- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Natural Disasters and Climate
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation
Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:
The Irish Authorities advise against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.
If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:
Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.
We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.
It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements. We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate.
We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control.
What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:
The Irish Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to self-isolate for 14 days. Passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements.
Where to go for more information:
We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.
Avoid non-essential travel.
Security Status Last Updated: 16 March 2020
We advise against non-essential travel to all islands off the coast of eastern Sabah from Kudat to Tawau, including (but not limited to) Lankayan, Mabul, Pom Pom, Kapalai, Litigan, Sipadan and Mataking.
Latest Travel Alert
In order to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Malaysian government has extended the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) to 9 June 2020. It will be a matter for the Malaysian authorities whether they decide to extend the CMCO again beyond this date.
As part of this Order, Malaysia is prohibiting the entry of foreign nationals, with a very limited number of exceptions e.g. those with permanent resident status and MM2H visas. If you hold other visas for Malaysia e.g. a work visa, you will not be permitted to enter Malaysia for as long as these controls are in place.
For holders of Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visas seeking re-entry into Malaysia, you may wish to note that the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture ( MOTAC ) has issued guidelines for those wishing to return to Malaysia. These requirements, which may be found here, include:
It is advisable to wait for formal approval before you attempt to re-enter Malaysia. For further information please contact MOTAC on their hotline no: +60 3 8891 7189 (COVID hotline) 0060 3 8891 7424/7439 (MM2H Department) or email email@example.com
With effect from 3 April 2020, anyone who is permitted to enter Malaysia is obliged to go directly to a quarantine centre designated by the Malaysian government for 14 days. Foreign nationals who are admitted will be required to bear the cost of this quarantine themselves, which will be a minimum of RM150 per day.
Foreign nationals are permitted to depart the country during this period. If your Malaysian visa/pass has expired since 1 January 2020, or will expire during this CMCO period, we understand from the Malaysian authorities that you can still exit Malaysia during this period, without having to first obtain a ‘Special/Exit Pass’ from Immigration to do so, as is ordinarily required in such cases. For those on a Social Pass (90 days tourist visa), who do not leave Malaysia during CMCO, we understand from the Malaysian authorities that they will have a 14 day period post CMCO to leave Malaysia, without undergoing Immigration processing or penalties. Anyone with further visa queries should contact Malaysian Immigration directly, on Hotline number: 03 8888 2010 or via the website at: www.imi.gov.my
The Malaysian Immigration Department is operating an appointment-only system in the context of COVID-19, and walk-in appointments are not permitted at this time. Citizens needing to seek an appointment with Malaysian Immigration to seek to renew or extend their visas will need to make an appointment online through the following link: www.sto.imi.gov.my
The Embassy advises citizens to fully comply with Malaysian Immigration requirements while in Malaysia.
Flight options have now become extremely limited and flight schedules may change or be cancelled with little advance notice. Anyone who needs to depart Malaysia is advised tomake arrangements to do so as soon as possible. Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate in the coming period. Keep in contact with your airline or travel provider if travelling. Monitor the situation in Malaysia and in transit countries before you travel. Keep in mind that travel restrictions may be put into effect with little or no notice. Check with your airline before you fly in case of any new requirements that may be introduced.
Additional travel restrictions apply with regard to travel to the East Malaysia states of Sabah and Sarawak, which have local autonomy over immigration at points of entry. Anyone entering Sabah directly from overseas, either via land, air or sea, will now automatically be sent to quarantine centres for 14 days. It is understood that foreign nationals may not currently travel between East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) and West Malaysia except to transit directly onto an international flight. You should carefully confirm any transit arrangements for connecting flights with your airline in advance of travel, ensuring that your luggage is checked all the way through to your final destination, and checking that you do not have to present at Malaysian Immigration. You will not be able to leave the transit area in KLIA between flights. Transit between terminals KLIA and KLIA2 will not be possible during this period.
