COVID-19 Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur (August 11, 2020)

Health Alert  –  U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (August 11, 2020)

Location:  Malaysia

Event:  COVID-19

NOTE: The Malaysian Ministry of Defense instituted a mandatory mask requirement effective August 1, 2020.  The National Security Council released an infographic on August 5, 2020 identifying 14 categories of spaces where masks are required including mosques and prayer halls, houses of worship, public transportation, school buses and vans, zoos, sports and recreation areas (when not participating), clinics and hospitals, public and farmers markets, cinemas and venues with live entertainment, all retail outlets including restaurants, hairdressers and beauticians, spas and wellness centers, and family entertainment outlets.  Failure to comply with any of the RMCO restrictions, including the mask requirement, may result in a fine of RM 1,000 (USD $235) or more, and/or jail time.

Countries around the world continue to experience COVID-19 outbreaks and are implementing travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines, and border closures with little advance notice.  U.S. citizens should be prepared for additional travel restrictions to be put into effect with little warning.  Travelers should closely monitor the situation in Malaysia and other transit countries before travel.

On June 7, 2020, the Prime Minister announced the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) effective June 10, 2020 through August 31, 2020.  Under the RMCO, additional restrictions were lifted, including the requirement to obtain a police permit and Embassy letter for interstate travel.

All foreign nationals, with limited exceptions, are restricted from entry to Malaysia until August 31, though this end date may be further extended at the discretion of the Malaysian government.  Please see below for additional details on the exceptions to this policy, and note that all travelers MUST have permission from the Malaysian authorities prior to traveling to Malaysia.  Any travelers permitted to enter Malaysia during the RMCO will be subject to COVID-19 testing and as of July 24, all travelers will be required to undergo a mandatory fourteen-day quarantine at a facility designated by the Malaysian government and the full cost of quarantine must be borne by the traveler.  Please see the Quarantine and Testing section below for further details.

Quarantine and Testing Information
Any travelers permitted to enter Malaysia during the RMCO will be subject to rapid COVID-19 testing upon arrival and will be required to pay for this testing.  Those who test positive will be transferred directly to a designated government hospital for treatment, while those who test negative will be required to complete a mandatory fourteen-day quarantine.  On July 21, 2020, the Malaysian government announced that as of July 24, all travelers will, once again, be required to undergo the mandatory fourteen-day quarantine at a facility designated by the Malaysian government at the traveler’s expense. Travelers will be required to download the MySejahtera application and will be issued a wristband for identification and monitoring by the authorities during their self-quarantine period.  For additional information on quarantine requirements, please contact the Malaysian National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA).

Travel Within Malaysia

On July 28, 2020 the State Disaster Management Committee of Sarawak announced that all non-Malaysian citizens who enter Sarawak from overseas need not obtain the COVID-19 test three days before departing their country.  Upon arrival in Sarawak, they will be quarantined for 14 days and required to undergo COVID-19 testing on the second and tenth day.  The costs of quarantine and testing are paid for by the travelers.  For further information please visit their website.

Consular Services

If you are a U.S. citizen with a life or death emergency (e.g. victim of a violent crime, arrest, reporting a death of a U.S. citizen) you may reach us at +60-3-2168-5000 or via email at: KLACS@state.gov.

Please note that routine Consular Services at the U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur remain suspended. We will resume routine consular services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time.  Although routine consular services remain suspended, we are currently scheduling limited appointments for U.S. passports, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (CRBA), and exceptional notarial services.  Please complete this form at: https://bit.ly/2SPVSFf to request an appointment.

For approved applications, we estimate that the full-validity passport or CRBA will be available for pickup within 2-3 weeks.  Once your passport has arrived, you will receive an email with instructions on how to collect it.

We will announce further resumption of services via alerts to registered U.S. citizens in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and on our Embassy’s website.

Malaysian Immigration Services

We have also received reports that U.S. citizens continue to receive conflicting guidance from various Immigration offices and officers.  We stress that all questions regarding Malaysian Immigration policy must be directed to Malaysian Immigration directly.

