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Essential Documents

by The Expatriate Lifestyle Editorial Team 2 Jun 2013
Essential Documents


All visitors to Malaysia must be in possession of a national passport or similarly recognised document (such as an authorised certificate of identity, Laisser Passer or a Titre de Voyage). All documents must also be valid for at least six months beyond the date of entry.

Application for Visas

Whether you require a visa to visit Malaysia or not depends upon your nationality. Generally, and following the broadest guidelines, nationalities fall into four categories of eligibility to enter the country. Citizens will either be allowed entry without a visa: for any purpose of visit; for visits not exceeding three months; or for visits not exceeding two weeks. Selected other nationalities require a visa for any visit to Malaysia.

Visitors requiring a visa for entry must make an application at the nearest Malaysian representative office before departing.

Entry into Malaysia

Visit passes (be they for social/tourist or business purposes) are obtained at the immigration checkpoint upon entry into Malaysia, providing the visitor is both eligible and carrying the relevant documents—a valid passport and, where applicable, visa.



Social or tourist visit passes are issued solely for the purpose of a social or tourist visit. A person who has been issued with such a pass is strictly not permitted to take up employment, business or professional work during their stay in Malaysia.


Business visit passes are issued to:

1. Owners and company representatives entering for the purpose of attending company meetings, seminars, and inspection of the company’s accounts or to ensure smooth running of the company concerned.

2. Investors, businessmen entering for the purpose of looking at business opportunities and/or investment potential.

3. Foreign representatives of companies entering for the purpose of introducing their goods that are to be manufactured in Malaysia, but not engaging in direct selling or distribution.

4. Property owners entering for the purpose of negotiating, selling and leasing of properties.

5. Foreign reporters from mass media agencies entering for the purpose of covering conventions or any other event in Malaysia.

6. Participants in sporting events.

These passes cannot be used for the purposes of employment or for supervising the installation of new machinery or the construction of a factory.


Foreign visitors, except those from the Republic of Singapore, who have entered Malaysia on a social or tourist visit pass may apply to the Immigration Department to convert their social or tourist visit pass into a business visit pass. This ruling is designed to assist foreign visitors who wish to undertake business activities.

All applications for converting social or tourist visit passes into business passes must be submitted to the Immigration Department with a letter of recommendation from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

Passes are to be obtained upon arrival in Malaysia. Other than applications for entry for the purpose of tourist, social or business visits, all applications for passes mentioned below must be made upon arrival in the country.

All such applications must have sponsorship in Malaysia. The sponsors must agree to be responsible for the maintenance and repatriation of the visitors from Malaysia should it become necessary.


Visit Pass (Temporary Employment)

Issued to persons who enter the country to take up temporary employment.

Employment Pass

Issued to any foreigner who enters the country to take up a contract of employment with a minimum period of two years.

Visit Pass (Professional)

Issued to foreigners for the purpose of engaging in a short-term contract with an agency. The validity of the pass varies but does not exceed 12 months at any one time.

Dependant’s Pass

Issued to the spouse and children of any foreigner who has been issued with an Employment Pass. May be applied together with the application of Employment Pass or after the Employment Pass is approved. The spouse and children of any person who enters the country on a visit pass (temporary employment or professional) will be issued 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.

Source: Immigration: Department of Malaysia. For more information, log on to


Registering the birth of your child in Malaysia is a straightforward process. The hospital will advise as to the location of your nearest National Registration Department (or JPN) office at which registration must be completed no later than 14 days following the birth.

Parents or guardians must complete a JPN.LM01 form and present it along with proof of birth from the doctor and both the mother and father’s passport. If the parents are married, a copy of the marriage certificate should also be taken along to the registration office.


Similar to applying for a birth certificate in Malaysia, marriage certificate applications must be made at the National Registration Department (or JPN) Office. Applicants are required to complete a JPN KC01 form and must take their passport along with photocopies of the page containing the latest stamp of entry into Malaysia, passport photos and confirmation of marital status.

To solemnise the marriage, couples must pay a fee of RM30 (though express licenses are available for around RM100) and require at least two witnesses. Once this process is complete, couples are considered to be civilly married—a requirement for all non-Muslim marriages in Malaysia. This marriage is then valid across the world and couples are eligible to conduct their chosen wedding ceremony, religious or otherwise.

Muslim couples in Malaysia, on the other hand, are required to complete the Islamic marriage procedure and if a non-Muslim partner wishes to marry a Muslim, they must first convert to the Muslim faith.


As melancholic a time as it may be, there are a number of bureaucratic steps that must be taken in Malaysia following all deaths.

Hospitals will be able to advise and assist with the procedures so long as the death occurred in the hospital. All deaths that occur outside of hospitals must be reported directly to the police and registered at the nearest Malaysian National Registration Department.

Often, funeral directors in Malaysia will also be able to assist with acquiring a death certificate, taking a heavy load off your shoulders at such an emotional time.


One of the best ways to settle in to life in Malaysia is to join a club or society. There are a whole host of expatriate associations in Malaysia, each with their own activities, and each set up by expatriates to bring the expatriate community together.

The majority, despite their country-related names, are in fact open to all, including locals, making them an ideal way to get to know and learn from other, more experienced expatriates, and to integrate into the local community. Through coffee mornings, day trips, sports events and even balls and galas, such associations are a complete social resource.

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