How to get a tourist visa for Kuala Lumpur

KL tourist visa stamp in passport

Malaysia is one of the most vibrant and diverse countries in Asia and Kuala Lumpur is the melting pot capital city of Malaysia.

Consisting of an interesting mix of different cultures, scenery, and attractions, Kuala Lumpur is a great place to visit during your vacation.

But, you’ll need to get a tourist visa in order to enter Malaysia.

This article will explain what you need to know about getting a tourist visa for Malaysia.

Do you need a tourist visa for Kuala Lumpur?

Depending on where you’re from, you might or might not need to get a tourist visa before arriving in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

To enter Malaysia via “KL” (as the locals affectionately call Kuala Lumpur), you’ll need a passport with at least six months validity before you enter.

Most but not all Commonwealth and European countries don’t need to obtain a tourist visa to travel to Malaysia prior to arriving.

Travellers from these countries can just present their passport upon arrival and get a stamp that allows them to stay for 90 days.

It’s a very easy and convenient process.

You literally don’t need to arrange anything in advance, just get off the plane and they give you stamp that allows you to stay for 90 days, with little or no questions.

That’s hospitality.

Countries that are granted visa-free entry for 90 days:

  • Australia
  • UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Nothern Ireland)
  • USA
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Lebanon
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Norway
  • UAE
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Yemen

Countries that are granted visa-free entry for 30 days

  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Malta 
  • Portugal
  • Cyprus
  • Greece
  • Solvenia
  • Philippines
  • Russia
  • Switzerland
  • Netherlands/ Holland
  • Kenya

Countries that are granted visa-free entry for 14 days

  • Macau
  • Palestine
  • Taiwan
  • Libya
  • Iraq
  • Iran (those from Iran will receive a 15-day permit)

For all of the above-listed countries, you don’t need to go to an embassy or consulate or arrange anything before you land in KL. When you get off the plane they will stamp your passport for the number of days listed above.

Pretty sweet deal!

Countries that are required to obtain a visa BEFORE they arrive:

  • Bangladesh
  • China
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Myanmar
  • Eritrea

Visitors from these countries will need to arrange a visa before they travel.

How can I get a Malaysian tourist visa?

You can head to any Malaysian embassy or consulate (in your country) to get your Malaysia tourist visa if you’re from one of the countries listed above that requires one prior to travel.

Visa applications can also be done online through Malaysia’s I-Visa system, which is only applicable for tourists from India and China.

Application for a Malaysian tourist visa without reference

The documents required for the application of Malaysian tourist visa without reference are:

  • Original passport
  • Two photocopies of the applicant’s passport
  • Two photocopies of the visa application form (Form IMM.47)
  • Two passport sized photographs of the applicant
  • Original and two photocopies of the ticket (confirmed and return ticket)
  • Bank statement/traveler’s cheque
  • Payment of visa fee

Application for Malaysian tourist visa with reference

  • Original approval letter from the Immigration Department of Malaysia or other authority agencies
  • Original passport
  • Two photocopies of the applicant’s passport
  • Two photocopies of the visa application form (Form IMM. 47)
  • Two passport sized photographs of the applicant
  • Original and two photocopies of confirmed return ticket
  • Payment of visa fee

Keep in mind that if you’re from one of the countries listed above that DON’T require to arrange a tourist visa before travel that this doesn’t apply to you.

Malaysia tourist visa requirements

To apply for a Malaysian tourist visa there are several criteria that must be met.

  • Completed application formOpens in a new tab..
  • Your passport must be valid for at least six months
  • Photocopy of the passport photo page
  • One passport photo (45 x35mm) showing your head and shoulders
  • Flight itinerary with the arrival and departure dates
  • Proof of travel and hotel reservation
  • Letter of employer granting leave for the period of visit (if employed)
  • Proof of financial status (can be bank statements going back three months, with a balance of at least $1000 on the most recent one)

Again, check the list of countries above to see if you need to arrange a visa before traveling.

How much is a tourist visa for Malaysia?

A single entry Malaysia tourist visa costs around $16 USD. If you’re looking to get your hands on multiple entry tourist visas, they cost around $32 USD each.

Malaysian tourist visa characteristics

The Malaysian tourist visa is available as both a single entry or multiple entry tourist visa, depending on what you’re looking for.

A single entry Malaysian tourist visa is valid for up to three months after its issue
and allows you to make a single visit to Malaysia and it expires once you leave the country.

