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Extending Tourist Visa in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Submitted by on December 17, 2014 – 11:24 am 32 Comments
Part of the form for extending a tourist visa.
Part of the form for extending a tourist visa.

Part of the form for extending a tourist visa.

(Note: I’m not an expert in this field. This post is only about my personal experience of extending a visitor’s visa in Kuala Lumpur. I was given a 90-day visitor’s pass at the airport when I arrived, and I went to the immigration office in Kuala Lumpur to apply for an extension. I was given a 60-day extension. It cost 100 ringgits (about $23 US) and required a full day to process. An alternative is to take the bus to Singapore and then return to Malaysia by bus getting a new 90-day visitor’s pass at the border crossing. That will cost you more in the end since you have to pay for two bus fares and a night or two of accommodation in Singapore, but it is relatively straightforward.)

There was some confusion when I checked for information online about extending a tourist visa in Kuala Lumpur, so I thought I’d put down a note or two about my experiences doing this. First of all, there was confusion about where to go. Most online resources pointed me toward the immigration headquarters south of Kuala Lumpur in the city of Putrajaya.ย However, I learned that there is an immigration office in Kuala Lumpur as well. It is located in a government building just around the corner from the large Publika shopping mall complex in Solaris Dutamas, Sri Hartamas. That is where I went.

Here is the full address:

Kompleks Kementerian Dalam Negeri WP Kuala Lumpur
69, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1
50480 Kuala Lumpur
Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Just put “Kompleks Kementerian Dalam Negeri” into Google Maps and it will pop right up. The easiest way to get there would be by taxi. All taxi drivers are very familiar with the Publika shopping complex. Tell your driver to take you there. The government building is a short three or four minute walk from the main entrance to Publika. There is also a regular bus to Publika. This is bus B115. You can take this bus from the Pasar Seni LRT station. B115’s route begins and ends at the Pasar Seni LRT station, so you can take the bus to Publika and then ride it back to Pasar Seni after you are done. It costs 1 ringgit.

The government building is quite a large one and very hard to miss once you get to the right corner. You can see photos of it on the Street View in Google Maps. It’s not exactly obvious how you get into the building, but if you wander around long enough, you’ll find the main entrance or some smaller entrance. Oddly enough, there are very few signs in English in this building. I say it’s odd because pretty much everyone in the country speaks English and you find good English signs almost everywhere. But the one place where you really need English signs and would expect to find them – at immigration – there are almost none. So you can’t really just go inside and follow the signs to the immigration offices (unless you can read Malay). And once you do find the immigration offices (up on the second floor), there are no English signs to help you figure out the process to follow and which of the 38 “kaunters” to begin with. However, it really isn’t a problem. Everyone there speaks English and you can just ask people where to go and what to do next. I’ve found the Malaysian people to be exceedingly friendly and helpful, and I had no trouble getting to the large immigration section in this building and then finding out what to do once I was there.

In my case (the procedure could easily change over time, of course), I was told to go to “kaunter” 24 first. This is where you are issued the appropriate forms for what you want to do. I presented my passport and told them I wished to extend my visa. I should point out that, technically, I did not have a visa. I had simply arrived at the airport and gotten a stamp in my passport. They call this a Short Term Social Visit Pass. For all intents and purposes, it is a tourist visa, but they don’t call it that. It is a “Social Visit Pass.”

I was given a simple form to fill out. You can see this form or download a copy here. I was also asked for a copy of a confirmed airline ticket out of Malaysia, a photocopy of my passport’s information page, and a photocopy of the Social Visit Pass stamp in my passport. There are plenty of photocopy shops down on the first floor if you need to make copies. They appeared to be serious about the need for some kind of proof of an onward flight. The printed itinerary for my flight was put on the very top of the pile when all the papers were stapled together. I was given a number (a number I won’t soon forget – 5088) and told to wait for my number to appear on one of the many computer monitors with instructions about where to take my papers.

It soon became apparent that I had chosen the wrong day to do this, for their computer system was giving them trouble and everything was taking much longer than usual. There were notices on windows apologizing for the delay. I ended up sitting in my hard metal chair staring at the computer monitors for a total of eight hours as I waited for my magic number of 5088 to appear. It took about two hours for me to be given just the opportunity to hand in my documents to start the process. Then I waited for five hours until I was told to go to counter 9 and pay my 100 ringgits (this was for a 60-day extension). Then I waited for a final excruciating hour for number 5088 to be called one last time so that I could pick up my passport. This waiting time included an hour when all the Malaysian employees went to lunch and all 38 counters sat empty while we waited. (I guess the important business of government grinds to a halt when stomachs start to rumble.) As things turned out, despite having to wait from 8:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon, I was one of the lucky ones. I got my passport back just under the wire before they closed for the day. Many of the people around me (who had waited just as long) never did get their passports and were told to return the next day.

