In a departure from my normal lame travel and food reviews, in an attempt to provide a service to the community today’s offering is a bit different.
This post is to inform people about my experience of applying for a Long Term Social Visit Pass (Pas Lawatan Sosial) in Malaysia – that’s the long name of what I would call a spouse or spousal visa. We went through the process in July 2018; this post should be considered as only being relevant to my application at this time, and is definitely not any sort of legal advice.
As such, the following is to be treated as informatory (is that a real word?) in nature only. If it helps, I am happy and you are welcome, but you’ll want to make sure you ask people at the immigration office to be certain you are doing the right thing. Enough disclaimers for now and on with the post.
I am a British citizen and my wife is Malaysian; we registered our marriage in Singapore (I will probably do a post on this later including how to register it in Malaysia).
We had the assistance of a Commissioner of Oaths who we paid to help us with the paperwork. With hindsight, that might not have been necessary. While it was helpful to have the forms completed for us, and certainly saved us time, we felt we could have done them on our own. However, if you are interested in using the one we did, leave your email in the comments and I will put you in touch. It is necessary for two of the documents to be stamped by a Commissioner of Oaths anyway, so you might want some of the hassle removed. [Update – information from commenter Lat on 11 October 2018 is that the man we used has now retired.]
Whether you opt for help or not, make sure you have the latest forms from the Immigration Office, which will also include a handy checklist. I do have PDF versions of the forms applicable at the time which I can supply again on request (and for information purposes only!).
You’ll hear or see the abbreviation CTC repeatedly both in this post and in real life. This stands for certified true copy and may well be the bane of your life. Other abbreviations are JPN (Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara – the registration office), UTC (Pusat Transformasi Bandar, known by the initials in English for Urban Transformation Centre), and I/C (Malaysian identity card, also known as MyKad).
You have to go to the Immigration Office for the place where you live (unless you are Nigerian or Chinese – citizens of these nationalities have to go to Putrajaya; I am unsure why), along with your spouse. Make sure you have all of the documents ready, as your application will not be accepted without them.
The forms and supporting documentation that I needed were as follows:
Borang (Malay for form) IMM 12. This is a blue and white form which you need two copies of, complete with passport photos, and it has to be stamped by a Commissioner of Oaths. It asks which type of visa you want, for your details, and for your sponsor’s details (see below).
Borang IMM 38. This is a white form, which asks for a few more details about the applicant. You need two copies.
Borang IMM 55. This is a form for extension of visit pass. You need one copy, and I assume it is needed to capture more details about your passport and current visa.
My passport and photocopies of every page which wasn’t blank.
Spouse’s Malaysian passport and photocopies of every page which wasn’t blank.
Spouse’s I/C and CTC by JPN or UTC. You might think the immigration officer could check the card and then make sure the copy is the same. You would be wrong. Fortunately there was a JPN branch in the building when we had to get the CTC.
Overseas marriage certificate and CTC by embassy. You might think the immigration could check the details on the original and make sure the copy is the same. You would be wrong again. Cue a frantic taxi ride to the Singapore high commission by my lovely wife to get our photocopy stamped (total time in vehicle 80 mins, time in high commission 5 mins).
Certificate of registration of marriage in Malaysia and CTC by JPN. You might think…ah, you probably get it by now. Anyway, we were lucky in that there was a JPN wedding branch (different from I/C section) where I queued for an hour to get a stamp, while wife went to the high commission.
A form which makes a declaration under oath about your marital status (including any previous marriages, divorces and children, if applicable). This also needs to be stamped by a Commissioner of Oaths.
Sponsor’s information form. You need a sponsor for the visa who earns more than RM2000 per month (no matter what you earn). They must also attend when you submit the application. This can be your spouse, however.
Security bond form. This details the personal information of the applicant and the spouse, plus makes a legal commitment to pay a penalty in the event the applicant breaks the terms of the visa. The form must be signed by the spouse and witnessed by a third party. The witness must either be present at the immigration office or must supply a photocopy of their I/C. This photocopy must be certified. So you need CTC of their I/C by JPN or UTC… (we didn’t have this and had to ask a kind gentleman to re-witness for us, so be warned).
The bond form has to show stamp duty has been paid. To do this, you have to go to a branch of Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negara (Inland Revenue Board). I did this in advance at one near my flat. The stamp duty is RM10 (so is questionable in efficiency but you have to do it).