There are a very limited number of domestic flights operating within Malaysia at present. These mainly go into KL Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (Subang) airport, which is over 50km from KLIA (KL International Airport). Taxis and e-hailing services are only permitted to operate between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. so ensure to factor that into any journey to the airport. These domestic flights are currently primarily with Malaysia Airlines and their sister airline Firefly. Many airlines now requires all passengers to bring and wear their own face masks during check-in, boarding and in-flight.
If you are travelling to the airport to board a flight, you will need to obtain a letter from the Embassy. Irish citizens requiring such a letter should contact the Embassy by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than 24 hours in advance of travel, attaching a copy of their flight reservation and their Irish passport. You will also need to provide a phone number on which you can be contacted. If you are travelling inter-State by road, rail or air (that is outside of the KL, Selangor and Klang Valley area) to KL International Airport to board a flight during this time, you will also have to obtain a written movement permit from your nearest police station in advance of travel. In order to obtain this movement permit, you will need to show your valid passport, your flight reservation and the letter from the Embassy.
The Conditional Movement Control Order prohibits mass movement within Malaysia and gatherings, including for religious, sports, social and cultural purposes. Certain recreational facilities (eg public swimming pools, hotel/resort amenities) remain closed. Schools and colleges remain closed. While many businesses/shops/restaurants are now open, people are still advised to remain at home, and to work from home where possible. Up to four members of the same household can now travel in one private vehicle for essential purposes. However, travel across states is prohibited, and a police permission is required for emergency travel to another state. You should carry photographic ID (eg a copy of your passport) with you at all times when in Malaysia. Keep up to date with, and follow the advice of local authorities on both Movement Control restrictions and Department of Health COVID-19 guidelines. Penalties for non-compliance with the Conditional Movement Control Order remain in place. Further controls within Malaysia may be imposed at any time, at short notice.
A number of cases of the Novel Coronavirus have been reported in the region.
There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China. Cases have been reported in other countries, including Malaysia.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Please be wary of these symptoms and seek immediate medical attention should such symptoms occur.
International travellers: practice usual precautions
You can reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections while travelling by:
• avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;
• frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment;
• avoiding close contact with live or dead farm or wild animals;
• travellers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).
Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Malaysia.
Additional information on the Coronavirus can be found via the following links:
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
Our tips for safe travels
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
- Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
- Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
Political unrest, risk of kidnapping
There is a threat of kidnapping on the eastern coast of Sabah, particularly on the islands close to the Sulu Archipeligo of the Philippines.
We advise against all but essential travel to all islands off the coast of eastern Sabah from Kudat to Tawau, including (but not limited to) Lankayan, Mabul, Pom Pom, Kapalai, Litigan, Sipadan and Mataking.
Exercise great caution in areas on the eastern coast of Sabah including in the town of Sandakan and along the coast to Tawau, as well as the areas east of Lahad Datu and around Semporna. Keep up to date with developments and follow the advice of your tour operator and the local authorities.
Irish citizens visiting eastern Sabah should exercise extreme caution. In some areas (see above) we advise against all but essential travel. You should ensure that you take appropriate personal security measures, and follow the advice of authorities and tour operators. Despite the increased police and army presence, the size and remoteness of the region means that future security incidents cannot be ruled out.
Tensions between the Malaysian Government and opposition have occasionally led to demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere. We advise you to avoid all demonstrations and follow developments in local media.
Terrorists may be planning attacks in and around Kuala Lumpur. Attacks could be indiscriminate and may target Western interests or locations frequented by Westerners. You should be vigilant at this time.
Crime remains relatively low in Malaysia but bag snatching by thieves on motorbike is becoming a regular occurrence in the central tourist areas of Kuala Lumpur. You should be vigilant and take sensible precautions to protect yourself from street crime.
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
- Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you are alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafes, train and bus stations
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible
- There have been a number of reports of scams involving gambling and the spiking of drinks, which has led to robbery and assault.
- Credit card fraud and ATM scams are commonplace in the region, so be vigilant when making payments and also when using ATM machines to withdraw cash.
