There are broadly 10 steps to applying for and obtaining the Malaysia My Second Home visa:
- Collate your supporting documents. There’s quite a lot of evidence and documentation you’ll need to pull together – it’s not hugely complicated, but can take some time and planning.
- Complete the application form. This is done online. Despite the blank form being readily downloadable, you should not fill it in by hand.
- Print and submit your application to the MM2H Centre in Putrajaya. This can be done in person or by post, but if you have the opportunity to be in Malaysia, I would recommend doing it in person – if, like me, you get something wrong first time, they will be able to advise you and hopefully you can more quickly fix the problem and re-submit.
- Receive your letter of conditional approval. This is not your actual visa, but will allow you to open bank accounts and such like in order to complete the MM2H process.
- Set up bank accounts in Malaysia and deposit a minimum amount of money (the exact amount will vary according to your age). You will need to leave at least half of this in place for as long as you intend to stay in Malaysia under an MM2H visa – so be prepared to lock it away.
- Submit to a medical examination (fairly basic and straightforward) and obtain a doctor’s declaration that you are healthy (just a simple form they need to complete and sign).
- Obtain a “medical card” (essentially medical insurance, but arguably a much better deal than standard expat or worldwide health insurance).
- Complete the security bond form and go to the Inland Revenue Board to have it stamped.
- Go to the Immigration Department at Putrajaya to present your various documents from the above steps, deposit your security bond and pay the visa fee, and have your passport endorsed with your MM2H social visit pass.
The first half of that lot can be done remotely, from your home country, but at some point before or after step 5 you’ll need to come to Malaysia. Step 6 can either be done in Malaysia, or depending on your existing banking relationships at home, may be possible remotely (eg HSBC can set up local accounts prior to arrival).
Note that you will most likely be coming to Malaysia on a tourist visa initially, which for most countries allows you to stay for 90 days. So even though you get 6 months from your conditional approval being granted to complete the process, you cannot stay in Malaysia for 6 months – so either plan to get everything done within 90 days, or arrange to leave the country for a few days halfway through.
A useful tip there would be to book your flights to KL as a multi-trip to somewhere else in the region, with stopovers in Kuala Lumpur in each direction – that way you can schedule the second sector a few months after arrival in KL, the third a few days after that, then the final one for whenever you want to make a visit back home. Flights on Malaysia Airlines are almost always cheaper from (wherever) to Kuala Lumpur to (somewhere else) than just flying to KL (the same is true for most airlines – a direct flight to their home base will usually cost more than transiting it).
Once you have your visa, you are free to come and go as you please, with no time constraint on how long you can stay (within your visa validity, which is the maximum of ten years or the remaining validity of your passport – but it can be renewed thereafter). Your passport will however be stamped on every exit and re-entry. If you want to avoid that, you should register for the automated electronic immigration gates (e-gates) on your next entry to Malaysia. I’ll post an update on that process once I’ve done it.
Next up: Collate your supporting documents.