Slide Legalities There are several legal issues that need to be addressed before you start filming in Malaysia, ensuring all process are in accordance with the laws in the country. Though we’ll guide you every step of the way, here’s what you need to know


  • PUSPAL is the Central Agency for Filming and Performance by Foreign Artistes. It decides whether or not a foreign artist can perform, or whether a foreign movie can be filmed, in Malaysia.
  • The foreign production company will need to engage a local sponsor (production service company) which holds a production license under FINAS and is registered with PUSPAL. The local sponsors will represent the production company during the application process and the production period in Malaysia.
  • All foreign crews and cast who will be involved with the project need to be listed in the application.
  • The production crew must consist of at least 30% local crew members (who are members of the local film association and will be involved with the production for the transference of expertise).
  • The application process usually takes up to 3 – 4 weeks. The production companies are advised to make the necessary preparations and apply earlier from the planned date of flying into the country.
  • Upon completion of submission, a meeting with the committee will be held to present the application and will be attended by all agencies involved, which are; PUSPAL, National Film Development Corporation (FINAS), Immigration Department Malaysia, Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and Professional Film Workers Association Malaysia (Profima).
  • An official letter will be given on the following day whether the application is approved or rejected, and needed more information.

Click here for application guideline:


  • In order to film in Malaysia, every foreign production is required to apply a work permit for each of their foreign crew members and cast. This permit is called Professional Visit Pass (PVP),
  • The Immigration Department of Malaysia is in charge of issuing the pass but they will work with relevant authorities to decide on your application. The application for the pass will be submitted together with the PUSPAL application by the local sponsor.


  • If you are from a country which needs a Malaysian Visa With Reference to enter Malaysia, you will have to apply for it at the nearest Malaysian embassy or consulate.
  • You can only apply for the Visa With Reference for the purposes of employment after your Malaysia Professional Visit Pass has been approved.
  • A Malaysian Professional Visit Pass is valid for 12 months.
  • Certain nationals, however, don’t need to obtain an entry visa from a Malaysian embassy or consulate. They can travel with the authorisation issued from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration Department. Nationals of following countries are exempted:


  • Once you enter Malaysia, the local sponsor will collect all passports and visit the Immigration Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs to get the Malaysia Professional Visit Pass sticker on your passport. This serves as proof that you are working and living in Malaysia legally.

    • Click here for the documents needed for the Professional Visit Pass (PVP).
    • Click here to see the PVP (Professional Visit Pass) rate according to country.


The Malaysian States of Sabah and Sarawak (or Borneo) each have their own rules and requirements when it comes to filming permits and crew visa.

If you planned to film your project there, you are required to apply for an additional film permit from the state government, on top of the PUSPAL permit. This permit application usually takes up to 3 – 4 weeks depending on the scope of the shoot, nationality of the crew, public holidays and many other reasons. Your PUSPAL application needs to be approved first in order to apply for the state filming permit. In total your full application will take up to 6 – 8 weeks.


ATA Carnet is an international customs and temporary export-import document. It is used to clear customs in 87 countries and territories without paying duties and import taxes on merchandise that will be re-exported within 12 months*.  Carnets are also known as Merchandise Passports or Passports for Goods.

Malaysia is an ATA Carnet consignee country. Malaysian Customs Department is thoroughly strict when it comes to importing professional camera gear, so make sure you get your ATA Carnet in your country before departure.


Malaysia doesn’t have a city-by-city government film commission, and location shooting permits are usually obtained by building owners, business owners, or the city council. When filming in a public areas, a shooting permit is required from the city council. If your project requires traffic to be blocked or a total road closure, the city council will also need to be informed on top of coordination with the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM).

In East Malaysia, most parks including terrestrial and marine parks are managed under the state park. There are also additional provincial and local permits to apply for, especially if you plan to shoot in protected areas or areas under jurisdiction of Forestry or Wildlife Departments.


Polis Di Raja Malaysia (PDRM)

You will need to cooperate with the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) if there are any plans to film on public highways, or use special effects, explosions and fire arms. You will also need permission to portray police uniform or marked police vehicles on film. The story and filming will be badly affected without the authorisation from the police force. A typical process would be to submit a copy of your script to the Public Relation Office (PRO) of PDRM for it to be reviewed by the committee. A meeting will be held with the PRO team to discuss any concerns or inquiries concerning the project. Once cleared, an official letter will be issued and PDRM will endorse the project. Otherwise, PDRM will ask for necessary supporting documents, if any.