Visas for Malaysia

Temporary visas and temporary residence

Visas for Malaysia

At the beginning the quantity of different types and requirements of Malaysian visas might seem a bit intransparent. However, the application process is simplified for foreigners as all necessary information and forms are available in English.

Three types of visas are issued to foreign nationals by the Malaysian government:

  • Single entry visa: This visa allows only one entrance into the country and has a validation of maximum 3 months. It is usually issued for the purpose of social visits.
  • Multiple entry visa: The validation of this visa usually ranges from 3 to 12 months and is issued mainly for business or governmental purposes. To obtain this visa the applicant has to provide sufficient financial funds to cover his stay and a valid return ticket.
  • Transit visa: Aimed for travellers who only transit Malaysia on the way to another country. If the foreign national does not leave the airport while waiting for his connection flight, a transit visa is of course not required.

Visa with/without reference

Depending on the reason why you travel to Malaysia you might need a visa that requires a reference issued by the Malaysian Department of Immigration. This usually applies to foreign nationals who come to Malaysia as professionals, students or dependents. For social purposes, such as tourism or conferences, references are not required. To apply for any of those visas stated sofar, submit the following documents at the Malaysian embassy or consulate in your home country:

  • Original passport and 2 copies
  • Visa application form (IMM.47) and 2 copies
  • 2 passport-sized photographs
  • bank statement proving sufficient financial funds
  • valid air ticket and 2 copies
  • approval letter from Malaysian Department of Immigration (for visas with references only)


All foreign nationals entering the country will obtain an entry pass. This is an endorsement in the passport which, besides the Malaysian entry visa issued in the respective home country (where required), allows the visitor to stay temporarily. Depending on the purpose of visit, different passes will be issued:

  • Short Term Social Visit Pass: These passes are issued for purposes such as tourism, business meetings, seminar attendance or sport competitions. You will have to fill in a form (IMM.55) at the entry point and provide any supporting documents if relevant. Extension of the pass may be given only in special cases. A Short Term Social Visit Pass does not permit any form of employment in Malaysia.
  • Long Term Social Visit Pass: These passes are issued to certain foreign nationals for temporary residence of not less than six months. Foreigners who are entitled to this pass are i.e. children and spouses of Malaysian nationals or permanent residents, immediate family members of foreign students or foreigners coming to Malaysia for medical treatment. For further information and the respective document requirements, go to the website of the Malaysian Immigration Department .
  • Student Passes: Foreign students who wish to study at a Malaysian University, have to apply at the respective Malaysian educational institution prior to entry. They will receive an offer letter of the same institution which they have to submit together with the completed form IMM. 14 in duplicate, two passport copies and tow passport-sized photographs. Foreign students are allowed to work, yet only in restaurants, petrol stations, mini markets and hotels. However, if the academic performance is not satisfying, the permission will not be renewed.

Further reading

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