A Survival Manual


Congratulations and Welcome to Malaysia, this manual has been prepared to give you an overview and assist you to cope with some of the challenges faced by Foreign Spouses married to Malaysians. It will also prepare you for this Malaysian experience. We suggest you read this together, with your Malaysian Spouse, as everything here affects not just you, the foreign spouse but also impacts the life of the Malaysian spouse and the children to come.

By the way, the last time a count was done at Immigration a few years ago, we numbered at 100,000 Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) visas being granted each year. Mainly young couples like yourself who come to the country with great expectations, only to get floored by bureaucratic visa process,

difficulties in securing jobs. The reason this Survival Manual was put together is so that you may not be as clueless as we were, and we hope that it will throw some light on what is ahead.

Step 1 – Registration of Marriage (ROM) must be done with Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN) or the National Registration Department web link provided.

1) Link to JPN for Registration Of Marriage For Non-Muslim Applicants General Information


2) Link to JPN for Application for re-registration of marriage for non-Muslims Malaysian whose marriage was registered under the laws of a foreign country.


3) Application for registration of marriage for

  1. Muslim couples who married abroad according to Islamic law; or
  2. Non-Christian Sabah natives who marry according to their customs; or
  3. Non-Christian Sarawak natives who marry according to their customs; or
  4. Non-Christian indigenous couples of Peninsular Malaysia who marry according to their customs.


4) Link to JAIS (Selangor State Religious Department) Muslim Marriage Application for Men – Permohonan Perkahwinan Bagi Lelaki http://www.jais.gov.my/en?q=artikel/permohonan-perkahwinan-bagi-lelaki

5) Link to JAIS (Selangor State Religious Department) Muslim Marriage Application for Women – Permohonan Perkahwinan Bagi Perempuan http://www.jais.gov.my/artikel/permohonan-perkahwinan-bagi-perempuan

Step 2 – Registration of Marriage (ROM) must be done with Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN) or the National Registration Department web link provided.

Now that you are happily married, it makes you eligible to apply for a (very) Long Term Social Visit Pass (LTSVP) which can be made only after 6 months of marriage – Be sure that Malaysian wifey/hubby takes leave and accompanies you for every visit to Immigration. Often repeated visits are required for each visa application or renewal of visa – Immigration departments tends to crowded so be prepared to stay the entire day! Its a running joke among us spouses that Immigration is our second home!

Application for LTSVP – Spouse

Link to Immigration Website for Visa with Reference – Husband/Wife of Malaysian Citizen


Ahh, yes, once you receive your visa you may be worried with the statement on your Visa “any form of employment is strictly prohibited – SPOUSE OF A MALAYSIAN CITIZEN”.  Stay calm, luckily now, spouses are allowed to work with an endorsement on the passport. Well, be prepared that you will not be allowed to work, until you are on the one year visa, so for the first 6 months or so.

Working permit for Spouse or Endorsement to work


The process for employment requires the following documents from the organization in order for the spouse to get the endorsement to work stamped on his passport by immigration. This is a form of work permit for foreign spouses which is free of cost and will be handled by the spouses themselves.  However this endorsement is tied to the visa and the company name is mentioned in the endorsement which is stamped in the Spouse’s passport.

1) Cover letter from employer for the purpose of application with company’s letter head

2) Offer letter from employer with position and salary stated.

3) Copy of employer’s business license with certified true copy done or original copy to be brought if own company. -Form 9, Form 24 and Form 49 or Form E for Private Limited company

4) Copy of employer’s MyKad, certified true copy by HR

Notwithstanding that you are the man /lady of the house and need a job to support the family, it is essential that you obtain a letter from your Malaysian spouse giving you permission to work! An offer letter from your employer is also a requisite, in order to get the endorsement!! Although some employers are hesitant to accept spouses for employment when they see that statement on the visa, however we have no doubt that many employers will be more than happy to take you on board.

Now that you have managed the difficult part of securing employment, here’s the most annoying: your employer needs only to pay RM5 per month for EPF, while they deduct 11% off your salary towards it!! Not fair, right?? After all EPF is the only savings most Malaysians workers have at retirement.  Try to negotiate your company contributes to EPF.


Now if you require to buy a house, you will have to buy one that is above 1 million, and if it is jointly purchased with your spouse, make sure the home is above 2 million, yes yes we know you are purchasing a house for your Malaysian family!! Wondering if the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, is listening? Bet, you did not expect that you would be treated as a mere foreign investor right? This is life for us foreign spouses and we are only half way through, bro/sista!!  Alternatively the house can be purchased by the Malaysian spouse but the loan may be paid by both the foreign and Malaysian spouse ( a side agreement could be worked with a lawyer with regards to the property ownership)

OK, just so that the smaller things don’t get forgotten, you will have to pay tourist rates at theme and leisure parks and other tourist attractions, while your Malaysian family pays local rates. Oh yes there is a deposit that’s to be paid if you want a phone line. You also get less interest at the banks for fixed deposits. For a credit card, some providers ask for a monthly salary of RM12K and others will ask for a deposit of RM 10K, not many of us are at that income bracket; perhaps you will have better luck than us!!

This is a gentle reminder to you to carry your passport wherever you go. Often we foreigners are the target of spot checks by our efficient men in blue! No excuse accepted, even if you are in swimming attire.

Government Hospitals

Now make sure that you also carry your marriage certificate with you should you seek treatment at the government hospital, otherwise you will be charged the same rate as those poor migrant workers and believe it or not, it does cost as much as those pricey private medical centers!

Permanent Residence

Just a little more to bear, as we enter the home run of Permanent Residence (PR). You are eligible to apply for PR, after being 5 years and 6 months on the LTVSP, although approval for PR may take even longer!! These days you have the facility of their website which lists the documents required. You then submit the PR documents at the State Immigration Dept.  After submission, both of you have to wait for the Interview Call, then another longer wait for the Police check. Oh, but you can track the progress at the Immigration website – for years our status stated “sedang di proses”!!

Checklist for application for PR


Arguably, it is more difficult and takes longer for male spouses to get PR, and some of them at immigration, said so too!! It takes a minimum of 2 years for approval of PR.

Finally the day arrives when your spouse receives the mail to collect the Letter for long awaited Permit Masuk. Then another wait for JPN to process the My PR card. All in all about 7-10 years and you are lucky to have the PR within that time. OK that’s it, unbelievable isn’t it?? (Note from the author- For some of us it took much longer. Indeed it was surreal when I held dearly onto My PR, (pun intended). We celebrated the long grind to this momentous day, my eldest in college, my close to retirement hubby and I. It sure was a long wait, from the day I came in as a young bride in the 90s, the century turned and I with greying hair holding on to my Malaysian PR!) Well surely, the authorities will be kinder on you!!


Oh yes, let’s quickly cover citizenship while we are here, though most of us get mired in the PR process, we just forget that citizenship is available to us. Now while women spouses are eligible for citizenship, two years after PR; Male spouses have to wait 10 years after PR, for citizenship by Naturalization.

We’ve run through the gamut and left out the nitty gritties so that you don’t get put off. Don’t be like many other professional spouses, who left the country unwilling to face the tedious processes, there’s been enough brain drain.

Welcome to the club and we wish you both the very best!!

Various checklists are provided for your easy reference in the photos sections and links provided in the pinned post on FB.


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