Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa: Requirements and Application Process

Malaysia is positioning itself as a premier destination for digital nomads with the introduction of its DE Rantau Nomad Pass, the official name for the Malaysia digital nomad visa.

This initiative is designed to cater to the needs of remote workers and entrepreneurs seeking a blend of adventure, culture, and business growth. The pass allows holders to stay for three months and up to two years, available to digital nomads and remote workers from all over the world.

Malaysia offers a remarkably affordable cost of living compared to many Western countries. This affordability extends across housing, food, transportation, and leisure activities, allowing digital nomads to enjoy a high quality of life without breaking the bank.

For solopreneurs and those managing their businesses, this means more flexibility in budgeting and the opportunity to invest more in their ventures.

In this article, we dive into the key details, benefits, requirements, application process, and costs associated with the De Rantau Nomad Pass.

aerial view of the city with tall buildings surrounded by trees- malaysia digital nomad visa

What is the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa?

Launched in October 2022, the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa, officially known as the DE Rantau Nomad Pass, is designed for qualified foreign digital nomads allowing them to travel and work in Malaysia.

This pass is essentially a type of Professional Visit Pass (Pas Lawatan Ikhtisas PLIK), offering flexibility and an extended stay for digital professionals compared to standard tourist visas​.

The DE Rantau Nomad Pass was developed by the Malaysian Government together with the Ministry of Digital’s Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). The program is open to digital freelancers, independent contractors, and remote workers in various IT and digital domains, such as software engineering, digital marketing, UX/UI design, and more.

Applicants must provide proof of annual income exceeding MYR 109,103.95 (at least $24,000) for foreign applicants or MYR 36,000 (around $7,863) for local digital nomads​.

Holders of the DE Rantau Nomad Pass can enjoy numerous benefits, including access to a supportive ecosystem for digital nomads, such as suitable accommodation, communal gatherings with peers, and more.

The accommodations must meet specific criteria to be certified as a DE Rantau Hub, ensuring they offer necessary facilities like workspace and high-speed internet​.

The DE Rantau Nomad Pass offers a unique opportunity for digital nomads looking to explore Malaysia while continuing their professional activities. Its extended duration, combined with the support and infrastructure provided, make it an attractive option for those seeking a balance between work and lifestyle in a dynamic and culturally rich environment.

The Benefits of the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa

Image text showing benefits of The Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa

The DE Rantau Nomad Pass is not just a visa but a comprehensive program participated in by both government and private companies and organizations designed to support digital nomads in their professional and personal lives while they explore Malaysia.

The combination of extended stay, supportive ecosystem, and family inclusion, among other advantages, makes Malaysia an inviting destination for digital nomads looking for their next remote work base.

  • Flexibility: Offers a stay from 3 to 12 months, with the option for renewal up to an additional 12 months, totaling a possible 24 months in Malaysia​​​​.
  • Continuous Exploration: This extended period allows digital nomads to deeply immerse themselves in Malaysian culture and explore the country thoroughly.
  • Accommodation: Access to suitable accommodations, handpicked to meet the needs of digital nomads, ensuring comfort and productivity​​.
  • Community Engagement: Organized communal gatherings with like-minded peers facilitate networking and community building​​.
  • Cultural Immersion: Malaysia’s rich cultural diversity and natural beauty offer a unique blend of work and leisure activities.
  • Access to DE Rantau Hubs: Certified accommodations that provide necessary facilities, including workspaces and high-speed internet, ensuring nomads can work efficiently​​.
  • Family-Friendly: Allows the inclusion of spouses and children under the main pass, ensuring digital nomads can bring their families along on their journey​​​​.
  • Simplified Online Application: The entire application process can be completed online, removing the need for physical document submission and making it convenient for applicants worldwide​​.
  • Comprehensive Support: Guidance through the application process and a clear list of required documents simplify compliance and planning​​​​.
  • Cost-Effective: The application fee is reasonably priced at MYR 1,000 for the main applicant and MYR 500 for dependents, making it a financially viable option for many​​.
  • Economic Living: Malaysia’s affordable cost of living enhances the overall appeal for digital nomads maintaining a budget.
  • Secure Environment: Malaysia’s reputation for safety and political stability offers peace of mind for digital nomads and their families.
  • Mandatory Insurance: Requires health or travel insurance coverage for the duration of the stay, ensuring medical needs are addressed​​.
  • Welcoming All: Open to applicants of all nationalities, promoting a diverse and inclusive community of digital nomads​​.

Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa- Requirements, Application & Costs

Image text showing requirements for The Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa

Requirements

  • Passport Validity: Your passport must have a minimum of 6 empty pages and at least 14 months of remaining validity​​.
  • Professional Background: Submission of your latest CV to showcase your professional experience and skills​​.
  • Financial Proof: Latest 3 months bank statement and income statement or latest tax returns to prove financial stability​​.
  • Valid Project or Employment Contract: A contract for a duration of 3 months or more, showing ongoing or upcoming work commitments​​.
  • Letter of Good Conduct: Issued by an authoritative body in your country of residence, ensuring a clean criminal record​​.
  • Highest Education Certificate: To verify your academic qualifications​​.
  • Medical Insurance: A certificate for medical insurance that is valid in Malaysia, covering the entire duration of your stay​​​​.
  • Tax Registration: Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia tax registration slip is required​​.
  • Personal Bond: Completed personal bond form, affixed with a revenue stamp​​.
  • Annual Income Requirement: Proof of annual income exceeding RM109,103.95 for foreign applicants, ensuring sufficient funds for your stay​​.

Application Process

Applying for the Malaysia DE Rantau Nomad Pass involves a streamlined process that can be completed online, making it convenient for digital nomads from anywhere in the world. Here’s a detailed step-by-step guide on how to apply for the pass:

Step 1: Check Eligibility

  • Ensure you meet all the requirements such as a professional background in IT & digital domains, financial stability, and a clean criminal record​​​​​​.

Step 2: Prepare Required Documents

  • Gather all necessary documentation, including your passport with sufficient validity, CV, financial statements, valid project or employment contract, letter of good conduct, highest education certificate, medical insurance valid in Malaysia, and the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia tax registration slip​​.

Step 3: Complete the Online Application

  • Visit the official Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) website or the designated platform for the DE Rantau Nomad Pass application.
  • Fill out the application form accurately, ensuring all details are current and correct.

Step 4: Submit Documentation

  • Upload the required documents as part of your online application. Ensure that all documents are clear, legible, and meet the specified requirements​​​​.

Step 5: Pay the Application Fee

  • Pay the application fees online: MYR 1,000 for the main applicant and MYR 500 for each dependent​​. This step usually comes after or during the submission of your online application.

Step 6: Application Review

  • After submission, your application will undergo a review process, which typically takes 6-8 weeks. During this period, additional documents may be requested by the reviewing authority​​.

Step 7: Receive Your Pass

  • Once approved, you’ll receive a notification regarding the approval of your DE Rantau Nomad Pass. Follow any additional instructions provided to collect your pass or have it mailed to you.

Step 8: Plan Your Move

  • With the DE Rantau Nomad Pass approved, you can start planning your relocation to Malaysia, including securing accommodation, travel arrangements, and familiarizing yourself with local laws and customs.

Additional Tips:

  • Early Application: Start the application process well in advance of your planned move to Malaysia to account for processing times and any potential delays.
  • Insurance Coverage: Ensure your medical insurance covers the entire duration of your stay in Malaysia and meets the pass requirements​​.
  • Stay Informed: Regularly check for any updates on the application process or requirements on the official MDEC website or through official communications from Malaysian immigration authorities.

