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How to immigrate to Malaysia and be a Permanent Resident (PR)?


This article was updated on 5 June 2020.

We detail how you can officially immigrate to Malaysia and become a Permanent Resident (PR) by securing a MyPR, the Malaysian permanent resident identity card, and what are the benefits you get.

© schamin | 123rf

Immigrating to Malaysia and getting a Permanent Residency (PR) is a dinner table discussion for many foreigners residing in Malaysia. When you’ve spent years living or working abroad, it is only natural for you to think about making your overseas move a permanent one.

However, with multiple short-term and long-term residency options available, there may be some confusion as to what qualifies as a permanent residency in Malaysia.

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This article serves to answer the questions one might have about getting a PR in Malaysia:

1. What is Permanent Resident (PR) in Malaysia?

As defined by Wikipedia, a permanent resident or PR is a person’s resident status in a country of which they are not citizens.

As a permanent resident, you will be given a card, MyPR as proof of your right to stay here indefinitely. However, the Malaysian Government strictly prohibits PR holders from engaging in any political activity/association and the Government has the right to revoke your PR status at any time if deemed necessary. This would mean that you are not allowed to vote in Malaysia. 

2. What are the benefits of obtaining a PR?

© dolgachov | 123rf

Obtaining permanent residency (PR) in Malaysia is not a piece of cake. Quite a few netizens have lamented that the process is a long and exhausting one, where it can take several years for one to secure that golden ticket.

MORE: A foreigner’s guide to renting a property in Malaysia

Hence, if you are wondering whether it’s worth the trouble, check out the list of benefits you will enjoy with Malaysian permanent residency.

  • Permit to stay in Malaysia indefinitely
  • Own and operate your own business
  • Seek employment freely without any work permit
  • Acquire properties in Malaysia – However, there is a minimum price cap imposed on foreigners in each state as well as a few other restrictions – check out our guidelines for foreigners buying a house in Malaysia.
  • Enjoy preferential interest rates for loans. Suppose, if you take a home loan, you will be allowed as much as 90% loan on your house with mortgage rate as low as 4% per annum

READ: What to know about Base Rate (BR), Base Lending Rate (BLR) & Spread Rate when selecting a home loan?

  • Enter and exit Malaysia freely without any visa or immigration constraints
  • Your children will have the same (educational) access to public schools as the locals.
  • For PR holders, the Malaysian Government offers a Neonatal direct naturalisation system under which your pre-born child will receive automatic citizenship upon birth, regardless of your or your wife’s nationality.
  • Malaysia has a direct, fast agreement with Commonwealth countries, hence, if you ever want to visit a country such as Canada or New Zealand, you won’t have to go back to your home country to obtain a visa. You can directly process your visa in Malaysia.
  • You will enjoy a dual identity as you can keep both your original passport and Malaysian myPR card in your possession.

3. Who is eligible to apply for PR?

To be a potential candidate for PR, you must first be an expat who has lived in Malaysia for 5 consecutive years under a long term visa such as an employment pass, Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H), or similar. 

Meanwhile, if your spouse is a Malaysian citizen, then the minimum duration of stay required is 5 years.  One can apply for PR after 5 years of marriage to a Malaysian citizen, where you must stay in Malaysia consecutively for these 5 years under a long-term visit pass. Besides, you must also have a good standing Malaysian citizen to sponsor your application.

However, this might vary across states – Sarawak for example, requires a person to reside a minimum of 10 years in the state before the applications for permanent residency can be considered. 

4. What are the criteria for a PR application?

© masuti | 123rf

There are 5 different ways to apply for a Malaysian PR. You must choose the option that is best suited for you.

1. High Net Worth Individual (HNWI)

Should you have the financial resources, this is the easiest and most straightforward way to obtain a PR:

  • You are required to open a Fixed deposit account at any bank in Malaysia and credit a minimum of USD 2 million into said account. You can only withdraw this money after 5 years.
  • Under this option, you are allowed to bring along your spouse and (any) children under 18 years old as dependants. They can apply for their own PR after 5 years of stay in Malaysia.

2. Experts

The Expert category requires much more effort than the first one, as you have to prove your skills to the authorities to justify your Malaysian PR. First of all, you must be specialised in any of the sectors listed below.

AgenciesField of expertise
Health MinistryHealth & Medical Certified (such as a doctor or physician) 
Ministry of International Trade & Industries (MITI)/ Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA)Industrial, Services & Manufacturing Skills
Ministry of Agriculture & Agro-based IndustriesAgricultural Field
Ministry of TransportMaritime, Air and Land Transportation
Ministry of Higher LearningTeaching & Research Expertise
Ministry of Science, Technology & InnovationScience, Technology & ICT
Ministry of Information, Communication & CultureCommunication, Cultural, Arts & Social Skills
Ministry of Youth & SportsAny sports skills as a player, coach, etc
Central BankBanking & Finance Qualified (CPA or CFA holder)
Security CommissionInvestment & Capitol Expert (such as an investment banker or financial consultant)
  • As proof of your expertise to the related agency, you must have a recommendation from a local agency. For example, if you are a neurosurgeon then you must have a recommendation letter from the Ministry of Health in Malaysia.
  • Plus, you must obtain a Certificate of Good Conduct from your home country. You can obtain this document from the Malaysian High Commission or your country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • This criterion is most suited for those who are publicly recognised in their practised field, such as a lawyer.

