PASSPORT AND VISAS
Visitors must be in possession of national passports or other internationally recognized travel documents, endorsed for traveling in Malaysia and with a validity period of at least six months beyond the time of stay allowed in Malaysia.
Malaysia Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah) have their own Immigration Department and when one enters Malaysia Borneo through Mainland Malaysia, one has to go through Immigration check again and a new stay permit is issued again, mostly for 30 days only.
All visitors are required to complete a Disembarkation Card, which has to be shown to the Immigration Control upon arrival and departure from the country. This card can be obtained on all inbound Malaysia Airlines' flights.
Visitors on social and business visit purposes are to be guided by the following visa requirements:
Visa Exemption: No visas are required for citizens of Commonwealth countries (except Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), British Protected Persons or citizens of the Republic of Ireland and the United States of America.
Three Month Visa-Free Visit: Citizens of Albania, Austria, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Morocco, Norway, Netherlands, Oman, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and Yemen are eligible for three-month visas.
One Month Visa-Free Visit: Applicable to citizens of ASEAN countries (except Myanmar).
14-Day Visa-Free Visit: Citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Macao, Palestine, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Yemen and Syria are eligible for 14-day visas.
Social or Tourist Visit Pass: A Social or Tourist Visit Pass does not permit the holder to take up employment, business of professional work in Malaysia.
The Business Visit Pass allows foreign visitors to enter Malaysia for business negotiations or inspection of business houses but cannot be used for employment purposes, or for supervisory work or construction of a factory. No fee is charged for a Business Visit Pass issued for a period of up to 3 months. A nominal fee is imposed for each month beyond this.
Foreign visitors, except from the Republic of Singapore, who have entered Malaysia on Social Visit Passes, may contact the Immigration Department to convert their passes to Business Visit Passes.
As regulations may change from time to time, it is advisable to check with the nearest Malaysian Embassy before departure or check the Tourism Malaysia website:
No vaccinations are required. However visitors arriving from Yellow Fever and Endemic Zones and other affected areas are required to present International Health Certificates showing Yellow Fever vaccination. This regulation does not apply to children below the age of one. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended in Sabah and for Jungle tours. Visitors are advised to check with their doctor or travel immunization clinic for further details. Medication may be obtained at licensed clinics and pharmacies.
All visitors to Malaysia must fill in declaration forms and show their luggage to customs officials on request.
Trafficking of illegal drugs carries the mandatory death penalty in Malaysia.
A special permit is required for the carriage of firearms and ammunition. Other prohibited items include flick knives, daggers and pornographic material.
Taped videocassettes should be submitted for clearance by Customs.
Export of antiquities and historical objects is not allowed unless an export license has been obtained from the Director Genera I of Museums, Malaysia, or if the antiquity was originally imported and declared to customs.
All passengers must declare the following items to the Plant Quarantine Office upon arrival: plants and plant parts (including fresh plant produce and processed products), insects and other organisms, microorganisms, herbarium, dried flowers, soil and growth or rooting media. Penalty for failure to do so is liable to a fine of up to RM 1,000 or up to six months imprisonment, or both. Penalty for maliciously introducing a pest or a plant into Malaysia is liable to a fine not exceeding RM 10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding two years, or both.
Passengers from South and Central America and Central Africa are required to report to the Plant Quarantine Office.
Visitors entering Malaysia for a period of not less than 72 hours, except from Labuan (24 hours) enjoy customs' exemption on the following purchases:
wines, spirits/malt liquor not exceeding one liter
tobacco not exceeding 225 gm or 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars
footwear not exceeding one pair
apparel not exceeding one pair
one unit each of portable electrical and/or battery-operated appliance for personal hygiene
food preparations of a total value not exceeding RM 75
cosmetics, soap and dentifrice to a total value not exceeding RM 200
souvenirs and gifts not exceeding RM 200, except for Labuan and Langkawi where the total value shall not exceed RM 500
Except for the last item, all duty free items must be for personal use only. A 30% tax will be levied on items that
exceed the above limits.
CURRENCY AND EXCHANGE
The unit of currency is the Malaysian Ringgit. Notes in circulation are RM 100, RM 50, RM 20, RM 10, RM 5 and RM 1. Coins in circulation are 50 sen, 20 sen, 10 sen, 5 sen, 1 sen.
Money and travelers cheques of all major currencies can be exchanged at hotels, banks, and licensed money changer in tourist areas. Banks and money changer usually offer the best rates.
International credit cards are widely accepted in department stores, major hotels, up-market shops and restaurant. Make sure that you have enough cash in local currency before you leave for smaller towns or remote areas.
Please take note!
All arriving and departing travelers (including children) must fill in a Travelers Declaration Form (TDF) regardless of the amount of currency carried. The TDF is available in all inbound Malaysia Airlines' flights and at check-in counters. It should be handed over to the Immigration Officer together with the traveler's Disembarkation Card and Passport.
Effective from October 1, 1998, please take note of the following currency regulations for travelers to Malaysia:
LOCAL CURRENCY (RINGGIT MALAYSIAN - RM): Residents and non-resident travelers are not allowed to bring in or take out more than RM 1,000 per person.
FOREIGN CURRENCY: Resident travelers are not allowed to take out more than the equivalent of RM 10,000 worth of any foreign currency from Malaysia (i.e. maximum RM 10,000 worth of foreign currencies). Non-resident travelers are allowed to take out not more than the amount of foreign currencies, which they had brought in at the time of their arrival.
Effective from January 1, 2010, please take note of the following addition to the currency regulations for travelers to Malaysia:
Travellers entering or leaving Malaysia and carrying more than US$10,000 (RM34,000) must make a declaration to the Customs Department.
Resident: a citizen of Malaysia residing in Malaysia or a non-citizen of Malaysia who is residing permanently in Malaysia.
Non-resident: any person not residing in Malaysia, whether the person is a citizen or not.
DO'S AND DON'T'S
Malaysia is generally a laid back and relaxed country. However, it has its own customs and visitors should try to observe these practices when they arrive. The following guidelines will help visitors understand the country and its people better, for a smooth and pleasant stay in Malaysia.
Although handshakes are generally acceptable for both men and women, some Muslim ladies may acknowledge introductions to gentlemen by merely nodding and smiling. A handshake should only be initiated by ladies. The traditional greeting or salam resembles a handshake with both hands but without the grasp. The man offers both hands, lightly touches his friend's outstretched hands, and then brings his hands to his chest to mean, "I greet you from my heart". The visitor should reciprocate the "salam".
The right hand is always used when eating with one's hand or giving and receiving objects.
The right forefinger is not used to point at places, objects or persons. Instead, the thumb of the right hand with four fingers folded under is the preferred usage
Shoes must always be removed when entering a Malaysian home.
Shoes must be removed when entering places of worship such as mosques and temples. Some mosques provide robes and scarves for female visitors. Taking photographs at places of worship is usually permitted but always ask for permission beforehand.
Public behaviour is important in Malaysian culture. Most Malaysians refrain from displaying affection (i.e. embracing or kissing) in public. It would be appropriate for visitors to do the same.
Drinks are generally offered to guests. It is polite to accept.
Toasting is not a common practice in Malaysia. The country's large Muslim population does not drink alcohol.