SCIENTISTSSabah Immigration Procedures

Once you have completed your applications and have received permission from the SaBC (by email make sure you check your Spam folder in case it goes there) you can enter Malaysia and apply for your visa (Visit Pass Professional). Your research permit is not complete and fully granted until you get this visa sticker in your passport.

This process usually involves entering Malaysia on a three-month tourist visa (scientists of other nationalities need to check how long their tourist visas are valid for) before visiting each of the government organisations necessary. Make sure you also arrange a meeting with your local collaborator before starting your research.

If you are not from a Commonwealth country you will also require a ‘Journey Performed’ Visa. To acquire this you will need your local collaborator or the director of the institute they work for to write a letter on your behalf to the Malaysian Consulate informing them that you have been invited to work by their institute and requesting that you be given a ‘Journey Performed’ Visa. This will either cost RM520 or RM20.

After arrival in Sabah but before starting research: All of the visa processing is carried out in Kota Kinabalu. Here is a checklist from the immigration department with all the required documents for applying for the Professional Visa Pass (PVP). Collecting and filling immigration forms involves the following steps:

Step 1

Fill in form numbers 12, 38 and 63 (and 47 for some nationalities), which can all be collected from the Sabah Immigration Department in the Kompleks Persekutuan, Kota Kinabalu. This is along Jalan UMS Road between the Yayasan Sabah building and the entrance to Universiti Malaysia Sabah. Taxi drivers know where it is. Forms 63 and 12 should be filled in as completely as possible, but you may need help from your Local Collaborator with Form 63 (it is in Malay) and Form 12. Forms 12, 63 & 47 require your local collaborators signature. Note that on Form 12, you only need to complete the first paragraph and last sentence of the form.
Form 12
Form 38
Form 63
Form 47

Step 2

Pay stamp duty at the Income Tax Office. Once it has been filled in and signed, you need to take the Personal Bond Form to the Sabah Income Tax Department and pay a stamp duty of RM10.00. Download the personal bond form below. The Income Tax Department is in the Lembaga Hasil Building opposite Wisma KWSP and near the Karamunsing Complex (taxi drivers know it). 
Personal Bond Form

Step 3

Collect the Access License from SaBC. Once your Access License has been approved, SaBC will send a Statutory Declaration Form (available below) to sign in the presence of a Session Court Judge, Magistrate, or Commissioner for Oaths in Sabah/Malaysia. You can do this in a court building (makamah in Malay – taxi drivers should know), or at the office of a Commissioner for Oaths. There is one at Jaksa Pendamai, Kampung Air, 88000 in Kota Kinabalu. Note that you will need a second original statutory declaration signed if you intend to collect an export license. Once the declaration is signed, take it to SaBC to collect the Access Licence in person. SaBC is located on the 19th floor, Block A of the Sabah State Administrative Centre (opposite the Yayasan Sabah building).
Statutory Declaration Form

You should also collect approval letters and licenses from the DVMC, MBMC or Forestry.

Step 4

Collate all forms, photocopies and photographs for Immigration. You need to submit the following documents to Immigration (photocopying and passport photographs can be done cheaply in town at photo shops, and photocopying is also available on the second floor of the immigration building):

– Your passport plus 2 photocopies (2 of the page with your photo and 2 of the page with your entry visa stamp)
– 2 colour passport photographs
– Copy of SaBC Access license issued (plus copy of your Export license if applicable)
– Copy of approval from DVMC, MBMC or Forestry
– Support letter from your local collaborator addressed to immigration. This will serve as a cover letter to your application.
– Two photocopies of your local collaborator’s ID card
– Stamp duty paid on Personal Bond Form
– Form numbers 12 and 38, and 4 copies of Form 63 (plus form 47 if required)

Step 5

Submit documents for the Visit Pass Professional. Go to floor 2 of Immigration, and collect a ticket from window number 1 or 2. Once your number has been called, hand in all your paperwork and keep hold of the receipt they give. Processing will take a minimum of 14 working days.

Step 6

After processing, go to pick up your visa at the immigration office. Collect a number from window number 1 or 2, wait to be called and then pay the fee to the cashier. Note that your first entry visa will cost more. You then need to hand in your passport and your receipt to the next window you’re called to, and a visa sticker will be put into your passport. Double check the visa has the correct information before leaving.