, Uganda, Djibouti, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Zaire, Guinea, Rwanda, Zambia, Eritrea, Sao Tome and Principe).

Good to know :

The states of Sabah and Sarawak have different entry and visa requirements. You will also need your passport to enter these states by domestic flight from Peninsular Malaysia.

A visa is not an absolute guarantee of permission to enter Malaysia. The final decision rests with the immigration service at the point of entry into the chosen country.

Useful links :

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia

Malaysia Immigration Office

Visa application forms

List of countries whose nationals require a visa

Expatriate Services Division, Immigration Department of Malaysia

Education Malaysia Global Services

Malaysia My Second Home

MM2H Application System

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.