Truth be told, half the reason I applied for an e-visa over a regular one was pure laziness (people have attempted to christen me lazy leech and other such “original” nicknames many times over the span of my life; thankfully none of them have ever stuck *breathes huge sigh of relief*). The other half of the reason, of course, I attribute to my risk-taking side that likes to make special appearances whenever it so much as catches a whiff of the world ‘travel’. “What does applying for an e-visa have to do with risk-taking?” you might ask. Allow me to explain.
The E-Visa Mystery
Like all other travel-related decisions, my e-visa application was accompanied by hours of research. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a whole lot of helpful information that I could find that was specific to Pakistan. Travel agents didn’t seem to know such a thing existed. Yet, there was an official website offering Malaysian e-visas for Pakistanis. I went ahead and applied for one. It took 24 hours to arrive. Once it did, I thought I was set! This is where the mysterious part begins.
Just to be safe, I kept calling the Malaysian High Commission in Karachi to get the legitimacy of the e-visa verified. After 3 days of (almost) obsessive calling, someone finally picked up and told me there was no such thing. He wasn’t willing to offer any other explanations. This scared me enough to apply for a regular visa 4 days before my trip, as a backup. But it didn’t make any sense. If Pakistanis were eligible for e-visas then why didn’t anyone seem to know about it? One explanation I had was that Pakistanis had only become eligible for the e-visa in May 2017 so it might not be common knowledge yet. However, this still didn’t explain why the Consulate in Karachi was clueless on the subject. We shall return to that later.
While all of this was happening, I vowed to myself that once I had all the info, I would make sure it was available for anyone else who might be interested in applying for an e-visa to Malaysia from Pakistan. Mainly because I didn’t want anyone else to go through all the nervous trauma I did (just sprinkling in a little bit of melodrama for fun).
So, let me share with you everything I know (you can thank me in cookies and cupcakes):
Are Pakistanis eligible for e-visas to Malaysia?
Addressing the obvious first. The answer is yes, as of May 2017.
Why should I apply for an e-visa over a regular one?
Not having to leave the house might appear to be the apparent answer. But the e-visa is also much cheaper and faster.
E-visa Charges: $25 (processing fee) + INR 600 (visa fee). The fee is charged in two parts and can be paid online with any credit or debit card. The total amounts to approx. PKR 3650.
Regular Visa Charges: PKR 7500 (Visa Fee) + PKR 1000 (Agent Charges). You have to apply through one of the designated agents, you can’t apply directly. Total PKR 8500.*
The e-visa takes about 24-48 hours.
Regular visa takes 5-10 days.
*These are the most recent charges as of June 2017.
How To Apply
The official e-visa website is www.windowmalaysia.my. There are other websites also offering e-visas but this is the only one authorized by the Malaysian government. It also appears on the official High Commission of New Delhi website here.
Documents You’ll Need
You need the digital equivalent of all the same documents you would need for the other, regular visa application:
- A photograph (exact dimensions are available on the WindowMalaysia website)
- Scanned copy of the first two pages of your passport
- Confirmed return ticket
- Bank statement for six months
- NIC scan
- Other supporting documents (this is optional however I added my hotel bookings)
Other Things You Need to Know
The visa is processed through the High Commission in New Delhi. This is why the fee is charged in INR and the place of issue on the e-visa appears as New Delhi.
Since this is a paper visa (like the Dubai one) you have to get an OK to Board from your airline booking office before you travel. Edit: People who have travelled on this visa have shared that it is no longer necessary to get an OK to Board. You can read some firsthand experiences here.
The single-entry, tourist visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue and allows the visa-holder to stay a total period of 30 days in Malaysia.
I ended up using my sticker visa since I had already been through too much drama to risk creating any more with my e-visa. However, there was another person on my flight who also had an e-visa and who I later saw had made his way through immigration. Also, another girl from Pakistan who travelled on an e-visa a couple of weeks after me shared her experience on TripAdvisor here.
The Final Word
I still don’t understand why the Malaysian High Commission in Karachi doesn’t seem to have any details on this subject. They gave me inaccurate information which cost me PKR8500 more when I could’ve just as easily travelled on my e-visa. If anyone can put my curiosity to rest about their cluelessness, I would be forever grateful. I have, however, arrived at the conclusion that the e-visa is very much real (contrary to what they told me) so if you want to save time and money then you can go ahead and opt for this. Or you can pay PKR 5000 extra for the other one. Or be over-efficient like me and show up with both (*hides face*). Whatever floats your boat. Either way, at least you now know this option exists.
Update: For anyone reading this, please know that I am not an authority on the subject. I have merely shared a personal experience and any information I gathered in the process of applying for and obtaining my own visa(s). I put it down into this blog post with the intention of helping others make a more informed decision and because I wished I had access to this info before my own trip. Whether you apply for an e-visa or not personally yields no benefit to me and I am not responsible or take any guarantees for any individual’s approval through immigration. Thanks.
Until next time.
If you’re interested in reading about our other adventures in Malaysia, here are the links: