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Malaysia is opening up visa-free travel to citizens of China and India starting 1 Dec

Malaysia is opening up visa-free travel to citizens of China and India starting 1 Dec

Further details on eligibility are still being awaited.

From 1 December 2023 (Friday), Malaysia will be opening up visa-free travel for citizens of China and India, for a duration of up to 30 days' stay. 

According to an article by Reuters and an update by the Home Affairs Ministry of Malaysia (KDN), this measure will be in place up till 31 December 2024. As cited in the article, this move was mentioned by Malaysia's Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim during his speech at his People’s Justice Party congress on Sunday (26 November 2023).

Further details on eligibility are still being awaited.

The move comes as part of the wider Visa Liberalisation Plan that Malaysia is implementing, which aims to improve visa-on-arrival facilities among other initiatives.

Per KDN's update on Tuesday (28 November 2023), as part of this Plan — announced in Budget 2024, Malaysia's Immigration Department (JIM) is looking to establish a dedicated team to monitor the exit movements of Chinese and Indian tourists. This will commence on the 30th day of their stay, and reports will be provided periodically to ensure control and enforcement.

Other aspects of control and enforcement that JIM will be implementing are as follows:

  • Increasing checks by the relevant ministries in areas frequented by foreign natonals, such as in Masjid India, Plaza Lowyat, Bukit Bintang, and other areas, in order to identify illegal immigrants, and
  • Intensifying intelligence and enforcement activities to not only foreign workers, but also to employers who employ or protect unauthorised foreign immigrants, and
  • Ensuring the strict procedure of issuing Notices of Entry Refusal or Not-to-Land (NTL) is maintained and uncompromised.

As announced in the Budget, the overall Plan covers the following:

  • First: Facilitate Employment Pass approvals for strategic investors in key sectors;
  • Second: Introduce a Long-Term Social Visit Pass for international students who have graduated to meet industries' needs for skilled personnel, and
  • Third: Improve Visa on Arrival (VOA) facilities, Social Visit Pass and Multiple Entry Visa offers to encourage entry of tourists and investors, especially from China, India, and the Middle East.

Cited in a report by Bernama, Home Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution said that the Social Visit Pass applies to nationals from 23 high-income, low-risk countries, including Singapore, Australia, France, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and more. He added that the validity of the visa was extended from three to six months, and the qualification period standardised to 30 days for all countries requiring an entry visa.

As further noted in the article, the Plan will be reviewed after a year to assess its return on investment on Malaysia, as well as its effectiveness and safety risk assessment on the immigration facilities provided.

Prior to Malaysia’s announcement, China’s foreign ministry shared on 24 November 2023 that the country has decided to open up a unilateral visa-free policy to more countries on a trial basis, which involves extending visa-free treatment to travellers holding ordinary passports from six countries, namely France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Malaysia.

Citizens from the above-mentioned countries holding ordinary passports can be exempted from visa to enter China and stay for no more than 15 days for business, tourism, family visits, and transit purposes from 1 December 2023 to 30 November 2024.

ALSO READMalaysia Budget 2024: What you need to know

Lead photo / 123RF

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