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Kuala Lumpur Visa

Kuala Lumpur Visa
Michelle van Praag

BY Michelle van Praag

1 year ago

Preparation is key when it comes to traveling, especially when you are flying to a different continent! When planning a trip to Kuala Lumpur, one of the first questions you need to ask yourself is 'do I need a visa?'. We understand that this is probably the least 'sexy' thing about planning your holiday, but without the right visa you won't even be able to enter the country. 

So informing yourself and doing some research is inevitable. Annoying? Maybe a little bit. Needed? yes sir! But no worries, help is on the way! We'll try to make it as easy as possible for you to figure out what your options are and how to apply for one, in case you need one!

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Let's start off with some good news! Malaysia has a reputation for being one of the easiest countries to travel to in Southeast Asia, and this also applies to the visa situation. Citizens of many countries are granted a visa-free entry on arrival, meaning there’s no complicated paperwork standing between you and Malaysia’s beaches, jungles and food markets. Even better, the relaxed visa situation makes it super easy for you to take trips to neighboring countries like Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand!

What is a (tourist) visa?

A (tourist) visa is a stamp or document that has been issued by a Malaysian embassy or consulate and stamped on your passport upon arrival at the airport in Malaysia. 

There are certain countries that made agreements with the government of Malaysia so their citizens can benefit from the visa exemption when entering the country as tourists. These tourists are allowed to stay in Malaysia for a limited amount of time, without the need to apply for a tourist visa from their local Malaysian Embassy.

Do I need a visa to enter Kuala Lumpur as a tourist?

This will entirely depend on your nationality but most Commonwealth and European countries don’t need to obtain a tourist visa to travel to Malaysia prior to arriving. Travelers from these exempt countries can just present their passport upon arrival and get a 'visa on arrival'. A well made passport holder will help to keep your passport and documents organized and readily available. You literally don’t need to arrange anything in advance, just get off the plane and they give you a stamp that allows you to stay for up to 90 days! That’s hospitality!

You can check the website of the Malaysian Immigration Department to see which countries do or don't need to apply for a visa!

When do I need to apply for a tourist visa to enter Kuala Lumpur?

So like we said above, in 'normal' circumstances, nationals of most countries in Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan can visit Kuala Lumpur without a visa for a stay of up to 90 days. You just need to make sure your passport is valid for six months from the date of entry. Technically, the authorities can ask for proof of sufficient funds for your stay and a ticket for onward travel from Malaysia, but this is not usually requested. 

If you are flying in from a country that isn't in the list of 'exempt' countries, you'll need to apply for a visa BEFORE you travel to Malaysia!

These are examples of some countries (the list is longer obviously, please check yourself for your country) that are granted a visa-free entry for 90 days: Australia, UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Nothern Ireland), USA, Canada, Egypt, most European countries, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, South Africa, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Yemen

Countries that are granted visa-free entry for 30 days: Singapore,Thailand, Malta, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Slovenia, Philippines, Russia, Switzerland, Netherlands

Countries that are granted visa-free entry for 14 days: Macau, Palestine, Taiwan, Libya, Iraq, Iran 

Countries that are required to obtain a visa BEFORE they arrive: Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar

How can I get a Malaysian tourist visa?

If you come from one of the countries that require a visa prior to travel, you'll need to go to the Malaysian embassy or consulate in your country in order to get a visa before your trip to Malaysia. Visa applications can also be done online through Malaysia’s I-Visa system, but this is only applicable for tourists from certain countries.

Malaysia tourist visa requirements

To apply for a Malaysian tourist visa there are several criteria that must be met:

  • Completed application form
  • Your passport must be valid for at least six months
  • Photocopy of the passport photo page
  • One passport photo (45 x35mm) showing your head and shoulders
  • Flight itinerary with the arrival and departure dates
  • Proof of travel and hotel reservation
  • Proof of financial status 

Types of visas

The Malaysian government issues 3 types of visas to foreign nationals:

Single Entry Visa: This is issued to foreign nationals who require a visa to enter Malaysia mainly for a social visit. It is normally valid for a single entry and for a period of 3 months from the date of issue.

Multiple Entry Visa:This is issued to foreign nationals who require a visa to enter Malaysia mainly for business matters. It is normally valid for a period within 3 months to 12 months from the date of issue.

Transit Visa: This is issued to foreign nationals who require a visa to enter Malaysia on transit to other countries. But we'll get into this subject more profoundly later in this blogpost.

When do I need a transit visa?

If you are planning to transit in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, it is important to know whether you need a transit visa or not. No need to worry, the regulations are pretty straight forward when it comes to Transit visas!

Who Needs a Malaysia Transit Visa?

You DON'T need a transit visa if:

- You don't need to switch between terminals

- You don't have to leave the airport 

- Your wait is shorter than 24 hours

- You continue your journey to the next destination with the same flight 

You DO need a transit visa if you are a visa- required national when:

- Your transit in Malaysia is more than 24 hours 

- You have to pass through immigration to board another flight/get your luggage or you have to switch between terminals

- You are transiting in an airport other than Kuala Lumpur International Airport

You DON'T need a transit visa If you are a visa-required national when:

- Your transit in Kuala Lumpur International Airport

- Your transit is shorter than 24 hours

- You arrive and depart through the same point (you don' have to pass through immigration/switch between terminals KLIA and KLIA2)

- You will continue your journey on the same flight or you are eligible for the Malaysia Transit Pass 

How to get a Malaysia Transit Visa?

If you have to pass through immigration during your transit in Malaysia, it counts as if you are entering the country. As such, you will have to apply for a Malaysia transit visa the same way as a regular Malaysian visa – by one of the following two ways:

- In person, at a Malaysian Embassy/Consulate or an authorized Visa Application Center

- Online, for nationals of specific countries only

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Can I extend my tourist visa?

If you can't get enough of Kuala Lumpur and you'd like to extend your stay? We got good news because it's possible to prolong your stay by doing a 'visa run'. This literally means physically leaving Malaysia to one of the neighboring countries (or any country you'd like), and re-enter Malaysia again. This way you are granted another 30 (or 90) days again. 

There’s rarely a problem if you do this once or twice, but the authorities may start asking hard questions if you repeat this 'visa run' too many times. 

IMPORTANT: It’s important not to overstay your visa or the visa-free entry period. If you do, you can be detained, fined, deported, and even blacklisted!

The fun part: discovering Kuala Lumpur

Ok, you've sorted your travel documents, now let's enjoy the city! Whether it's your first time visiting Kuala Lumpur, or you've been here many times, the city will always keep surprising you! With a city as big as Kuala Lumpur (it's the largest city in Malaysia, covering an area of 243 km2/94 sq mi) it's almost impossible to have visited every corner or attraction. 

We understand the city's size can be intimidating and you don't know where to start but that's where we come in! As the number one tour operator in Southeast Asia, we offer many all-inclusive tours in Kuala Lumpur and private tours in Malaysia! It will be our absolute pleasure to show you around in one of our favorite cities all time!

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