Single-entry visa vs. multiple-entry visa
Single-Entry Visa are issued to foreign nationals who require a visa to enter Malaysia. This applies to nationalities who are not eligible for Visa on Arrival or to individuals who require a visa prior entering Malaysia under an approved permit. It is only valid for a single entry and will become invalid once the person exits Malaysia.
A Single-Entry Visa can be issued by a Malaysian embassy, consulate or high commission for the purpose of entering Malaysia under a Short-Term Social Visit Pass or any other permit or by the immigration authorities at the immigration office or entry points and is commonly seen as a stamp found in a passport.
Multiple-Entry Visa are issued to foreign nationals who require a visa to enter and leave Malaysia. Such a visa is either tied to a permit or issued for business or government to government matters. If the Multiple-Entry Visa is part of a permit, the visa is valid for the duration of the permit. If such a visa is issued for business matters or government to government matters, it is usually valid from three (3) to twelve (12) months from the date of issue.
A Multiple-Entry Visa can be issued by a Malaysian embassy, consulate or high commission for business or government to government matters or the Immigration Department in Malaysia. Multiple-Entry Visa which are tied to a permit are only issued by the Immigration Department.
Failure to obtain a visa prior to entry, the traveller can be denied entry into Malaysia and charged with 'Not to Land' (NTL) for deportation.
Visa on arrival (tourist visa)
A Visa on Arrival (Tourist Visa) allows to enter and remain in Malaysia for between fourteen (14) to ninety (90) days depending on the nationality and is normally valid for a single entry. Nationalities that require a visa prior entering Malaysia have to apply for a Single-Entry Stamp at the Malaysian embassy, consulate or high commission. Any form of employment - whether you get paid or not – is strictly prohibited under a Visa on Arrival or Short-Term Social Visit Pass and they can only be extended in case of emergency (accident, hospitalisation).
A Visa on Arrival is sufficient for travelling, short meetings or negotiations and other activities that do not require a work or residence permit.
Tourists need to fulfil the following general requirements:
- Possessing a Passport or Travel Document
Every person who wants to enter Malaysia must possess a valid national passport or an internationally recognised travel document which is valid for traveling to Malaysia. While a passport is a document which serves as proof of nationality from the issuing country for the purpose of international travel and identification, a travel document does not necessarily bear proof of nationality (e.g. a Certificate of Identity, Laissez Passer, Titre de Voyage or Permanent Residence Certificate). However, holders of travel documents must ensure that their passage to the country of origin is assured. If a person is not in possession of a passport or travel document, the person must obtain a document in lieu of it. An application for the document in lieu of Passport can be made at any Malaysian embassy, consulate etc. A list of any Malaysian Representative Office abroad along with the corresponding address can be found online
Passports as well as travel documents must be valid for more than six (6) months from the date of entry. In order to be able to identify oneself, the passports should be carried at all times.
- Possess a valid return travel ticket and sufficient funds
A visitor needs to prove his financial stability in order to stay in Malaysia. The authority should be convinced that the foreigner has a stable financial status to fund the trip. Foreigners should ensure to provide a bank statement with sufficient balance to cover all costs in Malaysia. It is advisable to carry enough cash or a copy of the respective bank statement. The person also needs to possess a confirmed return travel ticket or a travel ticket to a third country. A print-out of the ticket confirmation should be carried in case an immigration officer asks for proof. This rule applies also to stays for up to ninety (90) days.
Short-term social visit pass
The Short-Term Social Visit Pass is given to tourists and other visitors who need to obtain a visa prior entering Malaysia for the following purposes:
- Social visit
- Visiting relatives
- Journalism / Reporting
- Business discussion
- Auditing company accounts
- Signing agreements
- Carrying out a survey on investment opportunities/setting up factory
- Attending seminars
- Students on goodwill missions or taking examinations at a university
- Other activities approved by the Director General of Immigration
An Extension may be given in case of special consideration e.g. due to illness, accident, war in home country etc. The visitor must furnish evidence, and also present a confirmed return ticket to their home country or third country.
Short-term social visit pass for work purposes (PLS@XPATS)
The PLS@XPATS pass is a special form of the Social Visit Pass for a maximum of 30 days, which allows foreign experts to carry out critical or urgent work in Malaysia. Such works are only allowed in selected sectors, such as oil/gas/energy, wholesale/retail/trade, aviation, IT, construction, and manufacturing, health/medical, security/defense, among others.
The application has to be approved before entering Malaysia.
Long-term social visit pass (long-term SVP)
The Long-Term Social Visit Pass will be issued to family members of Employment Pass holders ie children above 18 years old, parents, parents in law and Common law spouse. Extensions of the period of stay can be given based on the eligibility and fulfilment of certain conditions. Foreign husbands/wives to Malaysians can be given the Social Visit Pass which is a multiple entry pass for a period up to five (5) years on the condition that they comply with all the requirements. They are also allowed to engage in any form of paid employment or in any business or professional occupation without converting the Social Visit Pass to the Employment Pass if a work permit has been obtained, which is granted only under strict conditions.
There is a distinction to be made between two (2) types of Long-Term Social Visit Passes. The Long-Term Social Visit Pass holders the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme may be allowed to start working as part-time employees subject to approval by the respective authority. The permission to work under MM2H is granted only under strict conditions. By contrast, Long-Term Social Visit Pass holders are allowed to apply for an extra work permission without converting the Long-Term Social Visit Pass into an Employment Pass.
Professional visit pass (PVP)
There are several visa categories for employees on short-term assignments. Depending on industry and nature of work the foreigner will be undertaking, they range between minimum one (1) to maximum twelve (12) months.
Any form of employment including voluntary work requires a valid work permit, even if the applicant is getting paid by a company in another country. A Professional Visit Pass (PVP) is a temporary work permit that enables a foreign knowledge worker or professional with acceptable qualifications or expert knowledge to enter Malaysia for business and professional visits and provide services or undergo practical training with a Malaysian company on behalf of an overseas company on a temporary basis.
Under this scheme, the foreign worker or professional is still employed by the company in his home country.
To qualify for a PVP, the applicant must be outside Malaysia at the time of application. The inviting party (sponsor, company, university etc.) has to apply for a Professional Visit Pass via ESD (Expatriate Service Division) or Immigration Department together with a Multiple-Entry Visa. An Expatriate is only allowed to work with the company as stated in the PVP.
When applying for a PVP, it is important to note, that it sometimes takes a long time to collect the needed documents, therefore it is necessary to set a reasonable time frame for collecting all of the documents. As soon as the PVP has been approved by the Malaysian Immigration Department, the inviting party receives a written confirmation (Approval Letter) and a visa with a reference letter (VDR Letter). Two (2) to three (3) weeks should be planned for the processing time. Subsequently, the applicant needs to set an appointment at the Malaysian Embassy to get a Single-Entry Visa for Malaysia.
To learn more about:
Contact an Immigration Expert at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Visit pass for digital nomads (DE Rantau Digital Pass)
The DE Rantau Nomad Pass is specifically targeting digital nomads in the IT industry who want to work in Malaysia for companies that are not locally based. The pass falls under the Professional Visit Pass category and can be applied for 3-12 months (extendable to another 12 months). Holders can also bring family members to Malaysia.