Covid-19: Immigration Guideline *Updated*
25 March 2020
On 16 March 2020, the Prime Minister of Malaysia announced the implementation of a Movement Control Order (“MCO”) throughout Malaysia from 18 to 31 March 2020 (“Period”). This period has, by way of another announcement on 25 March 2020, been extended to 14 April 2020 (“Extended Period”). The Malaysian Immigration Department and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have issued a guideline dated 17 March 2020 (“Immigration Guideline”) and a FAQ dated 22 March 2020 (“MOFA FAQ”) to address, amongst others, immigration-related queries during the Period. As of 25 March 2020, there are no further changes to the Immigration Guideline and MOFA FAQ to address the Extended Period.
The Immigration Guideline and MOFA FAQ clarify, amongst others, as follows:
- Malaysians who are holding long term pass with a foreign country or are permanent residents with a foreign country are allowed to leave the country on condition that they will not be allowed to return to Malaysia during the Period;
- Malaysian diplomats are allowed to travel out of the country to return to their respective representative bodies;
- Foreign visitors are allowed to leave Malaysia and will not be allowed to return during the Period;
- All pass holders such as temporary work visa, student visa, employment pass and long term social visit pass (MM2H) will not be allowed to enter Malaysia;
- For long-term pass holder (such as PKS, employment pass, student pass, dependent pass (to long-term social visit pass holder) and long-term social visit pass (MM2H)) whose pass is expiring during the Period:
- he/she is allowed to leave Malaysia without renewing the pass;
- he/she may renew the current pass within 14 days once the Period is over.
- Expatriates who are involved in essential services are required to obtain approval from the relevant ministry or regulatory bodies and the Director General of Immigration before departing to Malaysia, and will be subject to undergoing 14 days of self-quarantine;
- If the pass holder is not in Malaysia and his/her pass expired during the Period, the pass holder is allowed to return to Malaysia within 3 months after the Period is over and will be required to renew the pass within 30 days from the date of entry to Malaysia;
- All movements from Peninsular to Sabah and Sarawak and vice versa are not allowed throughout the Period. Flights from Peninsular Malaysia will to Sabah and Sarawak and vice versa will not be allowed, subject to the order/instruction issued by the relevant authorities from time to time.
An FAQ issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs states, amongst others, as follows:
- For all movement from Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah:
- State and federal civil servants entering Sabah to perform essential services are subject to the issuance of confirmation letter from the Head of Department whenever a task is required to be carried out;
- Private workers who are entering Sabah to carry out essential services are subject to a confirmation letter issued by the employer whenever a task is required to be carried out;
- Sabah residents who are non-Sabahans including his/her spouse and children with Sabah’s permanent resident pass, work pass, student pass, long-term social visit pass or any other exemption order are allowed to enter subject to being self-quarantine for 14 days. Couples who are not Sabah residents are required to show proof of marriage.
- For all movement from Peninsular Malaysia to Sarawak:
- Sarawak residents who are non-Sawarakians including his/her spouse and children are allowed to enter subject to being self-quarantine for 14 days. Couples who are not Sarawak residents are required to show proof of marriage.
- Sarawak residents who are non-Sawarakians including his/her spouse and children with Sarawak’s permanent resident pass, work pass, student pass, long-term social visit pass or any other exemption order are allowed to enter subject to being self-quarantine for 14 days. Couples who are not Sarawak residents are required to show proof of marriage.
- MyPR Sarawak holders are allowed to enter subject to self-quarantine for 14 days;
- Civil servants who are non-Sarawakians including his/her spouse and children, working in Sarawak are allowed to enter Sarawak subject to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days;
- Brunei/Indonesia(Kalimantan)/Malaysia (Sabah) and Singapore residents who are transiting from Kalimatan and Brunei by land will be required to depart and report to the immigration officers at the entry gate CIQS (Tebedu, Tedungan and Sungai Tujuh, Merapok, Mengkalap, Biawak, Lubuk Antu and Pandaran) on the same day of the transit pass;
- For Sarawakians/non-local Sarawakians who are holding Sarawak’s work pass/student pass/long-term visit pass from Limbang, Lawas or Miri and crossing Brunei, they are required to apply for exemption to self-quarantine for 14 days;
- State and federal civil servants entering Sarawak to perform essential services are subject to the issuance of confirmation letter from the Head of Department whenever a task is required to be carried out and the order/guidelines issued by the State Authority from time to time.