During the RMCO, the Government of Malaysia has opened immigration services by appointment only.  United States citizens whose passes expired after January 1, 2020 seeking to depart Malaysia may do so within 14 working days after the RMCO period ends on August 31,2020 without undergoing any Immigration processing or penalties. There should be no expectation that 90-day social visit (tourist) passes will be extended due to the global pandemic, and Malaysian Immigration strongly encourages all social visit pass holders whose passes have expired to depart Malaysia as soon as possible.  

U.S. citizens seeking renewal or extension of passes that have expired after February 1, 2020 must apply within 30 working days after the RMCO period ends on August 31, 2020 at immigration offices nationwide.  However, please note that if your renewal or extension is denied, and you have remained in Malaysia more than 14 days after the end of the RMCO, you may be subject to immigration fines or other enforcement action.

On May 12, Malaysian Immigration published an updated FAQ at their website requesting that foreigners who hold social visit passes that expired before or during the RMCO and who are unable to depart Malaysia must present themselves at nearest Immigration Offices within the stipulated 30 working days and provide a supporting letter from their respective embassy.

While the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur cannot intervene on your behalf when you apply for a Malaysian visa, we are issuing letters that ask Malaysian Immigration to consider the COVID-19 pandemic and our advice to avoid all international travel. The U.S. Embassy CANNOT certify or validate your specific or personal justification for remaining in Malaysia and reminds U.S. citizens that permission to enter and remain in Malaysia is at the decision and discretion of the Malaysian Immigration Department. If you require such a letter, you may request one from the U.S. Embassy by completing this form: https://bit.ly/2Wd64te

U.S. Citizens with specific questions or concerns may contact the Malaysian Government call center (MyCGG) at 03-8000-8000.

The U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur encourages all citizens with visas that have expired during the MCO to depart Malaysia as soon as possible to be in compliance with Immigration requirements.

Expatriate and Skilled Worker Pass Holders

On July 25, 2020 the Expatriate Services Division (ESD) of the Department of Immigration issued updated guidelines on their website for expatriate, skilled worker, and knowledge worker employment pass holders and their dependents to request permission to return to Malaysia during the RMCO, or to exit and return to Malaysia.

For additional information, please contact the Expatriate Services Division at 03 8000 8000 (Malaysian Government call center) or esdhelpdesk@imi.gov.my. The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to ensure they have all the necessary requirements fulfilled and have received formal approval in writing before booking flights and commencing travel.

International Students

According to news reports, Malaysia announced on July 29, 2020 that no new international students would be permitted to enter the country until further notice. The website used to obtain permissions to enter has not yet been updated with this information.

Malaysia My Second Home Holders (MM2H)

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) issued guidelines on its website to MM2H visa holders seeking to re-enter Malaysia. You MUST have formal written approval from the Malaysian Government before you attempt to re-enter Malaysia.

For further queries, please contact MOTAC at +60 3 8891 7189 (COVID-19 hotline), +60 3 8891 7424/7439 (MM2h department), or email mm2h@motac.gov.my.

COVID-19 Information

For more information regarding COVID-statistics in Malaysia, please review the Malaysian Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Portal and visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 – Avoid Non-Essential Travel– Notice for Malaysia. The State Department has moved away from its previous Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel and each country will return to issuing its own advisory based on local conditions once again. Effective Thursday, August 6, 2020, Malaysia is listed as Level 3 – “Reconsider Travel”.

Actions to Take:

  • Consider returning to your country of residence.
  • Have a travel plan that does not rely on the U.S. Government for assistance.
  • Review and follow the CDC’s guidelines for the prevention of COVID-19.
  • Check with your airline or travel operator regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
  • Visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security. Review what the State Department can and cannot do for you during an international crisis.
  • Visit our Embassy webpages on COVID-19 for information on conditions in each country or jurisdiction.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States
  • Visit keeping workplaces, homes, schools, or commercial establishments safe.

Assistance:

Please note that due to technical issues, there is currently no way for STEP registrants to unsubscribe themselves from receiving these messages. Please email us at KLACS@state.gov if you wish to unsubscribe, and we will manually process your request. You may continue to receive STEP messages for a short time, we appreciate your patience and understanding.