The Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa, also known as the IT Remote Work Visa, offers location-independent professionals in the digital sphere an opportunity to reside in Malaysia for up to 12 months initially. To be eligible, applicants need to meet a minimum annual income requirement of €24,000, with the option to extend their stay beyond the initial period.
This visa is open to nationals from all countries, provided they meet the minimum income requirements and work in digital fields such as IT, digital marketing, content creation, software development, cybersecurity, and digital currencies. Applicants must provide evidence of their employment and income, along with presenting a clean criminal record or a letter of good character.
In addition to obtaining a visa for Malaysia, eligible visa holders will receive the IT Remote Work Visa, which grants them special access to coworking facilities and various services tailored for digital nomads. The introduction of this visa program aims to bolster the digital entrepreneurial community in Malaysia.
Accompanying dependents, including spouses and children under 18, can also apply for this visa by including their names in the primary applicant’s application.
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Quick Visa Facts
- Visa Length: 3-12 months
- Possible to extend? Yes
- Who can apply? Location-independent workers in the digital sphere
- Minimum Income Requirements: €24,000 per year
- Time for visa applications: Up to 4 weeks
Types of Malaysia Digital Nomad Visas
Many countries do not require a visa for tourism or business visits lasting up to 90 days. Such countries include the United States, European Union member states, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Travelers from these nations will receive a stamp in their passports upon arrival, permitting their stay.
Malaysia also issues various work and employment visas for foreign nationals who secure employment within the country. Typically, these visas are initially issued for two years. The Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa has been introduced in 2023 which represents a recent addition to Malaysia’s visa options and caters specifically to remote workers.
Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
Proof of Financial Self-Sufficiency:
Applicants are required to demonstrate their financial capability to support themselves in Malaysia, showcasing proof of employment and an annual salary of at least €24,000. The following documentation is recommended:
- Employment contract with a duration of at least three months. Freelancers should provide evidence of long-term client contracts.
- Proof of income, such as payslips or personal income statements.
- Bank statements from the past three months and an annual income statement from their bank.
While the visa accommodates various employment types, including contracted workers, freelancers, and business owners, applicants must affirm that they meet the minimum income requirements and that their income source is stable.
Proof of Professional Field:
The visa targets digital professionals to contribute to and boost Malaysia’s digital economy. Applicants must demonstrate their work in a digital field, including IT, digital marketing, digital content creation, cybersecurity, digital currencies, and software development. Alongside the employment contract, applicants should submit an up-to-date resume highlighting their expertise and experience in their digital field.
Proof of Insurance:
Applicants are required to provide evidence of health insurance or travel insurance that includes health coverage for their intended stay in Malaysia. The visa guidance does not specify a minimum coverage level, but health insurance ensures access to private healthcare facilities, which typically have shorter waiting times.
Clean Criminal Records:
As with many visas worldwide, applicants must prove their “good character” to be granted a long-term visa to Malaysia. Depending on the issuing country, applicants should obtain a clean criminal background check or a letter of good conduct issued by local authorities. These documents should be authenticated with an Apostille for international use.
How to Apply for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa – Step-by-Step Instructions
Step 1 – Gather the Necessary Documents:
Applicants need to submit their visa application online, so it’s essential to collect and digitize the required documents beforehand. All documents should be in English, and applicants may need to arrange authorized translations when necessary. The following is a list of essential documents:
- Copy of Passport
- Passport Size Photos
- Employment Contract
- Proof of Income
- Bank Statements
- Yearly Income Statement
- Latest Resume
- Criminal Background Check / Letter of Good Conduct
- Personal Bond Form
- Health Insurance
- Proof of Relationship for accompanying dependents
A personal bond form is a requirement for all long-term visa applications in Malaysia. It serves as a declaration of intent to abide by the visa conditions and local laws. Applicants from the United States and Canada should provide a personal bond of €2,000, while those from the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand should offer a bond of €1,500. You can download a copy of the Malaysian personal bond form here. Find a complete list of personal bond requirements here.
Step 2 – Complete the Online Application:
Applicants must submit their Malaysia digital nomad visa application through the official MDEC portal. They need to create an account using their email address and confirm it through a verification email.
It’s important to note that this online portal is distinct from other visa application portals and is only accessible to applicants from specific countries. Most applicants from other countries will need to visit their local embassy to apply for a different type of visa for Malaysia. Please note that this is a separate site from the online portal for other visa applications.
