Malaysia is calling all digital nomads! This Southeast Asian nation is known for its breathtaking landscapes and delicious cuisine. It just got even more attractive for remote workers with the introduction of the Digital Nomad Visa.
Malaysia should definitely be on your bucket list if you’re looking for your next adventure as a digital nomad. The country has always been a popular destination for tourists, but now it’s even easier for digital nomads to live and work there thanks to this new digital nomad visa.
So why not take some time to explore all that Malaysia has to offer, from its stunning beaches and lush rainforests to its lively cities and rich cultural heritage? Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy all the perks of being a digital nomad while you’re there.
Here’s the complete guide to Malaysia’s Digital Nomad Visa
- What is The Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa?
- What Is DE Rantau?
- Benefits of De Rantau Pass Holder
- Who Is Eligible To Apply For The Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa?
- Documents Required for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa Application
- Steps to Apply for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa
- Tax Laws and Rules For Digital Nomad in Malaysia
- Benefits of Being a Digital Nomad in Malaysia
- Best Cities To Live In Malaysia As A Digital Nomad
- Final Words
- FAQs about Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa
What is The Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa?
Are you an entrepreneur, freelancer, self-employed, or remote worker looking for a new place to call home? Look no further than Malaysia! The Malaysian government has recently introduced the Digital Nomad Visa, also known as the De Rantau Nomad Pass Program, which allows individuals like you to live and work in Malaysia for up to 12 months and it can be further extended for another 12 months.
This exciting new visa program aims to attract permanent investors and expats to the country, boosting Malaysia’s GDP in the process. If you’re interested in applying for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa, simply fill out the application with the help of a visa agent or you can do it yourself as well and submit the required documents. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to a new life in beautiful Malaysia.
This is a multiple-entry visa also called Professional Visit Pass (Pas Lawatan Ikhtisas PLIK), unlike a tourist visa which is only meant for a single entry scheme with a validity of three months.
What Is DE Rantau?
The DE Rantau program has been designed to establish Malaysia as the premier destination for digital nomads in the ASEAN region. The program aims to create a vital ecosystem that supports and enhances the digital nomad lifestyle by promoting digital adoption and professional mobility.
Through the DE Rantau program, local talents and foreign digital nomads can benefit from access to stable broadband connectivity and a range of facilities and services supporting the nomadic lifestyle. This includes coworking spaces, cafes, and comfortable accommodations in various locations across the country.
The DE Rantau program aims to boost digital adoption and promote tourism in Malaysia by fostering a supportive environment for digital nomads. Whether you are a local talent looking to explore new opportunities or a foreign nomad seeking a high-spirited and dynamic destination, Malaysia is an ideal place to live and work as a digital nomad.
It also allows access to a network of certified nomad-ready accommodations; and discounts and benefits within the DE Rantau ecosystem.
The DE Rantau program welcomes digital professionals working in various fields, including IT (software development, UX/UI, cloud, cybersecurity, blockchain, AI, machine learning, and data-related fields), digital marketing, creative designing, and digital content development. All forms of digital domain-related work are eligible for the program.
Benefits of De Rantau Pass Holder
Holders of the DE Rantau Nomad Pass can enter Malaysia without being sponsored by a local entity, travel throughout the country, and work remotely from various locations. They can sponsor their spouses and children as long as they meet all of the dependent criteria. As a holder of the DE Rantau Nomad Pass, you’ll be welcomed into the DE Rantau community and be entitled to special perks and privileges meant specifically for digital nomads. This includes access to top-notch living and working spaces, special deals on local services and discounts, and access to the latest information and promotions.
Who Is Eligible To Apply For The Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa?
To be considered for the Digital Nomad Visa in Malaysia, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Have an annual income of at least USD 24000 per year.
- Have a career in the IT field, such as a software developer or UX designer or digital domain related work.
Please note that meeting the above requirements does not guarantee visa approval.
Documents Required for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa Application
When applying for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa, applicants will need to provide the following documents:
- A copy of their passport, including all pages, with a minimum of six empty pages.
- A passport photo.
- An employment agreement of more than three months.
- Proof of income showing earnings of over 24000 USD per annum.
- Bank statements for the last three months and yearly income statement.
- A completed and signed personal bond form.
- A valid health insurance certificate that covers medical expenses in Malaysia.
If dependents are being included in the application, proof of relationship in the form of a marriage certificate or birth certificates for children will be required. Additional documents may be required depending on the specific circumstances of the applicant and their dependents.
As a digital freelancer, you’ll need to provide contracts, purchase orders, or invoices from your clients that show the duration and value of your work.
If you’re a remote worker, you’ll need to show an active employment contract with a non-Malaysian company that includes your salary and specifies that you’re allowed to work remotely.
Steps to Apply for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa
The Digital Nomad Visa application process can be completed online on the DE Rantau website. The visa processing typically takes approximately four weeks after the application is submitted. It is recommended that applicants allow for a month of waiting time to receive their visa.
To apply for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa, follow these steps:
- Access the DE Rantau Digital Nomad Pass website and click on “Sign Up Now”
- Register for an account by providing your name, email address, and password. Wait for the verification code to be sent to your email, and enter it to complete the registration process.
- Select your profession from the available options
- Complete the online application form, including uploading a passport photo and providing all necessary personal and passport information.
- Upload the required documents as listed in the application instructions.
