Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements, Tips, & Updates [2023]

Malaysia has introduced the DE Rantau Nomad Pass, also known as the Digital Nomad Visa, allowing qualified digital nomads to live in the country for up to 12 months initially, with the option to renew for an additional year. Launched in October 2022, this initiative aims to boost digital adoption, promote tourism, and foster digital nomad communities throughout Malaysia. Targeting IT professionals such as digital marketers, designers, and content creators, the visa requires a minimum income of $24,000 and allows dependents to accompany the applicant.

Malaysia’s Digital Nomad Visa currently allows digital nomads to reside within Peninsular Malaysia (as of this writing). If you plan to visit Sabah or Sarawak, you will need to enter these states using a tourist pass.

Quick Facts

  • Visa length: 12 months (extendible to another year)
  • Minimum income: From $24,000
  • Cost of a visa: $217
  • Timeline for visa processing: 6-8 weeks

What Is Malaysia’s Digital Nomad Visa?

The DE Rantau Nomad Pass is a specialized Professional Visit Pass that enables eligible foreign digital nomads to visit Malaysia for up to 12 months, with the possibility of renewal for an additional year. Unlike a regular tourist pass, this exclusive visa provides greater flexibility for digital nomads to freely explore, work, create content, and indulge in the country’s offerings. To qualify, applicants must have an annual income exceeding USD 24,000, and the pass allows for multiple entries during its validity period.

The digital nomad visa is part of Malaysia’s DE Rantau program, which aims to establish the country as a leading digital nomad hub in ASEAN. Administered by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the program offers a digital nomad pass, nomad-ready hubs, and curated services to enhance the nomad experience. Applications are processed within 6-8 weeks.

Benefits of Malaysia’s Digital Nomad Visa

  1. Extended Stay: The digital nomad visa allows for a stay of up to 2 years, initially for 12 months with the option to extend for another 12 months.
  2. Multiple Entries: Digital nomads can enter and exit Malaysia multiple times during the validity of their visa, providing flexibility to travel and work remotely across various locations within Malaysia (excluding Sabah and Sarawak as of the current information).
  3. Family Accommodation: The visa permits digital nomads to bring their family along, allowing them to experience and explore Malaysia together.
  4. Taxation: Foreign freelancers who have work outside of Malaysia may be subject to taxation. If they engage in work within Malaysia, they are liable for withholding tax, income tax, and other applicable fees. Remote workers affiliated with companies outside of Malaysia may be exempt from taxes if their stay does not exceed 60 days. However, if the number of stays exceeds 61 days, their income becomes taxable.
  5. DE Rantau Program Privileges: Digital nomads holding this visa can enjoy the advantages and benefits offered by Malaysia’s DE Rantau program, which may include access to nomad-ready hubs, curated services, and facilities designed to enhance the overall nomad experience in Malaysia.

What Is Malaysia’s DE Rantau Program?

The DE Rantau Program in Malaysia is the country’s digitization program under the Ministry of Communications and Digital. It offers exclusive benefits and recognition to DE Rantau Nomad Pass holders. By being a member of DE Rantau, digital nomads gain access to nomad-ready living and working hubs, handpicked local services, discount vouchers, up-to-date information, and promotions.

DE Rantau hubs are accommodations verified and certified by MDEC to cater to the active and dynamic nomad lifestyle. The list of DE Rantau hubs can be found on the DE Rantau website and the DE Rantau Platform, allowing digital nomads to easily locate nearby hubs based on their location. The program aims to create a vibrant ecosystem that supports digital nomads in achieving a balanced working and living experience. While there are no membership fees for DE Rantau, fees for the nomad pass/visa application may apply.

kuala lumpur
Photo by Umar Mukhtar:

Who Can Apply?

Applicants in the fields of IT and various digital domains such as software engineering, UX/UI design, cloud computing, cybersecurity, blockchain, AI (Artificial Intelligence), machine learning, data-related roles, digital marketing, digital creative content, and digital content development are eligible to apply.

The DE Rantau Nomad Pass is open to foreign digital nomads who fall into the following categories:

  1. Digital freelancers/independent contractors: These are individuals who work remotely on a freelance or project basis without being tied to a specific company or location. If you generate income from a digital content platform without specific client contracts, you will need to provide proof of being a digital freelancer by submitting documents that demonstrate your income is derived from the platform.
  2. Remote workers: These are individuals who are employees of a company but have a flexible working arrangement that allows them to work remotely.
  3. Family members: The DE Rantau Nomad Pass allows for the inclusion of immediate family members, including a spouse and children. The dependent family members who can apply include a spouse/common-law partner, children (including adopted or stepchildren) under the age of 18, and disabled children without an age limit, as verified by experts. Note that the spouse of a digital nomad pass holder cannot work unless they obtain their own pass. Dependents have the option to enter Malaysia either together with the main pass holder or individually after the main pass holder has already arrived.

The DE Rantau Nomad Pass is open for applications to citizens of all nationalities. However, approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Malaysia, is required for Israeli citizens to enter Malaysia.

Requirements for Malaysia’s Digital Nomad Visa


  • Minimum Annual Income: Applicants should have an annual income of USD 24,000 or more. If you think this is a bit high, wait ’til you hear what Thailand requires from digital nomads.
  • You need to show bank statements in the last 3 months or show the latest tax returns or income statements or payslips.
  • Valid Passport: The passport must have a validity of more than 14 months at the time of submitting the application.
  • Age Requirement: The main pass holder must be over 18 years old.
  • Digital Freelancer: If you work as a digital freelancer, you will need to provide documents such as contracts, purchase orders, or invoices to your clients. These documents should clearly state the contract duration and value.
  • Remote Worker: If you work as a remote worker with a company, you will need to submit an active employment contract with a non-Malaysian company. The contract should clearly state your monthly or annual salary and indicate that you are not required to work from the office but are allowed to work remotely.
  • CV: Should show your most recent work experience.
  • Personal bond: A form declaring that you’ll respect the DE Rantau Digital Nomad Pass bylaws. You can download the form here.
  • English Documentation: All applications and supporting documents must be in English.
  • Health insurance: You need a valid medical insurance enrollment certificate that provides coverage in Malaysia and also covers any dependents accompanying you.
  • Tax registration slip​: This can be requested from the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia.