The entire application process for the DE Rantau Nomad Pass is designed to be completed online for your convenience, making it accessible to digital nomads globally.

circle design in a skywalk going to the tall building

Costs

  • Application Fee for the Main Applicant:

MYR 1,000 (approximately USD 209.38)

  • Application Fee for Each Dependent:

MYR 500 (approximately USD 104.69)

Payment Methods

  • Online Payments: Typically, application fees can be paid online through the application portal, using credit/debit cards or other online payment methods supported by the platform.
  • Cash Payments: Generally not applicable for online applications.
  • Wire Transfers: This may not be directly applicable to the application fee but could be relevant for other incidental costs or if you are making payments from abroad for related services.

Incidental Costs

Aside from the basic application fees, there are several incidental costs that applicants should consider:

  • Health or Travel Insurance: Required for the duration of your stay. Costs vary based on coverage, provider, and length of stay.
  • Medical Examination (if required): Some applicants might need a medical examination based on their country of origin or specific requirements set by the Malaysian government.
  • Document Certification: Costs associated with getting documents officially translated (if not in English) or certified by a notary.
  • Personal Bond: Required for some applicants, with the amount set by the Malaysian authorities. This is refunded upon the expiry of the visa/pass without violations.

It’s important to have access to a bank account or credit card that allows for international transactions to cover these costs.

Keep in mind, that the actual costs may vary based on individual circumstances, and it’s wise to prepare for additional expenses that may arise during the application process.

Resources to Stay Up to Date with Visa Changes

DE Rantau Nomad Pass Application Portal

Atlys.com

iVisa.com

World Visa Guide

Do I Need a Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa?

It depends on your circumstances and how long you want to stay in Malaysia. The Malaysia DE Rantau Nomad Pass offers a structured pathway for digital professionals to live and work legally in Malaysia, which caters to the typical needs of digital nomads.

If you wish to work remotely in Malaysia without worrying about violating local immigration laws, the DE Rantau Nomad Pass provides a legal framework to do so, making it essential for those seeking peace of mind regarding their work status.

For digital nomads who prefer to immerse themselves in a destination longer than the standard tourist visa allows, this pass offers an extended stay of up to 12 months, renewable for another 12 months, facilitating a deeper connection with the local culture and community.

The program’s benefits through the DE Rantau Hubs include access to coworking spaces, networking opportunities, and support services, which are tailored to the needs of digital nomads, offering a conducive environment for both work and social engagement.

When traveling with family is part of your digital nomad journey, the DE Rantau Nomad Pass allows you to bring dependents under the same application, which is practical for those looking to relocate with their spouse or children.

Given Malaysia’s relatively low cost of living combined with the structured support provided by the DE Rantau program, it represents a financially viable option for digital nomads looking to maximize their earnings while enjoying a quality lifestyle.

The requirement for health insurance and the country’s overall safety and healthcare standards address common concerns among digital nomads regarding health and security during their travels.

The online application process and the comprehensive information provided make it straightforward for digital nomads to apply for the pass, removing potential bureaucratic hurdles.

Best Places to Live or Explore In Malaysia for Digital Nomads

Image text of the best places to live or explore in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur

city view with the famous twin tower -malaysia digital nomad visa

The bustling capital city offers a dynamic lifestyle with its mix of modernity and tradition, extensive coworking spaces, and robust internet connectivity. Its diverse international community makes it easy for digital nomads to adapt and network.

Key locations for digital nomads include Bangsar, Bukit Bintang, and KL Sentral. Bangsar is known for its vibrant cafes and eateries, offering a relaxed atmosphere for work and networking, making it a favorite among creatives and entrepreneurs seeking a dynamic community vibe.

Bukit Bintang stands out as the city’s entertainment and shopping hub, offering an energetic urban environment with easy access to coworking spaces, malls, and cultural attractions, ideal for those who thrive in the heart of the city.

KL Sentral, the city’s transportation hub, provides unmatched connectivity to the rest of Kuala Lumpur and beyond, complemented by a range of accommodation options and modern amenities; its practicality is unmatched for nomads looking for mobility and convenience.