* We note that the FAQ issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs was issued on 21 March 2020 and the FAQ issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (referred to in paragraph 8 above) stating that all movements from Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah/Sarawak (and vice versa) are not allowed was issued on 22 March 2020. It may therefore be safe to assume that the latter FAQ supersedes the former i.e. that the restrictions in paragraph 8 above apply.
- Spouse and children of a Malaysian resident are allowed to enter Malaysia on condition that they have a long term social visit pass and are required to undergo 14 days of self-quarantine;
- Foreign diplomats working in Malaysia will be allowed entry and will be required to carry out self-isolation for 14 days. They will have access to Diplomatic Pouch and “Mel DPO” subject to the standard protocol of documents. The foreign diplomats’ spouses and children are allowed to enter Malaysia on the condition that they have dependent pass;
- Foreign embassies that are located in commercial buildings are advised to consult its building management whether there is access restriction to the building. The MCO does not affect access to foreign embassies in Malaysia;
- Private security companies that are providing services to foreign embassies are categorised as essential services;
- Foreign embassies’ employees who are holding official passports (not Diplomatic Passports) may enter Malaysia subject to the foreign embassies issuing a document stating that the said individual is working for the embassy and he/she will be required to undergo self-quarantine for 14 days;
- For foreigners whose short-term visa in Malaysia has expired during the Period, they will be granted exemption. They are required to visit the Malaysian Immigration Department after the Period to extend the visa;
- Hotel services are allowed for foreigners during the Period. However, only essential services are allowed to operate in the hotel premises;
- All public transportation including e-hailing services are allowed during the restriction period;
- Officers from foreign governments (without diplomatic status) are allowed to enter and depart Malaysia on the condition that they undergo self-quarantine for a period of 14 days and there are official supporting work documents before entry to Malaysia;
- Foreigners who have overstayed the visa period are allowed to leave Malaysia during the MCO;
- Foreign citizens who are unable to return to their home countries (due to lockdown) can apply for Special Pass from the Immigration Department immediately after the Period is over, subject to them having valid travel documents; and
- Malaysians who are working in Singapore are not allowed to commute to and from both countries during the Period. Malaysians and permanent residents of Malaysia (with valid work visa) are allowed to depart to Singapore for work on the condition that there is a letter from his/her Singaporean employer and an agreement in writing stating that accommodation will be provided by his/her Singaporean employer until 31 March 2020.
As further guidance, the Malaysian immigration authorities have also clarified that the control at entry points are as follow:
1. Entrance by air
- Airline crews including cargoes are allowed entry and are subject to health screening;
- Transit flights to a third country without going through immigration control and connecting flights are allowed;
- All E-Gate systems at departure halls are closed until further notice.
2. Entrance by land
- All Malaysians and permanent residents –
- with work permits in Singapore and Thailand are not allowed to exit Malaysia;
- who are transiting at Malaysia – Brunei border are allowed to enter and depart Malaysia;
- are not allowed to visit the Tax Free Complex at Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah;
- including foreigners who are transporting food supplies in heavy vehicles are allowed to enter and depart and will be required to undergo health check-ups;
- who are using the train services at Padang Besar, Woodland Train Check Point and Johor Bahru Sentral are allowed entry to Malaysia.
3. Entrance by sea
- All cruise ships including yachts are not allowed to dock at all ports;
- Passenger ferries are not allowed to carry foreign tourists into Malaysia;
- Cockpits, barter trade and cargo ships carrying food supplies are allowed entry;
- Ship crew members are not allowed to sign on and sign off during this period;
- Ship crew members can be given landing pass but will not be allowed to leave the port area.
If you have any queries, please contact:-
Foo Siew Li
Sara Lau Der Yin
Tan Su Ning
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