How to secure a student visa for Malaysia
A panoramic view of Kuala Lumpur. Source: Shutterstock

Wondering how to obtain a student visa for Malaysia? It’s a relatively simple process.

Malaysia is a popular study destination for many international students, as there are plenty of courses and specialisations to choose from.

Most private universities offer twinning and transfer programmes to universities abroad in the UK, US, Australia and more, providing multiple study pathways for learners.

English is the medium instruction in universities and colleges across Malaysia. Many universities also offer combined programmes and have partnerships with prestigious universities such as the University of East London, whereby students can complete a three or four-year degree in Malaysia and still obtain their degree from an overseas institution.

Malaysia’s own private and public universities are growing steadily in terms of reputation, research and quality.

The University of Malaya, Malaysia’s top-performing university, was recently ranked 18th in the Times Higher Education Emerging Economies University Rankings.

Malaysia is a choice destination due to its strategic location in Southeast Asia and its affordable cost of living and tuition, especially compared to places like Singapore and Hong Kong.

The weather is warm all-year round, the cuisine is incredibly diverse, and there are beautiful cities and islands to explore on holidays, making Malaysia a very attractive destination for foreign students.

The visa process is straightforward. This is how you can obtain a student visa for Malaysia:


You can submit your documents online or your university can do it for you. Source: Shutterstock

These are the general documents you’ll need to get your Visa Approval Letter (VAL):

  • Transcripts/academic records from your secondary school and post-secondary school.
  • English language proficiency certificate (IELTS, TOEFL)
  • GRE or GMAT scores if you’re applying for a Masters programme
  • Filled-out visa application form
  • Offer letter from the university you’ve applied for
  • Passport-size photographs
  • Photocopy of passport (valid for one year)
  • Pre-arrival Medical Examination Report

Students can either apply via their institution or do it themselves through the Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS) website.

Getting your Visa Approval Letter

After you or your host university makes the required payment and submits your documents, you’ll receive a Visa Approval Letter (VAL) issued by the Malaysian Immigration Department.

Once you have received it, you can make plans to travel to Malaysia. The approval of a Visa Approval Letter usually takes a minimum of 14 Working Days from the time EMGS receives the application documents and payment.

Students will receive the Visa Approval Letter electronically, as a PDF or through the “Track application” page on the EMGS website.

The Visa Approval Letter means you have been granted approval to obtain a Student Pass. The letter is not the actual student pass, it just allows you to enter Malaysia where you will complete the process.

Depending on your country, you might also need to obtain a Single-Entry Visa from a Malaysian embassy. If your country does not require you to have a visa to enter Malaysia, you will just need the Visa Approval Letter.

Arriving in Malaysia

You will get a special pass stamped in your passport for a period of stay when you first arrive in Malaysia. Source: Shutterstock

When you reach Malaysia, you’ll need to show your Visa Approval Letter, passport and offer letter at the immigration counter.

You’ll have a special pass stamped in your passport which gives you a valid period of stay until you get your official student pass processed.The validity can range between 14 to 30 days, at the discretion of the Immigration Department.

You’ll usually be greeted by a representative from your university when you arrive. This person is responsible for bringing you to your university, so make sure you share all your travel information with them before you leave your home country.

Note: If you’re arriving in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), you’ll need to head to the International Student Arrival Centre (ISAC) upon arrival where you will be advised of the procedures and will meet your university representative.

Getting your student visa

After your arrival in Malaysia, you have seven days from your entry date to attend a medical screening in Malaysia at an EMGS panel clinic.

This is compulsory, as EMGS will not be able to process your Student Pass until you are certified ‘Fit to Study’ by the panel clinic.

Once you’re deemed fit to study, EGMS will contact your university to submit your passport for endorsement of your Student Pass, which will replace the pass you received at the point of entry. You will also be issued a student identity card (iKad).

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