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What is a visa run, anyway?

What is a visa run, anyway?

Old Apr 30th 2016, 4:44 pm
  #16  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

I think that most countries in the world do have some sort of restrictions regarding time of stay allowed as a tourist.
So it is not strange that immigration authorities react when individuals abuse the available visa free tourist travel option.
Try to do this in Europe for example, even as a EU citizen you are supposed to register if the stay in another country is over three months.

And I think that with modern machine-readable passports and traveler data registration at immigration points, the visa run way of life will become more and more difficult.

Malaysia has however a very straightforward and compared to other countries a not so costly option to stay legally in the country (MM2H), so if one is not prepared to follow that procedure I doubt that there will be any interest from the MY authorities to continue to allow to bypass it with visa runs.

With this said, visa runs may work now but without much peace of mind for long term arrangements such as rental and utilities contracts, etc.
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Old May 1st 2016, 2:41 am
  #17  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

MM2H is not suited for everyone. For example, I'm taking a sabatical. At some point I will go back to work (construction sector) and god knows where the next project will be.

So staying 3 months at a time, on a tourist visa is the best option for me. I m not working here, never over stay, and therefore am not "abusing the free tourist visa".

But I agree that if someone was planning to make Malaysia their permant home then MM2H is the probably best option.

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Old May 1st 2016, 3:13 am
  #18  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

MM2H is an excellent scheme ... if it suits you. It doesn't suit me.

From the article linked to by JC3:

“Granted, there is no law to limit the number of U-turns, but I am exercising the department’s right to step up checks on those who come into the country this way.
If they can explain to us the reason for their multiple entries and furnish us with more details of their stay, including their accommodation and spending money, we will certainly welcome them.”


I can't see how I'm abusing the tourist visa system if there is no law to limit the number of u-turns. And my u-turns are not terribly sharp, since I'm usually away for a week or more. I don't leave it until the three months are nearly up; in fact I travel out of the country most months. It is not the pattern of someone who is working here illegally.



If challenged, I shall be happy to explain how all of my savings and income are derived from the UK, not one single sen from Malaysia where I have no income, no businesses, no work, no bank accounts. I am a tourist, albeit a long term tourist. I shall explain how I pay for pretty much everything I use in this fine country apart from the crystal clear air, pristine pavements and brilliant street lighting.



If they don't want me to spend my UK money in MY, I think they'll be making a mistake. It would inconvenience me temporarily and cost me a few quid, but relocation to another country that welcomes my life of spend, spend, spend would not distress me too much.

Last edited by Epicurious; May 1st 2016 at 3:20 am. Reason: typo
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Old May 1st 2016, 3:43 am
  #19  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

As already said, presently the visa run procedure may not be a problem.
But one must be aware of that it is a grey zone without any specific 'rights' and subject to different individuals interpretation of what would be 'satisfactory explanations'.
In other words a bit risky to make any longer term (>3 months) commitments in the country.

For Thailand I think one has the option to seek a one year multiple entry visa, renewable with one more year. However visa run every 90 days would still be required.
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Old May 1st 2016, 4:46 am
  #20  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

Yes, I realise that I don't have any rights and I'm taking a chance. Everyone has to make their own judgement about doing things by the book or taking calculated risks. I'm happy with a higher level of risk than most people. My brother worried himself sick doing everything by the book and died at an early age. There's more to life than rules and regulations. Just my view.

I have considered living in Thailand, but the 'retirement' visa procedure is somewhat complicated (just read some of the threads on Thaivisa if you fancy getting a headache), plus I don't like the atmosphere in the country at the moment. It's plan B. Or C.
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Old May 1st 2016, 9:10 am
  #21  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

Before I got the MM2H Social Visit Pass I had to do the Visa Run one time by going to Singapore. Flew from KLIA, stayed one day there and eat three Laksas in less then 24 hours and then crossed the JB border, got the new 90 days stamp and took the train home.
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Old May 1st 2016, 9:28 am
  #22  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

Originally Posted by JC3
I think you probably fit into the category of wealthy retired foreigner, and yet were still detained, is that correct?
Yes, quite correct (other than the "wealthy" part ).

Originally Posted by JC3
Once you got FINAL written over the stamp, do you know how soon after that visa expired you would be permitted to re-enter Malaysia?
No, and I did not ask the supervisor who wrote it because I did not want to give the impression I had the intention of returning as soon as permissible. She did however make it clear I needed to return to my "home country" before re-entering Malaysia. So perhaps an absence of just a couple of weeks is all that is required? When I left KLIA on my return to Europe, the person checking my passport said "I suppose we'll be seeing you again soon". We both smiled and I just said "Probably".