And that’s about it for the experience. I believe most visitors wishing to stay longer in Malaysia simply take a train or bus to Singapore and get a new (and free) social visit pass at the border on their return. It makes a lot of sense to do a visa run like that. However, it is also possible to extend your social visit pass as I did. I imagine that under normal circumstances, the process could be completed in a morning – hand in your document first thing in the morning and have your passport returned before lunch. It was only my bad luck that their computers were giving problems and it took an entire day.

 

Update: As John pointed out in a comment below, it might be necessary for some people to make the trip to immigration headquarters in Putrajaya to apply for an extension. They told John that since he had arrived overland from Thailand, they could not process his extension application at the Kuala Lumpur office. He needed to go to the Immigration Department Malaysia headquarters in Putrajaya. I had arrived by plane, so I guess this didn’t apply to me.

 

 

Christmas at the MegaMall in Kuala Lumpur
Quick Trip - Kuala Lumpur to Singapore
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32 Comments »

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this it really helps…

  • Prasad says:

    Thanks for the useful info

  • Anonymous says:

    thank u so much

  • Anonymous says:

    Can you extend it by 60 days multiple times? I’m going to Sabah, so a bus to Singapore is not possible.

    • Doug Nienhuis says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t really know. I only did it that one time in Kuala Lumpur, and I didn’t try to do it a second time. So I can’t give you any definite information.

      Sabah might also be a bit different. I haven’t been there myself, but from what I’ve read online, Sabah has a somewhat unique status in Malaysia, and they have some state-level control over immigration policies. Tourists used to get brand-new 90-day visas when they arrived in Sabah even when coming from peninsular Malaysia. They would get a new entry stamp upon arriving in Sabah and their original 90-day visa would be cancelled, and they’d get a new one. However, it appears that that policy recently changed. Tourists still must go through immigration control upon arriving in Sabah even when coming from peninsular Malaysia, and they get a new visa stamp. However, the time on that visa consists only of whatever days remain on their original 90-day visa. You don’t get a fresh new visa anymore upon arrival. (I assume that if you are arriving in Sabah directly from another country, you would get the usual 90-day visa upon arrival, just as you would anywhere else in Malaysia.)

      As for extending a visa in Sabah, it appears that you can at least extend it once for an additional 60 days just as I did in Kuala Lumpur. I say that based on things I read online, such as here at Lonely Planet:

      http://www.lonelyplanet.com/borneo/visas

      I don’t have any personal experience with that, though, so I don’t know how easy or difficult it is or whether it can be done multiple times.

      It also appears to be a possibility to leave Sabah overland and then return by crossing the border into Brunei or into the Indonesian part of Borneo. However, that looks to be much more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive than simply taking a bus to Singapore and back from Kuala Lumpur. So you’ll just have to see what information you can gather once you’re on the ground.

      Hope that helps.

      Doug

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Doug, for the helpful info and clear procedure. I’ve been searching for the info on the official website but found none.

  • Jane Cosme says:

    Hi, just wanna ask ,will any IO’s interview u there or ask questions regarding your reason to extend ?

    • Doug Nienhuis says:

      I don’t know the official policy about that. It’s possible they might interview some applicants. In my case, I did not have an interview with an immigration officer. I believe there was a question on the form asking for my reason for wanting an extension. I simply wrote down “tourism” (which was the truth), and I was never questioned about that. I hope that helps.

  • Pavan says:

    Hi Doug,

    I stay here on an employment pass and my parents came here to stay with me on a tourist visa (multiple entry – 1 year – India) valid for 1 month, Their visa will be expiring next week.Can they get extension for 1 more month? Please let me know..

    PS : Whom should i contact for the extension? How much will be the extension fee for 2 persons?

    • Doug Nienhuis says:

      Hello! Sorry for replying so late. I have been traveling and didn’t see your comment until now.

      Unfortunately, I don’t really know the answer to your questions. I only have experience extending a 90-day social visit pass. The 1-year multiple entry visa that your parents have is quite different. I don’t know the rules that apply to them.

      However, since it is a multiple entry visa (valid for 1 month on each entry), my guess is that you can’t extend it from within Malaysia. My extension, for example, was for 60-days. It would make little sense for the Malaysian government to issue a 30-day visa and then allow you to extend it for 60 days.