Penang

side walk made of wood- malaysia digital nomad visa

Known for its cultural heritage, incredible street food, and creative scene, Penang, especially George Town, is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a comfortable blend of old-world charm and modern conveniences.

Notable locations for digital nomads are George Town, Batu Ferringhi, and Tanjung Bungah. George Town, is acclaimed for its historical architecture, vibrant street art, and diverse culinary scene, offering a culturally rich environment for those who draw inspiration from their surroundings. It’s also home to numerous coworking spaces and cafes suited for remote work.

Batu Ferringhi is known for its scenic beaches and relaxed lifestyle, making it perfect for nomads looking to balance work with leisure activities like swimming and night markets. Tanjung Bungah, positioned between Georgetown and Batu Ferringhi, offers a quieter setting with access to both the city’s cultural offerings and beachside relaxation. Its strategic location provides a balanced lifestyle for digital nomads seeking both tranquility and urban convenience.

Langkawi

boat sailing in the middle of the green ocean with green trees and mountains-

This archipelago is perfect for digital nomads looking for a beach lifestyle. With its stunning beaches, tax-free shopping, and relaxed atmosphere, Langkawi allows for a productive work environment amidst natural beauty.

Prime locations for digital nomads are Cenang Beach, Kuah, and Datai Bay. Cenang Beach is the island’s most popular beach area, bustling with activities, restaurants, and coworking cafes, ideal for nomads looking for a lively atmosphere and community feel. It’s perfect for those who enjoy balancing work with leisure, offering easy access to water sports and beachside relaxation.

Kuah is the commercial center and ferry port of Langkawi, offering more affordable living and shopping options. It’s suitable for nomads who prioritize practicality and access to local amenities like markets and malls. Datai Bay is secluded and surrounded by lush rainforests, offering luxury resorts and tranquility away from the crowds. This area appeals to those seeking peace and inspiration from nature, with high-end accommodations that often provide reliable internet and workspaces.

Johor Bahru

aerial view with tall buildings and road full of vehicles- malaysia digital nomad visa

Situated close to Singapore, Johor Bahru offers an affordable cost of living with access to several coworking spaces. Its proximity to Singapore also allows for convenient cross-border business opportunities.

Excellent locations for digital nomads include Iskandar Puteri, Danga Bay, and the city center. Iskandar Puteri is known for its development as a tech and education hub, housing numerous startups and coworking spaces, making it ideal for entrepreneurs and tech professionals seeking a collaborative environment.

Danga Bay offers waterfront living with a blend of leisure and work, featuring upscale accommodations, dining, and recreational activities, suitable for nomads who enjoy a balance of productivity and relaxation by the sea. The city center of Johor Bahru provides a vibrant urban experience with easy access to cultural sites, shopping malls, and an array of food options, appealing to those who thrive in a bustling city atmosphere and seek convenience in their daily living and working environment.

Kota Kinabalu

tall building surrounded by green grass and body of water- malaysia digital nomad visa

The capital of Sabah, on the island of Borneo, is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes. It’s ideal for digital nomads who love outdoor adventures like hiking, diving, and exploring rainforests in their downtime.

Ideal locations for digital nomads are the city center, Tanjung Aru, and Likas Bay. The city center offers a compact urban environment with a mix of modern amenities, vibrant markets, and waterfront attractions, alongside coworking spaces and cafes that cater to remote work needs. It’s ideal for those who want the convenience of city life within reach of natural attractions.

Tanjung Aru is known for its stunning beaches and proximity to the airport, making it perfect for nomads who prioritize seaside living and easy travel connections. The area provides a relaxed atmosphere while still offering essential services and connectivity for work. Likas Bay offers a more tranquil setting with scenic views, parks, and recreational facilities, suitable for digital nomads looking for a balance between work, health, and wellness activities.

