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Malaysia: Visa Guides

Applying for a student visa in Malaysia

Our guide to getting a student visa for international students studying in Malaysia

Marketplace Malaysia

Boasting the 11th highest proportion of inbound international students worldwide, Malaysia is a key port of call for any student looking to study abroad. With 200,000 international students expected to be studying in Malaysia by 2020, the influx of foreign guests has seen creation of new student visa requirements. Whilst more regulated, the process is by no means impossible: in fact, it’s incredibly doable, and for the most part is mainly managed directly by your host institution. Let our overview of the student visa process in Malaysia help make things clear.


Student Pass and Student Visa

All international students will need a valid Student Pass and Visa to study abroad in Malaysia. By Malaysian law, only public or private Malaysian institutions beneath the jurisdiction of either the Ministry of Higher Education or the Ministry of Home Affairs are able to accept international students.


To obtain a Malaysian student visa you will first need to apply for a Student Pass. Once you have an approved provisional Student Pass you will be issued a student visa upon your point of entry into Malaysia. You will receive a full Student Pass once in the country. You will need both a Student Pass and a Visa to study in Malaysia.


Click here to check if your host institution accepts international students


Before you Leave

You will be issued a Student Visa upon your arrival in Malaysia provided you have your letter of approval for a Student Pass ready at the immigration checkpoint.


Once you’ve been accepted by a Malaysian institution they will submit an application for a Student Pass on your behalf. You will need to lodge relevant documentation with your host and pay relevant fees before they can do this. If your application is successful, the Malaysian Immigration Department will issue a letter of approval for a Student Pass to your host. Your host will then send the completed letter to you whilst you are in your home country, along with a signed Personal Bond document that serves as a sort of endorsement of your good character. The letter of approval will act as a provisional Student Pass that enables you to enter the country as a student.


It takes about one-two weeks to process your application and for a decision to be reached. Students are advised to submit documents with their host ahead of time as they will not be allowed to enter Malaysia without a letter of approval. When you book your flight to Malaysia, you must tell your host all of your exact arrival details: the airport you’re arriving at, your flight number, your arrival date and time.


All students, except those from the People’s Republic of China will be able to enter Malaysia once they have a letter of approval. PRC students will need to obtain a Single-Entry Visa directly from their local Malaysian embassy or the Council of Malaysia before they arrive.

Learn more about visa requirements for students from the People’s Republic of China


Point of Entry

You will need to have your Student Pass approval letter handy when you reach immigration in Malaysia.


When you get to the airport, a representative from your host university will be waiting to meet you at customs. You will then be issued a Special Pass that will enable you to enter the country which is valid for two weeks. You will need to go to your nearest State Immigration Department before these two weeks are up to get your full Student Pass. You will also be issued a Visa upon your arrival in Malaysia, which will be in the form of an endorsement on your passport that is valid for at least six months.


Once arrived

Your host institution will submit your passport to the Immigration Department within two weeks of your arrival in Malaysia so that you can get a full Student Pass. This may take from six-eight weeks.  When you get your passport back, there will be a Student Pass sticker inside it that you will need to renew yearly.


What evidence/ documentation do I need to provide?

To apply for a student pass, your institution will submit the following documents on your behalf:

  • An official letter of acceptable from your host institution
  • A completed Student Pass application form
  • Two photocopies of a valid passport photo page
  • Three passport-sized photos
  • Proof of purchase of Malaysian Health Insurance
  • A photocopy of your medical health examination report
  • Proof you’re able to financially support yourself for the duration of your study programme
  • A Personal Bond document that has been signed by your host institution

Your host institution is bound by law to sign the Personal Bond document if they have accepted you as a student, but you will need to pay a document fee.  Universities will not lodge your application until you’ve paid all relevant fees.



Personal Bond document fees vary depending from RM 300- RM 1,500 (US$ 91- US$ 457) depending on your country of origin. You might also need to pay an application fee to your host university. For example, the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus charges RM 500 (US$ 152) payable before they lodge your application, and another RM 500 that is paid in person on your course registration day.


You may also need to pay additional fees as part of your Student Pass application such as medical check-up fees and health insurance costs that also depend on your country of origin. You can get an estimate of how much these fees might be on the Education Malaysia website.


International students will also need to purchase one of three health insurance packages as part of their Student Pass application. Costs vary from RM 500- RM850 (US$ 152- US$ 259).


Yearly fees for a Student Pass are RYM 60 (US$ 18), whilst visa fees may be anything from RYM 15 – RYM 90 (US$ 4.50- US$ 27), depending on your country of origin.  All fees must be paid directly to the State Immigration Department.

Check the document fee for your country of origin

Check visa fees for your country of origin

Check which health insurance package you need


Keeping your visa

Your Student Pass is valid for a year and may not be renewed if you have not met class attendance requirements, or have no proven course selection for the following semester. You will need to renew your pass at least one and a half months before its date of expiry. This can be done through your host university, each of which has a separate renewal process that is retrievable on their website. For example, Monash University Malaysia requires submission of specific documents as well as a fee of RM 1000 (US$ 305) that also covers health insurance costs.


Now that you know how straightforward the Malaysian student visa process is, why not start browsing courses in Malaysia now and plan your study abroad adventure?


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About Author

Marketplace Malaysia

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.


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