This chapter offers useful information on immigration matters for international students who wish to pursue their higher education in Malaysia. According to Immigration Rules and Regulations, all international students (full-time and foreign exchange students) are required to have a valid Student Pass and Visa in order to study in Malaysia.
The government agencies that are responsible for immigration matters are the Malaysian Immigration Department and Malaysian diplomatic mission overseas (i.e. Malaysian High Commission Consulates or Embassies)
(Note : An International student or someone is neither a Malaysian nor a permanent resident in Malaysia)
Selecting an Institution
It is important for international students to note that they are only allowed to study at public or private higher educational institutions which are approved by the following two authorities :
- The Ministry of Higher Education (in Malay : Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi Malaysia) which grants approval to institutions to conduct various courses; and
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (in Malay : Kementerian Hal Ehwal Malaysia) which licences approved institutions to recruit international students
At present, there are over 400 private higher educational institutions in Malaysia but only about 216 of these private higher educational institutions are given permission by the Immigration Department to recruit international students for tertiary education. All public universities can recruit international students. Please refer to Where To Study for a list of these institutions.
The section below will give international students like YOU a more detailed explanation about visas, getting a student pass, and other procedures required in order to enter and stay in Malaysia as a student. Below are the procedures for visa / student pass applications and entering Malaysia to study :
- Procedure 1 : Applying for a Visa and Student Pass
- Procedure 2 : Arriving in Malaysia : At the Malaysia Immigration Check Point
- Procedure 3 : Affixing the Student Pass Sticker and Student Pass/Visa Fees
Procedure 1 – Applying for a Visa and Student Pass
Visa Issued at Point of Entry
The Malaysian Government has introduced simplified and hassle-free entry procedures to welcome international students like YOU to study at Malaysian public and private higher educational institutions.
A visa is required but the procedure is simple i.e. You do NOT need to apply for a visa from the Malaysian Embassy in your home country in order to enter Malaysia to study, with the exception of students from the People's Republic of China. The visa will be issued to you upon your arrival in Malaysia at the immigration check point provided you have valid travel documents and a letter of approval for a student pass by the Malaysian Immigration Department.
(Note : Students from the PRC are required to obtain their Entry Visas from the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, Guangzhou or Shanghai prior to entering Malaysia.)
Applying for a Student Pass through an Institution Prior to Entering Malaysia
The process of applying for a student pass is simple. The Malaysian institution of higher education which has offered international students like YOU a place to study at their institution will apply for the student pass on your behalf, prior to your arrival in Malaysia.
Applications will be submitted by the respective higher educational institution to the Director of Pass & Permit Division, Malaysia Immigration Department Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur (e-Student Pass System). Students do not need to apply directly to the Immigration Department under this procedure.
Prospective students will be informed of their application status by the Immigration Department in Malaysia through their educational institutions within an estimated seven to 14 days after the application. A prospective international student must have an approved student pass before entering the country.
- Documents required for applying a student
Malaysian educational institutions
are required to submit the following
documents to the Malaysian Immigration
Department Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur
in order to apply for student passes for
students who intend to study at their
- An offer letter or letter of acceptance
from the educational institution to the
- Student Pass Application Form (Imm.14)
- Two photocopies of the student's
passport / travel document (with a
validity period of at least 12 months)
- Three passport-sized photographs of the
- One photocopy of the student's medical
health examination report
- Evidence of student's ability to finance
their education cost in Malaysia
- The educational institution is required to sign a Personal Bond* prescribed under Regulation 18 of the Immigration Regulations 1963 together with payment
Upon approval, student passes are then granted to international students which will allow them direct entry into Malaysia with the exception of students from The People's Republic of China who are required to obtain a Single-Entry Visa before they come to Malaysia.
- Personal Bond Rates When applying for a student pass for the student, the respective higher educational institutions are required to sign a Personal Bond* prescribed under Regulation 18 of the Immigration Regulations 1963 so as to guarantee that the person (student) to whom such a pass is issued will comply with the provisions of the ordinance and any regulations made there-under.