      My guess is that you can’t extend it and that your parents will have to exit the country and return. It’s very easy to go to Singapore by bus from Kuala Lumpur. Of course, they’ll have to be elegible to enter Singapore with an Indian passport. I just did a quick online search for information, and it looks like it isn’t very easy for nationals of India to get a visa for Singapore. There are a lot of requirements, and I don’t know that it is even possible to do in Malaysia.

      They could also fly to Indonesia and back for relatively little money using Air Asia or another budget airline. I did another quick online search, and people were saying that India was recently added to the list of countries that are elegible for a visa on arrival for Indonesia. If that’s true, that would likely be the easiest option for your parents. They could fly to Indonesia on the cheapest ticket they can find and then return to Malaysia on their multiple-entry visa.

      Good luck. I hope it works out for them.

      Doug

    • Ajit says:

      Hi Pavan, how did you manage this. Got extension ?

  • Anonymous says:

    This is very useful information. I have question. When we apply for Malaysia visa we have to show return ticket too which is 30 days from the date of traveling to Malaysia. While applying for visa extension we can attach the same ticket or have to reschedule the ticket and attach

    • Doug Nienhuis says:

      Hi. I’m glad the info was useful.

      Unfortunately, I can’t really answer your question. I’m not an expert in all of this. This blog post is only about what happened to me personally. I don’t know what the rules and regulations are for people from different countries. I’m sure Malaysia has different immigration policies depending on which passport you are traveling with. In my case as a Canadian, for example, I don’t need to apply for a Malaysian visa beforehand. Canadians can get a 90-day entry stamp right at the airport or land border crossing. (I think they call this a social visit pass.) I also wasn’t asked for proof of a flight out of Malaysia. I believe they could ask for that, but they didn’t ask me.

      You wrote that you had to show a return ticket with a date 30 days from your arrival date. I assume that means you had to apply for a visa in advance and that you could only get a 30-day visa. To be honest, I don’t know if it’s even possible to extend that visa while in Malaysia. I extended a 90-day social visit pass, not a 30-day visa. I’m sure entirely different rules apply for you. My guess is that you’d have to reschedule your ticket. That makes sense, doesn’t it? You would have to reschedule your ticket anyway because if you don’t use it on the original date, you end up losing it, right?

      Sorry I can’t offer more help.

      Doug

  • Eziashi Casmir says:

    hi, please i intend to travel to malaysia for study, but i heard that the easiest and fastest way to get a visa is to apply for a SOCIAL VISA instead of the study visa, and then when i get to malaysia, i can then apply for study in any of my choice school, please i really want to know the best thing to do in this situation, i need your candid advice.

    • Doug Nienhuis says:

      Hello! Unfortunately, I don’t have any personal experience with this, so I don’t really know what the rules are about Student Passes. However, I did a little bit of online research, and based on what I read, it is NOT possible to convert a Social Visit Pass to a Student Pass inside Malaysia. These two websites, for example, state that pretty clearly:

      Converting a Social Visit Pass

      Admission to UTM

      I saw many more websites that stated the same thing. Again, I’m not an expert, but the normal procedure appears to be that you must complete all your application procedures in your home country. However, you don’t do any of it through a Malaysian embassy. Instead, you communicate directly with the school you wish to attend in Malaysia. They apply for your Student Pass for you. Then when everything is complete, you just fly to Malaysia and a representative of the school will meet you at the airport and your Student Pass will be issued to you and stamped in your passport when you arrive.

      Therefore, you still have to apply for the Student Pass in your home country. However, you aren’t officially issued the Student Pass until you actually arrive at the airport in Kuala Lumpur. I’ve never heard of a system like that before, but it appears to be faster and more efficient than the old system of applying through an embassy abroad.

      There are many websites that give very clear step-by-step instructions for applying for a Student Visa for Malaysia. Here is one of them:

      Applying for a Student Visa for Malaysia

      I hope this helps you a little bit.

      Doug

  • John Hatton says:

    Hi – great advice but didnt work for us – we got all our ducks in a row and fronted counter 24 – we had a legitimate reason for an extension (cargo ship we were leaving on for Africa had been rescheduled) – unfortunately we were told an extension in our case could not be processed at this office as we had arrived overland from Thailand through a third party country (we have irish passports)- we were advised to leave the country for a day and come back in or alternatively apply for an extension 2 days before current permit expired at the “main immigration office” – hope this can help
    Cheers
    John

    • Doug Nienhuis says:

      I’m sorry to hear you had problems, John. I hope everything works for you in the end.

