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How To Prepare Before Moving To Malaysia

Whether you're looking to move to the metropolitan hub of Kuala Lumpur or the seaside city of Penang, moving to Malaysia is a decision you won’t soon regret. As one of the most expat friendly countries in the world, you’ll quickly find your feet here and discover all that there is to love about Malaysia and its rich culture. 

While it is incredibly exciting to embark on this new chapter, it’s important to take the time to plan out your move to avoid adding any unnecessary stress. With a great array of invaluable relocation services offered by the friendly and professional team at Allied Malaysia, moving you into your new Malaysian home has never been so easy. Our team can take the stress and guesswork out of the moving process and allow you to start thinking about more exciting and enjoyable things like where you’ll have your first meal or which attraction you’ll visit first!


With so many distinct and lively cities in Malaysia, picking the city that will be your new home can be a challenging but incredibly exciting decision. 

legoland-johor bahru


For those more acclimated to a slower and more relaxed style of living, moving to Johor Bahru may be your preference. With lower cost of living, ample greenery and peace and quiet away from the bustling city, there’s plenty of appeal in making this your new home. Located just across the border from Singapore and a few hours from Kuala Lumpur, you’ll never be far from the action. With great food and plenty of employment opportunities right in the city, you’ll find it hard to leave.



Moving to Kuala Lumpur is an incredibly popular decision amongst expats. As Malaysia’s centre of commerce, manufacturing, transportation, information technology and tourism, Kuala Lumpur provides plentiful opportunities for employment with infrastructure developing just as quickly as the city itself. With great transportation, stunning modern and classic architecture, world class shopping and delicious food there’s truly something for everyone.



Moving to Penang can also be a great choice for expats, having all the comforts of home from beaches to shopping centres and cinemas. Here you can get the first world lifestyle at a fraction of the cost with arts, culture, history and nature at your fingertips. With food often claimed to be the best in Southeast Asia and home to a number of high end restaurants, keen foodies and lovers of luxury will be well catered for.


With all of your belongings at your current residence, it can be very stressful trying to decide which items you’ll store, sell and ship with some being more difficult to part with than others. At Allied we provide a number of services to alleviate those stresses and make the move process easier.


Depending on the size of your new Malaysian home, you may not be able to store all of your belongings. We at Allied understand belongings often have a story and meaning, offering you a number of storage options so you don’t have to sell or dispose of those treasured and sentimental items.


Travelling with your four legged best friend? Our pet relocation services ensure no member of the family is left behind. Your dog, cat or other pet will travel concurrently with you safely and comfortably, ready to meet you at your new home. In order to relocate your dog or cat they will need to be: 

  • Implanted with an ISO Microchip
  • Vaccinated against Rabies (for most countries)
  • Up to date with their annual vaccinations

For other pets, contact us today to find out more!


It can be difficult to arrive in a new city with no means of transport and independence, feeling stuck in your new home that you’d much rather be exploring. You may also have a vehicle that’s your pride and joy or been working on for years. At Allied we understand this and want to save you the stress of buying and selling vehicles, offering you our vehicle relocation services. Allied ensures your car or motorbike travels safely and securely to your location, ready to take you out and about in your new city. 



With all of your belongings at your current residence, it can be very stressful trying to decide which items you’ll store, sell and ship with some being more difficult to part with than others. At Allied we provide a number of services to alleviate those stresses and make the move process easier.

While you’re abroad it may be advised to appoint a power of attorney back home, equipping the chosen party to complete any legal actions on your behalf while you're away. This is a process that you’ll need to plan out well in advance of your departure as the process requires you to hire a lawyer who will write up the appropriate documents to then be signed by you and the soon to be power of attorney.



If you’re entering Malaysia for business, volunteer work, study or research you will need to apply for a Malaysian visa. The main visas that expats will receive are the Employment Pass, which will be arranged by an employer for the worker, and the Long Term Social Visit Pass, which is for foreigners married to Malaysians. While these are the most common, the visa you apply for will depend on the purpose of your visit, so be sure to do your research or consult a trusted and reputable agency.

The Malaysian visa process can be commenced in one of two ways. The first, visiting a Malaysian Representative office in your country of residence. Here they can help you with the application process and provide expert advice and guidance. The second way is to apply online via eVisa, a simple and easy to use online platform.

Once you’ve been in Malaysia for a while, you may choose to make Malaysia your second home. This can be done under the Malaysia My Second

Home program, perfect for anyone looking to retire here or make Malaysia a long term residence for a period of up to 10 years. There are however income requirements, differing for over and under 50s.

Immigration Income Requirements for Home program


Liquid Assets  Monthly Income  Fixed Deposit 

MYR 350,000
(USD 80,552)

MYR 10,000
(USD 2,301)

MYR 150,000
(USD 34,522) 

Below 50 

MYR 500,000
(USD 115,075) 

 MYR 10,000

(USD 2,301)

MYR 300,000
(USD 69,045)

important documents (1)-min


Depending on the Visa you’re applying for you will have a different number and type of documents required. However, every migrating individual will need to prepare a number of personal documents for emigration. 

Malaysian Spouse

For those with a Malaysian spouse you will be required to prepare the following documents

  • Form Imm.12/ Imm.55
  • Form Imm.38
  • Marriage Certificate
  • A Statutory Declaration stating your marriage is still in effect
  • Security Bond stamped with a RM10.00 revenue stamp
  • Sponsor or spouse identification card
  • Sponsor or spouse’s proof of income
  • 2 passport size photographs of husband and wife
  • Sponsor/spouse’s passport
  • Wedding photographs
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate

Employment Pass

Expats entering via an employment pass will need the following documents

  • Their most recent passport photo with a light blue background
  • A copy of the passport (all pages including the cover in colour)
  • A copy of their highest attained educational certificates (in colour)
  • Must be translated into English and be certified as a True Copy by the Malaysian Embassy OR High Commission OR Consulate in the respective country OR Consulate in Malaysia
  • Those in English must be certified as a True Copy by the respective Embassy OR High Commission OR  Consulate General in the respective country OR Consulate in Malaysia OR Human Resource (HR) of the company
  • Professional Certificate(s) where applicable
  • The latest and most comprehensive Resume / Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • A copy of their employment contract or offer letter (signed and duty stamped by the Inland Revenue Board)
  • A detailed job description
  • The supporting document(s) from the appropriate agency or regulatory body (if applicable)
  • Any other documents required by the Immigration Department of Malaysia


Booking flights to Malaysia can be tricky, especially with no direct flights from the USA to Malaysia. Seeking guidance from a tour agency or travel agent can be great for anyone with questions or concerns.

For those looking to book their own flight and get a deal, websites like Skyscanner are incredibly affordable with airlines like China Eastern, Korean Air, Qatar Airways and AirAsia X being some of the most competitively priced. Air Asia in particular, does a number of domestic flights, able to transit you within the country.

Once touched down you can travel to your accommodation via Malaysia’s efficient public transport network or utilise one of the many ride sharing platforms available.


When looking for accommodation most renters and homeowners use four main websites, that being iProperty, PropertyGuru, Mudah and iBilik. On these sites you can find rooms and houses for purchase or rent. Many expats will wish to live closer to their place of employment to cut on commute times, so be sure to use the location and budget filters on the sites.

Those seeking to rent will need to sign a rental agreement, typically a two year period. If you do not plan on staying this long it is important to negotiate and include a termination clause within the contract to avoid any future conflict and being left out of pocket. To be noted here also, is that two months advance rent is often required as a security deposit.

Another hidden cost some expats may not consider is utilities. Tenants in Malaysia are to pay for their own water, electricity, phone and internet, not included in the agreed rental price. Keep this in mind when budgeting for accommodation as this can add to already increased rent, particularly in urban areas.