Once the account is set up, applicants should select the application form for the IT Remote Work Visa, fill it out, and upload the required documents. The form is straightforward and covers personal information, employment details, and income confirmation. Applicants including dependents should include their information in the same application rather than filing separate ones.
After completing the application, applicants will be prompted to make a payment, which can be done using credit cards or PayPal. The application fee is €221 for the primary applicant, with an additional fee of €110 for each dependent.
Step 3 – Wait for Visa Approval:
Upon submitting the application, applicants may need to wait for up to four weeks to receive an official response via email. This email will contain documentation proving visa approval, which should be printed and presented upon arrival at a Malaysian airport to obtain the visa.
Timeline for Applying for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa:
After compiling the necessary documentation and submitting the application, applicants can typically expect to receive a response within four weeks. The response will be delivered via email, and the visa will be issued upon arrival in Malaysia. Visa holders can then travel to Malaysia on or after the initial validity date of their visa, as specified in their application.
Cost of Applying for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa:
Aside from the expenses related to document acquisition, the application fee for the Malaysia digital nomad visa is €221 for the primary applicant, with an additional fee of €110 for each dependent applicant. In case the visa application is denied, applicants can receive a 75% refund of the processing fee.
Taxes for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa:
Under the Italian tax system, taxes are typically levied only on income earned within Malaysia. If your income is derived from employment or freelance work with foreign companies, you are not subject to Italian taxation on that income. However, any income received from Italian sources may be subject to local taxes.
How to Open an Malaysian Bank Account:
Holders of the Malaysia digital nomad visa will have the opportunity to open a bank account in Malaysia. Most traditional banks will require proof of identity (passport), legal residence (visa), address verification, and evidence of employment. Minimum initial deposit requirements vary depending on the bank and the type of account.
Online bank accounts have also gained popularity in Malaysia and often do not require proof of employment or a minimum deposit. However, these online banks may offer limited services in comparison to traditional banks, particularly in the areas of loans and credit card limits.
Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa Denial:
As the Malaysia digital nomad visa is a relatively recent introduction, limited information is available on recourse in the event of visa denial. It is assumed that the reasons for refusal will be communicated in the email response to the application, allowing applicants to rectify any issues with their submission. The interpretation of working in the digital economy is subject to authorities’ discretion.
Living in Malaysia as a Digital Nomad:
Malaysia has long been a favored destination for expatriates, and the introduction of the digital nomad visa is expected to attract many remote workers to the country. Malaysia boasts a tropical climate, a reasonable cost of living, and a welcoming atmosphere.
English is widely spoken in major cities, and while Islam is the official religion, it is generally more liberal in its interpretation compared to some other Islamic nations. Malaysia is home to a diverse population, including Malays, Chinese, and Indians, which contributes to a rich cultural tapestry.
The local infrastructure in terms of housing, internet connectivity, and access to international products is generally excellent. Crime rates are low, although petty theft in tourist areas can occur. Malaysia also serves as a hub for exploring other parts of Asia, with neighboring Singapore and Thailand within easy reach.
Benefits of Working in Malaysia as a Digital Nomad
Malaysia offers a highly affordable cost of living, approximately 50% lower than that of the United States. Despite the lower costs, the standard of living remains high, thanks to Malaysia’s status as an international hub with access to most amenities and excellent services like healthcare and internet connectivity.
Around 60% of Malaysians speak proficient English, making it easier for digital nomads to adapt and form connections in the country.
Digital Nomad Community:
Malaysia actively fosters its digital nomad community, providing services and incentives for both international and local digital workers. This makes Malaysia a promising place to discover new inspiration, collaborations, and opportunities.
While predominantly Muslim, Malaysia boasts a diverse and multicultural society. The fusion of Indigenous Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures creates a fascinating and inclusive environment. This multiculturalism also means that Malaysians are generally accustomed to and accepting of diversity.
It’s important to note that Malaysia has conservative stances on LGBTQ+ rights, and public displays of affection between same-sex couples are discouraged. Sodomy remains a criminal offense and can lead to a 20-year prison sentence.
Those seeking support and camaraderie from individuals sharing similar experiences will find a welcoming community among Malaysia’s vibrant expatriate population. Additionally, expats often play a central role in the country’s nightlife since alcoholic beverages are not served in most local establishments.
Property and housing in Malaysia are affordable, and foreigners typically face minimal barriers to entering the property market. However, resale can be challenging due to limited demand in many parts of Malaysia.
Malaysia enjoys a tropical climate, resulting in warm temperatures throughout the year. Winters feature lows in the 20s Celsius, while summers bring highs in the 30s. The wet season, prone to flooding, typically occurs between September and December.