Effectively the bond is enforced by taking the money from you when you pick up your visa! It is then returned in the event of divorce, death or attaining permanent residence. The amount depends on which country you come from. For a Brit like me, it is RM1500. Latest details were at http://www.imi.gov.my/index.php/en/visa/security-bond-bank-guarantee-rates.html at time of writing.
A photo of the wedding ceremony. This should be in at least size 4R. We chose one which had us holding the certificate. We were told it should only have the bride and groom in shot, so no group photos.
Sales and Purchase Agreement for your property (sometimes known as SNP), or tenancy agreement if applicable. We were told in advance we only needed to have copies of the front page, stamp duty page, signatures and property details like official address. On the day I had to run out to get copies of EVERY page.
House photos. You need photographs which indicate the place where you are living. We were told to take photos of: the street sign (for us impossible due to the signs all being removed for roadworks); the condo sign; the whole condo; the block in the condo; the front door of the unit; the door plate with the number of the unit; and the living room. We had printed copies of the six we had, and the immigration officer attached these to the application forms. More on why later.
CTC of spouse’s employment offer letter, stamped by employer.
CTC of spouse’s last three months’ payslips, stamped by employer. Actually, they accepted two months’ worth as wife was working in Singapore before then. We also supplied a copy of her by-now surrendered Singapore Employment Pass.
Last three bank statements for spouse, plus CTC by bank. Again, they accepted two from us. The bank charged RM2 per sheet. The bank statements should show a monthly income of at least RM2000.
We also took our original birth certificates and photocopies, Singapore tax filing and statement, and original EPF (Malaysian Employees Provident Fund) statements, just in case. These weren’t needed in the end.
We had a bit of a nightmare with our attempt to submit the application. When we turned up at KL office, the system was down, and the queue was 100 people long according to the number-giver. She therefore refused to give us a number. She said we might be able to be seen at Putrajaya, so we rang to explain our situation, checked the system was working, and drove the 40 minutes over there.
That’s when we found out it was only for Chinese and Nigerian applicants, and the few people (90,000) who live in the federal territory. Next step, call back to the KL office to check the system was working again. They said it was, so back in the car.
When we got back, the system was down again (possibly intermittent) so we sat and waited. At 12.55, we, and everyone, were kicked out so the staff could have lunch.
We came back 30 minutes before the end of the lunch break so we could be first in the queue. This ended up being a good decision, as quite a long queue developed.
We handed over our documents and most were acceptable, with the exceptions as noted. Originally they said we would have to bring them back the next day, but we decided to try that day as we still had 2.5 hours until closing.
Or so we thought. While my wife was away getting the marriage certificate copy stamped and after I had picked up the last available document there, I was waiting for her when – an hour earlier than expected/advertised – all of the officers began leaving.
We were really grateful when the immigration officer who had looked at our file earlier was happy to come back and finish dealing with us (we are really grateful to Umeirah for this). After going through everything again, she had us wait while she entered it in a different room.
When she was done, she gave us a piece of paper which had a return date three weeks later. That was it for visit one. We had been informed that we might have a formal interview during which the officer could test us on our knowledge of each other (luckily, a year ago I trained my occasionally forgetful wife to know my birthday by setting it as her luggage code!), but that didn’t happen.
I went back on my own on the given date and was first in the queue for new files. After waiting a little more than 90 minutes I was called to the cashier and paid. She printed me a receipt and made me get it photocopied around the corner. I then took that copy to another counter after another 20 minutes to swap it for my passport, complete with visa.
When looking into how to apply, I saw on a couple of sites that people were paying additional fees of RM500 or so. That might be due to paying an agent. All we had to pay was the security bond (variable on nationality as above), visa fee (for me RM90, for 6 months) and stamp duty (RM10).
I mentioned the house photos earlier; I was told there was a chance that the Immigration Office might do a home visit to check we were actually living there. Apparently they look for photos of the couple, look in wardrobes to check there are clothes for both of you, and they might even check your saucepans to see if they are being used! It’s all to check you are actually living as a couple.
Anyway, sorry for the long read. I hope you find it useful. All comments welcome. If you are a regular reader, normal service resumed very soon; if you have come just for this, please do stick around to see if you like my reviews, and good luck with your application!