If you have been looking around for how to get your Malaysia digital nomad visa or De Rantau Nomad Pass, look no further! I’m here to tell you all about it!
With digital nomad culture on the rise, many countries are expanding their visa formalities to allow for easier long-term stay options and to open up more opportunities to digital nomads from all over the world.
Malaysia is no exception, launched on 1 October 2022 de Rantau Program is introduced to accommodate digital nomads who are looking at how to apply for a digital nomad visa Malaysia.
With a beautiful mix of tradition and modern living, Malaysia is fast becoming a prime digital nomad destination.
Read on to find out more about:
- The types of visas that are available for digital nomads in Malaysia
- How to apply for a Digital Nomad Visa or De Rantau Pass
- Malaysia Digital Nomad Eligibility
- Accommodation for Digital Nomads in Malaysia
- The best cities to be a digital nomad in Malaysia
- Where to find comfortable and affordable digital nomad accommodation in Malaysia
- FAQs On Digital Nomad Visa For Malaysia
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Do You Need A Digital Nomad Visa Malaysia?
First things first – is a digital nomad Malaysia visa absolutely necessary to enter the country?
At this juncture, it must be said that Malaysia is one of the most welcoming countries to visitors from all around the world. And I am not just talking about the people and the food!
This extends to Malaysia’s visa formalities and requirements as well!
Depending on which country your passport is issued from, you can enter and stay in Malaysia without a visa for a specified number of days.
For example, if your passport is issued from any one of the countries above, you can enter and stay in Malaysia for a total of 90 days without having to apply for a visa.
If your passport has been issued from any one of the countries below, you can enter and stay in Malaysia for a total of 30 days without the need for a visa.
Additionally, if you are holding a passport that has been issued by Iran or Libya, or hold a Macau Special Administrative Region Travel Permit, then you can enter and remain in Malaysia for a total of 14 days without a visa.
As you can see, for the most part, Malaysia’s existing immigration policies and visa requirements are already more than perfect for digital nomads from almost anywhere in the world!
Good news, on 1 October 2022, the Malaysia government under MDEC or the Malaysian Digital Economic Corporation launches the de Rantau program.
Under this program, a qualified digital nomad can apply for a Malaysia nomad visa and get to choose to stay in Malaysia for 3 months up to one year, with the option to renew for another 12 months!
Types of Visas for Digital Nomads in Malaysia
If your passport is issued by a country that is not on the lists set out above or if you intend to stay in Malaysia longer than the specified number of days for visa-free entry, then there are a few types of Malaysia digital nomad visa options to choose from.
MDEC (Malaysian Digital Economic Corporation) just released de Rantau Program which aims to facilitate foreign digital nomads by creating a new Malaysia digital nomad visa, nomad ready-hubs, and special curated services and facilities that help you to ease your productivity and stay in Malaysia.
There are a few cases, where you might not be eligible to apply for the Malaysia digital nomad visa or known as Professional Visit Pass (Pas Lawatan Ikhtisas PLIK), you can try to apply for these digital nomad visa Malaysia options.
More importantly, these Malaysia freelance visa options are much easier to apply for than having to apply for a business visa to Malaysia.
At a glance, these digital nomad Malaysia visa options are:
- Professional Visit Pass (Digital Nomad Visa Malaysia)
- Single Entry Visas
- Multiple Entry Visas
Before each of these is explored in further detail below, it must be noted that one of the prerequisites to enter Malaysia, whether visa-free or not, is a valid national passport or an internationally recognized travel document.
Additionally, your passport or relevant travel document must be valid for at least 6 months from your date of entry into Malaysia.
Now, let’s dive into the types of visa options that are available to a Malaysia digital nomad!
This visa digital nomad Malaysia is issued to foreign nationals who desire to remain and provide specific professional visits for a short period in Malaysia.
The validity of this pass is for a period not exceeding 12 months and is subject to the Malaysia digital nomad visa requirements and conditions of immigration rules and policies.
To apply, simply create an account, upload the necessary digital nomad visa Malaysia requirements documents, and make payment through the MDEC website.
The processing time for you to get your freelance visa Malaysia normally is about 4 weeks. However, under certain circumstances, your application might be delayed.
Single Entry Visa Malaysia
This particular type of Malaysia nomad visa is primarily for those who are holders of passports that are not listed above.
The validity of a single entry visa is for a total of 3 months.
This is a great Malaysia remote work visa option for those who intend to be in Malaysia on a short-term basis.
Multiple Entry Visa Malaysia
This is a freelancer visa Malaysia option for those who intend to use Malaysia as a home base and travel to other countries nearby.
