A Malaysia Visa is granted to foreign nationals who wish to enter Malaysia, and who are citizens of visa-subject countries.
Malaysian Visas only allows the holder to travel to Malaysia, where they will be subject to border checks upon arrival. This means that a visa is not a complete guarantee that you can stay in Malaysia, for any purpose. It is the Immigration Officer at the entry point who decides whether you can enter Malaysia or not.
The Immigration Officer at the entry point will issue all foreign travelers a Pass. Malaysia Passes are an endorsement in your passport which states that you are allowed to stay in the country and for how long. Even if you are not required to obtain a Malaysian visa prior to travel, you will still receive a Pass on your passport and be subject to immigration check at the entry point.
As such, a Malaysia Visa is simply a pre-entry requirement – you will need the permission of the Immigration Officer to actually enter.
Do I Need to Get a Visa Before Going to Malaysia?
If you are from a country who is not exempt from Malaysia visas, then you will have to apply for one before you are allowed to travel there.
However, there are several countries who can stay in Malaysia for specific periods of time without having to get a visa. But for a period exceeding the duration of the allowed visa-free travel, you will have to apply for a visa.
For example, if you are a citizen of a member state of the European Union or from the USA, you don’t need to get a visa if you only intend to stay in Malaysia for a maximum of 90 days. But if you intend to stay for longer than 90 days, you do need to apply for a Malaysia visa, or the appropriate Pass related to your travel (work, study, family reunification etc).
When to Apply for a Malaysian Visa?
You can apply for a Malaysian visa up to 1 month before the date you intend to travel.
How to Apply for Malaysia visa?
There are two methods through which foreign nationals can apply for a Malaysia visa:
- manually, or
However, Malaysia only offers the online Malaysia visa application option to a handful of countries (see below). Most visa-subject nationals have to apply at a Malaysian Representative Office Abroad or through an authorized visa application agency.
Who can submit a Malaysian visa application online?
Malaysian authorities offer certain foreign nationals the option of applying for a visa online, through the Malaysia eVisa. If your Malaysia eVisa application is approved, you will receive it online and you have to print it – it won’t be affixed as a sticker on your passport.
You can only apply for a Malaysia visa online if you are a national of the following countries:
- Sri Lanka
Additionally, Indian and Chinese nationals are eligible for the eNTRI (Electronic Travel Registration and Information).
If you are a national of the above-mentioned countries, you can learn more about the Malaysia visa online application here.
Malaysia Visa Application Steps
To apply for a Malaysia visa, you need to go through these simple steps:
- Find a Malaysian Representative Office.
- Download the application form.
- Complete the documents file.
- Submit the application along with the documents.
- Wait for processing.
Find a Malaysian Representative Office
You will have to check to see whether there is a Malaysian Representative Office or a visa application center in your country or find the one nearest to you.
Download the application form
Before you submit a Malaysia visa application, you have to download Malaysia Visa application form from the website of the Immigration Department of Malaysia and complete it electronically. You’ll need access to a computer and Adobe Reader. After you complete the application form, you must print two copies and sign them.
Complete the documents file
When you submit a Malaysia visa application, you must have several supporting documents, such as:
- Two copies of the Malaysia visa application form
- Your original passport.
- Two photocopies of your passport
- Two passport size pictures.
- A copy of your flight itinerary, including a confirmed return ticket.
- Proof of accommodation in Malaysia, such as a hotel booking.
- If you are staying with friends/family, include an invitation letter.
- Bank statements from the past three months.
- If you are applying for a Malaysia Visa with Reference: Original approval letter from the Immigration Department of Malaysia or another authority.
Submit the application along with the documents
You have to submit the copies of the Malaysia visa application form along with your original passport and the required documents at the Malaysian Representative Office/visa application office. Depending on your country, you may be able to submit the application in person or by mail.
You have to affix a picture of yourself to the application form, which must be in line with Malaysia visa photo requirements.
Wait for processing
Depending on your country and the location in which you are applying, you may be able to track the process of your application online.
If your Malaysia visa application is approved, you have to retrieve your passport with the affixed visa. Then, you are allowed to travel to Malaysia.
Keep in mind that even though you may receive a visa for Malaysia, once you travel there, it is the Immigration Officer at the port of entry who decides whether to allow you to enter. Depending on your purpose of travel, they will give you the adequate Pass which states the number of days you’re allowed to stay in Malaysia. For example, if you want to travel to Malaysia for tourism purposes, you will receive a “Short Term Social Visit Pass” (see a list of Malaysia Passes below).
Just because your visa is valid for 30 days, it does not mean your Pass will be issued for the same amount of days as well.
