Sunday, 31 July 2011

MM2H: Pre-visa collection documentation (Penang)

When I returned to Malaysia recently I decided to fly straight to Penang with a view to collecting my visa from KL after a few weeks. This was to prevent the hassle of carting my luggage around from the flight between KLIA and whatever arrangements I might make to get to Penang had I gone to KL to pick up the visa first. I certainly preferred the idea of coming to Penang and then going to KL after, by coach, with only a cabin luggage sized bag.

Taking the Penang option I opted to look at getting as much of the documentation as I could done in Penang prior to going to KL rather than going back and forth around KL to different offices and medical centre. Essentially there were two things to get sorted, the Security Bond (SB) form (which you will need if doing a direct application) and the medical report (RB II).

The SB form is part of the MM2H download pack from the official MM2H site (see under Travel/Visa Links) and you need to get a Hasil stamp from the Post Office (RM 10) before you take it to an Inland Revenue (LHDN) office to be stamped (chopped). I bank with HSBC in Downing Street, Georgetown and, for the sake of ease, will give any directions from there as a reference point.

The Hasil stamp is easy. There is a Post Office right next to HSBC so it's just a case of going in and buying the stamp from one of the counters there. You can either complete the SB form before affixing this stamp but you will certainly need it completed in full before going to the LHDN office. The form is somewhat confusing and in terms of advice the best I can do is refer you to this thread on the MM2H forums which talks about this form at some length. I have a local friend here who acted as the witness for me.

Once I had the Hasil stamp I walked up to HSBC and turned right from Downing Street onto Lebuh Pantai (Beach Street). Walking down Lebuh Pantai you will come to the Immigration office in Penang and I called in there quickly just to run through the SB form with a member of staff to ensure I had it filled in correctly (I chose to fix my Hasil stamp to the form AFTER doing this for obvious reasons). They confirmed I had. Coming out of Immigration there is a 'Chamber of Commerce' building directly opposite. The LHDN office to get the SB form stamped by them ('chopped') is on the 4th floor of this building and if you're not sure of the counter just ask the police who act as security for the unit. At the LHDN desk you will hand over the SB form and will be given another beige coloured form to fill in (which the staff will help you with) and once that is done they will stamp (chop) your SB. There are no charges to pay here and the SB can then be filed away pending your trip to KL.

Once done I decided to get the medical out of the way too. I asked the Police at the LHDN office for the nearest clinic and they directed me to an IMA clinic nearby. Essentially you walk back down Lebuh Pantai, past HSBC on your left, and keep going on the left hand side of the road. You will then come to an AM Bank, almost opposite the junction with Bishop Street. Directly after that there is a building called 21 Bangunan Barkath. If you go in there and take the lift to the 2nd floor the clinic is there. They charge RM 80 for the medical (which is NOT the full medical that is needed for work permits) and you will need form RB II which is available from the MM2H site here. I believe some have got this medical done for RM 50 at some clinics so it's probably a case of checking around as there are many clinics and hospitals around that can likely do it. For the sake of RM 30 though and getting it all done in one go I decided to go with IMA. The whole process took about 20 minutes and that was it. Both the SB and medical sorted in an hour or so and all locally so less running around in KL.

For those who require the services of a Commissioner for Oaths (certification of copy documents etc.) in Georgetown, and in the vicinity of the aforementioned places, there are quite a few scattered along Beach Street but I used the services of a very helpful lady (who is also happy to print material off a USB stick for a very small fee) whose 'shop' is located at 29 Bishop Street. As you walk up Bishop St. from Beach St. look carefully for the shop numbers and her shop is about 75 yds up the road on the left hand side. It is an open fronted shop and you will likely see her sat at her desk. It can be a little hard to spot under the awnings. Be advised also that the operating ours of many such services is roughly between 9:00 or 9:30 am until 4:00 or 4:30pm.

One thing worth considering is that you will need some form of medical cover for an MM2H visa (unless you are 60+ and can get a 'rejection' letter/email from one or more companies) and I have decided to go, for this year at least, with Kurnia (update to follow), a well known local company that is reasonably priced and who provide building and auto insurance also. Many companies will ask for a medical report prior to signing with them and Kurnia at least will accept a copy of the RB II form as proof of medical condition so it's worth taking a copy of the form for that purpose.

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