Companies are now able to offer full-time remote work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This created new possibilities for those who desire a life of digital nomadism. Many European nations have begun to issue digital nomad visas to attract overseas remote employees. Malaysia is the most recent country to announce the new digital nomad visas under the De Rantau program, open to applicants from 1st October 2022. This program is supported by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), a government agency appointed for promoting the country’s digital economy. The concept behind the visa is to encourage digital professional mobility while giving the tourism industry a vital boost.
Are you planning to apply for the Malaysia digital nomad visa? As a digital nomad in Malaysia, you will find plenty of fun things to do while working. Imagine engulfing your toes and having a peaceful moment in the sand at a beachside cafe with hot steaming Nasi Kerabu and enjoying the beautiful sea and your laptop. Nomads can choose to live in bustling cities, or surrounded by lush rainforests or idyllic beaches, or visit the colonial architectural buildings. In short, this beautiful country in Southeast Asia has so much to offer.
Who is a Digital Nomad?
A digital nomad is one who travels and uses technology to manage business remotely from locations other than their nation of residence.
What is a Digital Nomad Visa?
A digital nomad visa is a document or a program that gives someone the legal right to work remotely and receive foreign income while residing away from their country of permanent residence.
Malaysia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
The De Rantau program aims at attracting both local as well as foreign digital nomads. To be eligible, you must be a freelancer, an independent contractor, or a remote worker working in the digital domain. IT professionals are preferred for this kind of visa, including software developers, cyber security experts, digital marketing experts, and digital content creators and developers.
You must show proof of employment, such as an employment contract or multiple contracts that have been active for at least three months, and the company could be foreign one or based in Malaysia.
The digital nomad visa is available only to those foreign digital nomads earning more than 24000 US$ and more than 7863 US$ or 36000 ringgits for local digital nomads per year.
How to Apply for a Malaysia eVisa for a Digital Nomad
1. Passport from an eligible country, valid for at least six months
2. Passport-style photograph
3. Confirmed return flight reservation
4. Proof of accommodation
Once you have submitted your application, your Malaysia evisa will be processed within 48 hours, provided that they do not fall on weekends or public holidays.
Length of Stay in Malaysia on a Digital Nomad Visa
The De Rantau program allows nomads to stay in Malaysia for up to 3 to 12 months. This visa is renewable for another 12 months. As per the current visa rules, remote workers from countries like the UK and the US can stay visa-free in Malaysia for 90 days. Non-exempt countries’ citizens must apply for a visa, an employment pass, or a professional visit pass.
Application Fee for a Digital Nomad Visa
The application process for the digital nomad visa is online. The fee for the main applicant is 1000 ringgit (218 US$). Applicants are allowed to bring their spouse or children under this scheme for a cost of 500 ringgit (109 US$) per dependent.
Reasons Why Digital Nomads Prefer to Live in Malaysia
Malaysia is the most preferred location for many remote workers as it has diverse landscapes, which include tea plantations, bustling cities, and a blissful island. Home to more than three million ex-pats, Kuala Lumpur has been ranked as the second-best Asian city to settle in. There are many reasons why Malaysia has been getting a lot of heed from remote workers or digital nomads in recent years.
1) Strong Cafe Culture and Fast Wi-Fi
Malaysia has good and improved internet connectivity, especially in Kuala Lumpur, where fiber optic Wi-Fi is available. Whichever place you settle in Malaysia, you will enjoy cafe culture, providing you with plenty of space to work outside the home and coworking spaces. Mobile plans or recharge is inexpensive, and the mobile service offers good backup WI-FI stability.
Compared with the US or Europe, Malaysia offers the best healthcare and is highly affordable to the people living there. Global health insurance is a must, especially for remote workers.
3) Multicultural Society
Malaysia has a vibrant multicultural society where Chinese, Indian, and Malay people come together. Although Islam is the country’s official religion, there are many Christians, Buddhists, and Hindu populations too. The important thing is that most people speak English, and you will face no trouble communicating with the people in the major cities.
4) Low Cost of Living
Malaysia offers you the best quality lifestyle for a snippet of what you would pay in the US or Europe. Malaysia is a budget-friendly country, as it is very affordable, and it is an ideal country when you want your money to go further.
Malaysia is considered the safest country for visitors as it has a low crime rate. Violent crimes are very low in Malaysia, although petty crimes are common. So make sure your belongings are secure and safe. It is also considered safe for women to travel alone in Malaysia.
Malaysia is a blend of tradition, culture and modernity, along with attractive leisure activities, friendly locals, numerous professional opportunities, and a thriving digital revolution, making it a much sought-after destination for digital nomads from all over the world.