What is the change? Malaysia’s immigration department has suspended issuance of i-Pass identification cards until further notice.

What does the change mean? The i-Pass is merely an additional form of identification that can be used instead of a passport in peninsular Malaysia. The overall work permit process will not be affected.

  • Implementation timeframe: The suspension will remain in place until further notice from the Malaysian government.
  • Visas/permits affected: I-Pass identification cards.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals planning to work in Malaysia on an employment pass who otherwise would be eligible for i-Pass.
  • Business impact: I-Pass identification cards help ease entry and exit in Malaysia, but business impacts are minor since i-Passes are merely additional forms of identification.
  • Next Steps: BAL will continue to monitor the situation on when the Malaysian government will begin re-issuing i-Passes.

Background: The Malaysian government introduced i-Pass identification cards in 2011 as a travel document that can be used in place of a passport in peninsular Malaysia. Passports are still required for travel to Sabah and Sarawak. Little information was available on why the government suspended issuance of i-Pass cards, though it appears the suspension is related to an internal matter in the Malaysian immigration department.

BAL Analysis: The suspension does not affect the work permit application process generally because the i-Pass is only an additional form of identification meant to make some business travel easier. Travelers who previously would have been eligible for i-Pass should make sure they carry their passports when working or traveling in Malaysia.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Malaysia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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