3. Professionals

This category leans towards individuals who work for a reputable private organisation in Malaysia or a government agency. If you are working in such company for 3 consecutive years, you could request your employer to apply for a PR on your behalf. Similar to the Expert criterion, you must first obtain a recommendation letter from a local agency related to your field and a certificate of good conduct from your home country to support your application.

This is the fastest way of obtaining a PR as you will be notified whether your application is accepted or not within a month. However, there is no guarantee that the authority will approve your document in the given time.

4. Spouses of Malaysian citizens

Many of you may think that this is the easiest way of getting immigrating to Malaysia, although we beg to differ. If you are married to a Malaysian citizen, you are required to stay here for at least 10 years to be a potential PR candidate. Your prior stay of 10 years should be under a long-term visit pass and you will need a good standing Malaysian citizen to sponsor your application.

READ: What is the impact of COVID-19 on Malaysia’s property market?

5. Point-based system

The point-based system is conceived as the lengthiest among the 5 available options for obtaining PR. This should be your last resort if you do not fit in any of the criteria given above. Under this system, you must have at least 65 out of 120 points to be considered as a candidate.

Plus, you will need a Certificate of Good Conduct from your home country and a Malaysian sponsor to proceed with your application.

The table below provides the points criteria in detail. Refer to this table to assess where you stand and whether you have the capability to obtain the minimum points to ahead with this option.


18 – 35 years5
36-60 years10
Academic QualificationCritical Field (Refer to the table for Professionals)Non-Critical Field
Count any 1, whichever is higherPhD2015
Master’s Degree1510
University degree105
Language ProficiencyBahasa Malaysia10
Stay in MalaysiaMore than 5 Years10
Family TiesClose family members living in MalaysiaMalaysianPR
Maximum of 30 points are admissibleEach child52
Other family members such as siblings, uncles, cousins, etc.22
Investment in BusinessInvestment in Business1 point for every RM 100,000 (Max 5 points)
Investment in Properties1 point for every RM 100,000 (Max 5 points)
Money deposited in a bank for more than 1 year1 point for every RM 100,000 (Max 5 points)
Create employment opportunities for Malaysians (Maximum up to 30 points)5 Points for 30-50 employees

10 Points for 51-100 employees

15 Points for more than 100 employees

Working in a professionally qualified capacity such as a doctor1 Point for every 1 year of working experience with a maximum of 10 Points
EmploymentWorking in a professionally qualified capacity such as a doctor1 Point for every 1 year of working experience with a maximum of 10 Points

5. How to apply for PR in Malaysia?

To begin your journey to immigrating to Malaysia, you will first need to begin your PR application process. You will have to apply for an Entry Permit under any of the 5 criteria given above. You will prepare the following documents to build a solid profile for your application:

1) Form IMM.4 – You can purchase this form from the Immigration Department of Malaysia counter for RM 1

2) Original and a photocopy of Entry Permit

3) Photocopy of passport or your travel documents for the last 5-10 years

4) 2 passport-sized photographs of the applicant

5) 1 passport-sized photograph of Malaysian sponsor

6) Identity card of spouse (if required)

7) Marriage certificate (if required)

8) Other certificates of spouses and children (if applicable)

9) Any other supporting documents required specifically for each criterion

Once your documents are ready, you can go to the Immigration Department of Malaysia in Putrajaya to submit your documents, that is if you are applying under the Professional category. For the remaining 4 categories, you must submit your documents to the State Immigration Office. You will have to pay a RM40 fee to process your documents should you apply directly without the help of a PR agency.

Next, your sponsor and you will have to attend an interview with the immigration department. Then it is a matter of waiting for the officials to verify your documents and grant you a PR status. You can also check the status of your application at the official JPN website.

In our next article, we share some insider tips from PR agents on how to increase your approval chances on immigrating to Malaysia. If you wish to make Malaysia your second home, read on!

We previously mentioned that those who obtain a Malaysian PR could purchase properties in the same threshold as a local and there will be no minimum price cap to adhere to. This information was inaccurate, PR’s will still be treated in the same capacity as a foreigner when purchasing properties in Malaysia.

Edited by Reena Kaur Bhatt

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Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information only. Malaysia Sdn Bhd makes no representations or warranties in relation to the information, including but not limited to any representation or warranty as to the fitness for any particular purpose of the information to the fullest extent permitted by law. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this article is accurate, reliable, and complete as of the time of writing, the information provided in this article should not be relied upon to make any financial, investment, real estate or legal decisions. Additionally, the information should not substitute advice from a trained professional who can take into account your personal facts and circumstances, and we accept no liability if you use the information to form decisions.

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