The multiple entry visa is usually valid for between 3 months to 12 months, depending on your selected duration.
However, it must be noted that upon entry, you can only stay in Malaysia for up to 30 days, after which you need to leave the country before you return again.
This is what makes it perfect for digital nomads in Malaysia who intend to make frequent trips outside the country.
Other conditions that must be satisfied to apply for a multiple entry visa to Malaysia are:
- A booked and confirmed return ticket or a ticket to another destination outside of Malaysia
- Proof of sufficient funds to cover your expenses while staying in Malaysia. While there is no fixed amount specified by the Malaysian immigration as to what amounts to sufficient funds as such, a general guideline would be to ensure that you have at least USD1000 in deposits to satisfy this requirement.
In recent years, Malaysia has allowed certain foreign nationals to apply for e VISA Malaysia.
This is a type of multiple entry visa that is valid for 3 months from the date of issue.
However, each entry will entitle you to stay in Malaysia for up to 15 or 30 days, depending on which option you choose upon applying for the eVISA
The following nationalities can apply for the eVISA from anywhere in the world except in Malaysia and Singapore:
- Sri Lanka
How to Apply for a Digital Nomad Visa In Malaysia
As Malaysia just recently launched a new remote work visa Malaysia; the De Rantau Program Pass to help us digital nomads live and work in Malaysia easier.
Now you can apply for Malaysia nomad visa by visiting the De Rantau program website. You must complete all these steps and provide the Malaysia nomad visa requirements as stated below:
- Prepare the nomad visa Malaysia requirements document by referring to the picture down below.
- Register to De Rantau Program Website. Register a new MD User using your personal email. You will get a verification code to enter. After logging in, you have to apply as a foreigner or local user.
- Choose your occupation. You have to choose between digital freelancers/independent contractors or remote workers.
- Fill out the application form. In this part, you have to fill in your personal details such as your name, date of birth, nationality, birthplace, and address details. You have to provide other information as well including your passport details, academic qualifications, information about your sponsor, etc. And lastly, you are required to write your emergency contact information.
- Upload the Malaysia digital nomad visa requirements documents as required. All documents must be in English or translated into English and uploaded as one file. The file must be in PDF format and 20MB.
- Pay the application fee. The application fee is RM1,000 or USD225. If you bring an accompanying dependent. For each one of them, you have to pay an additional fee of RM500 or USD112.
- Wait for confirmation. The processing time is about four weeks. You will get your decision on your Malaysia freelancer visa application via email.
If you are of those nationals who have to apply for eVisa due to being unable to get the Malaysia nomad visa for freelancers, you can try to apply for eVisa with supporting documents as below:
- Original passport
- Two (2) photocopies of the applicant’s passport
- Two (2) photocopies of the visa application form (Form IMM.47)
- Two (2) passport-size photographs of the applicant
- Original and two (2) photocopies of the ticket (confirmed and returned ticket)
- Bank statement/traveler’s cheque
- Invitation letter (if any)
- Visa fee
Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa Eligibility
For you to be eligible for the Malaysia digital nomad visa or DE Rantau pass, you must meet certain qualifications:
- Have an active contract from local or foreign-based companies working as a digital freelancer or independent contractor.
- Working remotely with an active employment contract from local or foreign-based companies.
- Working within the IT industry, including digital marketing, digital content development, and digital creative content.
- Earning an income of at least $24,000 each year.
Accommodation for Digital Nomads in Malaysia
With an increasing number of digital nomads making their way to Malaysia, there has been an increase in short-term rental accommodation, especially in major digital nomad destinations.
While you can easily source out affordable accommodation on your own, there are some platforms online that may make your search a little easier.
Coliving offers fully furnished living spaces that you can share with like-minded individuals with common interests, with a flexible range of rental options from short term to long term contracts.
Mostly known for hosting individuals who are working remotely, starting a new company, young professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, interns, students, travellers and many more who are looking for shared housing with a co-living workspace.
You can find a range of accommodations like this Upscale Style Apartment with a Coworking Space and Rooftop in Ampang Hilir, Malaysia.
MyBilik (which translates to My Room) is one of the most popular sites to look for affordable accommodation for digital nomads.
Don’t be fooled by the name, though, MyBilik gives you options for more than just rooms!
You can choose your accommodation by indicating the type of place you are looking for, the area where you want to stay, and your budget. You will get options for condominiums, flats, apartments, landed properties, and homestays.
