Having successfully submitted your Malaysia My Second Home application, and managed to contain your excitement (or anxiety) for several months of waiting, if all goes to plan you should hopefully receive your Letter of Conditional Approval.

Here’s how it actually went for me:

I knew the process was subject to delays. It should take three months, but I had been warned by the staff at the MM2H Centre that it would be more like five. No problem.

After seven months, I began to get slightly concerned that perhaps my application had been lost. Especially as the online tracking had fairly quickly updated from ‘Application Received’ to ‘Pending Committee Approval’ and then stayed put (the upshot of which is, as I mentioned in the previous article, don’t rely on the online tracking).

So during the first few months of 2019, I had sent several emails to check on my application, and each time been assured that it was in progress. In mid-April I had made my move to Malaysia. Yes, I probably should have waited until I definitely had my visa, but moving to another country is no small task – it takes a lot of planning and if, like me, you are doing things like renting out your place back home, never mind booking your flights, and perhaps removals and so on, you eventually need to commit to some deadlines. So I moved while my MM2H application was still in progress.

Once I’d arrived, I decided to get on with arranging the medical insurance and health check that I would need in order to complete the MM2H process. Unlike opening bank accounts, these did not (in theory) require me to first have my conditional approval letter. And in any case, I felt that having medical insurance would be prudent regardless. My thinking was that my travel insurance would cover me for anything that cropped up in the first month of my stay, but beyond that would be unlikely – most policies have a thirty- or sixty- day maximum trip duration requirement. Many also require that your trip start and end (as evidenced by your plane ticket, presumably) in your home country (or wherever the policy was purchased).

I’ll talk more about medical insurance in a separate article, as there’s some detail you may find useful. But for now, the key point is that, as it turned out, getting a Malaysian “medical card” (which is similar to but not quite the same as “expat medical/health insurance”, and in my experience a much better deal) required proof of right to remain – i.e. either my actual MM2H visa (which cannot be obtained without first having medical insurance…) or the conditional approval letter, or a letter from MOTAC confirming that my application was in progress.

Which was a bit of a problem, as at that time I had none of these, and so was about to risk potentially being uninsured. 

So I emailed the MM2H Centre and explained the situation, and asked whether they could issue a letter to formally confirm that I had an application in progress. They gave me a phone number at the Immigration Department, which I duly called.

They answered pretty quickly as I recall – I think it took me perhaps two attempts (bearing in mind my expectation was that I’d have to call ten times a day for at least a week before getting through… 😉

I explained that my to-be medical insurer needed an official letter confirming my application was in progress. They took some details, and went away for about ten minutes, then came back with:

“Oh, your application was approved in January.”

What?! (But yay!)

Bearing in mind this was now early May. So all those times I had emailed and been told my application was still in progress – it had actually already been approved. Shame they couldn’t have told me then, because it might have avoided the next issue: 

It turned out that my conditional approval letter was sent out a couple of weeks prior, they said, pretty much at the exact same time that I was arriving in Malaysia. Of course, it was sent to my UK address – which was now temporarily unoccupied for a few weeks pending the arrival of my tenants.

So the question arose: would it be returned to sender, or delivered to a neighbour, or pushed through the letterbox at my place, to be left unattended until the tenants arrived, or…

I was told that it was sent via regular post, with no tracking, so there was no way to follow it or rearrange delivery etc. I was also told that, if it were not delivered it would be returned to sender, and would arrive at the Immigration Department’s post room – and no, I would not be advised of this, and no, there would not be any way to retrieve it.

Bearing in mind that this is a seriously important document – you cannot get your MM2H visa without the original letter (not a copy), and you must then keep the letter safe for the duration (up to ten years) as you will need it again when you come to renew.

So – just a minor flaw in the system here, I think – you don’t get notified when your application is approved or when your conditional approval letter is sent, so you don’t know when to expect it. If you’re not then available to take delivery, or it goes astray, you’d be completely unaware. If it gets returned to sender, you won’t be told, and in any case you won’t be able to do anything about it. Great. Don’t hold your breath waiting.

