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|
|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?
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.
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 March||From 1 April|
|14-day travel history||Singapore and Malaysia only||Does not matter|
|Flights||VTL flights only||Any flight|
|Arrival test||PCR test at airport||Professional 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|
|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.
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.
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*|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||48h before departure (PCR)||From S$91|
|🇲🇾 Malaysia||Within 24h of arrival (ART)||MYR 15 + ART kit|
|🇲🇾 Malaysia||2 days before departure (ART/PCR)||MYR 15 + ART kit|
|🇸🇬 Singapore||Within 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.
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.