Digital Nomad Visa - De Rantau

Quick Visa Facts

Visa Length: 3-12 months
Possible to extend: Yes
Who can apply: Location independent workers in the digital sphere
Minimum Income Requirements: $24,000 per year
Time for visa applications: Up to 4 weeks

Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa Overview

The Malaysia digital nomad visa (or DE Rantau Nomad Pass) allows foreign location independent workers in the digital sphere to stay in Malaysia for up to 12 months in the first instance. There is a minimum income requirement of $24,000, and dependents can accompany the applicant.

The visa is open to nationals from all other countries if they meet the minimum income requirements and work in the digital sphere in areas such as IT, digital marketing and content creation, software development, cyber security, and digital currencies. Applicants must provide proof of their employment and income, as well as a clean criminal record report or letter of good character.

As well as obtaining a visa for Malaysia for up to 12 months, which can be renewed, visa holders receive the DE Rantau Nomad Pass, which grants privileged access to coworking facilities and other services for digital nomads. Created by MDEC (Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation), local digital nomads can also apply for the pass. The expectation is that this will help foster and a stronger community of digital entrepreneurs in Malaysia.

You are eligible to be accompanied by dependents, including a spouse and children under the age of 18, on this visa. Their names should be included on your application.

Malaysia Visa

Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa Eligibility

To be eligible for the Malaysia digital nomad visa or DE Rantau pass, you must meet certain qualifications, which include the following:

  • A digital freelancer or independent contractor with an active contract from local or foreign-based companies.
  • Remote workers with an active employment contract from local or foreign-based companies.
  • Working within the IT industry, including digital marketing, digital content development, and digital creative content.
  • You earn at least $24,000 each year.

Documents to Submit When Applying for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa

If you meet the qualifications mentioned above and are interested to apply for the Malaysia digital nomad visa, here are the documents you need to prepare:

  • Passport copy – you need to submit a copy of all the pages of your passport. It should have a minimum of six empty pages.
  • Passport photo – you need to upload your passport photo when applying for the digital nomad visa online.
  • Employment contract – you must submit an employment contract showing an active project with a duration of more than three months. It can be multiple contracts, and the company or client can be in Malaysia or foreign countries.
  • Proof of income – you need to submit proof of income, stating that you earn more than 24,000 USD per year. This can come in the form of a pay slip.
  • Latest resume – you will be required to upload a copy of your latest resume.
  • Bank statements – submit a copy of your latest three months bank statement and yearly income statement.
  • Letter of good conduct – request a letter of good conduct from the authorized body in your country.
  • Personal bond form – download the personal bond form online, fill out the form, and upload the signed form.
  • Health insurance – you need to submit a health insurance certificate valid in Malaysia that will cover your medical expenses if you and your dependents get sick.
  • Additional documents if you will include your dependents – if you are bringing your spouse or kids to Malaysia while living there as a digital nomad, you must submit proof of relationship. Submit a marriage certificate if you plan to bring your spouse or birth certificates for your kids. 

Applying for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa

The Malaysia digital nomad visa must be applied online, through the website of the DE Rantau Digital Nomad Pass. Here are the steps.

  1. Access the Website for the DE Rantau Digital Nomad Pass – First, you need to access the official website of DE Rantau Digital Nomad Pass. It’s worth browsing through the website to learn more about the program. When you are ready to apply, click “Sign Up Now.”
  2. Sign Up for An Account – To sign-up for an account, provide your complete name, email address, and password. Wait for an email for the verification code. Enter the verification code to proceed with your account registration.
  3. Choose your profession – Before you are taken to the application page, you will be required to choose your type of profession, whether a digital freelancer, remote worker, independent contractor, etc.
  4. Fill out the application form – On the next page, upload your passport photo and fill out the application form. Enter your personal details, passport details, and other information required.
  5. Submit the documents – After you fill out the online application form, upload all the required documents. Refer above for the list of requirements for the Malaysia digital nomad visa. You must have a digital copy of these documents since you will upload them online. All documents have to be in English or translated into the English language.
  6. Make a payment – The final step is to pay the visa fee. It will cost 1,000 MYR or around USD 218. If you have dependents on the application, you will pay an additional fee of 500 MYR or around USD 109 for each dependent.

Paying Taxes in Malaysia as a Digital Nomad

Citizens and residents of Malaysia are taxed on any income incurred or derived from within the country. Holders of the Malaysia digital nomad visa are not required to pay tax for income earned outside the country. However, those whose clients are based in Malaysia and those who work for a Malaysian-based company may have to pay income tax.

Living as a Digital Nomad in Malaysia

Boasting a tropical climate and some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Malaysia is a great country to live for digital nomads. And now that the Malaysian government is giving digital nomads the option to apply for a digital nomad visa, it won’t be long before Malaysia can rival Thailand or Bali as Southeast Asia’s digital nomad hub.

