It’s great to see that more and more countries are jumping on the opportunity to welcome legitimate Indian tourists. Malaysia used to offer visa on arrival to Indians in 2010 but after 40,000 Indian visitors went ‘missing’, they scrapped the program. However, Malaysia is now once more welcoming Indian visitors to their shores through a highly efficient eVisa process. The eVisa is applied for online and is ready within 24 hours.
As of September 2016, the following categories of visitors are eligible to apply for eVisas:
- PRC Nationals in China Mainland (Does not include Macau) Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Myanmar
- Indian Nationals in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Taiwan and Hong Kong
- Bangladesh Nationals in Bangladesh
- Nepal Nationals in Nepal
- Myanmar Nationals in Myanmar
The process for a Malaysia eVisa is fairly simple and outlined well on the Malaysian eVisa website. First, you have to prepare the following documents:
- Scanned first and last page of your passport in JPG format
- A 35mmx50mm digital photograph in JPG format
- Itinerary with confirmed return or onward travel tickets in PDF format
- Hotel reservations in PDF format
If you are not certain about your plans yet, you can always book flexible flights and hotels to support your visa application.
The authorities are very strict about the way your passport has to be scanned in and also about the specifications of the photograph. If you do not adhere to the guidelines, they will ask you to re-upload your documents and re-evaluate your application.
In my case, I uploaded the last two pages of my passport and they asked me to crop the image and re-upload only the last page so that it was larger and easier to view. They do have very helpful images to show exactly how your documents should be when you upload them so as long as you follow the guidelines, you’ll get your visa within 24 hours.
Once all your documents are ready, create a free account on the eVisa portal and login to get started. Create a new visa application. You’ll have to upload your passport copies, photograph, your flight tickets, and hotel reservations. There is also a category called “OTHER” but you needn’t upload anything there.
Finally, you have to enter all your passport details, and also your address in Malaysia (this will be your first hotel if you have more than one) as well as your local address in India. Once that step is complete, you’re done with the application form part. At this point of time, the system will require you to make two payments. You need to be able to make these payments via a credit card. You don’t necessarily need to use your own credit card if you don’t have one of your own. The credit card doesn’t have to be in your name. The first payment is USD 25 for the eVisa charge and the next one is Rs. 1050 as processing fees. I noticed from the charges on my credit card that this whole facility is setup in collaboration with VFS even though it’s supposed to be a “Department of Immigration” website. VFS is a well known global visa processing agency and is known to work closely with several governments to facilitate easy visa processing.
Once you’ve completed your payment, the application moves to the “Submitted” status. The application might move through a “VALIDATED” status before going to “APPROVED”. It takes up to 24 hours to get an APPROVED visa. In the meantime, they might come back to you asking for something else like in my case when they asked me to re-upload my passport copy after cropping it. Also, bear in mind, the processing time is 24 WORKING hours, so if you submit your application on Friday at 2PM, expect to have your visa by 2PM on Monday.
The website is well designed and very easy to use. They also have a LIVE CHAT function in case you need any clarification on any details so please do use that if you have any concerns.
Once your application is submitted, you’ll get a confirmation email. The moment your visa is approved you’ll get another email with a link to print it out. You need to print out the visa and carry a copy with you. You may print it in colour or black and white, it doesn’t matter.
Also, the visa confirmation advises you to carry along-with you:
- Proof of sufficient funds (cash, bank statements, credit cards)
- Proof of onward travel (a ticket out of Malaysia)
- Proof of accommodation
So be sure to carry print outs of all these documents when you arrive in Malaysia. It’ll make your immigration experience smoother if the immigration agent on duty decides to ask.
Good for a single journey to Malaysia within 3 months from date hereof, provided that this passport remains valid. – your eVisa
The eVisa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue and allows you a SINGLE entry with a stay of up to 30 days. You can basically use it at any time within the next 3 months from the date of issue. Once you enter Malaysia, you can stay for up to 30 days. If you leave Malaysia and want to enter again, you’ll need to apply for another eVisa and pay again. Also, please note that the visa is NOT extendible so you cannot stay beyond 30 days in Malaysia under any circumstance.
Using the eVisa
We flew to Malaysia with Singapore airlines. The staff at the checkin desk in New Delhi had never seen this type of visa for Malaysia ever before! They asked me all sorts of questions including whether I had a return ticket and even if I had two empty pages in my passport for the entry stamp! At one point I said that they could ask the Malaysian Airlines staff about it or even Air Asia. I was sure they would know about this type of visa. Eventually, the checkin agent asked one of his colleagues and it was all good. This entire process took about 5 minutes and now they’ve finally been educated on the existence of the eVisa to Malaysia.
On arrival in Malaysia there were absolutely no issues. The immigration agent took a look at my eVisa and put a small sticker in my passport and placed an entry stamp on top of it. The sticker and stamp can take up to half a page on your passport so make sure you have at least that much space available. He did not ask to see my return ticket, hotel reservations, proof of funds, etc. even though I was carrying all this stuff as per the advice in the visa confirmation email. I would recommend that you carry all these documents since your airline, departure immigration, or arrival immigration could request to see them.
It’s great to see that Malaysia has come up with a very efficient and well designed eVisa system. It saves a lot of hassle in taking appointments, visiting consulates, standing in queues, and is far more eco friendly too! Also, the 24 hour processing timeframe is ambitious but they seem to be delivering on it like clockwork.
As always, if you have questions, please ask in the comments!