The fees for security / personal bond are as follows :
|Table of Personal Bond* Fee|
|Country||Fee (in RM)|
( *Note : The bond fee for other countries which are not stated above is RM1,500.00. Students are required to pay this personal bond fee to the educational institution and it is refundable upon completion of studies. ) ( Estimate Exchange Rate : USD1 = RM3.20 )
|Summary : Steps for Obtaining a Visa and Student Pass|
|Step 1||YOU submit an application/enrolment form with relevant documents to the intended higher educational institution which has official approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs (Malaysia Immigration Department) to recruit international students.|
|Step 2||YOUR application to study is accepted by the educational institution. The institution will then help YOU apply for a student pass at the Malaysian Immigration Department in Malaysia prior to YOUR arrival.|
|Step 3||A letter of approval for a student pass will then be released by the Malaysian Immigration Department to the educational institution which has offered YOU a place to study. The educational institution will send the approval letter to YOU while YOU are still in YOUR own country.|
|Step 4||Before leaving YOUR country for Malaysia, YOU must inform the educational institution of YOUR port of entry (airport), flight number, arrival date and time.|
|Step 5||Upon YOUR arrival at the airport in Malaysia, the educational institution's representative will receive YOU at the immigration check-point at the Malaysian airport. A visa will be issued to YOU at the entry point in the form of an endorsement on YOUR valid national passport. A Special Pass will be issued at the entry point to refer you to the nearest State Immigration Department for issuance of a Student Pass. (Note: Students from The People's Republic of China are required to obtain their Entry Visa prior to entering Malaysia)|
|Step 6||Within 2 weeks of YOUR arrival, the educational institution will submit YOUR passport to the Immigration Department to affix the Student Pass sticker. This process may take about 6 to 8 weeks.|
Procedure 2 - Arriving in Malaysia : At the Malaysian Immigration Check Point
Upon arrival at the airport / entry point in Malaysia, the student has to show his or her student pass approval letter at the immigration check point. A special pass will be issued to refer the student to the respective State Immigration Department for the issuance of a student pass. A visa will also be issued to the student at the entry point in the form of an endorsement on the student's passport (with a validity period of at least six months).
The educational institution's representative will usually be at the immigration check point to receive and attend to the student. After the immigration clearance, the representative will be responsible to transfer the student to the educational institution to report their arrival.
The most common entry point for international students is the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Other entry points (international airports) include Kota Kinabalu International Airport (Sabah); Kuching International Airport (Sarawak) and Penang International Airport (Penang). Some also enter Malaysia via land routes from Singapore, Thailand or Indonesia.
Students coming from yellow fever endemic areas (such as Africa, Central and South America) are required to obtain the necessary inoculations before coming to Malaysia.
Procedure 3 - Affixing the Student Pass Sticker and Student Pass / Visa Fees
The special pass issued to the international student at the Immigration check point is valid for 14 days. Therefore within two weeks of their arrival, the educational institution is required to submit the student's passport to the State Immigration Department to enable a student pass sticker to be affixed.
The student pass and visa are endorsed in the students' passport by the Malaysian Immigration Department. The endorsement indicates their visa type, the length of stay in Malaysia, the number of entries permitted into Malaysia and the validity of the student pass (which is usually one year).
The fee for a student pass is RM60.00 a year (or part of a year) while visa fees range from RM15 to RM90 depending on the student's county of origin. All payments of fees, issuance of student passes and visas as well as renewal of student passes can be done at the respective State Immigration Departments. The student pass needs to be renewed yearly.
All international students will be issued an I-Kad by the Immigration Department after they obtain a student pass sticker.
Family Members of International Students who are Allowed to Stay in Malaysia
Certain family members of foreign students are allowed to accompany students in Malaysia on a Long Term Social Pass (for the duration of 12 months or according to the duration of study whichever come first). They include the following types of family members:
- Parents of students
- Spouses, children and parents of students who come from middle-eastern countries
- Spouses and children (immediate family only) of students who are pursuing postgraduate programmes
Submitting a Long Stay Application
- A long stay application may be submitted to the nearest Malaysian Representative Office abroad, together with a copy of the student pass application.