- Make the visa payment of 1,000 MYR (approximately USD 218) and any additional fees for dependents.
- All documents must be in English or translated into English; digital copies are required for the online application process.
I have shared screenshot of DE Rantau website showing the sign up now button so that you can easily find it.
Tax Laws and Rules For Digital Nomad in Malaysia
Source of Income Outside Malaysia
Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa Holders are exempt from paying taxes on income they earn outside of Malaysia.
Source of Income Within Malaysia
If your source of income is within Malaysia and you are staying in Malaysia for less than 182 days, you may be subject to a 10% tax on your income, or a lower rate specified in a tax agreement between Malaysia and your home country. This tax will be withheld from your income under Section 109B of the Income Tax Act 1967. However if your stay in Malaysia for more than 182 days, your income will be considered taxable under Section 4(a) of the Income Tax Act 1967 because you’ll be viewed as a resident under Section 7.
For more detailed tax rules, I suggest going through the Malaysia Income Tax Act 1967 and Article 14 Double Taxation Agreements (DTA).
Benefits of Being a Digital Nomad in Malaysia
One of the main advantages of being a digital nomad in Malaysia is the country’s relatively low cost of living. Accommodations, food, and transportation are all affordable, making it a great option for those looking to stretch their income further. Regardless of location, the cost of living in Malaysia is generally lower than in many Western countries. For example, the average cost of living in Kuala Lumpur is around $1,800 per month. Additionally, Malaysia offers a range of coworking spaces and cafes with reliable internet connections, allowing digital nomads to find a comfortable and productive workspace easily.
Aside from its economic advantages, Malaysia is also an attractive destination due to its stunning natural beauty. The country’s tropical climate and diverse landscapes offer a wide range of outdoor activities and adventures. Digital nomads can enjoy hiking and trekking in the lush rainforests, swimming in crystal-clear waters, and exploring the many islands and beaches that dot the coast.
In terms of culture and entertainment, Malaysia has something for everyone. The country is home to a bustling art scene, with a range of galleries, theaters, and performance spaces. Digital nomads can also experience the rich culinary traditions of Malaysia, with a wide range of local dishes and international cuisine available. Additionally, the country’s diverse population means there is always something new and exciting to discover.
Overall, living as a digital nomad in Malaysia provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in a new culture while continuing to work and earn an income. With its low cost of living, beautiful landscapes, and vibrant culture, Malaysia is an ideal destination for digital nomads.
Best Cities To Live In Malaysia As A Digital Nomad
Penang is an ideal choice for those seeking a more tranquil option in Malaysia. Malay, Chinese, and Indian influences coexist in Penang, which is renowned for its delightful cuisine and historical sites.
Accommodation, food, and transportation are generally much cheaper in Penang than other big cities in Malaysia, making it an appealing option for those on a tight budget. The locals are also known for their friendly nature and hospitality, which can ease the transition to living in a new country.
Apart from Penang, there are a few other cities in Malaysia where digital nomads can live. These include Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Ipoh and Kuching.
Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s capital city and is home to various entertainment, shopping, and cultural experiences but Living here can be little expensive comparing to other cities in Malaysia. Malacca is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers a unique mix of history and culture. Ipoh is known for its beautiful natural scenery and is an excellent place for adventure seekers. Kuching is home to numerous rainforests and is the perfect spot for nature lovers. Lastly, Sabah and Sarawak are two of the most beautiful states in Malaysia, with stunning landscapes, lively cultures, and endless opportunities for exploration.
Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa is an excellent choice for digital nomads looking to live and work in an exotic location. The country provides a unique blend of modern city life and traditional culture, and the visa application process is relatively simple. Before applying, thoroughly review the requirements and gather all necessary documents, and ensure you have a solid plan in place for your stay in Malaysia. The Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa, with careful planning and preparation, can provide the chance to live and work in a dynamic and friendly country.
FAQs about Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa
How To Apply For The Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa?
The Digital Nomad Visa application process can be completed online on the DE Rantau website. The visa processing typically takes approximately four weeks after the application is submitted so It is recommended that applicants allow for a month of waiting time to receive their visa. The visa fee is USD 218.
How Long Can You Stay in Malaysia With The Digital Nomad Visa?
The Digital Nomad Visa is valid for a duration of 3 to 12 months, with the possibility of extension upon expiration.
What is the cost of the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa?
The cost to apply for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa is 1000 MYR, which is around 218 USD. If you have dependents, there is an extra fee of 500 MYR (about 109 USD) per dependent. If your application is not accepted, you will receive a refund of 50% of the processing fee
How long does it take to get a Digital Nomad Visa?
According to the Malaysian Immigration Department, The DE Rantau Nomad Pass will be provided within one week of the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa being processed, which typically takes four weeks.
Can I apply for a digital nomad visa without being in Malaysia?
Yes, you can apply it from anywhere online so you do not need to be in Malaysia to apply.
Does Malaysia have digital nomad visa?
Yes Malaysia has started a digital nomad visa program called DE Rantau Nomad Pass in October,2022 that allows digital sector professionals who earn a minimum annual income of $24,000 to reside in Malaysia for a period of up to 12 months. This visa caters specifically to remote workers in the digital field and allows them to live and work remotely in Malaysia.
Does DE Rantau Nomad Pass allow me to open a local bank account?
No, you cannot open a local bank account because most Malaysian banks do not accept Professional Visit Passes to open a bank account.