- As in other countries, avoid opening your hotel room door to strangers – especially if you’re a woman travelling alone.
Reporting a crime
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Malaysia, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy if you need help.
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.
Malaysia is a multicultural but mainly Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they don't offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
You should also dress moderately, particularly in conservative and rural places and when visiting places of worship.
Importing unlicensed firearms and ammunition into Malaysia is prohibited and can carry the death penalty.
Homosexual acts are illegal.
There are severe penalties for all drug offences; this includes amphetamine-type stimulants. Trafficking incurs a mandatory death penalty. Possession incurs a custodial sentence and possible whipping.
The Malaysian authorities may require you to take a urine test on arrival if you are suspected of having used illegal drugs before your visit.
The rules of the road in Malaysia are broadly similar to those in Ireland, and roads are modern and well maintained.
If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driving licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence and those over the legal limit could receive a jail sentence and/or a heavy fine. Breath testing is common in Malaysia
- Take care as motorcyclists don’t always stop at pedestrian crossings or at traffic lights. If you’re driving, make sure that motorcyclists are not overtaking on the inside when you’re making a left turn.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural disasters and climate
The Northeast Monsoon from November to March brings heavy rainfall, particularly to the east coast states of peninsular Malaysia and western Sarawak. This occasionally leads to heavy and dangerous flooding.
Air quality in Malaysia is compromised seasonally on account of smoke haze. This improves with the onset of the monsoon season. At present, air pollution is worse than usual for this time of year in a number of states due to land and forest fires and the persistent hot, dry weather. You should monitor the information on air quality on the Malaysian Department of the Environment website and follow health advisories.
There was a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in Sabah early on 5 June 2015. This affected Mount Kinabalu. Please see the Sabah tourism website for more information and continue to monitor local media for updates.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
In general, Irish tourists visiting Malaysia for less than 3 months do not require a visa. Malaysian immigration requires international visitors (with the exception of children under 12) to provide fingerprints before entering Malaysia. For full entry requirements for Malaysia, please contact the nearest Malaysian Embassy or Consulate.
We advise you to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.
You must also pass through Malaysian Immigration upon exiting the country. If you overstay your Malaysian visa for even a few days, you can be fined, detained, deported and/or blacklisted by the Malaysian Immigration Authorities. Ensure that you abide by the terms and conditions of your entry pass for Malaysia at all times.
If you get a new Irish passport, you will need to go to the nearest Malaysian Immigration office to get your visa/pass put into the new passport. This also applies for emergency passports e.g. if you lose your Irish passport and if you are leaving the country, you will still need to go to an Immigration office to get a Special/Exit pass for the new passport/emergency travel document before you can depart the country. For more information on your nearest Immigration office, consult the websiteof Malaysian Immigration: www.imi.gov.my
Malaysia has an extensive network of public and private hospitals. However, you should get medical advice on vaccinations and other preventative measures against various tropical diseases as well as TB and Hepatitis A and B before you travel to Malaysia.
A H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu)
There have been over a thousand reported cases of influenza A H1N1 virus (swine flu) in Malaysia and several deaths. Make sure you follow developments through the media, the World Health Organisation website and the Malaysian Ministry of Health website.
Dengue fever is present in all states in Malaysia and you should take precautions to avoid mosquitoes bites by using insect repellent and covering up, particularly when in jungle areas or near stagnant water. There has been a considerable increase in the number of dengue cases this year, including in Kuala Lumpur.
In the event of a genuine emergency involving an Irish citizen, call the Embassy of Ireland in Kuala Lumpur at + 60 3 2067 8200 and leave a detailed message including a contact number at which you can be reached. This mailbox is monitored regularly. Note that this service is strictly for emergencies. Queries or requests that can wait until normal office hours cannot be taken out of hours.
Embassy of Ireland
The Amp Walk
218 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Monday – Thursday: 9.30- 12.30 and 14.30 – 15.30; Friday: 9.30 – 12.30
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.