- For countries that do not have a Malaysian Representative Office, the applicant may enter Malaysia on a Social Visit Pass at the entry point and then apply for an extension of stay at the State Immigration Office where the educational institution is located within one month from the date of entry.
- The documents required are :
- Form Imm. 55
- Form Imm. 38 (if applicable)
- Photocopy of passport / travel document
- Photocopy of passport / travel document
- Photocopy of passport / travel document of applicant(s)
- A verification letter from the educational institution
- Form Imm. 55
Working Part-time While Studying in Malaysia
All international students studying at public or private higher educational institutions are allowed to work part-time.
Conditions for part-time work
Students are allowed to work part-time for a maximum of 20 hours per week only during semester breaks or holidays of more than seven days at restaurants, petrol kiosks, mini markets and hotels as long as their student passes remain valid. Students are NOT permitted to work as cashiers. In addition, in the hotel sector, students are not allowed to work as singers, masseurs, musicians or GROs. Students are not allowed to engage in any job or activity deemed to be immoral.
Application to work part-time must be made through the educational institution at which the student is studying. The student needs to be present with the educational institution representative at the Immigration Department when submitting the application.
Other Immigration Matters While in Malaysia
As a student in Malaysia, you may need to deal with other immigration matters such as :
Applying for a New Passport to Replace a Stolen or Missing Passport
If your passport is lost, stolen or misplaced, you need to apply for a new passport through your high commission / embassy here in Malaysia. The first few things you should do is to file a police report and contact your IS Office representative who will assist you.
Extending an Expiring Passport
If you need to extend an expiring passport, contact your IS Office for assistance. You will have to go to your high commission / embassy in Malaysia to apply for an extension with your existing passport; or apply for a new passport.
Extending Your Student Pass / Visa Validity Period
You need to have a valid student pass / visa at all times when studying full-time in Malaysia (unless you are a dependent / diplomatic /extended visit pass holder). Your visa / pass has to be renewed or extended if you have not completed your study programme on the date of visa / pass expiration.
In order to extend your student visa / pass, you must submit to your IS Office all the required documents at least one and a half months before the expiry date stated in your student pass / visa.
The renewal may not be approved if you have any of the following :
- Poor class attendance; or
- No course selection in the current semester or next semester, whichever is applicable.
Transferring to Another Institution
If you wish to withdraw from your course in your present college / university to transfer to another approved institution in Malaysia, an approval of transfer has to be obtained from the Ministry of Higher Education Malaysia. You need to have your existing student pass (from the previous institution) cancelled. The new institution will then obtain a fresh student pass on your behalf from the Immigration Department. The student pass is not transferable.
Leaving Malaysia before the Completion of Your Course – Cancelling Your Student Pass
If you wish to withdraw from your course in Malaysia to return home or go to another country, you must seek help from your IS Office.
Your IS Office will help you with all the immigration procedures and cancel your student pass in order to prevent you from having any problems when re-entering Malaysia in the future.
For enquiries and more information, please contact :
The Director Visa, Pass and Permit Division
Headquarters of Malaysian Immigration Department
1st - 7th Floor (Podium)
Block 2G4, Precinct 2
Federal Government Administrative Centre
62550 Putrajaya, Malaysia
Tel : 603-8880 1000
Fax : 603-8880 1200
Website : www.imi.gov.my
( Note : Please refer to the ADDRESS SECTION for a list of Malaysian Overseas Mission Offices where international students and their families can seek assistance on immigration matters. )
- Study in Malaysia Handbook (7th International edition)
- www.imi.gov.my (Immigration Department)
- Guidebook for International Students Studying in Malaysia, published by the Ministry of Higher Education
- Websites such as www.sunway.edu.my, www.taylors.edu.my, www.nilai.edu.my, etc
Category: Applying & Entering Malaysia to Study, International Student
Source: Study In Malaysia Handbook 8th
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