Important COVID-19 travel guidance
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.
This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check our travel guidance.
From 4 July, Malaysia is exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel. This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.
However, the requirement to self-isolate on return to the UK from Malaysia remains in place. See guidance on entering or returning to the UK.
The following advice within Malaysia remains in place:
The FCO 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.
Travel to Malaysia is subject to entry restrictions
- Entry to Malaysia is prohibited, except for Malaysian nationals and foreign nationals holding certain categories of residency visas and employment passes
- Anyone granted permission to enter Malaysia must quarantine for 14 days in a designated Government facility and pay the costs. You will need to download the MySejahtera app.
See Entry requirements for more information before you plan to travel.
Return travel to the UK is subject to self-isolation requirements
If you’re returning to the UK, you will need to:
- provide your journey and contact details
- self-isolate for 14 days
Check the full guidance on entering or returning to the UK.
Check our advice on foreign travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and sign up for email alerts for this travel advice.
If you’re planning travel to Malaysia, find out what you need to know about coronavirus there in the Coronavirus section.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. See the FCO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Malaysia. Attacks could happen anywhere, including in places visited by foreigners. Be vigilant, monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities.
In May 2017, the Philippines authorities reported that they had received unsubstantiated but credible information that the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf may be about to conduct kidnaps in the Sulu Sea, including around the islands of the Sulu archipelago (Philippines) and the seas/islands off the east coast of Sabah (Malaysia). Any vessels sailing in this area could be targeted. You should carefully consider travel plans and be especially vigilant at this time.
There is a threat to foreigners of kidnapping and criminality on the eastern coast of Sabah and in particular the islands close to the Sulu Archipelago in the southern Philippines. There has been an increase in kidnapping by groups operating in the southern Philippines, some of whom have the ability to conduct kidnaps on the coast of Sabah. Commercial shipping companies have been advised to adopt heightened vigilance when navigating the Sulu and Celebes Seas. Most maritime incidents occur in the Sulu Sea in the area between Sabah (Malaysia) and Mindanao, the Sulu Islands and Palawan (Philippines). The Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combatting Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) advise all ships to re-route from the area where possible.
You should take great care in the town of Sandakan and along the coastal area south to Tawau, and in and around Lahad Datu and Semporna. In May 2015, 2 Malaysian nationals were abducted in Sandakan, one of whom was subsequently murdered. Monitor local media and follow the advice of the local authorities. See Terrorism and Local travel - Sabah
UK health authorities have classified Malaysia as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For more information and advice visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Malaysia is a multicultural, majority Muslim country. See Local laws and customs
Around 360,000 British nationals visit Malaysia each year. Most visits are trouble free, but incidents of petty crime, especially bag snatching, can affect visitors. See Crime
You can contact the emergency services by calling 999 (police and ambulance) or 994 (fire).
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. Consular support is limited in parts of Malaysia where the FCO has existing advice against all travel and all but essential travel (as set out above).