14 Mar Malaysia residency by investment [2023 Guide]
Continued industrial growth and political stability have made Malaysia one of Asia’s most sought-after investment hubs. The country has an extensive network of double-tax agreements and, if you choose the Premium Visa Programme route, there are some excellent business opportunities to be seized.
This article describes the Malaysian residency by investment programmes and their benefits, looking at these areas:
- Malaysia residency by investment – What is it?
- Benefits of becoming a resident in Malaysia
- Malaysia residency by investment options
- Malaysia residency by investment eligibility requirements
- How to apply for Malaysia residency – Step-by-step
- Malaysia residency by investment – Documents required
- What is the minimum investment required for Malaysian citizenship?
- Can you get Malaysian citizenship by buying property?
- How can I get PR in Malaysia through investment?
- How to get Malaysian citizenship for foreigners
Malaysia residency by investment – What is it?
Residence in Malaysia requires a MYR 1,000,000 investment. There are two residency by investment schemes – the Malaysia My Second Home Program (MM2H), and the Premium Visa Programme (PVIP). They allow high-net-worth foreign nationals to reside in the country on ten and twenty-year visas, respectively, after a minimum investment of MYR 1 million (approximately USD 230,000).
Malaysia residency by investment options
There are two investment options for residency in Malaysia – the My Second Home Program and the Premium Visa Programme. The latter is relatively new, and it offers significant benefits for anyone looking to both live and work in Malaysia.
This is how the two options work:
- The Malaysia My Second Home Program (MM2H) was launched in 2002. It requires a fixed deposit sum of MYR 1,000,000, with an additional MYR 50,000 fixed deposit required for each dependent. Under this scheme, you can reside in the country but cannot carry out work there. Applicants must be at least 35 years old, and there is a minimum 90-day-per-year stay requirement. The visa must be renewed after the first five years, for a further five years.
- The Premium Visa Programme (PVIP) was launched in October 2022. It involves a local fixed deposit investment of MYR 1,000,000. There is also a one-off MYR 200,000 participation fee (MYR 100,000 for each dependent). Applicants must be at least 18 years old, and there is no minimum stay requirement. Under this scheme, you are allowed to work and carry out business in Malaysia. This is a 20-year visa, and it can be renewed for an additional 20 years.
In both programmes, you are allowed to make a maximum MYR 500,000 withdrawal from your fixed deposit after one year in the country for the purpose of healthcare, education or property acquisitions in Malaysia.
Benefits of becoming a resident in Malaysia
The MM2H and PVIP programmes deliver a multiple-entry visa that enables you and your family to live in Malaysia and enjoy its many benefits. These are just a few of them:
- Renewable visa (after five years for MM2H and after 20 years for PVIP).
- No minimum stay requirement under the PVIP scheme (90 days per year required under the MM2H programme).
- Spouse and unmarried children under 21 can be included in the application
- Tax payable on income sourced in Malaysia only, and no inheritance tax.
- A thriving advanced, stable, multi-sector, business-friendly economy – the third largest economy in Asia, with minimal capital flow restrictions.
- Low cost of living and excellent lifestyle.
- Offshore tax haven in Labuan.
- A multicultural society, with Malay, Cantonese, Mandarin and English being the main languages spoken, with English being the official language of business.
- Excellent healthcare and education systems.
- A key Asian tourist destination with fantastic beaches, spectacular scenery and natural beauty, including rainforests, and many cultural and culinary riches.
Malaysia residency by investment eligibility requirements
To apply for the residency by investment via the MM2H programme, you must be at least 35 years old with the proven capacity to support yourself financially in Malaysia without seeking employment in the country or applying for government assistance. There are no such requirements with the PVIP programme, and you will be allowed to conduct business, seek employment and take advantage of Malaysia’s excellent education system.
Amongst the paperwork involved, you will need to provide proof of bankable assets worth a minimum MYR 1.5 million (for MM2H only) and an income of at least MYR 40,000 per month.
You will also need to supply a Letter of Good Conduct from the authorities of the country you are currently residing in.
You must demonstrate that you have the money to cover the total investment amount of MYR 1 million plus MYR 50,000 for each other person included in the application. This investment needs to be maintained in Malaysia for the entire duration of the visa, but you can withdraw up to MYR 500,000 after the first year of your stay for approved expenses such as a house purchase, education for your children in the country, or medical bills.
How to apply for Malaysia residency – Step-by-step
Step 1. Your first action should be to hire an agency to help you with the application process and its paperwork.
Step 2. Submit an application for residence to the Malaysian government, along with proof of your assets, which should amount to at least MYR 1.5 million (approximately USD 350,000) in bankable assets and offshore income worth at least MYR 40,000 (approximately USD 10,000) per month. If you are following the PVIP route, you will also need to pay an MYR 200,000 participation fee plus MYR 100,000 for each dependent.
Step 3. Wait for the Malaysia Immigration Department to issue a conditional approval letter for your application.
Step 4. After the application for residence has been submitted and initial approval has been granted, visit Malaysia to complete the remaining requirements. Ask your agent for help with opening a Malaysian bank account, getting a medical report from a private hospital or clinic and arranging medical insurance from a Malaysian insurance company for you and your fellow applicants.
Step 5. Make your investment of MYR 1 million (approximately USD 230,000) plus MYR 50,000 (approximately USD 12,000) per dependent into a Malaysian fixed deposit account.
Step 6. Collect your visa after (typically) a three to six-month wait. The initial 10-year visa under the MM2H programme will need to be renewed after five years (with an annual visa fee of RM 500), and you and your spouse must spend a minimum of 90 days in Malaysia each year (although children and parents included on the visa are exempt from this requirement). Under the PVIP programme, the visa is renewable after 20 years, and there is no minimum stay requirement.
Note: The MM2H residence visa does not allow you or your dependents to work in Malaysia, but with the PVIP visa, you can work and conduct business in Malaysia, and you can also send your children to its schools and universities.
Note: Although the visas are renewable, neither scheme leads to permanent residence.
Malaysia residency by investment – Documents required
The documents required for the residency by investment programmes include the following:
- A completed application form
- Copies of passports for all applicants
- Copy of marriage and birth certificates (if relevant), translated into English if the originals are in another language, and attested as Certified True Copies (CTC) by a relevant Embassy, High Commission, Consulate General or the Consulate General in Malaysia.
- Bank statements to demonstrate your offshore income and your ability to make the full investment required
What is the minimum investment required for Malaysian citizenship?
The investment of MYR 1 million (approximately USD 230,000) plus MYR 50,000 (approximately USD 12,000) per dependent into a Malaysian fixed deposit account. In addition, there will be other visa, security bond/bank guarantee and agency fees to pay.
Can you get Malaysian citizenship by buying property?
Residency by investment in Malaysia is not a property investment scheme. It involves a minimum MYR 1 million deposit in a Malaysian bank, but you are allowed to use some of the money to purchase property.
How can I get PR in Malaysia through investment?
Two residency by investment schemes exist – the Malaysia My Second Home Program and the Premium Visa Programme. They allow high-net-worth foreign nationals to reside in the country on ten and twenty-year visas, respectively, after a minimum investment of MYR 1 million (approximately USD 230,000).
How to get Malaysian citizenship for foreigners
Citizenship is not available by investment in Malaysia. However, holders of Malaysian residency visas may be eligible to apply for citizenship in Malaysia after ten years. Note: the Government of Malaysia does not recognise dual nationality.