Malaysia Is the Latest Country to Launch a Digital Nomad Visa

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Following in the footsteps of Spain, Italy, and Indonesia, Malaysia is finally getting in on the digital nomad visa game, eager to draw remote workers seeking easy access to the country's famed tropical islands and rainforests.

The DE Rantau program, which will launch on Oct. 1, will allow digital freelancers, independent contractors, and part-time or full-time remote workers to live and work in Malaysia for three to 12 months, with the option to renew for up to one year. This gives digital nomads interested in a stint in, say, Kuala Lumpur, greater flexibility, as Malaysia only currently authorizes visitors from the U.S. to work in the country for up to 90 days.

To be eligible to apply, you must be able to provide proof of at least three months of employment and earn at least $24,000 a year, which, compared to Montserrat and Costa Rica's digital nomad schemes, is a much more accessible salary requirement (Montserrat, for one, requires an annual salary of $70,000). And, with the cost of a one-bedroom apartment in Kuala Lumpur averaging $461 a month, you can expect your hard-earned cash to go a lot further.

Those who sign up for the program will also be offered benefits such as remote worker-friendly accommodation—each one verified by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)—and discount vouchers.

MDEC expects the scheme to boost the country's economy significantly. "The DE Rantau [program] aims at establishing Malaysia as the preferred digital nomad hub in ASEAN while boosting digital adoption and promoting digital professional mobility and tourism across the country," says MDEC on its website.

Getting your DE Rantau pass will cost you 1,000 ringgit ($217), though if you want to bring your spouse or kids, it's an additional 500 ringgit ($108) per dependant. Check MDEC's website to learn more.

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  1. U.S. Department of State. "Malaysia International Travel Information." Accessed September 27, 2022.

  2. Wise. "Cost of Living in Malaysia (2022 guide)." February 21, 2022.

  3. MDEC. "DE Rantau." Sept. 28, 2022.