Digital Nomad Visa Malaysia – How To Apply & Requirements

Malaysia has been a popular remote work destination for Digital Nomads, with over 3400+ remote workers as reported by Nomad List. However, with no digital nomad Visa, people have commonly been using Tourism Visas to visit and work in the country. Recently that changed, with the official Malaysian Digital Nomad Visa (De Rantau) released on the 1st of October. In this article, we’re going to share the exact process of obtaining the Malaysian remote working Visa.

This is a supporting, more in-depth article for our huge list of Digital Nomad Visas in Asia.

Quick Visa Facts

Here is a quick overview of the Malaysian digital nomad visa (De Rantau):

  • Name – De Rantau
  • Fee – $215
  • Visa length – 3 -> 12 months
  • Extendable? – Yes. Up to 24 months total stay
  • Multiple entry? – Yes. Peninsular Malaysia only
  • Requirements –
    • $24,000 USD/year
    • A sponsor from a Malaysian company or deposit payment for MDEC
    • Letter of good conduct from governing body or similar
    • Medical insurance
  • Who can apply? – digital freelancers, marketing, IT, software & most freelance roles
  • Tax

Requirements For Malaysian Digital Nomad Visa

To be eligible for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa (De Rantau) you must:

  • For remote workers:
    • Proof of contract of employment that is greater than 3 months
    • Proof of $24,000 or more per year income
    • A sponsor from a Malaysian company or deposit payment for MDEC
    • Last 3 months bank statement
    • Medical insurance
    • Letter of good conduct
    • Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia tax registration slip​​
    • Education certificates
  • For digital freelancers:
    • Proof of a contract of work with a company for greater than 3 months
    • Proof of $24,000 or more per year income
    • A sponsor from a Malaysian company or deposit payment for MDEC
    • Last 3 months bank statement
    • Medical insurance
    • Letter of good conduct
    • Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia tax registration slip​​
    • Education certificates
  • For digital content creators, business owners with no contract of work:
    • Income reports from the digital platforms that you earn money from
    • Proof of $24,000/year income from these digital platforms
    • A sponsor from a Malaysian company or deposit payment for MDEC
    • Last 3 months bank statement
    • Medical insurance
    • Letter of good conduct
    • Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia tax registration slip​​
    • Education certificates

The requirements for remote workers, business owners, and independent contractors will all slightly differ. For instance, if you are a digital marketing agency with contracted work, you will need to submit these contracts for approval of the Visa.

But what happens if you don’t work for anyone? You earn from YouTube, Adsense, Affiliate revenue, or some other form of digital platform like Shopify?

We’ve left everything you need to know below for each specific case, so you can apply for the digital nomad visa with ease.

A sponsor from a Malaysian company or deposit payment for MDEC.

How Do I Get A Sponsor for Malaysia?

If you are unable to find a sponsor, MDEC can support your application. For this to happen, you must follow some requirements.

The following terms and conditions apply:

  • A deposit paid to MDEC.
    • The amount is similar to the security bond required for work permits (which is $5000)
    • The payment can be made via online transfer/bank draft.
  • To sign an agreement with MDEC to be the sponsor

You might be able to find some companies online that could act as sponsors, but we would advise against doing this, as many are Ghost Companies. There are some shocking reports of people being kicked out and blacklisted from countries after the country cracked down on Visas.

Applying For The Malaysian Remote Worker Visa

The application process for digital nomads wanting access to the De Rantau Visa is fairly simple.

Sign Up For An Account

sign up de rantau visa malaysia

Head to mdec.my/ms/derantau/foreign/ and create and account using your email. You will have to enter a verification code which they will send to the email you have signed up with.

Choose Your Application Type

digital nomad visa malaysia choose work profession

There are 4 options to choose from:

  • Malaysia Digital – for startups and talented persons/investors
  • De Rantau Digital Nomads (Local) – Malaysian person to receive the same benefits as Digital Nomads
  • De Rantau Digital Nomads (Foreign) – for foreign digital nomads
  • De Rantau Hubs – for people looking to provide accomodation services and co working spaces

If you are a foreigner looking to relocate to Malaysia and make use of the Visa, you will want to choose the “De Rantau Digital Nomads (Foreign)”. Then, after this, you will be presented with 2 options.

These 2 options are:

  • Digital Freelancer/Contractor – choose if you run a business or freelance for other companies
  • Remote Workers – choose this if you are a remote worker for a company with employment

Fill Out Your Information

application process digital nomad visa malaysia

You will have to upload your passport photos and upload all of the data needed to prove your income and current state of employment. This needs to exceed 24,000 USD/year. You must also prove you have a contract of employment for greater than 3 months.

If you don’t have this, then you must upload all the income details from the digital platforms you earn from

Get A Sponsor

You need to get a sponsorship from a Malaysian company. If you cannot get a sponsor from a Malaysian company, then you can use the MDEC (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation). This requires paying a security bond of $5000. You must contact them to be able to do this.

The email is expatctr@mdec.com but when I emailed them it wasn’t found. So here is the other contact email clic@mdec.com.my

Paying Taxes In Malaysia for Remote Workers

Tax is paid at a rate of 10% for 182 days, after this you become a tax citizen of Malaysia, which means you will be treated the same as a Malaysian national when it comes to paying tax.

These rules change a lot and there are different rules for different countries. So, it’s important to consult a tax adviser on this because it can be extremely complicated to navigate without the proper help.

The income tax rates in Malaysia are:

MYR AmountTax rate
0 – 5,0000%
5,001 – 20,0001%
20,001 – 35,0003%
35,001 – 50,0008%
50,001 – 70,00014%
70,001 – 100,00021%
100,001 – 250,00024%
250,001 – 400,00024.5%
400,001 – 600,00025%
600,001 – 1,000.00026%
1,000,001 – 2,000,00028%
2,000,001+30%
courtesy of HSBC

Here is a link for the government website for tax rates in Malaysia: https://www.hasil.gov.my/en/individual/individual-life-cycle/how-to-declare-income/tax-rate/

Staying in Malaysia on The De Rantau Visa

Foreign nationals can only stay in Peninsular Malaysia with the De Rantau Digital Nomad Visa. To enter Sabah or Sarawak, you must get Tourism Visa to do so. You can’t stay and work in either of those states.

Peninsular Malaysia is the entire West Malaysia. If you want to travel to East Malaysia, you will have to get a Tourism Visa.

Can I Just Work In Malaysia on A Tourism Visa?

Legally you shouldn’t be working in Malaysia on a tourist visa. That includes remote work and digital nomad work. However, there are many reports of digital nomads working in Malaysia on a tourist visa and doing visa runs every 90 days. But be aware if you stay for more than 182 days in the country, you will become a tax resident there.

There is also a multiple-entry tourist visa you can apply for which allows you to leave and come back. To get this Visa you need to prove you have enough money to support your stay and have booked a flight onwards.

Oftentimes people book flight tickets that are refundable to jump round this.

FAQ

How Much Does The De Rantau Visa Cost? (Digital Nomad Visa Malaysia)

The cost to apply for the Malaysia De Rantau Visa is 1000 MYR ($220) for a single person. Each dependent is a further 500 MYR ($110). If you need a sponsor you need to deposit a bond of $5000 USD.

How Long Is The Visa Valid For?

Here is everything you need to know about the validity of the Malaysian Digital Nomad Visa:

  • Valid 6 months from approval. This is not extendable
  • 3 to 12 months stay in Malaysia
  • Option to extend for 12 months, 2 months before the first 12 are up
  • Can bring dependents, but they must be legally your dependents
  • Dependents cannot work on your Visa, and they must apply for their own

How Many Entries Does The Digital Nomad Visa for Malaysia Offer?

This Malaysian Digital Nomad Visa is a multiple-entry Visa. This means that, during your valid period of stay, you may leave and re-enter the territory as much as you please. You will need to get Visas for travel to other countries, however.

How Long Does It Take To Process My Visa Application?

It takes 4 weeks to process your Visa application and you can check the progress on the Malaysian embassy website: https://mdec.my/derantau/foreign/

What Documents Do I Need To Prove My Income?

If you are a remote worker, you need proof of an active employment contract from your current employer. If you are freelance, you need to provide proof of income from digital payment platforms. This would be in the form of multiple screenshots or PDF reports downloaded from where you earn money from.

Will I Get A Refund If I’m Rejected?

You will receive a 75% refund if you are rejected due to the administration and processing fees of the application process. The refund process takes quite a while though. You can expect to wait anywhere between 1-3 months.

Can I Get A Malaysian Bank With Malaysia’s Digital Nomad Visa?

Some do, some don’t. Certain banks such as RHB, Maybank, Standard Chartered, and CIMB are more likely to accept new accounts with people who are part of the De Rantau program, but it highly depends on the branch. The best course of action is to just try and open a bank account. Mentioning the De Rantau program often confuses employees and many will say no make their job easier because they don’t know what it is.

If you can’t get a bank account, you can use a Big Pay card, which is essentially a tourism debit card you can top up with cash to pay for things.

Do I Have To Pay Tourism Tax in Hotels With De Rantau

Yes. Only Malaysian citizens and exempt from tourism tax. With longer term rentals like 1 month AirBnb, or serviced apartment deals, you are more likely to be able to avoid paying it.

How long does the application process take?

It takes around 14 weeks for this application to be processed. This can be verified from forums and groups online.

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