Dreaming of retiring in Malaysia? It’s easy to see why, as this friendly, welcoming country has beautiful beaches, superb scenery, delicious food and a low cost of living.
There are also a number of attractive tax benefits for retirees from Singapore - as long as you don’t earn an income in Malaysia itself, you can pretty much avoid taxes altogether.
But to retire in Malaysia from Singapore, you’ll need a visa. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting a Malaysia retirement visa. This includes eligibility, the documents you’ll need and of course, how much it costs.
We’ll also touch on a handy, money-saving way to handle your relocation expenses - with a free multi-currency account from Wise. This will enable you to send money between Singapore and Malaysia with low fees and one of the fairest exchange rates around. But more on that later.
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If you’re visiting Malaysia from Singapore, you can stay for up to 30 days without needing a visa. But if you’re planning to retire there, you’ll need to join the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) Programme. This is the best route into the country for a longer stay.
MM2H is a Malaysian government initiative to encourage foreigners to stay in Malaysia long-term. If you’re eligible for the MM2H scheme, you’ll get a 10-year renewable Social Visit Pass and multiple entry visa. It’s the perfect choice for someone looking to enjoy retirement in Malaysia.
The Malaysia My Second Home Programme is aimed at over 50s, but you can still potentially apply for the scheme if you’re a younger retiree - provided you meet a certain pension income threshold.
To apply for the MM2H scheme and get your 10-year multi-entry visa for Malaysia, you’ll need to meet the following requirements¹.
If you’re over 50, you must be able to show proof of:
- Off-shore income of RM 10,000
- Liquid assets totalling RM 350,000
Once you’re approved for the programme, you must then place a fixed deposit of RM 150,000 in a local Malaysian bank. You can withdraw some money from the second year onwards, but you must keep at least RM 100,000 in your account for the whole of your time in Malaysia,
For under 50s, you must be able to show proof of:
- Off-shore income of RM 10,000
- Liquid assets totalling RM 500,000.
The required initial Malaysian bank deposit once approved is much higher at RM 300,000. Plus you must keep at least RM 150,000 in your account throughout your stay in Malaysia.
As well as having your finances in order, you’ll need to provide a lot of paperwork to be accepted for the MM2H scheme. This may include (but isn’t limited to)¹:
- A Letter of Good Conduct (LOGC) issued by an official police or security agency in Singapore
- Proof of medical insurance for your stay in Malaysia
- Certified copies of pension verification letters
- Verification of bank statements
- All documents relating to identity and address verification.
You can start your application for a Malaysia retirement visa online at the official MM2H programme website. Follow these steps²:
- Complete the application form via the Check ‘N Track portal
- Download the forms and sign where necessary
- Send your completed application form and attached documents to the MM2H Centre - dropping off in person or using a courier.
- Receive your MM2H reference number by email and respond within 14 days to continue your application
- Once approved, you must visit Malaysia and collect your Conditional Approval Letter in person
- You must then meet the stipulated conditions of approval, including making the required fixed deposit to a local Malaysian bank
- Submit the last few documents, pay your immigration fees and receive your Multiple Enter Visa, endorsed on your passport.
Once you’ve jumped through all the necessary hoops, it takes around 120 working days for your application to be processed². Remember that any missing paperwork or incorrect details can cause delays, so make sure to check everything carefully.
There are a few fees and costs involved in the Malaysia My Second Home Programme, including the fixed deposit you’ll need to make in a Malaysian bank when you arrive. The main fees include¹:
- Immigration-related fees - these will be stated on your Conditional Approval Letter
- Security Bond of RM 200 - 2000 (varies by nationality) if applying directly.
If you’ve started the process of applying for your Malaysian retirement visa through MM2H, it’s a good time to start making other plans for your big move. This includes finding the most cost-effective ways to cover your relocation fees, and all your spending for your time in Malaysia.
Open a free Wise multi-currency account online and you can send money between Singapore and Malaysia with low fees and the mid-market exchange rate. You could find it’s as much as 7x cheaper than using your bank.
And once you’re settled in Malaysia, you can still use your account to send and receive money from Singapore or all over the world. You can even get an international multi-currency card to spend like a local in 200 countries worldwide.
If you’re looking to retire in Malaysia from Singapore, you should now have all the essential info you need to kickstart your retirement visa application. There’s a lot of paperwork and patience required for the MM2H scheme, but it could be worth it for 10+ blissful years of retirement in beautiful Malaysia. Good luck!
Sources used for this article:
- Official portal - Malaysia my second home - Terms and conditions
- Official portal - Malaysia my second home - Direct Application
Sources checked on 23 February 2021
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