Malaysia is a favorite destination for holidaymakers from around the world. The government encourages tourism and has recently implemented an online visa application to make the process of obtaining travel permits easier for eligible foreign visitors.
In order to protect the safety of its citizens and all those within its borders, however, the Malaysian authorities also enforce certain travel restrictions. Temporary limitations can also be implemented at short notice if the circumstances require it. Foreigners should regularly check official announcements issued by the government.
On this page, prospective travelers can find general entry requirement information for Malaysia as well as the extraordinary limitations imposed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Entry Restrictions for Travel to Malaysia
Normally, electronic applications for Malaysian visas are processed within 1 business day and if all the documentation is in order, applicants should encounter no issues in obtaining their permission to enter the country.
Those who do not meet the document and character requirements may be denied entry.
First of all, all visitors must submit an eligible passport that is at least valid for 6 months. Should their passport’s expiry date be before then, travelers will be refused a visa.
Other requirements that must be met include:
- Good character. Foreigners with a criminal conviction or who have been deported or refused entry by other countries may not be allowed into Malaysia.
- Health. Certain nationals must submit an international certificate of yellow fever vaccination.
- Sufficient funds. Tourists must be able to support themselves financially for the entirety of their trip.
- Intention to leave. This may be proved with a return or onward ticket.
Country-specific travel restrictions for Malaysia
The vast majority of foreign citizens have access to Malaysian visas, and many countries have visa-free agreements in place.
There are, however, some limitations that apply to visitors from specific nations:
- Visitors from the following regions can enter Malaysia by air exclusively: Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, DR Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda and Western Sahara.
- Israeli citizens must obtain an approval letter from the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs as well as a visa before traveling.
- Visa-free status for nationals of North Korea was suspended on the 6th of March 2017.
Travel Advisory for Malaysia
Malaysia is a overall very safe country where foreigners are almost never the target of serious crimes. However, tourists should be aware of petty crimes like theft and pickpocketing.
Following common sense and the standard security advice for travelers should ensure that visitors have an hassle free time in Malaysia. This includes:
- Keeping belongings close at all times
- Avoiding to walk alone at night in bad-lit areas
- Not flashing expensive items in public places
- Paying special attention in crowded spaces like shopping malls and big tourist attractions
Like anywhere else in the world, there are areas in the country at higher risk of violent crimes. Fortunately, these are not situated near tourist locations and usually do not feature in most itineraries.
In particular, travel to the east coast of Sabah should be avoided. Foreigners are advised to keep clear of the region from the northern city of Kudat southward to the city of Tawau.
Coronavirus Outbreak: Malaysia Travel Suspension
Like many other nations, Malaysia is taking measure to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) within and across its borders. The World Health Organization has recently stated that the virus can be considered a pandemia due to the fact that all continents have been affected by it.
On Monday the 16th of March 2020, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a series of new regulations and limitations for Malaysia. Unless extenuating circumstances can be proved, Malaysians are not to travel abroad until the end of the month.
Moreover, all foreign nationals will be prevented from entering the country. Malaysian citizens who return home after being abroad are screened and required to self-isolate for 14 days. All visa issuance is suspended until the end of the month.
Schools, sites of worship and business premises will remain closed until the end of the month. Supermarkets and other shops selling daily necessities are open.
Last update: April, 6th 2020