So your expatriate employee has a family?
In Malaysia, a Dependent Pass is permit that allows immediate family members of a principal visa holder to reside in the country. In the context of employment, this means Employment Pass Categories I and II, while those with Category III Employment Passes are not allowed to bring dependents (for details on the different categories, check out our Employment Pass Guide).
As business consultants, the MISHU team regularly deals with various visa applications and in this post, we’ll answer the nine most common questions we get on Dependent Passes.
For the record, this FAQ was written to address questions from the perspective of employers in Malaysia (since those are the parties we deal with). If anyone reading this is an expatriate, these answers are just as relevant, and we apologise for referring to you in the third person – we love you and welcome to Malaysia!
1. Who is eligible for a Dependent Pass?
Category I and II Employment Pass holders in Malaysia can apply for a Dependent Pass for the following family members:
- legal spouse
- biological or adopted children 18 years old and below
- children of any age with a disability rendering them dependent
Children above 18 years old, in-laws, and life partners will instead need a Long-Term Social Visit Pass.
2. What are necessary documents for a Dependent Pass?
Compared to some of the applications we help process, the documents required for a Dependent Pass application are relatively straightforward:
- Two passport-sized pictures of the dependent
- A complete set of copies of family members’ passports (including 3 consecutive empty pages)
- Proof of relationship, such as:
- Marriage & birth certificates
- Child custody letter and adoption papers (if applicable)
- A copy of the principal Employment Pass
- Payment of the Dependent’s Pass to the Immigration Department
- Two copies of the Malaysian visa application forms (IMM.12 and IMM.38)
Here are some additional notes:
- the passport must be valid for at least 12 months from the intended date of arrival in Malaysia
- certificates / documents must be translated into English by the applicant’s Embassy / Consulate or the Malaysian Institute of Translation & Books
- documents must be endorsed as a Certified True Copy (CTC) by the applicant’s Embassy / Consulate in Malaysia or the Malaysian Embassy in the applicant’s home country
3. Does a Dependent Pass need a Visa with Reference?
Yes, the Immigration Department of Malaysia must grant dependents a Visa Approval Letter (VAL) before they can travel to Malaysia and apply for a Visa with Reference using the VAL. Once they have arrived in Malaysia, applicants must present their passports to the Malaysian Immigration Department to obtain the Dependent Pass sticker.
4. Can a Dependent and Employment Pass be applied for simultaneously?
Short answer: Yes.
The longer answer: Yes, but it can also be done after the principal Employment Pass application is approved.
No reason to drag this one out – next!
5. How much does a Dependent Pass cost?
Do keep in mind that government charges change from time to time, but as of now, expect to pay RM500 for each Dependent Pass application. If you would prefer some assistance, we would be happy to help with your application.
6. How long is a Dependent Pass valid for?
Standard procedure is that the validity of the Dependent Pass is identical to duration of the principal (Employment Pass).
However, if the passport validity of the Dependent Pass applicant is less than the principal visa holder’s, the validity of the Dependent Pass will be based on the passport validity.
7. Can a Dependent Pass holder work?
No, the Dependent Pass holder will have to surrender their pass and register for an Employment Pass, which will be treated exactly the same as a regular Employment Pass application.
8. Can a Dependent Pass holder start a business?
Foreigners are allowed to start businesses in Malaysia, but again, not as Dependent Pass holders.
The business will be treated as a 100% foreign-owned business with them as a foreign director. The company must then apply for an Employment Pass on their behalf, at which point they will become Employment Pass holders. Usually, this is done by outsourcing the incorporation and HR to a business consultant.
Keep in mind they must meet the minimum requirements of setting up a business in Malaysia as a foreigner.
9. Can a Dependent Pass holder enroll in school?
Children under 18 years old can continue to live and study in Malaysia as long as they have a dependent permit issued by their parents, while those above 18 must apply for a student permit.
Let MISHU handle your Dependent Pass Needs
MISHU’s team is experienced in helping companies negotiate with the relevant authorities to obtain exemptions and swift approval of any necessary permissions. We would be happy to sit down with you and understand your needs – check out our full Employment Pass services and let us know if you’d like help!