Obtain a Residence Permit in Malaysia

Updated on Tuesday 11th May 2021

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Foreigners who have been living in Malaysia for a certain period and by observing the local laws and regulations may apply for permanent residency and citizenship in Malaysia. The status of permanent resident offers a number of advantages, among which the ability to reside in the country for an indefinite period of time, without any visa requirements, the ability to work and open a business in Malaysia and acquire property here. One of our immigration lawyers in Malaysia can provide you with information to find out if you meet the applicable eligibility requirements and can assist you during the application procedure in order to make sure that you follow all of the needed steps and make the necessary submissions. 

Seeking specialized and personalized legal assistance when applying for residency can not only speed up the process, because you will receive information on all of the steps, in order, but can also allow applicants to have a higher acceptance rate because the submission will not be rejected on grounds having to do with improper documentation.
 

Who can apply for permanent residency in Malaysia?


Individuals who wish to apply for permanent residence status in Malaysia must qualify for one of the following:
  • high net worth individuals: open a bank account in Malaysia and deposit at least 2 million USD without withdrawing for five years; the spouse and children of the applicant may also apply for permanent resident status after a period of five years;
  • highly skilled or talented individuals: available for a number of industries, applicants must provide a certificate of good conduct and make the application with the Immigration Department;
  • professionals: similar to the previous category, these are individuals who have outstanding skills and have a recommendation from a relevant Malaysian authority; 
  • the spouse of a Malaysia citizen: individuals married to a Malaysia citizen may apply for permanent residency if they are married for at least five years and they have also lived in the country during this time;
  • based on the points system: a minimum number of points obtained during their stay in the country allows foreigners to apply for permanent residency status.
 
The first category is usually considered the most advantageous for foreign nationals who have the available assets. Those applying for residency as high net worth individuals are usually subject to the least requirements, however, they will require one Malaysian sponsor. Individuals who wish to come and live in the country as experts need to have evident talents or skills in areas like medicine, technology, finance and banking, sports, and others. A recommendation by a relevant foreign authority in their field of expertise is required and it may be the preferred method for individuals who are already known in their field as public experts (even known internationally). A Malaysian sponsor is also required for this category and the same applies to the professional.
 
Unlike the experts, the professionals will need to have at least three years experience in their field of work and will need to provide a certificate of competence issued by a relevant authority in the home country. The person who applies as a spouse of a Malaysian citizen will need to have been married for at least five years and must have lived continuously in the country during this period of time as well as have a long-term visa. For spouses of Malaysian citizens, the following documents are required when making the application for a residency permit:
 
  • the filled-in application form and two passport photos;
  • passport copies, both from old and new passports;
  • copies of the spouse’s identity card;
  • copies of the marriage certificate;
  • copies of the children’s birth certificates, if applicable.
 

Other residence permit condition in Malaysia in 2021


When the spouse of a citizen applies for residency, then that citizen will act as the sponsor. One of our attorneys in Malaysia can give you information about the checklist for other types of applicants. The point system for a residence permit is available for those foreign nationals who do not qualify as an investor or expert, professional, or spouse. The seven criteria for assessment are as follows:
 
  • age;
  • qualifications;
  • duration of stay in the country;
  • familiarity with the Malaysian regime;
  • the value of his investments in the country (if applicable);
  • work experience and proficiency in the Malaysian language.
 
The point system applicant is required to have at least 65 points. One of our lawyers can help you calculate the existing points, according to your particular situation. Additional requirements may apply to these categories of applicants. The fact that an individual complies with one of these criteria is not an automatic approval. The application, as well as the accompanying documentation,  have to be properly submitted and evaluated and the process is also subject to a certain degree of interpretation from the Malaysian authorities. By working with a lawyer who specializes in these types of submissions, like our immigration lawyers in Malaysia, you can rest assured that the application is properly submitted for evaluation. You can talk to an expert at our law firm in Malaysia for clarifications according to your particular situation.

What is the residence permit application method?


When you are eligible for permanent residency according to the categories described above you must submit a proper application form with the Immigration Department. The applicant and his sponsor (if applicable, usually for the 5th category) are usually required to attend an interview with the Department. For those individuals who apply for the permit as experts willing to permanently live in the country, the application is submitted to the Immigration Department in Malaysia. For those who apply as spouses, professional, highly skilled individuals, and based on the points system, the application is submitted with the State Immigration Office.

The experts at our law office in Malaysia can answer your questions regarding immigration, naturalization, and other 2021 conditions for foreigners living in the country.

Our Malaysian lawyers who specialize the issues related to obtaining permanent residency can help applicants navigate through the requirements of obtaining the right to permanently live in the country. The permanent resident status is one that will allow for a number of benefits and it is a natural step for many foreign individuals who have lived and worked in the country for some time. A key benefit of obtaining this permit is that the holder will be able to leave and return as he pleases and also to work without having to apply for a work permit. Individuals who do obtain this permit should know that they will still be subject to a set of rules, including but not limited to voting or becoming politically involved. Also, certain rules of buying property, as they are in place for foreigners, may still apply.

When you are ready to take this step, you can reach out to our attorneys who will be able to provide complete consulting services. You can contact us for more information on this subject as well as advice referring to immigration formalities for 2021.