Digital nomads in Malaysia will have the option to live in big cities like Kuala Lumpur or Johor Bahru or more laidback cities like Penang or Malacca. Regardless of where you plan to live, you can enjoy a lower cost of living.

Like much of Southeast Asia, Malaysia has a more affordable cost of living than many Western countries. For instance, if you live in Kuala Lumpur, the average cost of living is only $1,612. The bustling metropolis is a melting pot of cultures, home to many great attractions that you can explore while on a break from work. Kuala Lumpur offers high living standards with great amenities for digital nomads, such as fast internet and a growing number of co-working spaces.

Penang is ideal if you want a quieter alternative to Kuala Lumpur. The average cost of living in this gorgeous city is only $981 per month, and you can find accommodations to rent for as low as $200 per month! The city is home to many historical sights and is considered Malaysia’s food capital, making it a great place to live for foodies.

You can enjoy a healthy work-life balance while living in Malaysia as a digital nomad. When you are not glued to your computer completing tasks or attending online meetings, you can relax or swim at the sandy beaches of Kota Kinabalu, hike at the scenic trails of Cameron Highlands, or discover mouth watering street foods in Penang. Malaysia is a digital nomad-friendly destination and a great country to live for digital nomads.

Proof of Financial Self-Sufficiency


First and foremost, you will need to demonstrate that you have sufficient financial resources to support yourself in Malaysia. This should be provided through proof of employment and proof of an annual salary of at least $24,000. The following documentation is recommended.

  • Employment contract that has been in place for at least three months. If you are a freelancer, it is suggested to provide evidence of a contract with a long-term client.
  • Proof of income in the form of payslips or personal income statements.
  • Bank statements for at least the last three months and a yearly income statement from your bank.

The required documentation is not strictly set since the visa accommodates contracted workers, freelancers, and business owners. But you should prove that you meet the minimum income requirements and that your source of income is already well established.

Proof of Professional Field


The new visa has been designed specifically to attract digital professionals to feed and grow the local digital economy. One of the requirements is to demonstrate that you work within an area of digital expertise, including IP, digital marketing, digital content creation, cyber security, digital currencies, and software development. While this may be clear from your employment contract, you should also supply an up-to-date resume as part of your application that highlights your expertise and experience in a digital field.

Proof of Insurance


You will be required to provide proof of health insurance, or travel insurance including health cover, for the duration of your proposed stay in Malaysia. No minimum level of coverage is provided in the visa guidance.

Health care is generally quite good in Malaysia but waiting times can be long due to the large population. Health insurance will give you access to private hospitals and facilities, which tend to have significantly shorter waiting times.

Clean Criminal Records


As for visas around the world, you will need to provide evidence that you are of “good character” to be admitted to Malaysia on a long-term visa. The form of this evidence will depend on the issuing country, which should be any country that you have lived in during the last five years. You will probably require a clean criminal background check or a letter of good conduct issued by local authorities. These documents should be authorized by an Apostille for international use.

How to Apply for the Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa – Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1 – Acquire the Necessary Documents


You will be required to submit your application online, so before starting you will need to acquire and digitize the relevant documents. Documents should be submitted in English, and you will need to organize authorized translations, approved by local authorities, where relevant.

Below is a list of required documents. If you do not have one of these documents, you may need to obtain a relevant alternative.

  • Passport Copy
  • Passport Photos
  • Employment Contract
  • Proof of Income
  • Bank Statements
  • Yearly Income Statement
  • Latest Resume
  • Criminal Background Check / Letter of Good Conduct
  • Personal Bond Form
  • Health Insurance
  • Proof of Relationship for any dependents that will be traveling with you

A personal bond form is required for all Malaysian long-term visa applications and is a declaration of your intention to abide by the conditions of your visa and the local laws. You can download a copy of the Malaysian personal bond form here.

Residents of the United States and Canada should offer a personal bond of RM2,000, while residents of the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand should offer a bond of RM 1,500. Find a complete list of personal bond requirements here.

Step 2 – Complete the Online Application


Your application for the Malaysia digital nomad visa should be submitted online via the MDEC portal. You will need to create an account using your email address, for which you will be sent a confirmation email.

Please note that this is a separate site from the online portal for other visa applications. This online portal is only open to 10 countries. Applicants from most countries will need to make an appointment at their local embassy to acquire a different type of visa for Malaysia.

When your account is accessible, you should choose the application form for the DE Rantau Nomad Pass and complete the form and upload your documents. The form is straightforward and will ask you to confirm your personal information, and details about your employment and income. If you are planning on bringing dependents, you will include them in your application, rather than making separate applications.

When you complete your application, you will be asked to make a payment, which can be done using most credit cards or PayPal. The application costs $221 for the principal applicant, and there is an additional fee of $110 per dependent.

Step 3 – Wait for your Visa


Once you have submitted your application, you may need to wait for up to four weeks to receive an official response via email. This will provide you with proof of approval documentation that you should print out and take with you when you travel. This will allow your visa to be issued to you upon arrival at an airport in Malaysia.