Information on measures in place in Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam in response to COVID-19 outbreak and New Zealand border restrictions.

Updated 29 May 2020

The New Zealand High Commission

As a result of the Conditional Movement Control Order implemented by the Malaysian Government, the New Zealand High Commission in Kuala Lumpur is currently closed to walk-in enquiries and telephone calls. Our small team are working remotely and are still available to help you. If you have a query or require assistance, please email nzhcklenquiries@mfat.govt.nz. If you would like us to call you back to discuss your query, please include your phone number in your email. If you are a New Zealand citizen and your request is urgent, please call our call centre on +64 99 20 20 20, or 0800 30 10 30 from within New Zealand.

Options for returning to New Zealand

Malaysia Airlines has cancelled flights to Auckland which had previously been scheduled for June. No further direct flights are currently scheduled until July.

It may be possible to return to New Zealand from Malaysia via Qatar Airways (external link), transiting in Doha and Australia. If you need to return to New Zealand urgently, please contact the High Commission via our email address, nzhcklenquiries@mfat.govt.nz, providing your full name, passport and reason for returning to New Zealand and we will work with you on options.

We understand that Malaysia Airlines has no flights to Australia relevant to New Zealanders returning home at this stage.

For New Zealanders in Brunei, we understand that Royal Brunei Airlines (external link) are continuing to operate a twice-weekly service to Melbourne. Note that Bruneian residents are currently restricted from leaving the country, but that it is possible to seek an exemption. Please see below for further details.

If you are attempting to return to New Zealand, we recommend you reach out to airlines directly or contact a travel agent for further assistance. If you are planning to return via another country, make sure that you are aware of and comply with that country’s transit requirements.

Transit via Australia

We understand that it is currently possible for New Zealanders to transit through Australia while travelling to New Zealand. If you plan to do so, please note the following:

  • You must have a valid ticket for onward travel to New Zealand and be prepared to show it on request.
  • You should plan to arrive and complete your transit within an eight-hour, same-day window wherever possible. If your transit window is less than eight hours and is during airport opening hours, you must remain airside.
  • If your transit window is longer than eight hours or coincides with a time when the airport is closed, you will required to leave the airside area and may be required to undergo the full 14-day quarantine currently in place for international arrivals into Australia.
  • You will be subject to biosecurity and health screening rules, including that you will not be allowed onto your departing flight if you are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • You will not be permitted to travel domestically to connect to an international flight from another airport (e.g. entering the country in Melbourne, flying domestically to Sydney, then flying on to New Zealand).

Note that if you are New Zealand permanent resident and plan to transit via Australia, you may need to apply for a visa or other document, depending on your country of citizenship. Please visit the Australian Home Affairs website (external link) for further information.

If you cannot arrange your transit within an eight-hour, same-day window, it may be possible to seek an exemption to quarantine requirements from State health officials. If that applies to you, please contact the High Commission via our email address, nzhcklenquiries@mfat.govt.nz, for further assistance. Note that if your transit window is longer than 72 hours, you are not considered to be transiting and will need to apply to Australian Home Affairs (external link) for an exemption to enter Australia.

As this information relates to Australian Government policy, note that it is subject to change at any time without notice. In addition to working with your airline or travel agent, please visit the Australian Home Affairs website (external link) for further information and updates.

General advice for New Zealanders

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises New Zealanders do not travel overseas due to the outbreak of COVID-19, associated health risks and travel restrictions.

Flight options for returning to New Zealand are limited, and flights are subject to change at short notice, including ones you may have already booked. On that basis, we advise all New Zealanders overseas to prepare to stay safely where you are, even if you are planning to return to New Zealand. We recognise that not all New Zealanders who want to return home will be able to do so, and that this may be distressing for you, your whānau and friends.

If you are unable to return to New Zealand, or choose to remain overseas, we recommend you take the following steps to keep yourself safe:

  • Review the information on the SafeTravel website (external link) and register your details to receive updates from the High Commission;
  • Shelter in place and follow the instructions of local authorities;
  • Follow the advice of the World Health Organisation (external link) and New Zealand Ministry of Health (external link) to minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19;
  • Monitor local media to keep up to date with local developments;
  • Seek information on how to access the local health system should it be necessary to do so;
  • Be ready to comply with the isolation or quarantine requirements of the country you are in; and
  • Check your insurance policy and talk to your insurance provider to see what assistance you may be eligible for.

If you are remaining overseas, note that the ability of the New Zealand Government to provide consular assistance may be limited due to restrictions on movement and other services.

If you are a New Zealander living in either Malaysia or Brunei who has left either country and is looking to return, we recommend you contact either the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington (external link) or the Bruneian High Commission in Canberra (external link) for information on immigration restrictions and quarantine requirements.

Malaysia

The Malaysian Government has imposed a Conditional Movement Control Order, currently effective until 9 June.

Under the Conditional Movement Control Order, the Malaysian Government has eased some restrictions which were in place prior to 4 May. That includes allowing travel within the Klang Valley and within States other than Sarawak, removing restrictions on operating hours for some businesses where those were previously in place and allowing additional businesses to resume operations. Travel between States as well as between districts in Sarawak remains prohibited without an exemption. Private vehicles (apart from taxis and e-hailing) are also restricted to carrying members of a single household. Further information is available to access in Malay via the National Security Council website (external link) and in English and Malaysia via the Federal Gazette website (external link).

