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How long does it take to get a visa in Malaysia?

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A VISA IN MALAYSIA?

Getting Visas for foreign workers in Malaysia can be a daunting task. To start with you need different visas depending on which part of Malaysia your employees are going to be working in. Then there is the fact that there are strict “quotas” in place for how many expats to locals you can employ.

There are a lot of business opportunities in Malaysia across numerous different sectors. Foreign companies are often setting themselves up for either a one-off project or an attempt to fully develop their presence in the South East Asia Market.

For those looking to deliver on a one-off project it is essential that your people are in country when needed and that all permit and statutory requirements are adhered to. Without this prior organisation you can’t deliver to your clients and can’t get paid.

This begs the question; how long does it take to get a visa in Malaysia? Below is a timeline and some brief information on the requirements for each location. For more information on visa and payroll in Malaysia here is a link to our full e-guide. 

Download: Free Malaysia Payroll and Tax Guide

Malaysia Visa

WEST MALAYSIA VISA APPLICATION PROCESS

West Malaysia is the most popular destination for foreign workers in Malaysia. This is where Kuala Lumpur is located, and other business epicentres include Johor in the south and Terengganu in the north east.

For a West Malaysia employment pass (which is valid for 2 years) you need the following documents:

  • Passport copy with a least 6 blank pages and over 14 months of validity
  • A passport sized photo with a blue background
  • Latest CV / resume
  • Copy of academic certificates
  • Marriage certificates and birth certificates (for dependant pass only).

To get the West Malaysia employment pass, the initial process would take up to 14 days. At this point your employee can mobilise and then on arrival it would take a maximum of 14 days to complete the visa endorsement.

 

SARAWAK VISA APPLICATION PROCESS

Sarawak is a region of Malaysia on the island of Borneo. Here things start to get a little more complicated. The best course of action is to apply for a 3-month permit. If you require your contractors for longer than that, at the same time you should also apply for a 12-month visa. By the time the initial 3 month one runs out, the 12-month visa will be ready.

Documents needed are:

  • Passport copy with a least 6 blank pages and over 14 months of validity
  • A passport sized photo with a blue background
  • Latest CV / resume
  • Copy of academic certificates
  • Job description
  • Confirmation of salary and job title

Once all the above documents have been submitted the work permit will be processed within 14 days. Your employee can then fly to Malaysia where they will get their work permit endorsed. The requirements for the 12-month visa are the same, but the processing time is around 90 days.

 

SABAH VISA APPLICATION PROCESS

Sabah is another area of Malaysia on the island of Borneo. This is the trickiest part of Malaysia to get a visa for and it can take a long time so early planning here is key.

Documents needed are:

  • Academic or training certificates
  • Copy of CV / resume
  • Copy of passport with at least 6 blank pages and 12+ months of validity
  • Passport photo with blue background
  • Job description
  • Employment contract
  • Release letter from previous company (if in Sabah)
  • Identity card (Malaysian only)

Upon collecting all of these documents, applications have to be submitted to JKM Sabah. This normally takes 30 days for approval, but it can take up to 6 months. However, in some cases, applications don’t get approved at all. If it does get approved, from here it’s a further 14 days for the work permit to be processed. Your employee can then fly to Malaysia and the visa can then be endorsed.

So, there you have it, a brief timeline on how long it takes to get a visa in the 3 main areas of Malaysia. Once you have the visas you then have the minefield of getting everyone paid compliantly. For more information on Malaysian payroll and tax compliance please download our e-guide here:

Download: Free Malaysia Payroll and Tax Guide

To speak with one of our experts on any of the above information please contact us on payroll@leap29.com or +60 3 9212 2271

For more information check out our Free Full Malaysia Payroll and Tax Guide or our article Setting up a company in Malaysia.

Posted by Rob Day