Do keep in mind that this platform does not claim to be a property agency. As such, it is probably best to do your own research on your intended accommodation before you make a commitment!
If you are planning to make Kuala Lumpur or one of the vicinities near Kuala Lumpur your digital nomad base, then this platform puts out some great options.
KL Short Stay takes private property spaces, spruces them up, and offers short-term rental options to those who need them.
They provide daily and monthly payment options depending on your needs and budget.
Additionally, you can choose from different locations within the Kuala Lumpur area, depending on where you want to be located.
Komune Living is a relatively new co-living agency in Malaysia.
Co-living has become increasingly popular in the last few years and property management firms have taken notice.
Co-living essentially means that you pay a fixed monthly amount for a room within a property unit, together with any utilities that may be required.
In such arrangements, the common facilities of the unit are shared with other individuals living there but the unit itself is usually constructed in such a way that you still have your privacy.
Best Destinations to be a Digital Nomad in Malaysia
Malaysia’s tourism tagline is “Malaysia Truly Asia” and there could not be more truth to this.
In Malaysia, you will find an amalgamation of traditions and cultures from all over SouthEast Asia. It is truly one of the best countries to experience the beauty of the region.
That being said, some destinations in Malaysia stand out as a result of combining the best of both worlds in terms of tradition and modern living and facilities.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and is its very heartbeat. Home of the tallest twin towers in the world, Kuala Lumpur has a brand of quintessential magic that you just can’t find anywhere else in the world!
While it is a relatively fast-paced city, there are plenty of places within Kuala Lumpur itself if you want to take it slow.
Kuala Lumpur is also home to many digital nomad-friendly cafes where you can sit and enjoy a variety of food that Malaysia is renowned for while you work!
In recent years, with the increase of remote working and digital nomad culture, there have been many coworking spaces that have blossomed within the city.
These coworking spaces have easy and affordable signup plans, perfect for short-term work arrangements as a digital nomad in Kuala Lumpur.
The transport system in Kuala Lumpur is also well-developed and it is easy to get around from one place to another using the train and bus systems.
You can even get from Kuala Lumpur to nearby cities in different states using the train system!
Penang Island is an all-time favorite destination for locals in Malaysia, and more so for digital nomads!
Also known as the Pearl of the Orient, Penang is the perfect digital nomad destination in Malaysia if you love your beaches.
With a beautiful coastline and affordable accommodation, it is easy to see why Penang Island is so endearing for digital nomads.
There are also plenty of quaint and cozy cafes where you can spend your day and get your work done.
More importantly, Penang is famous for being Malaysia’s food capital! If you are a foodie, the variety of food that is available all over the island is mind-boggling.
So, if one of your digital nomad gigs involves being a food blogger, you had better grab your passport and head on over right away!
With a great mix of island and city living, Penang is truly the perfect digital nomad destination.
Check out what it’s like to be a digital nomad in Penang and get some local insights and tips!
Langkawi is a beautiful archipelago that is made up of 99 islands. It is one of Malaysia’s pride and joy and is an incredibly popular digital nomad destination in Malaysia.
If nothing else lures you to Langkawi, the beautiful blue waters will!
Langkawi has the most beautiful sandy beaches in Malaysia.
While there may not be as many cafes or restaurants as Penang or Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi is a great option for the digital nomad who prefers to work by the beach and take a swim in the ocean during their breaks.
With that in mind, there are plenty of affordable digital nomad accommodations that have popped up in recent years, with the aim of enticing digital nomads to this stunning destination.
Unique Tips For Digital Nomads in Malaysia
Malaysia is a digital nomad destination that is incredibly rich and diverse in so many ways. While it is difficult to pinpoint exactly one thing that makes Malaysia unique, some things about Malaysia truly make it stand apart from other similar destinations.
Malaysia is diverse in so many ways but one of the main aspects is the diversity of its people. There are 3 main ethnic races in Malaysia i.e. Malays, Chinese, and Indians.
While they may all come from different backgrounds, there is a great community spirit among the races, and each race respects the other and at many times, can be seen to be working together towards a common goal.
The food in Malaysia is unparalleled in terms of taste as well as variety.
You will find food from different cultures and ethnicities.
A very popular way to enjoy this food is at the local hawker stalls which you can find almost anywhere in the country!
Did you know that it is summer all year round in Malaysia? So if you hate the cold and love the sun, Malaysia is your ultimate digital nomad destination.
While it does rain in certain months, it never snows or gets unbearably cold at any point.
As a result of the ethnic diversity in Malaysia, the culture of the country has been infused with stories, art, and history from various backgrounds.
