The Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) has worked alongside the Tourism Productivity Nexus (TPN) and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MoTAC) to boost tourism in Malaysia through the implementation of a new visa on arrival system for two ports of entry in July 2019.
The main aim of introducing the visa on arrival system is to improve the departure and processing system at the Sarawak and Brunei borders, in order to make it easier for those arriving from Brunei to obtain a tourist visa for Malaysia. MPC hopes that the initiative will contribute to the government’s target of generating RM30 billion in tourism revenue and achieving 30 million tourist arrivals for Visit Malaysia 2020.
What Is the Visa on Arrival for Malaysia?
Previously, nationals of China and India arriving directly from Indonesia, Singapore or Thailand with a valid visa for one of those countries were able to obtain a Malaysia visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 7 days. The permitted stay of the new visa on arrival is 15 days from entry.
Additionally, the new visa on arrival for Malaysia is being implemented at two entry points to the country. Miri International Airport, located in the Malaysian state of Sarawa, and Sungei Tujuh land border crossing at the westernmost point in Brunei, in the Belait district.
This increases the number of points of entry for the Malaysian visa on arrival, which was previously only available at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, as well as the Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuching, and Penang border checkpoints.
Differences Between the VOA for Malaysia and the eVisa
All nationalities are required to obtain one of the Malaysia visa types in order to travel to the country unless they come from one of the Malaysian visa-exempt countries. In addition to the visa on arrival, citizens of India and China are also able to apply for a Malaysia eVisa through a simple online application. The eVisa application is considered the most convenient option for eligible travelers, as it only takes a few minutes to complete the online form to receive an approved visa for Malaysia via email, eliminating the need to queue at the border upon entry.
There are several advantages to applying for an online visa for Malaysia over a visa on arrival, including a longer period of permitted stay in the country. While the visa on arrival allows a maximum stay of 15 days from the date of entry, the Malaysia eVisa permits a total stay of 30 days in the country and is valid for 3 months from the date of approval.
Also, while only citizens of China and India are currently able to obtain a visa on arrival when arriving at specific points of entry in Malaysia, the eVisa is available to citizens of several additional countries:
Travelers with a Malaysian eVisa are also able to use a copy of the approved document to enter the country at more points of entry than with that permitted by the visa on arrival, including at most airports and land border checkpoints in Malaysia.
While those who obtain a visa on arrival for Malaysia are required to pay a fee in cash in the local currency (Malaysian ringgit), applicants for the visa online are able to pay the required fee using a credit or debit card, saving the hassle of having to organize local currency before arrival.
In order to enter Malaysia with either a visa on arrival or an eVisa, all travelers are first required to show proof that they have sufficient funds to cover their stay (at least US $1000), as well as confirmed return flight tickets, or tickets to an onward destination.
Benefits of the Malaysian Visa on Arrival
The Malaysian visa on arrival is expected to boost tourist arrivals from Brunei, as well as to encourage the 40,000 Chinese expatriates currently based in Brunei to visit Malaysia. The new system is expected to significantly help to hit the hits the targets set by the government to boost tourism, Visit Malaysia 2020.
The Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign aims to increase the 25 million tourists arrivals the country received in 2018 to 30 million by 2030. A major focus of the initiative is to increase ecotourism in Malaysia, with significant investment being given to sustainable development and the eco-management of popular tourist attractions.
TPN chairman Uzaidi Udanis has said that the Malaysian VoA facility at Miri International Airport alone could bring in US$4 million annually from the expected tourism influx from the new visa on arrival. It is also expected that 10 percent of those who arrive at Miri International will visit weekly, and spend around US$200 per visit.