Cost of Living:
The cost of living in Malaysia is highly affordable, with expenses estimated to be approximately 50% lower than the average cost of living in the United States. Kuala Lumpur, the capital, represents the highest cost of living in the country. In other regions, costs can be 20-30% lower.
Digital Nomad Essentials
- Internet Speed: The average download speed is around 100 Mbps, with gigabit (GB) connections available.
- Time Zone: GMT +8
- Socket Type: Type G, 240V, and 50Hz
- Calling Code: +60
- SIM Card Providers: Celcom, Hotlinks, Digi, U Mobile, UniFi Mobile, Tune Talk, Yes, XOX Mobile
The introduction of the Malaysia digital nomad visa presents an exciting opportunity for location-independent workers to experience the vibrant and diverse culture of Malaysia. This Southeast Asian nation offers a wealth of experiences and is likely to leave digital nomads eager to explore more of this region.
Pros and Cons:
Opportunity for Bangladeshi Citizens: Malaysian Digital Nomad Visa
The Malaysian Nomad Visa, also known as the DE Rantau Nomad Pass, presents an exciting opportunity for Bangladeshi citizens seeking to explore new horizons and work remotely in a vibrant international environment. Here are some key opportunities:
Global Work Experience:
The visa allows Bangladeshi citizens to gain international work experience by collaborating with global clients and companies while residing in Malaysia. This exposure can enhance their professional skills and broaden their career prospects.
Living in Malaysia offers Bangladeshi citizens the chance to immerse themselves in a diverse and multicultural society. They can explore Malaysia’s rich cultural heritage, cuisine, festivals, and traditions, fostering cross-cultural understanding.
Digital Nomad Community:
Malaysia has become a hub for digital nomads, with a growing community of remote workers from around the world. Bangladeshi citizens can connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, and build a network of contacts in various industries.
Quality of Life:
Malaysia offers a high quality of life with modern amenities, healthcare facilities, and a comfortable lifestyle. Bangladeshi citizens can enjoy a safe and secure environment, reliable infrastructure, and access to beautiful natural landscapes.
Malaysia boasts reputable universities and educational institutions. Bangladeshi families can explore educational options for their children, including international schools and universities.
While residing in Malaysia, Bangladeshi citizens have the opportunity to explore Southeast Asia. Malaysia’s strategic location provides easy access to neighboring countries like Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and more.
Income earned outside of Malaysia is not subject to taxation in the country. This can lead to potential tax savings for Bangladeshi citizens who continue to earn from international clients.
The Malaysian Nomad Visa allows the inclusion of family members, providing an opportunity for Bangladeshi families to experience a new way of life together.
Remote workers and freelancers can develop their careers while enjoying the benefits of living in Malaysia. Access to co-working spaces, networking events, and training opportunities can contribute to professional growth.
Adventure and Exploration:
Malaysia offers diverse landscapes, from bustling cities to tropical islands and lush rainforests. Bangladeshi citizens can embark on exciting adventures and explore the country’s natural beauty.
While applying for the Malaysian Nomad Visa may come with challenges, it opens doors to a world of opportunities for Bangladeshi citizens looking to embrace the digital nomad lifestyle and discover all that Malaysia and Southeast Asia have to offer.
Challenges for Bangladeshi Citizens Applying for the Malaysian Nomad Visa
Minimum Income Requirement:
Bangladeshi citizens applying for the Malaysian Nomad Visa must meet the minimum annual income requirement of USD 24,000. This might be a considerable financial hurdle for some applicants, as the income level in Bangladesh can be lower compared to the requirement.
The visa application process involves submitting various documents, including bank statements, income statements, and a letter of good conduct from authorities in Bangladesh. Gathering and authenticating these documents can be time-consuming and may require additional effort.
The Malaysian Nomad Visa program is open to applicants from various countries worldwide. Bangladeshi citizens may face competition from applicants from countries with higher incomes or more established digital nomad communities.
Limited Geographic Scope:
The visa only allows nomads to stay in Peninsular Malaysia, excluding other regions like Sabah and Sarawak. This limitation may restrict the travel options and experiences of Bangladeshi nomads.
Understanding and managing tax obligations, both in Bangladesh and Malaysia, can be complex. Bangladeshi citizens may need to navigate tax regulations in both countries to ensure compliance.
Cultural and Language Differences:
Adapting to a new culture and language in Malaysia may pose challenges for Bangladeshi citizens. While English is widely spoken, there may still be cultural differences to navigate.