Having now discovered that the letter was on its way, apparently my only option, if it ended up going astray (or being returned to the post room) would be to report it to the police as lost, obtain a police report, and take that to the Immigration Department, which *might* then be able to reissue it. Perhaps.

Which is quite ironic given that the interim solution to the immediate problem was a quick trip to said Immigration Department at Putrajaya, where they were able to print me out a copy of the very same letter, and certify it as a true copy, thus enabling me to proceed with my medical insurance. So you would think that printing a replacement copy on headed stationery might be a possibility – but apparently not.

So, much stress ensued for a week or so as I tried to work out how best to track down the original letter. Numerous emails, messages and calls to neighbours and my managing agents, to see if anything had turned up and ask them to keep an eye out…

It then turns out that, actually, no it hadn’t been sent out when they said, and no it hadn’t been sent via regular post with no tracking. I discovered this because I received an email from a courier company telling me that a package would be delivered a few days later, and providing tracking details.

Now, I didn’t immediately know for certain that this was my conditional approval letter. But I could see from the tracking that it had been sent from Malaysia, and I wasn’t expecting anything else to be sent from here back to my old address in the UK. It had also been sent on the very same day I had gone to Putrajaya to get a copy of the letter (make of that what you will – I couldn’t possibly comment).

The scheduled arrival date would be just after my tenants moved in, so with any luck they would take it in, then hand it over to my managing agents, from where we could make arrangements to send it back to me.

However, knowing that they would be busy moving in, and as the tracking offered redelivery options, I felt it prudent to have the parcel re-routed to a neighbour across the road. 

Big mistake. The letter subsequently got lost when the courier company (I won’t name them, but their name is a three letter acronym in which the first and last letters are D) ignored the redirection request and delivered it ‘somewhere else’, but couldn’t say exactly where. Nor did the tracking help, since whoever had signed for it had signed with my name rather than their own…

The courier insisted it had been delivered to my neighbours. My neighbours (who I’m far more inclined to believe) insisted it had not been. My subsequent conversation with the courier company’s customer ‘service’ department went something like this:

“Can you speak to the driver to ask where he actually left it?”

“No.”

“Ok, how do we proceed?”

“We need to open an investigation.”

“Please do that. What does it involve?”

“We’ll speak to the driver.”

[…!%@?!?#!!…]

“Will you let me know once you’ve found out where it was delivered to?”

“No, we can only notify the sender.“

[…. J***s F***ing H C****t!!!]

I left them to their investigation and conducted one of my own. After lots of messaging back and forward with neighbours and my agents, it turned out the courier had delivered it to my address, as originally intended, but ignoring my re-routing request. If only the courier company could have said that in the first place, rather than insisting it had gone to my neighbours… My tenants had indeed taken it in and immediately passed it on to my agents.

So to cut a long story short, I eventually got the letter… And luckily, bearing in mind you get six months from conditional approval to Do All The Things and complete the MM2H process (which cannot be extended and you cannot re-apply), the letter was dated from when it was sent, and not when it had been actually approved three months earlier. 

Moral of the story:

  • Don’t rely on the online application tracking to tell you what stage your application is at.
  • Do email and/or call the Immigration Department to check on progress if more than five or six months has passed. They probably won’t like you for hassling them, but maybe that will encourage them to improve the process and keep applicants better informed.
  • Do immediately notify the Immigration Department of any change of correspondence address. I didn’t because with my application apparently still being in progress, and having moved only a few weeks earlier, I hadn’t thought it necessary until it reached something like ‘Conditional Approval Granted’ stage – of course, I didn’t know then that the online tracking was, how can I put it politely, inaccurate. And I had rather foolishly assumed that, especially given all the delays, someone might actually get in touch to check whether my address was still correct before sending the letter out. Silly me.
  • So, assume nothing and don’t rely on anything anyone tells you…
  • Do ask for the tracking details (it may be that the Immigration Department doesn’t have them, but someone presumably does – no harm in asking).
  • Do keep a close eye on your email for a shipment notification from the courier.
  • Don’t be in a different country when your letter arrives 😉 

Once you have your conditional approval letter, you can get on with all the other things you need to do in order to complete the process. In no particular order: