The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises 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.
If you are arriving in the UK from Malaysia on or after 4am on 18 January you will need to self-isolate on your arrival, unless you have a valid exemption. Check the latest guidance for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Travel to Malaysia is subject to entry restrictions
- Entry to Malaysia for all British nationals is prohibited. Some exemptions may apply, including: British nationals with permanent resident status, resident pass, My Second Home Programme (MM2H) pass, expatriates of all categories, including professional visit passes as well as dependents pass, spouse to Malaysian nationals (spouse visa) and students and temporary employment passes.
- The situation is changing regularly, and any British national who wishes to apply to enter Malaysia will need to seek permission from the local Malaysian Embassy/High Commission or the Immigration Directorate before travelling.
- Anyone granted permission to enter Malaysia must quarantine for 10 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.
Preparing for your return journey to the UK
If you’re returning to the UK from overseas, you will need to:
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 FCDO guidance on foreign travel insurance.
Terrorists are 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 FCDO has existing advice against all travel and all but essential travel (as set out above).