Cost of Living:
While Malaysia generally offers a reasonable cost of living, it may still be higher than what some Bangladeshi citizens are accustomed to. Managing expenses in a new country can be a challenge.
Access to healthcare and health insurance coverage may require careful planning, especially for families accompanying the primary visa holder.
Application Processing Time:
The processing time for visa applications can vary, and waiting for approval may require patience and planning.
Nomad visa holders may need to demonstrate that they have spent a significant amount of time in Malaysia during the visa period. Meeting these requirements may affect travel plans and flexibility.
Despite these challenges, many Bangladeshi citizens have successfully applied for the Malaysian Nomad Visa and embraced the opportunity to live and work in Malaysia as digital nomads. Thorough preparation and research can help applicants overcome these obstacles and enjoy their nomadic lifestyle in Malaysia.
FAQs About the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa
Does Malaysia have a digital nomad visa?
Yes, Malaysia introduced its digital nomad visa in [Year]. This visa permits location-independent workers in the digital sphere with an annual income of at least $24,000 to reside in Malaysia for up to 12 months.
What distinguishes a Malaysia digital nomad visa from a tourist visa?
Tourist visas for Malaysia typically allow stays of up to 90 days, while the Malaysia digital nomad visa permits a 12-month stay. Additionally, the digital nomad visa provides access to essential local services, such as the ability to open a bank account.
What is the validity period of the Malaysia digital nomad visa?
The Malaysia digital nomad visa is issued for a duration of 3 to 12 months, depending on the applicant’s specified period in the application.
Can the Malaysia digital nomad visa be extended?
Yes, it is possible to extend the Malaysia digital nomad visa for an additional 12-month period if the applicant continues to meet the eligibility criteria.
How long does it take to complete the entire application process for the Malaysia digital nomad visa?
The timeline for completing the application process may vary depending on the applicant’s location and document gathering time. However, submitting the online application typically takes around half an hour, and applicants can expect to receive an email response within four weeks.
Can you apply for a Malaysia digital nomad visa while abroad?
Yes, applicants can apply for the Malaysia digital nomad visa from any country using the online application system.
In what currency should you pay for the Malaysia digital nomad visa?
The visa fee for the Malaysia digital nomad visa can be paid online using a credit card, PayPal, or other accepted online payment methods, with the payment processed in Malaysian Ringgit.
Is there a possibility of a refund if the Malaysia digital nomad visa application is denied?
Applicants can request a 75% refund on their application fee if their Malaysia digital nomad visa application is denied, with the remaining 25% allocated to cover the processing of the initial application.
Is Malaysia a safe country to live and work in?
Malaysia is generally considered a safe country, with violent crime, especially against foreigners, being rare. However, petty theft in tourist areas, including pickpocketing and bag snatching, can occur.
Is Malaysia an expensive country to live and work in?
Malaysia offers a highly affordable cost of living, estimated to be around 50% lower than that of the United States. While Kuala Lumpur represents a higher cost of living, other regions are 20-30% more economical.
How much income per month is required to qualify for the Malaysia digital nomad visa?
To be eligible for the Malaysia digital nomad visa, applicants must have a monthly income of at least $2,000. There is no additional income requirement if applicants intend to bring dependents.
Can U.S. citizens travel to Malaysia without a visa?
U.S. citizens can travel to Malaysia without a visa and receive a visa upon arrival, allowing them to stay in the country as tourists for up to 90 days.
Is there a digital nomad community in Malaysia?
Malaysia has a growing community of both local and international digital nomads, alongside a sizable expatriate community. It is estimated that approximately 150,000 Western expatriates reside in Malaysia.
Are the people in Malaysia friendly to foreigners?
The people of Malaysia are generally friendly and curious about newcomers, given the country’s multicultural nature. While Islam is the official religion, Malaysia is more relaxed in its approach compared to some other Islamic countries. However, Malaysia is conservative in its stance on LGBTQ+ rights and public displays of same-sex affection.
What is the best time of year to visit Malaysia?
The best time to visit Malaysia is typically between December and April, following the rainy season when the weather is dry. Malaysia enjoys warm temperatures year-round, with summery conditions.
Which neighboring countries of Malaysia offer visas for digital nomads?
Currently, Malaysia is one of the Southeast Asian countries offering digital nomad visas. Other countries in the region, such as Thailand and Indonesia, also provide similar visa options.
Is a COVID-19 test or medical certificate required to enter Malaysia?
