Here’s a familiar scene: it’s a Saturday morning, you arrive at the Johor Bahru Checkpoint and realise you have to queue for hours just to get your passport stamped.
Well, you can now save yourself some time and travel to JB with ease by using the electronic gate (e-gate) system in Malaysia. That means you can enter Malaysia via the automated gate instead of going through the manual immigration counters – basically, what we have at Changi Airport.
The most important question is, are you an eligible user for the e-gates?
To put it simply, you need to be a Singaporean citizen, Malaysian PR, or Malaysia Automated Clearance System pass holder with a passport that’s valid for 3 months minimum. Oh, and you’d need to be above 120cm, something to take note of if you’re travelling with young kids.
There are 2 places in Malaysia you can enter via the e-gate system: Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminals 1 and 2, and the Johor Bahru Checkpoint.
Ok, but how do you actually apply for the e-gate before travelling to Johor Bahru or Kuala Lumpur? It’s simpler than you think. For brevity’s sake, we’ve written these tips specifically for those entering Malaysia via the land crossing in JB, but it’s the same for those flying into KL as well.
First, each traveller has to fill up their own Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC). It’s a simple declaration form that requires your personal information and travel details.
Image adapted from: Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia
One thing to take note of is that you need to submit this form within 3 calendar days of your departure. Say your trip falls on 20th September, you can register for your MDAC on the 18th, 19th, or even on the day itself, the 20th. As long as you complete this step within the 3-day window, you’re good to go.
After submitting your form, know that your passport has yet to be verified in the e-gate system. So the first time you enter Malaysia after filling up your MDAC, you’ll still have to queue at the counters to get a manual stamp.
Be sure to inform the immigration officer at the counter that you’ve submitted an MDAC so that you can use it for future trips.
Image credit: Must Share News
Once you’re done shopping at places like Johor Premium Outlets or checking out cafes in JB, it’s time to head home. But hold your horses, just because you’ve applied for the e-gate doesn’t mean you get an express pass back into Singapore.
Your mode of entry and exit has to tally up, so you’ll have to exit the same way you entered, by queuing up at the manual counter and getting your passport stamped.
Image credit: Saravana Rao via Facebook
The good news is, your passport’s now verified, so you can pass through the e-gates the next time you’re travelling to JB.
At the Johor Bahru customs centre, head towards the e-gate queue that’s usually on the left side. All you need to do is scan your passport, wait for the e-gates to open, and tada, you’re officially in Malaysia. It’s almost as simple as tapping your EZ-link card when taking the MRT.
Similarly, if you’re flying into KLIA, head directly to the e-gates for travellers from Singapore and 9 other countries – namely the United Kingdom, United States of America, Australia, Brunei, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.
Do remember that you must submit an MDAC every time you enter Malaysia. So make sure you fill in the form at least a day prior.
Update: From 1st Jan 2024 onwards, Singaporeans are no longer required to fill up the MDAC.
Using the e-gates has made crossing the border into our neighbouring city much more convenient. You get to avoid queueing up at the manual counters, allowing you to reach your destination faster.
All that’s left to do is to share this guide with your friends and make that long-awaited JB trip happen.
More reads before you head to JB:
Cover image adapted from: Must Share News
Originally published on 26th September 2023. Last updated by Raewyn Koh on 4th December 2023.
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