Melaka

blue/white boat sailing in the river near houses with street arts

A historic city that offers a slower pace of life compared to Kuala Lumpur. Melaka is rich in history, culture, and cuisine, making it a picturesque and inspiring location for digital nomads.

Excellent locations for digital nomads are the Jonker Street area, Ayer Keroh, and the Melaka Raya business district.

Jonker Street area is the heart of Melaka’s historic Chinatown, offering a vibrant mix of cultural sites, markets, and an eclectic range of cafes and eateries, ideal for those who seek inspiration from a rich historical setting and creative environment. Ayer Keroh is a bit removed from the city center, known for its green spaces and recreational parks, providing a quieter setting for digital nomads who prefer a serene atmosphere while staying connected to nature.

Melaka Raya is the city’s modern business district, equipped with contemporary amenities, shopping malls, and various accommodation options, suitable for nomads looking for urban convenience and networking opportunities within a professional setting.

Ipoh

colorful building near the street

Known for its colonial architecture, vibrant street art, and delicious local cuisine, Ipoh is a quieter alternative that has been gaining popularity among remote workers for its affordable living and charming ambiance.

Notable locations for digital nomads are the Old Town, Tambun, and Greentown. Old Town is the historical heart of Ipoh, known for its colonial-era architecture, vibrant street art, and burgeoning cafe culture, offering a picturesque and inspiring setting for creative work with plenty of spots for coffee and fast Wi-Fi.

Tambun is renowned for its natural attractions, including hot springs and limestone caves, providing a peaceful retreat for nomads seeking inspiration from nature or a relaxing end to a workday. Greentown is a modern business district with a selection of coworking spaces, dining options, and easy access to amenities, catering to those who prefer a more urban environment with the convenience of professional workspaces and services.

Kuching

green trees across the city with tall building

The capital of Sarawak on Borneo Island is another gem for digital nomads seeking a blend of urban life and nature. It’s known for its waterfront, diverse cultures, and proximity to national parks.

Prime locations for digital nomads are the Waterfront area, Damai Beach, and the Kenyalang Park neighborhood. The Waterfront area is the scenic heart of Kuching, lined with historical buildings, cafes, and coworking spaces, offering a blend of cultural richness and modern amenities ideal for those who draw inspiration from their surroundings and seek a vibrant community.

Damai Beach is perfect for nomads looking to combine work with leisure, offering stunning beach views and resorts that are conducive to both relaxation and productivity, ideal for those who prioritize a tranquil environment close to nature.

Kenyalang Park is a bustling neighborhood known for its local markets, food stalls, and a more authentic residential experience, appealing to digital nomads who wish to immerse themselves in the local culture while having access to everyday conveniences.

Pahang

aerial view showing buildings surrounded by green trees

Pahang offers the cool, serene Cameron Highlands, ideal for those who prefer a cooler climate and lush green landscapes, and Tioman Island for a tranquil island work setting.

Excellent locations for digital nomads include Cameron Highlands, Tioman Island, and Kuantan. Cameron Highlands offers a cool climate and lush green landscapes, ideal for those seeking inspiration from nature and a break from the tropical heat, with plenty of cafes and spots conducive to working remotely amidst serene tea plantations.

Tioman Island is a tropical paradise perfect for digital nomads looking to work in a tranquil beach setting, offering pristine beaches, clear waters, and a slower pace of life, with accommodations and cafes that cater to the needs of remote workers.

Kuantan, the state capital, presents a balance between city conveniences and access to nature, including beaches and rainforests, providing a more urban setting with reliable internet, coworking spaces, and a variety of dining options.

Selangor

high rise building with skywalk during night time- malaysia digital nomad visa

Dubbed Malaysia’s Silicon Valley, Cyberjaya in Selangor is a tech hub with a multitude of coworking spaces, modern amenities, and a growing community of tech professionals and digital nomads.