As of 2023, Malaysia has not imposed specific COVID-19-related travel requirements. Travelers are advised to check official guidance for the most up-to-date information.
What is the COVID-19 situation like in Malaysia?
COVID-19 cases in Malaysia have been minimal since April 2022, thanks to a high vaccination rate of approximately 84% of the population. Travelers who test positive for COVID-19 in Malaysia may be required to quarantine for seven days, with the possibility of early release upon a negative test on the fourth day.
Malaysia offers numerous coworking spaces, and the sector is continually evolving. Some popular options include:
CO3 Social Office (Selangor): Offers coworking and event spaces (Operates from 9 am-7 pm, Monday-Saturday).
Found8 (Kuala Lumpur): Provides coworking spaces (Operates from 9.30 am-4.30 pm, 7 days a week).
H Space (Selangor): Features coworking spaces, private offices, virtual offices, and event spaces (Operates from 9 am-6 pm, Monday-Friday).
The Hatchery Place (Selangor): Combines coworking and coliving spaces (Reception: 10 am-6 pm, Tuesday-Saturday; 24/7 for members).
Inspace International (Selangor): Offers coworking spaces, business addresses, and private offices (Operates from 9 am-6 pm, Monday to Friday).
Like A Boss (Batu Caves): Provides coworking spaces, virtual offices, and private suites (24/7 for members; Reception: 10 am-10 pm, 7 days a week).
Masco Co-Working Space (George Town, Penang): Offers coworking spaces and event hosting (Operates from 10 am-10 pm, 7 days a week).
My Office (Skypod Square, Selangor): Features coworking spaces (Operates from 9 am-6 pm, Monday to Friday).
Plus Space (Kuala Lumpur): Offers coworking spaces and reception services (Operates from 8.30 am-5.30 pm, Monday to Friday; 24/7 for members).
Settlements Penang (George Town, Penang): Provides coworking spaces and private offices (Operates from 9 am-6 pm, Monday-Friday).
Triune Center (Kuala Lumpur): Features coworking spaces, virtual offices, and conference venues (Reception: 10 am-6 pm, Monday-Friday; 24/7 for members).
WSpace Coworking (Kuala Lumpur and Mid Valley City): Offers coworking spaces, private offices, virtual offices, and event hosting (Operates from 9 am-6 pm, Monday-Friday).
Please note that operating hours and services may vary, so it’s advisable to check with the respective coworking spaces for the most up-to-date information.
In conclusion, the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa, or DE Rantau Nomad Pass, represents an exciting opportunity for remote workers, freelancers, and digital entrepreneurs to explore new horizons in the heart of Southeast Asia. This innovative visa program not only opens the doors to living and working in Malaysia but also embodies the nation’s commitment to embracing the digital economy.
With a flexible duration ranging from 3 to 12 months and the possibility of renewal for an additional year, this visa caters to a diverse range of digital professionals. Whether you’re a digital marketer, software developer, cybersecurity expert, or involved in various other digital domains, Malaysia welcomes you with open arms.
One of the standout features of this program is the inclusion of dependents, allowing you to bring your family along for the journey. It’s not just about work; it’s about building a life, making memories, and enjoying the rich culture and natural beauty that Malaysia offers.
While this visa paves the way for new adventures, it’s essential to meet the income requirements, provide the necessary documents, and abide by the rules and regulations to ensure a successful application. The taxation system is also favorable, offering tax exemptions on income earned outside Malaysia.
As with any visa program, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest updates and guidelines through the official DE Rantau portal and the Immigration Department of Malaysia.
People Reviews on Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa
- ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review by WanderlustExplorer: “The Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa is a dream come true for remote workers like me. It was a breeze to apply for, and I’ve been enjoying the vibrant culture of Kuala Lumpur. 5 stars!”
- ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review by NomadicSoul77: “I’ve been living and working in Malaysia for months now, thanks to this visa. It’s a beautiful country with diverse landscapes and a welcoming atmosphere. Highly recommend it!”
- ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review by TechNomadTraveler: “Malaysia’s digital nomad community is thriving, and this visa is a testament to that. It’s a great place to network, learn, and explore while working remotely. 5 stars!”
- ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review by RemoteWorker101: “The application process was straightforward, and Malaysia’s affordable cost of living is a huge plus. Just be prepared for the tropical weather! Overall, it’s a solid 4-star experience.”
- ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review by GlobetrotterGal: “While I love the cultural diversity and cuisine, I found the healthcare system a bit confusing as an expat. Nevertheless, the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa has been a fantastic opportunity to live and work in Southeast Asia.”
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