Visa and Residence in Malaysia - International Living Countries

Visa and Residence in Malaysia
Penang, Malaysia|Eoin Bassett

Visitors to Malaysia, whether on business or holiday, do not normally need a visa. Those from certain countries will usually receive permission to stay for up to three months when they arrive in Malaysia.

The countries that automatically qualify for this Single Entry Visa include Australia, the UK, the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Norway, and the UAE.

However, if you are looking to stay longer in Malaysia, or even settle down here, there are plenty of other options available.

Multiple Entry Visa

This is issued to foreign nationals who require a visa to enter Malaysia mainly for business, or on government-to-government matters. It’s valid for a period of three to 12 months, depending on the nature of your business, from the date of issue.

Residence Pass-Talent

The Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T) is a 10-year renewable pass for highly qualified expats to continue to live and work in Malaysia. Introduced in 2011, the RP-T also offers expats an attractive range of benefits, including the flexibility to change employers multiple times during the validity of the pass.

Your spouse is also eligible for the RP-T, and can seek employment without the need to apply for an Employment Pass.

MM2H (Malaysia My 2nd Home)

Malaysia launched its MM2H (Malaysia My 2nd Home) program in 2006. At the time there was nothing like it in Asia, and there still isn’t. Indonesia, The Philippines, and Thailand have played with a number of similar schemes over the years, but so far they haven’t expanded their programs in the same way that Malaysia has.

As well as giving you a 10-year renewable multiple entry visa, you can bring your own car with you, tax-free. You can also bring your children with you if they are under the age of 21, and your parents on a six-month renewable visa.

MM2H also allows you to import personal items tax-free, invest in local companies, the share market, and unit trusts. Additionally, any money that you bring into the country is tax-exempt, and any interest earned on your money is also tax-exempt. Your furry family members are also welcome (most expats living in Malaysia bring their pets with them), and if you abide by the rules and regulations in your own country before you arrive in Malaysia, there is no quarantine.

MM2H - How do you apply?

To qualify for the MM2H, applicants must have a monthly income of MYR10,000 ($2,495), and pay a fixed deposit to a bank based in Malaysia. They must also be able to prove that they have liquid assets outside of the country, and pay a fixed deposit to a bank in Malaysia. The required amounts of assets and deposits vary depending on age, as is shown in the chart below.

AgeLiquid AssetsMonthly IncomeFixed Deposit
50+$87,328$2,495 (Full Govt Pension)Nil

*US $1= MYR4

As you can see, if you are on a full government pension of MYR10,000 ($2,495) per month, no fixed deposit is required. An applicant who has bought a Malaysian property of MYR1 million ($249,315) or more will also qualify for a lower fixed deposit.

After a period of one year, participants who fulfill the fixed deposit criteria can withdraw up to MYR50,000 ($12,467) for approved expenses, which include buying a house, education for your children in Malaysia, medical expenses, furniture, or a car purchase.

All participants must maintain a minimum balance of MYR100,000 ($24,932) from the second year onwards, and throughout their stay in Malaysia under this program.


Gaining permanent residence in Malaysia can be an arduous task, but ultimately fulfilling. Permanent residents are able to stay and remain in a country indefinitely, seek employment freely, own a business, acquire properties, and enter and exit the country in a way that is similar to Malaysian citizens.

Permanent residence is available to high net worth individuals, experts in specific fields, certain professionals, and the spouse of a Malaysian citizen. Expats who don’t fit these criteria can also apply through a point-based system, wherein they must achieve a minimum of 65 points out of a total of 120 in order to be considered. On top of that, these applicants also need to have one Malaysian sponsor, as well as a certificate of good conduct from their country of origin.