Standout locations for digital nomads include Cyberjaya, Shah Alam, and Subang Jaya. Cyberjaya is known as Malaysia’s Silicon Valley, offering a high concentration of tech companies and startups, along with a variety of coworking spaces and fast internet, making it ideal for tech-savvy nomads looking for networking opportunities and a community of like-minded professionals.

Shah Alam offers a blend of urban living with access to green spaces, such as the Shah Alam Lake Gardens, providing a peaceful environment for those who appreciate a balance between work and leisure, with ample amenities and recreational activities.

Subang Jaya is favored for its vibrant food scene, shopping malls, and entertainment options, along with convenient transportation links to Kuala Lumpur, catering to nomads who seek an active social life and diverse culinary experiences while being close to the capital.

Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa – Summary

Malaysia ranks favorably for digital nomads due to its strong economy, ease of access, excellent internet connectivity, affordable cost of living, safety, and healthcare standards.

What makes Malaysia’s DE Rantau Nomad Pass enticing is the collective support of the government along with private stakeholders providing support to the program to make it very attractive and relevant for digital nomads and remote workers from all over the world.

Not only does it offer sensible requirements such as but the program has also been designed to be easily and conveniently accessible to applicants.

Combined with its cultural diversity and wealth of recreational opportunities, Malaysia presents an attractive package for digital nomads seeking a base that supports both their professional ambitions and lifestyle aspirations.

If you are looking to explore more of the world for your next global address or want to know more about digital nomad visas, check out our posts on;


Subscribe to the Working Traveller Newsletter and alongside weekly money making and nomadic lifestyle tips, get instant access to my FREE ebook – 200+ Ways to Generate an Income While Travelling the World!

Free ebook image - 200+ ways to generate an income while travelling the world

Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa- FAQs

Does Malaysia have a Digital Nomad Visa?

Yes, Malaysia offers a digital nomad visa known as the DE Rantau Nomad Pass. This program is specifically designed to accommodate digital professionals from around the globe, allowing them to live and work legally in Malaysia. It provides a structured pathway with a host of benefits tailored for digital nomads.

How to Live in Malaysia as a Digital Nomad?

Living in Malaysia as a digital nomad involves obtaining the DE Rantau Nomad Pass, which allows for a stay of up to 12 months, renewable for another 12 months. Digital nomads can enjoy the country’s high-speed internet, coworking spaces, and vibrant expat communities.

Additionally, Malaysia’s affordable cost of living and rich cultural diversity make it an attractive destination. It’s essential to have health insurance coverage and to understand local customs and immigration laws for a seamless experience.

Who is Eligible for the Malaysian Digital Nomad Visa?

Eligibility for the DE Rantau Nomad Pass includes digital freelancers, independent contractors, and remote workers in IT & digital domains such as software engineering, digital marketing, UX/UI design, and more.

Applicants must provide proof of ongoing work, financial stability through bank statements and income proof, a clean criminal record, and valid health insurance. The program is open to all nationalities, making it widely accessible.

Do Digital Nomads Pay Tax in Malaysia?

Digital nomads on the DE Rantau Nomad Pass typically do not pay Malaysian income tax if their source of income is from outside Malaysia, and they stay in the country for less than 182 days within a calendar year, classifying them as non-residents for tax purposes.

However, if the stay exceeds 182 days, different tax implications may apply, and it’s advisable to consult a tax professional for personal circumstances.

What are the Application Fees for the DE Rantau Nomad Pass?

The application fee for the DE Rantau Nomad Pass is MYR 1,000 (approximately USD 209.38) for the main applicant and MYR 500 (approximately USD 104.69) for each dependent. These fees are payable online during the application process, and they cover the review and processing of the application.

It’s important to note that these fees do not include potential incidental costs such as health insurance, document certification, or personal bond fees where applicable.

About the author

Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links, from which, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products and services I’ve used or would use myself. If you choose to purchase from any of my links, thanks so much for your support! 😊