      Failing any other options, it isn’t too expensive or difficult to take a bus down to Singapore, stay for a night or two, and return. People have had success with that. It might be easier than trying to fly anywhere (and more pleasant).

      I assume the main immigration office they were referring to is the one down in Putrajaya. I was under the impression that this office in Kuala Lumpur WAS the main office. But apparently not. I’ll try to add your experience to my blog summary and point people down to your comment. Maybe it will help other people.

      Thanks for the new info!
      Doug

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Doug, just wondering if you know we can have the visa extension done in immigration office in Penang State?

    • Doug Nienhuis says:

      Unfortunately, I don’t really know. I’ve never tried to do it, and I haven’t come across anyone who has. I did a Google search, but nothing obvious came up.

      My guess (and it’s only a guess) is that it isn’t possible. There do appear to be Malaysian immigration offices in Penang, but all the services it lists are aimed at Malaysian citizens, such as getting a new passport and that sort of thing.

      It might be possible, but I honestly don’t know. Sorry.

      Doug

  • Anonymous says:

    how i can get singapore visa ? i mean if i am on visit in malysia (social pass) and i want to go singapore and then come back again in malysia then what is the procedure ?

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for this information Doug! I was getting so frustrated trying to find information on visa extensions on the gov website.

  • MeeMee says:

    Hi, Doug,

    My mom is holding a Canadian passport same as you. She came to Malaysia with sosial visa pass in October 2016. She has been to Singapore since Jan, 2017 for a week holidays. She came in Malaysia and she got another 90 days sosial visa pass again. Now, if she plans to go Thailand for a week holidays, do you think she still can come in Malaysia with another 90 days visa pass again? Do you have this experience before or anyone did before?

    Please share if you know. Thanks

    MeeMee

    • Doug Nienhuis says:

      Hi, MeeMee.

      Yes, I’ve done that, and I’ve talked to other people entering Malaysia multiple times and getting another 90-day social visit pass each time. Of course, since this will be your mother’s third time, it’s possible that the immigration officer will ask your mother a couple of questions about why she has been in Malaysia for so long and why she wants to come back again. But that’s normal and nothing to worry about. And as long as your mother has a reasonable answer for those questions and looks respectable, she shouldn’t have a problem. They just want to make sure that people aren’t working illegally on a tourist visa or doing other questionable things. But if your mother is just visiting family and is on a long holiday and has enough money to support herself, it should be fine. They have a screening system in place, and sometimes people who have entered Malaysia a number of times in a year will be pulled out of the regular line and asked to go to a different counter for a more in-depth interview. That happened to me one time, and it was no problem. I just answered their questions, and it was clear to them that I was simply a tourist. I was an unusual tourist in that I had stayed for so long, but I was a tourist nonetheless.

      It’s always a good idea to be prepared, though, when going through immigration, particularly when you are doing it a third or fourth time. Your mother should be able to answer the question of why she’s been in Malaysia for so long and why she’s coming back for a third time. And her answers should be natural and convincing. If she says she wants more time to visit more places for tourism, she should know what those places are and be able to name them. Or if she says she is visiting family and staying with them, she should have the names and contact information of those family members just in case they ask for it. And if she has a flight out of Malaysia, she should bring a copy of that flight with her and/or proof that she has enough money to be able to buy one. Chances are that she won’t actually need to produce any of this, but it’s best to be prepared just in case. Immigration officials are just doing their job, and the more information you can provide them, the better.

      I hope your mother enjoys her trip and has good luck when she returns.

      Doug

      • Dania says:

        Hello Doug,

        I’m staying here in Malaysia for a 3 month Single Visa entry visiting my family and I want to renew my visa atleast another 60 days but I’ve read your experience that a returned flight is needed before applying for extension. How will I get a return flight if I don’t know yet when they’ll be issuing my extension visa? Hoping for a response. Thank you.

        • Doug Nienhuis says:

          Hi!

          You’re right. It’s a bit of a Catch-22. People run into this same problem when they apply for tourist visas and visa extensions anywhere. The embassy or immigration office usually requests proof that you have a flight out of the country before they will issue you a visa or extension. BUT it’s risky to pay for a flight when you don’t even have the visa yet. What if you don’t get the visa or the extension? Then you’ve wasted the money on the flight. Plus, a lot of people plan on leaving the country by bus over a land border. So then it makes no sense to book a flight. This onward-flight requirement is a common problem for travellers, and it’s been around forever.

