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Visa Requirements for Malaysia

Are you ready to relocate to Malaysia, a popular expat destination and a great country to live in? To make the most of your expat experience, try to be well-prepared before heading off to Malaysia! InterNations provides you with plenty of advice on visa regulations, safety, transportation, and more.
In Malaysia, Buddhism and Chinese traditions are often combined.

Monarchal Malaysia

Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy with an elected monarch as the head of state and a Prime Minister as the head of government. Nine Malay states have hereditary rulers who take turns in serving as Malaysian monarch in five-year terms.

The remaining four states are ruled by titular governors, the federal territories directly by the federal government. The federal legislative consists of a bicameral, Westminster-style parliament, but every state also has its own legislative assembly.

Malaysian Visa: Everything You Need to Know

Not all nationalities require a visa in order to enter Malaysia. Citizens of Australia, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, the EU member states, South Korea, Turkey, the USA, and a number of other countries may spend up to three months in Malaysia without a visa. The web portal of the Malaysian Immigration Authority provides details of visa requirements and visa fees by country.

Your first point of contact for all visa issues should always be the Malaysian Representative Office in or nearest to your country of residence. National of countries who are subject to visa regulations can apply for a single entry visa (valid for up to three months) or for a multiple entry visa (valid for three to twelve months).

If you are granted permission to remain in Malaysia for a longer period, whether for employment reasons or other purposes, you will receive a pass (i.e. residence and/or work permit) fixing the circumstances and conditions of your stay.  

How to Apply for a Visa

Depending on the purpose of your stay, you need to apply for a visa with reference or a visa without reference. The former is required if you are going to Malaysia on an Employment, Dependant or Professional Visitor’s Pass (for further information on these passes, see our article on living in Malaysia).

A visa without reference usually applies to social visits only. In order to apply, you need to submit the following documents:

  • your passport and two photocopies
  • two copies of the visa application form
  • two passport-sized photographs
  • return travel ticket and two photocopies
  • proof of financial independence
  • letter of invitation (if applicable)
  • visa fee

People applying for a visa with reference need to obtain approval from the Department of Immigration first and include evidence thereof in their application. Please note that a visa issued for Peninsular Malaysia does not automatically entitle you to travel to the states of Sabah and Sarawak in Eastern Malaysia.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Adam Malewski

"With all the great information on this site, getting settled in Kuala Lumpur was a piece of cake."

Yasmin Krüger-Darango

"A former business partner recommended InterNations to me when I moved abroad to Malaysia. We still use it to stay in touch."

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