Thursday, February 18, 2010

Malaysia: How to renew your passport (the much prepared way).

Follow these steps to ensure minimal frustration and minimize the possibility of you ripping someone apart (officer or not). PRINT THIS:

1) Prepare these items in advanced: One photocopy of your IC (front and back), one passport size photo (blue background), RM300 for a 5-year renewal (recommended because you want to avoid going to the immigration for as long as you can! Also, the machine only accepts RM50 and RM100 so forget about the red notes). Please make sure that you have your MyKad with you and that the chip works. How to make sure it works? I have no idea. Pray hard otherwise you'd have to go apply for a NEW MyKad across the road and you'll need a whooole different procedure).

2) Wake up early, be there at 8am (this is referring to Block I, Immigration Centre at Damansara Heights - landmarks: HSBC, HELP College, Starbucks).

3) Expect to queue for an hour to an hour plus to renew at the kiosk (the kiosk is ONLY FOR RENEWAL for passports with IC chips, please refer to some other blogs for NEW passport application).

4) When you get inside the room with the kiosks, on your right hand side, there are some envelopes. You need to place your OLD passport, the photocopied IC and one passport photo inside. You CANNOT use any other envelopes. Apparently, it's 'urusan baginda'. Sealing is optional but unless you carry a portable glue with you, you probably don't have a choice but just to tuck the cover in neatly.

5) Get back in the queue.

6) When you approach the kiosk, there are a million steps but don't worry, there are instructions on screen but only in English or BM (or if you're really lucky like me, you have a few 'aunties' crowding around you, telling you what to do). If something doesn't work, you'll just have to wave vigorously at the hidden officers and get them to help you (somehow).

7) Insert everything which you need to insert, get the receipt and you can only take a number upstairs at the immigration office AFTER 2 hours from time of payment (collection time as per stated on your receipt so you may now proceed to the nearby mamak or Starbucks to chill or fume).

8) Now this bit depends on your luck. IF you're lucky, you go back after two hours, you get a lucky number from Counter 17 and you wait somemore till you get your thing done. IF you're unlucky, you go back after two hours, you get an answer "Please come back tomorrow" from Counter 17. Which obviously, leaves you no choice but to start ALL OVER again the next day. At least steps 1 to 3 (I was one of the unlucky ones...).

There. What other things you need to know:

1) You can photocopy your stuff and have your passport photo taken by the very efficient Chinese-shop operators just right next door to the immigration office. All done in less than 10 minutes - how ironic right? WHO operates WHAT makes SO much difference. 40cents for photocopy, 12 bucks for passport photo (you get 4 pieces but you only need 1).

2) Bring a magazine, book, iPhone, iPod, iPad, whatever to keep you occupied.

3) Start making friends. I made friends with a guy queuing in front of me which is cool - we started recommending each other travel ideas, which really makes this whole 'passport renewal' thing a little bit more hopeful (I tell myself: When this is done, I can do all those wonderful things...)

4) It's gonna be HOT. Super. So dress comfortably. Your make up and hair gel will melt.

5) To kill the two hours, you can chill at the food stalls, have breakfast, have your Grande Latte or do banking stuff at HSBC. If you have friends working in Ogilvy or JWT, time to rekindle old friendships.

6) If you need free WIFI, there's Starbucks.

So far, that's all. And above all, keep being optimistic and SMILE :) Makes everything goes down better...

Blogger's note: Please share this with as many Malaysians as possible because if we were to become a more efficient country, we need to leverage on the democratization of the internet to the people. We need to depend on US for accurate information sharing (well, this is accurate at point of publishing). You go to the Immigration website, you have noooooo... idea.


  1. this is very helpful. thanks!

  2. You're welcome, glad I can be of help :)

  3. next time you can try this time, save energy

    sorry forgot to key in da link

  5. Thanks so much for sharing! Awesome :)