Note: If you have entered Malaysia as a tourist, you will be required to leave the country and re-enter once your application is approved in order to receive the pass sticker.

Visa Fee

  • Main Applicant: around USD 217
  • Dependent: around USD 109 per dependent


  • Fees must be paid upon submission of the application for all categories. These fees are non-refundable.
  • Payment is to be made online to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd.


  • Copy of all pages of the passport.
  • Payment for the processing fee.
  • Proof of work indicating a contract duration of more than 3 months remaining.

Note: The renewal application will be processed within 4 weeks from the date of receiving the completed submission. The issuance of the renewed pass will be completed within 1 week, subject to the discretion of the Immigration Department.

Other Considerations

  • Banking: Keep in mind that most banks in Malaysia do not accept the Professional Visit Pass for opening a bank account. It is advisable to seek clarification from the specific bank you are interested in regarding their requirements and alternatives.
  • Schooling for Children: If you plan for your child to attend school in Malaysia, please note that school requirements may vary. It is recommended to directly contact the relevant schools to gather further information and clarification regarding admission procedures, documents needed, and any specific criteria.
Photo by Phearak Chamrien:

Steps to Apply for Malaysia’s Digital Nomad Pass

  1. Register: Create a new account on the official website at
  2. Select category: Select your category as a foreign or local digital nomad and specify your job status as either a freelancer or a remote worker.
  3. Enter your details: Fill out the application form. Also provide details about your sponsor or dependent, if applicable.
  4. Submit documents: Upload the required supporting documents as specified in the application guidelines.
  5. Pay the fees: Make the necessary payment according to the fee structure outlined during the application process.
  6. Wait for approval: Each application will be processed within 6-8 weeks.
  7. Check your application’s status: You can track the progress of your application at
  8. Collect the visa: Once your application is approved, follow the instructions provided in the approval letter. If you require a visa to enter Malaysia, you may apply for an e-visa through or visit the Embassy/Consulate of Malaysia as indicated in the approval letter.


  • The application processing time may be prolonged or extended if further information or documents are required during the due diligence exercise. This is to ensure a thorough evaluation of your application.
  • You are not required to be physically present in Malaysia to apply for the digital nomad visa. The application can be submitted from anywhere in the world.
  • Once approved, the visa approval is valid for a period of 6 months. The approval is non-extendable.

A Digital Nomad Visa May Not Be for You If…

  • You earn less than USD 24,000 per year
  • You only intend to stay in Malaysia for 30-90 days
  • You lack any of the mandatory documents

Visa Options

Malaysia’s Short-term Social Visit Pass

Length of stay: 30 days-90 days (subject to approval)

For travelers from countries that are exempt from Malaysian visas, Malaysia offers a Short-term Social Visit Pass. This allows visa-free entry to the country, and the pass can be obtained upon arrival at the designated entry point. The Short-term Social Visit Pass is granted for purposes such as attending meetings and conferences, engaging in business discussions, or simply enjoying tourism activities.

Upon arrival, travelers will receive a stamp on their passport, indicating the duration of their stay in Malaysia. The specific length of stay, typically ranging from 30 to 90 days, is at the discretion of the immigration officer. However, citizens from certain countries listed on the official website will need to obtain a visa before traveling to Malaysia and subsequently request a Short-term Social Visit Pass upon arrival.


  • Personal Appearance: Applicants are required to appear in person at the designated immigration office, along with their passport.
  • Form IMM.55: Applicants must complete and submit Form IMM.55, which can be obtained from the official website of the Immigration Department of Malaysia.
  • Supporting Documents: Depending on the specific circumstances, applicants may need to provide supporting documents. For example, if applicable, documents such as a confirmed ticket to the home country or proof of possession of a visa and ticket to a third country may be required.

If Your Visa Application Is Rejected

You can appeal within 3 months. A 50% refund of the processing fee is applicable.

Common reasons for visa rejection:

  1. Insufficient or incomplete documentation (Vietnam’s visa income requirement may suit you better).
  2. Failure to meet the eligibility criteria.
  3. Inadequate proof of financial means to support the stay.
  4. Previous visa violations or immigration issues.
  5. Lack of a compelling reason for travel or insufficient travel itinerary.
  6. Incomplete or inaccurate information provided in the application.
  7. Concerns over potential risks, such as security or public health.
  8. Failure to demonstrate strong ties to the home country.
  9. Inconsistencies or discrepancies in the application or supporting documents.
  10. Suspicions of potential immigration fraud or misrepresentation.

A Digital Nomad-Friendly Visa

Malaysia boasts one of the friendliest digital nomad visa programs, not only in Southeast Asia but arguably in the world. By following the outlined steps, fulfilling the necessary requirements, and submitting the required documents, you can embark on your digital nomad journey in Malaysia. With its vibrant culture, beautiful landscapes, and supportive digital nomad ecosystem, Malaysia is ready to welcome you and provide an enriching experience for both work and leisure.



  1. DE Rantau Pass FAQs:
  2. Foreign Digital Nomads:
  3. Immigration Department of Malaysia, Ministry of Home Affairs: Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC):
  4. Short-term social visit pass: