Malaysia is one of the last countries in Southeast Asia to remain closed to international visitors since the pandemic began, but it finally has announced a reopening date.

Malaysia will reopen to international travelers on April 1 as it enters the endemic stage of COVID-19, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told reporters on Tuesday.

Do I need a visa to visit Malaysia?

He said: "taking into account the Omicron variant which is still in our country and other countries, there are some mandatory steps for both Malaysians and travelers."

That means anyone who is fully vaccinated and traveling to Malaysia will no longer have to quarantine. They must, however, take a PCR test within two days before departure and a rapid antigen test upon arrival.

Young traveler woman walking through the stalls in Chinatown district of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia has had strict border measures in place since the beginning of the pandemic © Getty Images

Malaysia's current definition of fully vaccinated means that more than 14 days have passed since the individual received the second dose of Pfizer, AstraZeneca,or Sinovac vaccines; or 28 days after one dose of Johnson & Johnson or Cansino.

He also added that foreign visitors no longer need to have formal written approval through the My Travel Pass program to visit Malaysia. Instead, they will be required to download the MySejahtera contact tracing app for their visit.

Entry protocols for those who are not fully vaccinated are set to be announced later this week.

Everything you need to know before visiting Malaysia

Malaysia has some of the strictest border measures in Southeast Asia, largely banning foreign visitors from entering since March 2020 and requiring returning citizens to undergo quarantine upon arrival. 

In fact, the only route into Malaysia for tourists was through the island of Langkawi under Malaysia's International Tourism Pilot Project. Malaysia also has vaccinated travel lanes open with neighboring Singapore.

The decision to reopen its borders now follows similar measures taken by countries in Southeast Asia including Thailand, Vietnam, and Philippines, where quarantine for visitors has been stood down in place of vaccination certificates and negative COVID-19 tests.

Malaysia's prime minister said that restrictions on business operating hours, gatherings, social distancing, and interstate travel would also be eased in April. This means that people can plan ahead for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations in May — an important festival celebrated by Muslims around the world to mark the end of the month of Ramadan.

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