U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur – Health Alert (September 5, 2020)

U.S. Embassy Kuala Lumpur – Health Alert

September 5, 2020

Event: COVID-19

Location: Malaysia

On August 28 2020, the Prime Minister announced an extension of the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) which will now be in effect through December 31, 2020.

As of September 7, 2020, foreign nationals from 23 countries, including the United States, are prohibited from entering Malaysia.  According to information provided by the Malaysian government, this restriction is applicable to all U.S. citizen passport holders (regardless of the country the citizen arrives from), including “individuals with permanent resident status, resident pass, My Second Home Program (MM2H) pass, expatriates of all categories including professional visit as well as dependent pass, spouses to Malaysian nationals (spouse visa), students and temporary employment pass.”  The Director General of Immigration may consider appeals to enter Malaysia on emergency and compassionate grounds.

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.

Under the RMCO, some restrictions were lifted, including the requirement to obtain a police permit and Embassy letter for interstate travel.  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.

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

According to information provided by Malaysian Immigration, the standard operating procedures in place as of August 29 will remain in place through the end of the extended RMCO on December 31, 2020.  We have 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.  According to Malaysian Immigration’s current standard operating procedures, 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 without undergoing any Immigration processing or penalties.  For assurance whether this permission will be granted through the end of the extended RMCO on December 31, 2020, we encourage you to reach out to Malaysian immigration directly.  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.

According to Malaysian Immigration’s current standard operating procedures, 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 at immigration offices nationwide.  For assurance that this deadline will be extended to the end of the extended RMCO on December 31, 2020, we encourage you to reach out to Malaysian immigration directly.  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 or RMCO to depart Malaysia as soon as possible to be in compliance with Immigration requirements.

Exit and Reentry Requirements for Pass Holders in Malaysia

As the U.S. Embassy understands the guidance, exit and return will only be granted on a case by case basis for emergency cases and medical reasons.  For further information, please visit the Expatriate Services Division website.

Expatriate and Skilled Worker Pass Holders

We encourage pass holders to contact the Expatriate Services Division at 03 8000 8000 (Malaysian Government call center) or esdhelpdesk@imi.gov.my in order to fully understand the current regulations regarding your specific situation.

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 still 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.  As of  August 6, 2020, Malaysia is listed as Level 3 – “Reconsider Travel”.

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