We understand that a number of States have chosen to partially maintain previous restrictions, including limiting outdoor recreation, restricting business activities and requiring limited operating hours for businesses which are permitted to open

As rules vary between States and remain subject to change, we recommend you follow local media to keep up to date with developments and follow the instructions of local authorities. We also recommend you carry recognised ID such as your passport or Malaysian driver’s licence at all times, and carry proof of your employment if you are travelling for work.

Malaysia has restricted its nationals from departing Malaysia, however, there are some exceptions. For more information on this, we recommend you contact relevant authorities.

Please be aware of the following, which may affect your travel planning:

  • The High Commission understands that Malaysian immigration facilities are not currently receiving walk-in customers.
  • Travel between Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia is restricted.
  • Malaysia Airlines have advised it is not possible to transit between KLIA and KLIA2 during the Order.
  • Taxis, e-hailing services and public transport may be operating at reduced capacity or with health screening in place. Passengers using public transport are currently required to wear masks. If you intend to travel, you should plan ahead and anticipate delays.

If you are travelling to KLIA from outside the Klang Valley, please also be aware that you should carry a letter from the High Commission confirming your intention to depart Malaysia, and be prepared to present it to authorities if requested. For assistance with that, please contact the High Commission via our email address, nzhcklenquiries@mfat.govt.nz, providing your full name, passport number, date of birth and a copy of your itinerary. Please note that the Malaysian Government no longer requires a movement permit issued by a local police station. 

Further details on travel restrictions are available at this website (external link).

Malaysian visas

If you are in Malaysia on a short-term visa or visa waiver which expired after 1 January, we understand you will not be penalised if you leave the country within 14 days of when the Conditional Movement Control Order ends on 9 June, provided you have a valid passport or travel document.

If you hold a long-term visa which expired after 1 February, you will be able to renew that at any Immigration Department office within 30 working days of the end of the Conditional Movement Control Order. Note that you will be required to make an appointment online via the Immigration Department website (external link).

We understand that the Immigration Department requires people renewing their visas to present a support letter from the High Commission. If you require a letter, please email nzhcklenquiries@mfat.govt.nz providing your full name, date of birth and a scan or photo of your passport.

As the above information relates to Malaysian Government policy, please note that the New Zealand High Commission cannot provide definite advice and that policies are subject to change at any time without notice. You should contact the Immigration Department of Malaysia (external link) for further information, or call on 03 8000 8000. We understand the Immigration Department is experiencing a high volume of calls as well as online appointment requests, so it may take several attempts to get through to them or to book an appointment.

Healthcare resources

If you are feeling unwell, the Malaysian Ministry of Health has established a COVID-19 hotline, available to reach from 8am to 8pm seven days a week on the following numbers:

  • (03) 88810200
  • (03) 88810600
  • (03) 88810700

The Australian High Commission has published information for its citizens on the availability of COVID-19 testing in Malaysia which you may find helpful if you are concerned about your health. You can find that information on their website (external link).

Brunei Darussalam

We understand that the Bruneian Government has begun easing restrictions which were previously in place, but that some health precautions remain in effect. We recommend you refer to official sources and follow local media for updates.

The Bruneian Government has announced that, effective 16 March 2020, all citizens and residents of Brunei Darussalam will be prohibited from the leaving the country, except in exceptional circumstances. Please see the Guidelines from the Prime Minister’s Office (external link) for further details, including the process for seeking an exception to this restriction.

The prohibition applies to foreign nationals who hold a Green Identity Card and a valid immigration pass; and their spouses and dependents. Entry restrictions continue to apply to foreign tourists and visitors arriving in Brunei.

Healthcare resources

If you are concerned about your health or are looking for more information on COVID-19, you can contact Brunei’s Health Advice Line 148 from 8am to 5.30pm and 7.30pm to 10pm seven days a week. You can also WhatsApp ‘Hi’ to +673 833 3148 or visit the Ministry of Health website (external link) for updates on the COVID-19 situation in Brunei, including a self-assessment tool for if you are concerned you may be unwell.

Restrictions on entry into New Zealand

Effective from 11.59pm on 9 April 2020, entry into New Zealand will be restricted to New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and other residents not travelling to New Zealand for the first time. The following categories of people may apply for an exemption to travel to New Zealand via the Immigration New Zealand website (external link):

  • Partners, dependent children (aged 24 years and under) and legal guardians of New Zealand citizens and residents.
  • Australian citizens and permanent residents who normally live in New Zealand.
  • People with one of the following critical purposes in New Zealand:
    • Essential health workers.
    • Other essential workers who are specifically agreed to by the New Zealand Government.
    • Samoan and Tongan citizens making essential travel.
    • New Zealand-based partners and dependent children (aged 19 years and under) of a work or student visa holder who is in New Zealand.
    • Critical humanitarian travel.

You should anticipate that your application will take at least one week to process. Please be aware that the starting point for consideration for a travel exemption is that the New Zealand border is closed for all but critical travel.

Partners, dependent children (aged 24 and under) and legal guardians who are travelling together with a New Zealand citizen or resident are permitted to enter New Zealand, provided they hold either a visa or a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (external link). However, Immigration New Zealand recommends seeking an exemption via the above process to reduce the risk of being denied boarding.

All travellers who are permitted to enter New Zealand will be required to undergo 14 days’ self-isolation in a managed isolation facility. Arrivals who are assessed as high-risk for COVID-19 will be placed in quarantine facilities. As you will not be able to access stores, you should travel with sufficient personal supplies such as clothing, toiletries and medication to cover that period.

For details and updates, please visit the Immigration New Zealand website (external link). For updates on the COVID-19 situation in New Zealand, please visit the website of the New Zealand Ministry of Health (external link).