International Student Guide: Applying for a Malaysian Student Visa

April 01, 2024


Malaysian visa

Starting a new journey to study abroad is a transformative experience, offering opportunities for personal growth, academic enrichment, and cultural immersion. 

Among the many decisions that an international student must make, obtaining a visa is a vital step before they can study abroad. 

For those considering Malaysia as their study destination, navigating the complexities of the visa application process can be challenging. 

Yet, with the correct information, you can plan your timeline for studying in Malaysia and navigate this procedure with ease.

What are the steps for obtaining a student pass and traveling to Malaysia?  

Navigating the process of obtaining a student visa in Malaysia requires a clear understanding of the essential requirements. 

Below is important information you must know beforehand about applying for a Malaysian student visa: 

1. Secure admission to a Malaysia’s university 

To begin the process of obtaining a student pass in Malaysia, the first step is you must secure an admission to a higher education institution within the country. 

However, it's essential for you to note that each university may have its own application process. 

Typically, this involves submitting academic transcripts, English language proficiency test scores such as IELTS or TOEFL, along with any other documents required by the university. 

So, you must review thoroughly the academic and language proficiency requirements set by the institution to determine your eligibility for admission.

2. Obtain an offer letter from the university

Malaysian visa

After your application is approved by the university, the next step is to obtain an offer letter from the institution. 

This letter is vital because it contains your admission information, such as academic courses, intake sessions, and tuition and student visa fees. 

You must read the offer letter carefully to understand all the terms and conditions of your acceptance. 

Reviewing the letter thoroughly helps you make informed decisions as you progress toward securing your student visa and starting your studies in Malaysia.

3. Prepare necessary documents

After you have received an offer letter from the university, you need to gather necessary documents. 

These documents are essential for demonstrating your eligibility and fulfilling the requirements set by the Malaysian immigration authorities. 

Here is the documents you'll need to prepare: 

  • An official letter of acceptance from the university.
  • A completed student application form.
  • Three copies of your passport-sized photo. You can check here for passport photo guidelines.
  • One softcopy of your passport. 
  • A copy of your medical health declaration form 

Important note: 
The passport must have a validity period of at least 18 months. 

4. Pay the university application and student visa fees 

After gathering all the required documents for your student visa application, the next step is to proceed with payment for both your application and student visa fees. The fees ranged from USD 600 - 800. 

You can find the university's bank account details in the offer letter. It's essential to make this payment promptly to avoid any delays in your plans to travel to Malaysia and begin your semester at the university.

5. Get approval for your Student Visa

After you have paid both the application and student visa fees, the university will submit your documents to the Malaysian authorities for student visa approval. This process usually takes 4 to 8 weeks.

6. Receive your Electronic Visa Approval Letter (eVAL)

Upon approval of your student visa application by the Malaysian authorities, you'll receive an email notification confirming the approval, also referred to as the Electronic Visa Application Letter (eVAL). 

7. Apply for a Single Entry Visa (SEV) 

After receiving eVAL, you must get a Single Entry Visa (SEV) from the Malaysian Embassy at your home country. However, not all countries’ citizens require it. You can check if your country is listed in the SEV required list here

The SEV essentially allows international students traveling to Malaysia for the first time to enroll in their university in the country. The validity of the SEV is three (3) months from the date of issue.

During this period of validity, you can carefully plan your trip to Malaysia. It's recommended that you check the semester's commencement date at your offer letter beforehand. Arriving too early in Malaysia could lead to issues like accommodation arrangements.

8. Buy a flight ticket to travel to Malaysia 

Malaysian visa

After you have received the Single Entry Visa (SEV), you can book a flight ticket to travel to Malaysia.

9. Complete the onboarding process 

Upon arrival at the Malaysian airport, you'll need to show your Single Entry Visa (SEV) to the immigration officers. Along with that, you'll receive a 30-day visa to complete your onboarding tasks.

So, what do you need to do during this period?

You need to head to the International Office at your university and let the staff update your information in their system. 

Then, you need to begin the onboarding process, such as paying semester and registration fees, and others. Additionally, you will need to undergo a medical check-up at the university, with the fee already covered in your student visa application. 

10. Get your student visa sticker 

Once you have completed the onboarding process, hand in your passport to the International Office for the visa endorsement. 

They'll pass it on to the Malaysian immigration to add your student visa sticker and this process usually takes 3 to 4 weeks. 

While your passport is with immigration, the university will provide a receipt to confirm your student status. Make sure to keep this receipt safe, as it is a proof of your identity and reason for residing in Malaysia. 

Are there any special conditions or regulations for student visas in Malaysia?

Below is special conditions or regulations for Student Visa in Malaysia: 

1. You are permitted to bring along your family members

As you pursue your higher education in Malaysia, you can bring only your immediate family members such as parents, spouse, and children. 

However, this policy applies to Master's Degree and PhD students. To apply for a Dependant Pass for your immediate family members, you need to follow some conditions: 

  • Your university must submit the application on behalf of your family members.
  • You must have a valid student pass.
  • Children under 18 years old can stay and study in Malaysia with a dependant pass under their parents. 

But if they are aged 18 years and above, they need to apply individually for a student pass if they intend to study in Malaysia. 

2. Transfer to other university 

If you receive a new offer letter from another university after you have already started your academic lessons, your current university must issue a release letter, along with a supporting letter from EMGS if applicable.

Your current student pass needs to be shortened, and a Special Pass will be issued for the new application process. Your new student pass application must be completed within 90 days. 

During this period, you are not required to leave Malaysia. However, if the transfer cannot be completed within the timeframe, you must leave the country. 

3. Change academic programme

You are permitted to transfer their academic course within the same institution under certain conditions. The institution must obtain a support letter from EMGS, if applicable. 

Additionally, your current Student Pass needs to be shortened, and a Special Pass will be issued for the new application process. During this period, you are not required to leave Malaysia.

4. Work as a part-time with Student Visa

If you are wondering whether you can work part-time with your student visa, the answer is yes. However, there are rules you need to follow. 

Your part-time work applications must be made through the university, and you must be present with the university representative at the Immigration Department of Malaysia to submit your part-time work application. 

Once submitted, if your part-time application is approved, your passport will be endorsed accordingly. You are permitted to work part-time for up to 20 hours per week during semester breaks or any holidays exceeding 7 days.

You can work in certain places such as restaurants, petrol kiosks, mini markets, and hotels, as long as your student pass is valid. 

However, there are certain restrictions; you cannot work as a cashier, singer, masseur, musician, Guest Relation Officer (GRO), or engage in any activities deemed immoral.

What if you want or need to work part-time beyond the set period?

You will be granted permission to work part-time for an extended duration once the Immigration Department considers your attendance and academic record.

When is the best time to come to Malaysia for studying?

Generally, higher educational institutions in Malaysia have different intake dates for various courses or programmes. 

Therefore, you should refer to your institution, and they will inform you of the commencement date of the new semester.

The ideal time to travel to Malaysia is within the registration period, typically 1 or 2 days before the commencement date.

However, for international students enrolled in Preparatory English programs at Malaysia's universities, the university will apply for their Student Visa earlier than the commencement date of the new semester. In this case, they are allowed to enter Malaysia earlier.

Kickstart your education in Malaysia

We'll help you find and apply for your dream university


This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using this site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Statement and Terms & Conditions .

Maximum 6 courses for comparison!

Chat on WhatsApp

Courses selected for comparison