Entry into Malaysia and Borneo: visa, driver's licence and vaccinations

Entering Malaysia is usually quite straightforward and uncomplicated. However, depending on where you enter the country, it may take a little time. In this article, you will find out:

  • what you need to bear in mind when entering the country
  • what you need to know about driving licences if you’re planning to drive
  • which vaccinations are recommended for a trip to Malaysia
Borneo immigration
Immigration to Malaysia - Stamp in passport

Do I need a visa to enter Malaysia or Borneo?

A visa is not required for entry to West Malaysia for citizens of the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand if

1) you are entering for tourism purposes,

2) you do not intend to work in Malaysia, and

3) your stay will not exceed three months.

Therefore, nationals of these countries only need their passport, which must however still be valid for at least six months after their return and contain blank pages. An ID card, on the other hand, will not be accepted.

The situation is a little different when entering the Malaysian part of Borneo. Here, a visa is issued, so even if you travel to Borneo from West Malaysia, you will need to go through immigration again. The visa is valid for 90 days.

Malaysian immigration officers may ask to see your travel documents when you enter the country, more specifically proof of accommodation in Malaysia and your return flight booking. They want to ensure that tourists are indeed intending to leave the country again. The authorities may also ask for proof that you have the necessary funds to finance your stay. Officials will also take the fingerprints of foreign visitors.

Malaysia is a Muslim country. It is, therefore, essential to note that neither non-Muslim religious content nor pornographic material, alcohol or drugs may be brought in.

Entry regulations are subject to change at any time. Please check in advance with the relevant authorities in your home country and the Malaysian Embassy.

Traffic in Malaysia
Driving in Malaysia

Driving in Malaysia

If you want to drive a car in Malaysia, you will need an International Driving Permit (IDP). You must also carry your national driving licence with you, as the IDP is only valid in combination with your national licence. It will be valid for 90 days after entry.

An exception exists for British citizens. For stays of up to 90 days, they are allowed to drive in Malaysia with their UK driving licence.

Recommended vaccinations

In August 2022, Malaysia lifted all entry requirements relating to Covid-19. You no longer need to show proof of vaccination or recovery. There are also no other vaccination requirements for entry from the majority of countries. However, if you are entering from a yellow fever area, vaccination against yellow fever is required.

Even though vaccinations are not compulsory, experts recommend the following for Malaysia and Borneo: diphtheria, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rabies, rubella, tetanus and typhoid. There is a low risk of malaria both in Borneo and in northern Perak and Kelantan in West Malaysia. Therefore, malaria prophylaxis may be worth considering.

We strongly advise you to consult a tropical medicine doctor before your trip to Borneo and Malaysia. They will be monitoring current developments and will know if there is an acute need for an additional vaccination.


Malaysia has, and also applies, the death penalty. The possession and trafficking of drugs, even in small quantities, is severely punished. In addition, possession of and/or dealing in weapons or ammunition can lead to the death penalty.

Statements or actions that insult the state or high-ranking state figures are also severely punished. This includes comments made on social media. Same-sex sexual activity is also illegal in Malaysia.

Even in the event of minor offences, the law is often harsh. Some crimes are punished by caning. Conditions in Malaysian prisons are deplorable and not comparable to those in Europe, North America, Australia or New Zealand.

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