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 90, 30 or 14 days 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 and business visas for Malaysia

There are three different types of entry visas for Malaysia, namely single-entry, multiple-entry and transit visas. 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. Applicants must prove that they have sufficient funds to stay in the country, they must have a return flight booked, and tour groups are not eligible for this visa type. Transit visas are only necessary for individuals crossing through the country. Travelers who don't intend to leave the airport have no need for a transit visa.

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/dependants 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.

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 criteria. 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.