This has contributed to the rich culture that Malaysia is so well known for.
It is good to remember, however, that Malaysians are generally conservative in nature and so it is best to carry out some in-depth research into the dos and don’ts of being in Malaysia.
This is almost an indisputable fact. Malaysians are incredibly warm and caring people.
For the most part, you will always find them ready to greet you with a smile and help you out if you get lost.
Malaysians are well-known for their kindness and you can find many stories of every-day Malaysians going over and above to help people out.
So if you are ever in need of anything during your digital nomad stint in Malaysia, do not hesitate to reach out to them and ask for it.
FAQs On Digital Nomad Visa For Malaysia
What Is A Digital Nomad?
To put it simply, digital nomads are those who travel around the world while they work. Now that’s the dream!
There are various types of digital nomads.
Some choose to be freelancers, working for various clients while others may be full-time remote workers employed by a business or company.
Some may use one country as a home base and travel frequently to nearby countries. Others may only stay a few days or a week in one place before they get on the move again.
As such, depending on your digital nomad goals and patterns, it is important to ensure that you have the necessary visa and formalities sorted out before you embark on your journey.
The last thing you need as a digital nomad is to get stuck with immigration issues because you do not have the appropriate visa.
Does Malaysia Have a Digital Nomad Visa?
Yes, Malaysia has a digital nomad visa that has recently been launched by Malaysia in an effort to attract digital nomads Malaysia, called the de Rantau Program. The goal is to make Malaysia the next hub for remote workers and boost the country’s digital economy by attracting digital nomads from all over the world, especially in Southeast Asia.
Can Digital Nomads Work In Malaysia?
Yes, digital nomads can work in Malaysia. Malaysia has a digital nomad visa that allows location-independent workers from the digital sector to live in Malaysia for up to 12 months with a minimum annual income of $24,000.
Do Digital Nomads Pay Tax In Malaysia?
Malaysia digital nomad visa holders are required to pay income tax if they work for a company or clients that are from Malaysia however they are not required to pay taxes on their income tax if working remotely in Malaysia.
Can I Work Remotely For A US Company From Malaysia?
You can work remotely from Malaysia for the US Company if the company allows it. No matter which country you choose to work from, you can’t avoid paying your income taxes. If your source of income is from the US, you’re subject to US taxes.
Who Qualifies As A Digital Nomad?
Any person who lives a nomadic lifestyle and works remotely using technology outside of their home country qualifies as a digital nomad. Having digital nomad visas allows them to legally live and work in another country. These visas are available to both students and workers, however, the requirements and costs can vary.
Do Digital Nomads Make A Lot of Money?
Digital nomads make between $10 and $30 per hour based on their experience, qualifications, and industry.
What Are The Benefits Of Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa?
The benefits of having a Malaysia digital nomad visa are you will have access to nomad-ready living and working hubs, handpicked local services, discount vouchers, the latest information, and promotions.
Can I Work Remote In Malaysia?
Yes, you can work remotely in Malaysia as Malaysia is ready to welcome digital nomads with the recent launch of de Rantau program. With a digital nomad visa Malaysia, you have the right to live and work remotely, getting discounts on accommodations, networking events, and other services.
How Do Digital Nomads Make Money?
A digital nomads make money with:
- Becoming a freelancer
- Become an online tutor
- Become a podcaster
- Become a YouTuber
- Become an SEO specialist
- Become a Social Media Manager
- Become a virtual assistant
What Is A Digital Nomad Salary?
One in five digital nomads makes between USD50,000 and USD99,000 per year once they are established, based on one study. Furthermore, in general, remote workers can expect to earn an average rate of between USD10 to USD30 per hour.
What Is The Most Common Digital Nomad Job?
The most common digital nomad job is in digital marketing specialties such as SEO, search ads, social media ads (Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Reddit ads), and email marketing. By far, the most popular job reported by digital nomads is marketing.
And there you have it, everything you need to know about your digital nomad visa Malaysia and then some!
Malaysia has so much to offer digital nomads these days. The fact that digital nomads from most countries can easily travel to Malaysia without a visa for a substantial period is a great bonus.
However, as you can see, even if you do need a visa for your travels to Malaysia, it is relatively easy and fuss-free to obtain.
If you need more reasons to make Malaysia your digital nomad base, check out my article on being a digital nomad in Malaysia!
Related Digital Nomad Posts:
- An Epic Digital Nomad In Kuala Lumpur Guide
- All You Need to Know About Becoming A Digital Nomad In Malaysia
- An Advanced Guide To Becoming A Singapore Digital Nomad