Malaysia’s multiple entry tourist visas are usually valid for one year and allow you to make as many visits to the country as you like.

Each visit, however, has a maximum length of stay of 30 days, and it’s not possible for you to apply to extend your stay longer than that.

When should you apply for a Malaysian tourist visa?

You can apply for a Malaysian tourist visa as far in advance as you want.

However, the latest I would recommend you apply for a Malaysian tourist visa is one month before your intended date of travel just in case it takes a little longer than expected to process.

Best time to visit Malaysia

Malaysia is generally hot and humid all year round. There isn’t much distinction between the seasons, unlike most 4-season countries.

The only notable difference is during the monsoon season which officially falls on November or December that causes heavy rain till mid-February.

During this time, it’s best to stay away from travelling to the sea, islands or beaches along the east coast of the peninsula.

However, even the arrival and departure of the monsoon is less reliable than in other countries.

For instance, in recent years the weather seemed to change around September to more rain and less sun, but by the middle of January, we were back to beautiful sunny days again.

One thing is for sure, it doesn’t matter what time of the year you come to KL, if you’re here for more than a couple of days you are going to see some rain.

There is no time of the year when it doesn’t rain at all for more than a couple of days.

If you’re thinking of visiting the islands on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia like Pulau Pangkor and Port Dickson, it’s best to visit them after the monsoon season ends.

Of course, the best time to visit KL depends on what you plan to do while you’re here. I definitely recommend checking out my article that covers dozens of great things that you can do while you’re in KL for some great ideas.

Lots of the ideas in that article are interesting and unique things that only locals know about.

Travel tips for Malaysia

Safety

For the most part, Malaysia is very safe for you to travel in.

Like many big cities, pickpocketing and petty theft are common in KL, so keep your wits about you when you’re out and about.

Despite most of Malaysia being safe for tourists, there are still a few exceptions when it comes to the area in north-eastern Sabah which has seen an increase in kidnapping cases in the coastal areas of this region.

This is truly scary stuff and seems to be perpetrated by pirates from the southern Philippines.

If you’re planning to visit there, keep an eye out and take extra precautions in order to avoid any unwanted situations.

If safety is on your mind, make sure you read my other article which covers everything you need to know about staying safe in Kuala Lumpur.

Language

The official language of Malaysia is Bahasa Melayu, otherwise known as the Malay language.

If you’re a tad bit worried about the language barrier, fret not, most Malaysians speak very good English, so it’s pretty easy to get by without knowing how to speak the Malay language.

There are also a large number of Chinese speakers in Malaysia, so you might also notice many people speaking Chinese.

I think it’s one of the most amazing things about Malaysians. Many people here can speak 3 or more languages and they don’t think it’s anything special at all.

Transportation

Getting about in Malaysia is pretty easy.

There are tons of public transport options for you to use to travel around. If you prefer to travel in a private vehicle, there are even taxi’s and private coaches that you can hire for a couple of days.

However, I recommend that you download and use the Grab app while you are in Malaysia.

Grab is basically an Asian version of Uber. It’s much cheaper, safe and more transparent than the taxi’s that you’ll find in the streets of KL.

If you’re thinking about driving in Malaysia, there are a couple of good Car rental companies that you can rent your car from such as KSE Car rentalOpens in a new tab.KwikcarOpens in a new tab. and Gocar MalaysiaOpens in a new tab.

If you are thinking of driving while you’re here, definitely read my article about using your driver’s license in KL because you may very well be surprised to find that you can drive without an international driver’s license while you’re here.

KL tourist visa summary

I hope this article helped to clarify some of your main questions about getting a tourist visa to visit Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia in general, as well as giving you a few interesting ideas for things to do when you get here.

I know that I didn’t cover absolutely every country in the world, so if in doubt, just contact the Malaysian consulate or embassy in your country to check whether or not you need to obtain a tourist visa in advance.

For citizens of many countries, entering Malaysia as a tourist is a simple process.

Make sure you check out some of my other articles to help you plan the perfect trip to Kuala Lumpur:

Safe travels!

Marty Spargo

I first visited Malaysia as a tourist in 2004 and frequently returned for short visits over the next decade or more before moving to Kuala Lumpur to live in 2018. I live and work in KL, but remember what it's like to see the city for the first time as a tourist, so I try to create helpful articles with that in mind. You can read my full bio here.

Recent Content