Originally Posted by JC3
If one is actually deported and that fact is stamped in your passport I believe it can create problems entering other countries too, and it can be several years before one is allowed to re-enter Malaysia.
I am sure that may be correct. I wouldn't like to put it to the test.
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Old May 1st 2016, 9:36 am
  #23  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

Originally Posted by Scratcher
Do they log your destination each time you leave? I always thought they just booked you out, regardless of your destination. Do they really check Thais go to Thailand, French go to France.. etc, etc.
I am not an expert, but my belief is that the destination to which the passport holder is travelling is recorded at the point of arrival at that destination. The passport is always held for a second or two in an electronic device. I would take a guess that this writes a record onto the chip in the passport. This must be the way the Malaysian Immigration Department knew I had not returned to the UK - they knew this immediately upon scanning my passport when I re-entered Malaysia.
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Old May 1st 2016, 9:39 am
  #24  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

Originally Posted by Epicurious
Well, hopefully my three week trip to the UK and France in June and July will save me from the airport floor experience.
Maybe take an inflatable mattress with you just in case
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Old May 1st 2016, 9:47 am
  #25  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

Originally Posted by Gunnar45
I think that most countries in the world do have some sort of restrictions regarding time of stay allowed as a tourist.
So it is not strange that immigration authorities react when individuals abuse the available visa free tourist travel option.
Try to do this in Europe for example, even as a EU citizen you are supposed to register if the stay in another country is over three months.
The difference is that in the case of many countries in the EU (not all, by the way), the registration rule is well publicised and no-one should be in any doubt of their obligations. There is no rule in Malaysia (that I have seen at least) that restricts the number of times someone can do a visa run. From the postings on this thread it would seem a return to one's home country from time-to-time (maybe annually) is vital, but I have not seen this as an official published rule.
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Old May 1st 2016, 10:02 am
  #26  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

Originally Posted by Scratcher
MM2H is not suited for everyone. For example, I'm taking a sabatical. At some point I will go back to work (construction sector) and god knows where the next project will be.

So staying 3 months at a time, on a tourist visa is the best option for me. I m not working here, never over stay, and therefore am not "abusing the free tourist visa".

Quite true. There is no other sensible option.

Also, for those who are contemplating making Malaysia their home, I would suggest it is wise to spend a year in the country to see if they like it. It's a big decision. In this case, tourist visas are the sensible choice. I know the MM2H visa can be cancelled by the holder before the ten years are up, but why would anyone rush in to getting one before they are fully committed to making Malaysia their home?
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Old May 1st 2016, 10:04 am
  #27  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

Originally Posted by teejaydee
I am not an expert, but my belief is that the destination to which the passport holder is travelling is recorded at the point of arrival at that destination. The passport is always held for a second or two in an electronic device. I would take a guess that this writes a record onto the chip in the passport. This must be the way the Malaysian Immigration Department knew I had not returned to the UK - they knew this immediately upon scanning my passport when I re-entered Malaysia.
According to this source, and others I have read, that's probably not the case:
[ARCHIVED CONTENT] What are biometric passports? : Directgov - Travel and transport

The chip data is non-modifiable and contains biometric information, plus the other details from the photo page of the passport (D.o.B. for example) ONLY.

I can't explain how they knew that you hadn't been back to the UK, unless Malaysia has started using APIS:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanc...rmation_System

EDIT: You can read the info stored on the passport chip using an NFC Android phone and app. Instructions here: https://randomoracle.wordpress.com/2...hone-overview/

I did mine. Nothing sinister found.

Last edited by Epicurious; May 1st 2016 at 10:36 am. Reason: Extra info
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Old May 1st 2016, 10:40 am
  #28  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

Originally Posted by Epicurious
The chip data is non-modifiable and contains biometric information, plus the other details from the photo page of the passport (D.o.B. for example) ONLY.

I can't explain how they knew that you hadn't been back to the UK, unless Malaysia has started using APIS:
I don't think they can know whether you have been back to the UK or not but if would be a brave man who lied to an immigration officer and said he had when he hadn't.

If you think about it there are lots of ways of going back to the UK without directly flying back and passports are still not always scanned in Europe.

There is no doubt the MM2H visa is designed for non-working people who want to spend time regularly in Malaysia. It confers an official status which, given the beneficial tax treatment available to foreign residents, needs to be controlled and seen to be controlled.

Last edited by InVinoVeritas; May 1st 2016 at 10:50 am.
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Old May 1st 2016, 11:16 am
  #29  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

Very interesting and useful info in this thread. It sounds like what I have in mind would be fine – I ‘d need a plan B in my back pocket but it would probably stay there. Of course I’d have a bit of a problem if I took out a 6-month tenancy, went abroad for a month leaving my stuff in Malaysia, then couldn’t get back in. Probably not insoluble though, and unlikely to happen.

Scratcher, I see you’re there for 3 months at a time - what do you do accommodation-wise?
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Old May 1st 2016, 11:42 am
  #30  
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Default Re: What is a visa run, anyway?

Originally Posted by Cacafonix
It sounds like what I have in mind would be fine – I ‘d need a plan B in my back pocket but it would probably stay there. Of course I’d have a bit of a problem if I took out a 6-month tenancy, went abroad for a month leaving my stuff in Malaysia, then couldn’t get back in. Probably not insoluble though, and unlikely to happen.
You'll be fine. If your plan is to spend six months in Malaysia each year, you'll only need to do one visa run per year. The Immigration Department will not refuse you entry. The most they would do is to issue a stamp for less than 90 days and then advise you to visit the Immigration Checkpoint in Butterworth. But don't worry, because it will never come to that.
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