If you’re dreaming of studying abroad in Malaysia, you’ll need to gain a student visa, also known as a student pass, before you arrive.
Your student pass is only valid for one year and must be renewed at least one and a half months before its stated expiry date. Annual student visa fees are around RM 60 ($14), so they’re really affordable compared to those of other countries.
Malaysian student visa application process
- Accept a place at a Malaysian university: Receive a formal admissions letter from your chosen institution and pay any enrollment fees.
- University begins the student pass application process: Your university contacts the Malaysian immigration authorities to register an application on your behalf. They’ll ask you to read through and digitally sign the official application form after they’ve filled it in.
- Gather the required documents: You’ll need to send your university several documents so they can complete the application. A full list is included in the section below.
- Pay visa processing fee: As well as the government application fee, some universities charge a processing fee. The exact amount will depend on the institution.
- Await a decision: The immigration authorities will normally notify the institution of your application outcome within a week.
- Receive a letter of approval: Your university will forward the visa approval letter (VAL) to you. This is a provisional student pass that allows you to enter the country. You’ll need to present this to immigration officials upon your arrival.
- Inform the university of your travel plans: Send the university details of your arrival dates, airport location, and flight numbers. A university representative will usually meet you at the airport.
- Collect your student pass: Your university will send off your passport to the immigration department within two weeks of your arrival. When it returns, it’ll include your student pass sticker.
The Malaysian authorities will ask for the following documents as part of the application process. Therefore, it’s important to send these over to your host institution soon after accepting your place to avoid any delays.
- Formal admissions letter from your university
- Completed and signed student visa application form
- Copy of your passport with an expiry date over 12 months away
- Two passport-style photographs
- Academic qualification records
- Proof of sufficient financial resources
- A medical certificate that proves you’re in good health
- A personal bond document (a letter signed by your university to guarantee you’ll comply with immigration laws)
- English language proficiency test certificates
Malaysian student visa processing time
Applying for a Malaysian student visa is quick and easy. Overall, the whole process from application to receiving your visa usually takes between four and six weeks.
The Visa Approval Letter (VAL) processing time is 14 days, and the entry visa processing time is between one and three weeks.
It's well worth starting your application as soon as possible just in case of any unforeseen delays.
Can you work whilst on a Malaysian student visa?
International student employment rules are stricter in Malaysia compared to many other countries. You’re allowed to work for 20 hours each week, but only during the university holidays. You’re not permitted to work at any point during term-time.
The type of roles you can take on is also restricted. Although you could find work in a restaurant, petrol garage, mini market, or hotel, you won’t be allowed to work as a cashier, musician, or any other position believed to be immoral.
What if your visa application is refused?
Approximately 90% of student visa applications are accepted in Malaysia, giving the nation one of the globe’s highest approval rates. Very few applications are refused, but the most common reasons for rejection include missing information or inadequate financial resources.
After receiving a negative decision, students can contact the immigration authorities and request a letter outlining the reasons for rejection.
You can write to the Home Minister within 30 days to appeal against the decision, but there’s no guarantee you’ll be successful. Visa application fees are non-refundable, so make sure you're confident any future applications will be accepted.