The whole idea of studying abroad is fun and exciting. But the process of going there can be difficult if you do not know what you are getting into. So here, we have listed down what you need to do and prepare (yes, step-by-step), to ease your pursuit of education in Malaysia.

Step 1: Determine the reason to study overseas

Prior to deciding if you should study abroad or not, it’s crucial that you thoroughly consider if you are ready to begin your education journey somewhere far from home. Make sure that you have a solid reason to do so, whether it’s you wanting to experience a new culture, be more independent, or make new friends. These reasons must be strong enough so that you don’t quit halfway studying.

If you have made up your mind and want to come to Malaysia for studying, then that’s great! If you’re still unsure if Malaysia is the right choice, then maybe these reasons could help you to make up your mind.

Step 2: Look for the right institution and course

guy typing on his laptop

Before you decide on the universities you want to apply to, it is best if you get in contact with the university’s representative to know more about the course and the requirements needed for that university (i.e. minimum credits or any English proficiency test). Otherwise, you can go to the university’s website and see if you can download their prospectus directly.

Other important things that you should be considering include the choices of subjects, duration of the study, fee and living cost, assessment methods and the curriculum. If you are currently looking at pre-universities programmes, then you should check out this article we have written to help you choose the best programme for you.

Step 3: Submit your application and all the relevant documentation needed to the university

writing a checklist

Applying to study in Malaysia is fairly easy. Usually, you can either download the application form on the university’s site itself or get the form from the university’s representative in your home country. Apart from the application form, it is best to prepare these documentations (refer bullet points below) as they are required by most of the tertiary institutions in Malaysia. It is also advisable that you apply at least three months prior to the intake date.

  • Certified copies of all the relevant academic certificates inclusive of English proficiency test
  • Photocopy of valid international passport
  • Photocopy of identity card
  • Most recent passport-sized colour photograph
  • Personal medical examination record

Step 4: Receiving an offer letter from the institution of choice

After you have submitted your application form, it will take 5 to 7 days for your form to be processed. But be patient. Because it might take even longer than that.

Depending on how many universities did you apply to, you might get several offer letters but you should only accept one that fits your needs the best.

Step 5: Considering your options

Once you have decided on the university and accepted the offer, you will be receiving an ‘Offer of Place’ to confirm the details of your course, commencement date together with the invoice of fees.

After payment has been successfully made, the university should issue a receipt to confirm your payment.

Step 6: Learn more about the requirements for Student Pass and Entry Visa from your university

All students, regardless of the level of education, need to have a Student Pass from the Department of Education Malaysia. But only after you have made your confirmation that you have accepted an institution’s offer will the it apply for a Student Pass on your behalf from the Malaysian Immigration Department via Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS). While this is usually done by your university representative, you can also opt to do it on your own. To know more about the list of all documents required for your visa application, please head here.

Step 7: Applying for the Student Pass and Electronic Visa Approval Letter (eVAL)

eVAL processing time will usually take from 7 to 14 days, provided that all the documents are complete. The processing fee for eVAL is RM150. Your eVAL will be emailed to you straight as a PDF or it can be downloaded through the “Track application” page in the website.

Once you had received the eVAL , this means that you have the permission from the Malaysian Immigration Department to enter Malaysia to obtain a Student Pass.

Step 8: Check with the Malaysia embassy or consulate in your home country on the visa requirements for coming to Malaysia

If you are an International student from a visa-required country, you will need to obtain a Single Entry Visa (SEV) from the Malaysian Embassy, consulate or high commission in your home country before coming to Malaysia. Otherwise, you must provide your eVAL to the Malaysian Immigration at the point of entry.

To make it easier for you, click here to see if your country is on the visa-required list or not.

Nevertheless, be reminded that eVAL and SEV do not equal to a Student Pass. You will only be able to process your Student Pass once you have entered Malaysia.

Step 9: Ensure that all the documentation are complete and that you have sufficient fund

Often, you will need to declare the amount of money that you have in possession at the custom, so it is imperative that you make sure that you are able to finance your studies in Malaysia. However, should you feel that you want some exposure working in Malaysia, and needed the extra money, you can work part-time for 20 hours per week during your semester break.

Step 10: Arriving at the Malaysian immigration checkpoint and custom clearance

Guy with camera in the airport

If this is your first time travelling to Malaysia, and alone, then arriving at the airport can be nerve-wrecking. This is why the EMGS has set up an International Student Arrival Centre (ISAC) guide you through the process. Unfortunately, the ISAC is only available at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Nevertheless, if you are arriving from another entry point, you can also make an arrangement with the university’s representative to be with you at the checkpoint.

Once there, you will be required to present the following documents to the immigration officer:

  • Original passport
  • Visa (if you’re from a visa-required country)
  • Visa Approval Letter
  • Original Offer letter from your education Institution in Malaysia

The Immigration Officer at the entry point will verify the validity of your eVAL and issue a special pass for the your entry into the country.

Step 11: Enrolling at the institution

Once you have registered your arrival, you can start to enrol for your course and choose your subjects. During this enrolment process, you will also need to pay your course and accommodation fees (if you choose to stay on campus). Before finalising your course, you can talk to a school course advisor to inquire more about your subject selection and course structure.

Step 12: Exploring around

Malaysia Petronas Twin Tower

Now that you have safely completed the first phase of studying abroad, celebrate it! Go to a night market, have a tour around your university, and get new friends! We still have some immigration matters that need to be covered but that’s for another article.

Read: Immigration Matters – What to Settle in 30 Days