Malaysia reopening borders on 1 April: Details and implications for VTL

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From 1 April, Malaysia will reopen its borders to the world. Here's the details, and what it means for the VTL with Singapore.

Malaysia has announced that it will reopen its borders from 1 April 2022, replacing quarantine with testing for fully vaccinated travellers. 

This marks a major step forward from the current VTL it has with Singapore, which is limited by travel history, involves designated flights, and requires PCR testing on arrival at the airport (plus waits of up to three hours for a result).

Malaysia reopening borders from 1 April

🇲🇾 Summary: Quarantine-Free Travel to Malaysia
  • Fully vaccinated with any vaccine on the WHO EUL (age <18 years exempt)
  • Download MySejahtera app (Android | iOS) and complete pre-departure form
  • Take PCR test 2 days before departure (age <2 years exempt)
    • Can take professional ART if infected with COVID-19 within 60 days of departure
  • Purchase travel insurance with min. RM100,000 coverage (non-residents only)
  • Take professional ART within 24 hours of arrival
Malaysia COVID Regulations

From 1 April 2022, fully vaccinated travellers (plus unvaccinated travellers aged 17 and below) can enter Malaysia without quarantine, regardless of origin or travel history.

They will be required to download the MySejahtera app and complete a pre-departure form, and purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of RM100,000 (~S$32,500) for COVID-19 medical expenses.

A PCR test must be taken within two calendar days prior to departure. If travellers have been infected with COVID-19 within 60 days of departure, a professionally-administered ART can be taken instead of a PCR test. Children below two years of age are exempt from testing. 

On arrival, all travellers will undergo a temperature screening. They will also be required to take a professionally-administered ART within 24 hours of arrival. It will be possible to do this via a tele-supervised provider like CLEA, so the disruption to your trip should be minimal. 

What does this mean for the Singapore-Malaysia VTL?

The revised regime is much simpler than VTL travel

Singaporeans have already been able to enjoy quarantine-free travel to Malaysia since November 2021 courtesy of the Singapore-Malaysia VTL. The question, therefore, is how this arrangement will change from 1 April 2022.

VTL (Air)

When flying from Singapore to Malaysia, things get a lot simpler compared to under the VTL, with travel history now becoming irrelevant, a free choice of flights, and PCR tests at the airport scrapped in favour of professional ARTs within 24 hours. 

 Until 31 MarchFrom 1 April
14-day travel historySingapore and Malaysia onlyDoes not matter
FlightsVTL flights onlyAny flight
Arrival testPCR test at airportProfessional ART within 24h

When flying from Malaysia to Singapore, things remain the same, for now. VTL travellers will still be required to meet the following criteria:

✔️ VTL Eligibility Criteria
All
  • 7-day travel history only includes Singapore and/or VTL countries and/or Category I countries and/or EEA countries (from 16 Mar)
  • Fully vaccinated with any vaccine on the WHO EUL^
  • Complete SG Arrival Card
  • Present negative pre-departure ART/PCR test taken within 2 days of flight to Singapore*
  • Take designated VTL flight to Singapore
  • Take supervised ART within 24 hours of arrival and isolate until negative result received*
Short-term visitors & Work permit holders
*Children aged 2 or under in the current calendar year are exempt
^Exception for children aged 12 and below, if they are accompanied by vaccinated traveller

Fully vaccinated individuals can be exempted from all pre-departure tests, on-arrival tests and SHN requirements when travelling to Singapore with acceptable proof of a COVID-19 infection/recovery within the last 90 days. 

Big news: No more SHN, testing or “14-day stranding” for recently-recovered vaccinated travellers to Singapore

Why I say “for now” is because I’ve heard whispers that Singapore will be looking to scrap the entire VTL concept in the coming weeks, and switch to a system based solely on vaccination status. 

VTL (Land)

There’s still no word as to whether private cars will be able to cross the Causeway sans quarantine

As it stands, cross-Causeway travellers are required to take designated buses with Transtar or Causeway Link to enter under the VTL (Land) arrangement.

Malaysia has not yet announced whether the Causeway will be reopened for quarantine-free entry to drivers of private cars. All we know for now is that the authorities are working on it, with an announcement expected in the near future.

It’s highly likely that PCR tests will not be a pre-requisite for land travel, based on the current VTL (Land) arrangement that allows for professionally-administered ARTs to be used as pre-departure tests. 

Singapore-Malaysia travel: Total testing costs

⚕️ Testing: Singapore-Malaysia Travel*
LocationRemarksPrice
🇸🇬 Singapore48h before departure (PCR)From S$91
🇲🇾 MalaysiaWithin 24h of arrival (ART)MYR 15 + ART kit
(~S$10)
🇲🇾 Malaysia2 days before departure (ART/PCR)MYR 15 + ART kit
(~S$10)
🇸🇬 SingaporeWithin 24h of arrival (ART)S$15
*Children aged 2 and under exempt from all testing

Assuming Singapore doesn’t scrap its VTL concept by 1 April, then travellers to Malaysia will be looking at four tests in total, at a cost of ~S$126

This assumes you use CLEA for both the on-arrival test in Malaysia, and the pre-departure test before travelling to Singapore. CLEA has confirmed (and travellers have substantiated) that its tele-supervised tests are valid for VTL travel to Singapore. 

For the cheapest pre-departure testing options in Singapore, refer to this post. 

Conclusion

Malaysia will be reopening its borders from 1 April 2022, allowing fully vaccinated travellers to enter without quarantine. 

Even though Singaporeans can already visit Malaysia without quarantine, the proposed scheme is much superior: ARTs replace on-arrival PCR tests, no need take designated (and expensive!) VTL flights, and no limitations on travel history.

It remains to be seen what this means for land travel across the Causeway, but I imagine we’ll hear an update on this very soon. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Abc

A 1 page summary that sums up all you need to know about Vax status, testing requirements, quarantine requirements, specified flight requirements (none), travel history requirements (none) for entry into the country. Brought to you by Malaysia. You seeing this SG govt?

Axel Heyst

Nothing about ferries

asprino

the way MY govt handles this reopening is indeed spectacular

Frus

Singapore government: Please scrap the VTL chop chop. Why must travellers pay more for VTL designated flights vs non-VTL designated flights? It’s not safer nor are there more expensive drinks nor is it safer. Kiasi-ness

Jose Luis Pereira

Still a bit confising, but a step in the right direction

Dennis

https://www.mot.gov.my/en/Announcement/VTL%20Malaysia-Singapore%20(13%20Mar%202022).pdf

This was published by MY MOT on 13/3/2022. So which is which? Can we take non-VTL flight to KLIA without quarantine and PCR upon arrival on and after 1/4/2022?

Christian

Thanks for the helpful information. Can a tourist just get a rapid antigen test anywhere within 24 hours of arrival into Malaysia? Any help in understanding this is appreciated.

Ortloc

Just came across this paragraph at https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/malaysia-singapore-border-reopen-no-quota-travel-modes-checkpoints-2583616

He also said that travellers entering Malaysia from Singapore by air are required to take a COVID-19 antigen rapid test (ART) two days before departure, instead of the more costly reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test as previously stipulated for travellers entering via the vaccinated travel lane (VTL) scheme.

Can anyone confirm that only ART pre-departure test for travellers on flights to Malaysia from Singapore are required? I can’t find this information anywhere else. If this is so, it would be wonderful news!

Last edited 8 months ago by Ortloc

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