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Adam Malewski

Living in Malaysia, from Poland

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Malaysia at a Glance

Malaysia's Visa Requirements

Life in Malaysia can be a beautiful and stressful experience at the same time. Get the most out of your expat life in Malaysia by knowing what to expect! With the InterNations Country Guide, you will learn about culture, languages, residence permits, and schooling for expat kids in Malaysia.

Short-Term Visits

There are different types of residence permits available to foreigners who wish to stay in Malaysia for a certain period of time. One of them is the short-term social visit pass.

Despite the name, this is not merely meant for touristic and social visits. It also covers brief business visits, journalists on short-term assignments, competing athletes, and other purposes, provided they have been approved by the Director General of Immigration.

A short-term social visit pass is handed out to the visiting foreigner upon arrival. The following documents need to be presented in person:

Getting Ready for a Longer Visit

A long-term social visit pass may be granted to foreigners coming to stay in Malaysia for a minimum period of six months. While it isn’t a work permit in its own right, it doesn’t preclude the possibility of obtaining one once you are in the country.

A long-term social visit pass may be granted for an initial period of five years to spouses and children of Malaysian citizens, expats or non-Malaysian permanent residents. It is also available for a period of 10 years under the Malaysia my 2nd home program for wealthy overseas residents.

The supporting documents and forms required depend on the applicant’s personal circumstances, but they usually include a marriage certificate for spouses and birth certificate for children.

Do You Want to Work or Study?

The student pass applies to foreign students enrolled in a program of study in a public or private educational institution approved by the Ministry of Higher Education. The annual fee is 60 MYR, and the application must be made via the HE institution (i.e. the university in question).

The professional visit pass is issued to foreigners with relevant professional qualifications and/or specialist skills who wish to take up paid employment. The period of employment cannot exceed 12 months. The employment pass, on the other hand, is a pass which especially applies to expats. It is subject to approval by the Malaysian Expat Committee.

The last two passes serve as both residence permit and work permit simultaneously. Please see working in Malaysia for further information. All necessary application forms can be downloaded from the Immigration Department of Malaysia.

Settling in Malaysia

Foreign citizens who wish to stay in Malaysia for an unlimited period of time can apply for permanent resident status, which invests them with the same rights and duties as Malaysian citizens. Permanent resident status can be granted to the following persons:


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

InterNations Expat Magazine