Did you know that in 2018, before the pandemic, Singapore saw a total of 18.5 million international visitors? And out of that 18.5 million people, Malaysians were in the top five citizens who frequent Singapore as a tourist spot?

There was also a time when more than 300,000 Malaysians travel to Singapore every day across the Johor-Singapore Causeway. But ever since the pandemic started, the once one of the world’s busiest land crossings faced a halt. The borders between Singapore and Malaysia were closed to curb the spread of the virus and Malaysians were no longer able to commute across the Causeway daily.

The opening of cross-border travel on compassionate grounds

Starting from May 17th, travel on compassionate grounds between Singapore and Malaysia will be allowed. What this means is that Malaysians or Singaporeans who wish to make a trip to the other side can do so, but only if they want to:

  • Visit family members who are critically ill
  • Attend funerals
  • Tend to family emergencies

This move was made possible due to the two country’s extensive ties. The people of Singapore and the people of Malaysia have a very close relationship, which is why a special scheme such as this is necessary, according to Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

What are the requirements?

According to the Department of Immigration of Malaysia and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) of Singapore, only two visitors are allowed per case.

1) Travelling to Singapore

  • Only two Malaysians are allowed to enter per case.
  • Applicants must take a COVID-19 PCR test at least 72 hours before travelling. Travellers must also register and pre-pay for another COVID-19 test and the quarantine facility in Singapore
  • Travellers or applicants will need to provide documents such as proof of death of the immediate family member, a doctor’s letter to support critically ill cases, documents to prove a familial connection and a copy of their passport biodata page.
  • Upon arrival, travellers must download the TraceTogether application and register their profile.
  • Travellers will be required to abide by the stipulated health measures for entry, including stay-home notice (SHC) and COVID-19 swab tests.
  • Officers will facilitate arrangements for the travellers to make short and safe visits to the medical facility and/or funeral, subject to the prevailing health policies governing such visits.
  • Applications can be made on the website through an online inquiry form.

2) Travelling to Malaysia

  • Only two family members can apply (Malaysians, Singapore citizens and Permanent Resident of Singapore, holder of Singapore’s Long Term Pass who is an immediate family member of the deceased or critically ill patient).
  • Emergency visits are only limited to Peninsular Malaysia.
  • Travellers or applicants will need to provide documents such as proof of death of the immediate family member, a doctor’s letter to support critically ill cases, documents to prove a familial connection and other supporting documents.
  • Travellers must download the MySejahtera application and register their profile.
  • Travellers will be required to abide by the stipulated health measures for entry, including quarantine and COVID-19 swab tests.
  • Officers will facilitate arrangements for the travellers to make short and safe visits to the medical facility and/or funeral, subject to the prevailing health policies governing such visits.
  • Applications can be made here.
  • For more information, visit the Department of Immigration of Malaysia‘s website.

Other than the cross-border travel on compassionate ground, both Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to progressively restore cross-border travel for other groups of travellers in addition to the existing Reciprocal Green Lane and the Periodic Commuting Arrangement.

The two neighbouring countries also agreed to work on recognising each other’s vaccine certificates to continue cross-border travel in the near future. Further progress will also be made to vaccinate long-term residents in both countries—Malaysians in Singapore and Singaporeans in Malaysia.

Have any questions? Get in touch with our Lead Immigration Specialist today to learn more!