There are plenty of great schooling options for expat children but eligibility can rely on a few factors. 

For those with a Malaysian partner, your children will be eligible for public school. This schooling system begins at the age of four in preschool, followed by 6 years of primary education commencing at age 7. Secondary school then runs for an additional 5 years with forms one to five. This 11 years total schooling is free from charge, paid by the government.

Expats with more disposable income may decide to enrol their children into a private or international school. While tuition fees will be much higher than public school, classes are taught primarily in English and the similar schooling system greatly minimises culture shock, especially for international schools where children can opt to study the curriculum of their home country. It should also be noted that it is incredibly difficult to enrol expat children into public schooling due to the volume of incoming local students.


When moving to a brand new country or city it can be tempting to bring everything and the kitchen sink! But packing light for your new Malaysian adventure will help save on luggage costs and packing time, with all you need and more available at your destination.

It can be daunting travelling with so many important belongings which is why we advise getting insurance for your travels. This helps cover any items lost or damaged in the transit to your destination as well as giving you peace of mind knowing you are protected.


Essentials to pack for Malaysia

When travelling to any overseas destination it’s best to travel light and buy what you need upon arrival. However, some items you’ll likely need as soon as you touch down

  1. Travel adaptors:

    While you’ll eventually build up a collection of local chargers and cords it’ll be invaluable to have a few adaptors to get you sorted for the short term. In Malaysia the plug type is type G, having three rectangular pins in a triangular shape and pattern. If you know your country uses a different plug type, plan in advance.
  2. Merino wool clothing:

    While this may seem a bit left of field, having clothing made of breathable fabric for the humid and muggy Malaysian weather can be a lifesaver!
  3. A good pair of shoes:

    as you look to find your bearings in your new city you’ll likely be doing a lot of walking and exploring, so it's important to be comfortable. The last thing you want is to be stuck at home with sore feet but full of enthusiasm to explore your new city. Footwear you can slip on and off is also an incredible bonus as you’re often required to take off your shoes in temples, people’s homes and of course when visiting the many beautiful beaches
  4. Clothing with ample coverage:

    Malaysia is quite a conservative nation and making an effort to assimilate with respectable clothing will go a long way with your new local neighbours.
  5. A good raincoat:

    in the winter months, March to April, afternoon showers and storms are incredibly common so being prepared can stop the weather from souring your time here. If you plan on videoing and photographing your new home, having wet weather protection for your equipment can be a life saver.

While you may do your best to stick to your lists, cull down the items you’re travelling with and sell as much as you can, often you’ll be left with quite a few items you can’t fit into your luggage but just can’t leave behind. We understand how difficult these decisions can be and allow you to ship excess baggage to your new destination, ensuring those extra comforts of home make the journey with you.

Prohibited Items in Malaysia 

Bringing prohibited items into Malaysia can ruin the start of your trip as well as incur serious penalties, even death. Thus, it’s incredibly important to research and know what you cannot bring to avoid any issues. A few items you should note that are strictly prohibited are: 

  • Any cloth bearing the verses of the Quran
  • Sharp items resembling syringes (including pens and pencils)
  • Poisonous chemicals
  • Cocoa pods, rambutans, pulasan, longan, and nam nam fruit
  • Indecent or pornographic materials of any medium

Malaysia has a very firm stance on illicit substances, drug trafficking drugs like but not limited to morphine, heroine, candu and marijuana  can be punishable by death if caught in possession.

How to choose a trusted International Mover

Picking the right mover can be the difference between a smooth or chaotic start to your time in Malaysia. Some movers will damage or lose belongings souring the commencement of your new Malaysian journey.

With 600 locations in more than 40 countries, Allied has earned its stripes as one of the largest and most respected providers of moving services, handling more than 50,000 international moves every year. With over 30 years of experience in Malaysia providing the highest quality moving and packing services, you can trust us and our diverse team to provide you the expert knowledge and skill to make your move a great one.