Malaysia Visa Application Processing Time
The processing time for a Malaysian visa depends on your country and the method through which you are applying, the time of year and whether you have all the required documentation.
- If you are applying online (eVisa), the process should take no longer than 100 hours, ie. four days.
- If you to apply through eNTRI, your visa should be processed within 48 to 72 hours.
- If you are applying manually, the processing time depends on the office which is handling your application. Still, in most cases, the Malaysia visa is processed within 7-8 working days.
What is the difference between a Malaysian Visa and Pass?
A Malasyian Visa allows the holder to travel to Malaysia, whereas the Malaysia Pass indicates the purpose of the travel. Some Passes you receive at the port of entry upon arrival, while others, you have to receive before you can apply for a visa, such as an Employment Pass. As such, the Malaysia Passes are divided in the following:
- Malaysia Transit Visas. You need to apply for a transit visa if you have to enter Malaysia in order to board another flight on your way to a third country.
- Malaysia Tourist Visa. You will need to obtain a tourist visa for Malaysia if you plan on entering the country for tourism purposes and fall under the Malaysian visa regime.
- Short Term Social Visit Pass, which you receive upon arrival to Malaysia. You will receive this Pass if you are traveling for a short-term purpose, such as visiting family/friends, tourism, business trip, attending a seminar, entering an exam, partaking in a sports competition, etc.
- Employment Pass, which allows you to work in a Malaysian company/organisation. The Expatriate Committee (EC) or another Malaysian authority has to approve your position in the company before you can apply.
- Dependant Pass, which is issued to the dependents of Employment Pass holders (spouses, children under 18, or elderly parents)
- Visitor’s Pass (Temporary Employment). You have to apply for this pass before you travel if you have found an employer in Malaysia and want to take up work in an approved sector or as a Foreign Domestic Helper.
- Visitor’s Pass (Professional). You must apply for this Pass if you want to offer professional services in Malaysia for a short period of time or to undergo training.
- Long Term Social Visit Pass, which is issued to foreigners who want to stay in Malaysia for longer than six months and fulfill the requirements. However, you cannot work or become self-employed with this Pass. If you are the spouse/partner of a Malaysian citizen, you can receive this Pass for up to 5 years, which is why it is also known as the Spouse Visa for Malaysia.
- Student Pass, also known as the Malaysia Student Visa. If you want to pursue studies in Malaysia, you have to apply for a Student Pass before you travel.
- Residence Pass, which is issued to highly qualified foreigners who will work in Malaysia for up to 10 years. You can only apply for the Residence Pass if you have already worked in Malaysia for at least three years prior to application.
Additionally, Malaysian visas are also divided into Malaysia Visa Without Reference and Malaysia Visa With Reference.
What is the difference between a Malaysia Visa Without Reference and a Visa With Reference?
The difference between the Malaysian Visa Without Reference and the Visa With Reference depends on the purpose of travel.
The Malaysia Visa Without Reference is issued by the High Commission of Malaysia without requiring any prior authorization from a Malaysian authority body. This visa is issued for social visits or tourism purposes, and it is usually a single-entry visa.
The Malaysia Visa With Reference needs prior authorization from the Immigration Department of Malaysia before it can be issued. This is the type of visa you will receive if you want to travel to Malaysia to pursue further studies, join a family member, or work.
Can I Get a Visa on Arrival in Malaysia?
- You are traveling directly from Indonesia, Singapore or Thailand, and
- You have a valid visa from one of those countries, and
- You have at least USD 1000 per person and a return flight ticket.
How Many Times Can I Enter Malaysia With a Visa?
Depending on the number of entries, the Malaysian government issues these types of visas:
- Malaysia Single Entry Visa, which is valid for a maximum of three months from the issue date and allows the holder to only travel to Malaysia once. This type of visa is usually for social visit/tourism purposes.
- Malaysia Multiple Entry Visa, which can be valid anywhere from three to twelve months from the date it is issued. As the name suggests, the holder can enter Malaysia multiple times while the visa is valid. This type of Malaysia visa is usually issued for government or business purposes. However, you cannot stay longer than 30 days on any entry.
How to Extend a Single Entry Visa in Malaysia?
A single entry visa for Malaysia is only valid for up to 30 days and it cannot be extended. Neither can a Social Visit Pass.
If you want to stay in Malaysia for longer than your Pass is issued for, you have to leave the country and apply for the appropriate Malaysian Visa/Pass.
However, an extension of a Social Visit Pass may be possible in extraordinary cases, and only after consideration on a case to case basis. For example, you could receive an extension for your Social Visit Pass if you fell ill, had an accident, or if a situation in your home country (such as a war) could endanger you if you returned.
In such an event, you will have to provide evidence of your claim and show a confirmed return ticket to your home country.