As a foreign resident, what is my status in your country?

Holding a pass under Resident Permit (RP) or an Employment Pass (EP), you are still considered a foreigner and the type of pass you hold defines your stay in the country. If you hold a Permanent Resident (PR), you will be treated in the same way as a Malaysian except that you will not allowed to vote during general elections.

All persons entering Malaysia must possess a valid national passport or other internationally-recognized travel documents valid for travel to Malaysia. These passports or travel documents must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry into Malaysia.

Commonwealth citizens (excluding those from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), including British-protected persons or citizens of the Republic of Ireland and citizens of Switzerland, the Netherlands do not need a visa to enter Malaysia. Citizens of the following countries do not require a visa for a visit not exceeding three months: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Japan, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, United Arab Emirates and the United States of America. Please note that all of the above is subject to change, depending on the procedures of the Ministry of Foreign/Home Affairs.

Upon arrival in Malaysia, you will be given an Arrival/Departure card to complete and present to the immigration authorities. A portion of this card is retained by the immigration authorities and a portion is given to you. You must keep this card with your passport, as it will need to present it when you leave Malaysia.

A social or business pass will be granted at the port of entry into Malaysia. These passes allow an individual to stay in Malaysia for a period of two weeks to three months and may be extended for one month upon application to the immigration department. You are not allowed to work under these passes, as a valid relevant employment pass or resident pass or permanent resident is required if you wish to be employed in the country.

What kinds of visas are available?

The visa is an endorsement on a passport to indicate that permission has been granted to enter Malaysia. A visa can be obtained from Malaysian Overseas Missions before arrival (only applicable to certain nationalities), but it must be used within its validity period (normally within one to twelve months). However, for permission to stay, a pass for an approved period will be stamped in the passport at the point of entry.

Please note that citizens of Israel are not allowed to enter Malaysia for any purpose without prior approval from the Malaysian government. Other than application for entry for the purpose of tourist social or business visits, all applications for the types of passes mentioned must be made before arrival in the country.

A person who wishes to work - employment pass
Spouse and children – a dependent pass / long term social visit pass
Student attached to a university or schools in Malaysia - a student pass
Parents/parents-in-law - long-term social visit pass
Partner - common law, with long-term social visit pass
Spouse work permit - married to Malaysian
Tourist - social visa, must be applied for prior to arrival into Malaysia

The main types of passes issued are as follows:
Employment Pass: Issued to any foreigner who enters the country for employment with a minimum period of 6 months or up to five years.

Visit Pass (Professional): Issued to foreigners for the purpose of engaging in a short-term contract or training with any agencies. The validity of the pass varies, but does not exceed twelve months at any one time. This pass is also known as a PVP.

Dependent's Pass: Issued to the wife and children of any foreigner who has been issued an Employment Pass. This pass may be applied for together with the application for Employment Pass or after the Employment Pass is approved. The wife and children of any person who enters the country on a Dependant Pass will be issued with a visit pass (social).

Student's Pass: Issued to any foreigner who enters the country for the purpose of taking up studies in any approved educational institution.

What is required to obtain these visas?

Each type of pass has different requirements and applications are judged on a case-by-case basis. The Immigration Department is the final endorser/issuer of a pass in Malaysia. 

However, pre-approval is required specifically for an employment pass depending upon type and which industry that subject will be joining in the country. For example, if a person is working in the field related to the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC), the application must be submitted to the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDEC) prior to approaching Immigration. 

If a job is offered within the banking industry, pre-approval of the position by Bank Negara Malaysia (Central Bank of Malaysia) is mandatory. Please be informed that specifically for an employment pass, the local sponsoring company MUST register with the respective authorities as an initial step. 

Talent Corporation of Malaysia has introduced an ESD on-line system which is applicable to all entities hiring foreigners to work in the country and final result will be issued by the Immigration Department of Malaysia.

The Malaysian immigration authorities issue employment, professional, spouse, student and training passes. These passes must be obtained by the expatriate’s employer who acts as his or her sponsoring organization. The following personal documents must be provided with the application for the employment and dependent passes:
  • Four passport-sized photographs with blue background ONLY
  • Employment contract that details job title, passport number, full name of employee, , monthly basic salary in RM and duration of contract
  • Updated resume of expat, academic certificates in English, testimonials (all copies must be certified true and stamped with company stamp). Document has to be in English; if not originally in English, a translation with certification will be required by respective authorities
  • Copies of ALL pages of the passport, including the page with entry stamp, blank pages and Embarkation Card. a certified true copy of the marriage certificate will be required.
  • Marriage certificate. If printed in a language other than English, you'll need to provide a translated copy with proper attestation by the respective embassy in Malaysia
  • Birth certificates of accompanying children. If printed in a language other than English, please provide translated copies with proper attestation by the respective embassy in Malaysia. If the applicant has stepchildren, the custody letter or letter of adoption must be provided with the proper attestation by the respective embassy in Malaysia

Please be aware that all original documents may be requested by Immigration; please ensure you have the original documents prior to departure.

Are spouses permitted and/or likely to find work?

A spouse is permitted to work if he or she can find an employer who is willing to be the sponsoring organization. If the spouse secures a dependent pass and is offered a job or employment by a local sponsoring company, this will be applied as new Employment Pass. Please note that the spouse is required to surrender a dependent pass in order to apply an Employment Pass.

What are the main forms of identification and how does a newcomer obtain them?

Every Malaysian is issued with an Identification Card (IC). The IC number is often requested as a form of identification. As for foreign nationals, and i-pass card will be issued to those approved for Employment Pass (Category 1 & 2). The said card has to be returned once the assignment is completed, mainly during cancellation of an employment issued by Immigration Department. Please note that this identification card is issued and applicable for certain category of passes such as work in Malaysia.

However, following global procedures, as a foreigner an original passport number is the main identification in the country. In fact, you'll be required by law to carry your passport with you at all times, to avoid any unforeseen circumstances.

Are there any other important permits I must obtain, or places where I must register right away?

All foreigners are encouraged to register with their respective embassies. This will enable your embassy to contact you without delay in case of an emergency. It will also help you network with other people from your country of origin. In Malaysia, permits or passes depend on your reason for staying/living/being in the country. We suggest that you visit the immigration website at for further information.

What items should I avoid bringing into the country?

Avoid bringing the following items into the country:
  • Firearms/dangerous weapons/limitation firearms (Note: mandatory death sentence for illegal possession)
  • Antique goods (these require a national museum permit)
  • Swords (require an import permit)
  • Obscene and pornographic materials
  • Narcotics (Note that there is a mandatory death sentence if convicted)
  • Toys resembling firearms
  • Fireworks
Also note that alcohol is subject to high duties/taxes in Malaysia, between 150 to 250 percent of the estimated value of goods, depending upon the alcoholic content.

The importation of video tapes is subject to approval by the Film Censorship Board, which will view and edit the tapes before releasing them to the owners. A fee will be levied for each tape.

Please contact Crown office for the most comprehensive, up-to-date list of restricted and prohibited items.

Is there anything else I should know about entering and remaining in the country legally?

Keep in mind: every foreigner entering Malaysia must possess a passport that will remain valid for at least six months after arrival.
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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result.