          People have come up with a variety of solutions to the problem. You can buy a full-price flight, apply for a visa, and then cancel the flight and get a refund. That’s not a very appealing option, obviously, but some people do it. Sometimes people buy the cheapest possible flight they can find online with a budget airline. This wouldn’t be a flight back to their home country. They just buy a flight to the closest neighboring country. For regional flights, these can be as little as $20 or $30. They don’t plan on ever using that flight, but they pay for it just to satisfy the visa application or visa extension requirements. They might end up using it. Or they might not, and they lose the money.

          Another option is to rent a ticket. There are companies online that will rent you a ticket for a 48-hour period. The fee is usually about $10. It’s a real ticket in your name on a real airline, and you can print out the flight confirmation email and use it as part of your visa application. Then the ticket is cancelled after 48 hours.

          Finally, people routinely use a fake ticket. They might take an old flight confirmation email and use a PDF editor on their computer to change the dates etc and then print it out. It’s very unlikely that anyone will go to the trouble of contacting the airline and confirming that the flight booking is real, so people can get away with these fake tickets. It’s not an ideal solution, but sometimes it’s the only thing you can do. Most immigration office clerks just need to tick the boxes on the application form. They need to see that you’ve included a copy of a flight out of the country. So they flip through the stack of papers you’ve given them, see that it includes a flight confirmation, and then they can tick the box and process your application. It’s rare that they’ll examine it under a microscope or try to confirm it.

          Finally, it’s sometimes possible to provide proof of sufficient funds instead of an actual ticket. This can be in the form of a recent bank statement showing that you have enough money to support yourself and buy a flight out when the time comes. Sometimes they accept a credit card. In the old days, they would accept travellers checks as proof of sufficient funds, but these days they generally don’t. (They might not know what travellers checks even are.) I don’t remember, however, if the immigration offices in Malaysia give the option of providing proof of sufficient funds. My sense is that they wouldn’t, but I don’t know that for sure.

          That’s about all the advice I can give. As I said, it’s a Catch-22, and there is no perfect solution. As I mentioned in the blog post, a reasonable alternative is simply to make a trip to Singapore by bus and then return to Malaysia with a new 90-day social visit pass/visa.

          Cheers, and good luck.

          Doug

          • Dania says:

            Hello Doug,

            Thank you very much for the response really appreciated, somehow you give me idea. But I’m just curious about the “EXTENSION FORM” what sould we put on number 9? The Reference Number is the same with Receipt Number?

            Waiting for your response. Thanks!

  • Arjun says:

    Hello Doug
    Thank you so much for the above info!
    You can easily pass as a consultant on immigration malaysia and start alternate career!
    I had come to malaysia to inspect a ship and got transit visa for both joining and leaving ship. And on the day my transit expired i decided to stay a couple of days more to tour in kl. But now after googling i think its not so easy afterall and getting extension is a pain with additional fear of getting blacklisted. Do you have any idea on extension of transit visas by any chance?

    • Doug Nienhuis says:

      You’re very welcome. Though everything I wrote is just my personal experience when I applyied for an extension. I’m certainly no expert. I just do Google searches like everyone else and see what comes up. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with transit visas or trying to extend them. I’ve never used a transit visa for any country, so I don’t really know how they work. It seems, however, that they’d be difficult or impossible to extend. The whole reason people get them is because they don’t really want to stay in this or that country but just pass through quickly on their way to somewhere else. So it’s unlikely that an immigration department would develop a set of procedures for extending one. I imagine if you overstay on a transit visa, you have no choice but to face the music and pay the fine or whatever other consequences they impose for such things.

      I did my own quick Google search, and it was difficult to find official information about this. However, the few things I came across all said that transit passes cannot be extended. They appear to refer to them as Transit WithOut Visa (TWOV). The rules and regulations I came across said that these are issued for a maximum of 120 hours (5 days) and that they can’t be extended. (I don’t know if this has changed since these websites published that information.) Since you got one of these yourself, you probably know much more about them than I do. I’m only guessing. And my guess is that if you overstay a transit visa, you have no choice but to pay the fine and see what else happens. I couldn’t find any information about overstaying a transit visa specifically. Everything referred to overstaying tourist visas. And the penalties they imposed seemed to vary a lot depending on the circumstances. Though even in the worst cases when people were banned from Malaysia, it appeared to be for a limited amount of time – even as short as three months. So perhaps your situation is not something to be overly concerned about.

      I can’t really offer any more help than that. I hope things work out well for you.

      Doug

  • maria says:

    thank you !!
    Your post guided me through the process.
    I had stated medical reason for extension and was questioned about that
    The lady officer requested a letter from a doctor or she could only give me 30 she said. Then some guy stepped in and ordered her to give me the 60 days
    I was very nervous through the whole process, even while most people were friendly

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