How to Beat the Custom Jam During Chinese New Year

Motorist Travel Delays Chinese New Year 2020(Photo Credit: Pexels)

Chinese New Year (CNY) is just around the corner, and some of us may be travelling to Malaysia. Beware of the expected increase in traffic though!

With the CNY season rapidly approaching, many of us have made plans to travel to Malaysia – be it to visit family, have a reunion dinner with friends, or just some cheap shopping. But getting stuck at Customs because of a traffic jam will definitely be everyone's least favourite part of the CNY holiday.

Due to the influx of vehicles going in and out of Singapore, some delays are to be expected. So, here’s some tips on how you can shorten these delays.

1. Plan Your Drive into Malaysia

Motorist Traffic Delays Chinese New Year 2020 Plan Drive(Photo Credit: The Straits Times)

In a press release sent out by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) today (15 January), it was mentioned that there will be an expected increase in traffic at the Woodlands and Tuas land checkpoints.

Departing traffic from Singapore to Malaysia is expected to be heavy between Friday, 17 January 2020, and Tuesday, 28 January 2020. On the other hand, heavy arrival traffic from Malaysia to Singapore is expected to be heavy between Saturday, 25 January 2020, and Tuesday, 28 January 2020.

ICA takes their security protocols very seriously, so there will be thorough security checks. These checks combined with the huge estimated number of visitors will result in even longer delays.

To best combat this obstacle, you could opt to travel into Malaysia before these dates, or at least try to avoid the peak CNY period.

You can also download the Motorist App to get access to traffic cameras at the checkpoints for better planning.

2. Check Your Passport Validity

Motorist Traffic Delays Chinese New Year 2020 Passport(Photo Credit: TODAY)

In order to travel overseas, your passport has to have at least six months’ validity. Anything less will not allow you to travel unless you renew your passport.

Make sure you bring along your valid passport when you go to the checkpoints, and also double confirm that you are holding your own passport. Wrong passports will only delay your trip further, making your journey more frustrating, and increasing the delay time for other visitors as well.

If you have lost your passport, it’s as good as not having one in the first place. Even if you manage to find your passport later on, the ICA has already cancelled it and it can be considered an offence to use this passport. To be safe, just apply for a new passport.

3. Submit Your Electronic Arrival Card

Motorist Traffic Delays Chinese New Year 2020 Arrival Card(Photo Credit: ICA)

Foreign visitors will usually get a paper-based disembarkation/embarkation card which have to be submitted upon arrival, but now there’s a greener solution. The “SG Arrival Card” e-Service is available either online or through a mobile app of the same name.

By using the e-Service, you’re not only saving the Earth, but you also shorten delay times as you only need to present your passport for clearance when you arrive at your destination.

4. Avoid Bringing Back Prohibited Items

Motorist Travel Delays Chinese New Year 2020 Prohibited Items(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Celebrating CNY with family members often means having huge feasts with many leftovers to spare. In order to not waste food, we’d want to bring them back. However, be careful of what you bring back.

Items like firecrackers or “Pop-pop” are strictly not allowed. Also, according to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), meat, meat products, and eggs from Malaysia are strictly not allowed into Singapore. The same applies for fresh and frozen oysters.

Controlled items, like bak kwa and potted plants, have to be declared at the customs before the security checks begin.

5. Remember that Everyone is Travelling Somewhere

Motorist Travel Delays Chinese New Year 2020 Travelling(Photo Credit: Pexels)

We often come across inconsiderate drivers when travelling through customs, which can be infuriating. Some drivers get impatient and decide to cut queues, which is really selfish for other motorists. It makes their journey longer, but also puts them in danger.

To keep your journey to Malaysia as short as possible, do remember to drive graciously and abide by all traffic rules. It's not worth getting into an accident just because you want to get somewhere faster.

Were these tips helpful? Do you have more tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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