Sabah Crest


Sabah Crest
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Access Licence Application

To access biological resources of the State, the researcher is required to have an Access Licence (eligibility-who is required to apply). This has to be applied and to be submitted to the Council through Sabah Biodiversity Centre via Three criteria are used in evaluating the access application namely:

  • the contribution of the access activity to the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources;
  • the impact of the access activity on biological diversity and the environment, including any adverse impacts, risks and dangers to any component of biological diversity and its sustainable use
  • and the impact of the access activity on indigenous and local communities, their lifestyles and livelihoods.

The researcher is also required to identify local collaborator that will collaborate and participate in the collection, research and development and other activities in relation to the biological resources concerned. In addition, such an applicant is also required to identify an institution that will act as the sponsor organisation, responsible for the actions of the researcher with regard to the access activity. 

What you should know before applying for licence
  • Your application will not be processed until all the necessary supporting documents and information have been finalised and received.
  • Since the process of obtaining letter of support/consent/appointment/permission and subsequently Access Licence (if your application is successful) will involve time and certain procedures of different organisations, you should be aware of the requirements and make prior arrangements to obtain the necessary documents as soon as you have decided to apply. Kindly take note of the deadline of submission, any incomplete applications submitted on the due date will carry forward to the next window of submission (no extension given). We strongly encourage you to submit earlier to avoid any unnecessary delays incase of queries. 
  • To avoid queries of your application, it is important to be clear with your access location and fill in the form in detail (elaborate if necessary) to avoid confusion during processing. When you are ready to submit your application, you must include all supporting documents as listed on our checklist. We have to return the entire application to you and you have to resubmit your application if you have submitted incomplete application to us (refer to checklist).
  • In order to qualify as group application, the research topic, methodology, locations, local collaborators and institutions have to be the same. Only individuals who are going to conduct the research/ collection will need to apply. However, when providing the letter(s) of support/consent/permission, the names of each individuals in the group should also be listed on the letter(s).
  • If your application is approved, the Access Licence will be issued individually under individual names and each group member must complete the Statutory Declaration individually before collecting the licence from SaBC.
  • To ensure uninterrupted correspondence from us, please add to your email's safe senders list. 
  • You may refer to our FAQs to avoid common errors that can cause delays.
Complete Documents Checklist (new and renewal access licence)
  1. Completed the application form for access licence on our online system
  2. Photocopy of Passport or MyKad (including group members, if any)
  3. Letter of support from the Malaysia institution/ organisation that will collaborate in this research (This is a letter from the Malaysia institution based in Sabah to support your research in Sabah).
  4. Letter of support from your institution or organisation that will sponsor this research
  5. Letter of consent from the Local Collaborator/ Counterpart (This is a letter of consent from your counterpart based in Sabah to agree to be your Local Collaborator in Sabah. If you apply as a group, your local collaborator must include the names of your group members as reflected in your application form. This letter of consent may include organisation support mentioned on checklist no.3. For renewal, your Local Collaborator needs to support your intention for renewal).
  6. A copy of research proposal (For renewal, please provide progress report, include your plans and a copy of your thesis or publications).
  7. Letter of support from the resource provider(s) of the area(s) where the access will take place (The letter(s) must mention the name(s) of each individuals wishing to seek access on selected area(s)).

* For renewal applications, you are required to submit all of the above mentioned checklist except no.3. Please take note that your supporting documents from Local Collaborator (no.5) and resource manager(s) (no.7) must support your intention for renewal.

Additional document(s) if applicable
  1. If your research area involves marine water/ marine park in the East Coast of Sabah: written security clearance from the National Security Council (Kota Kinabalu branch) or Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) (refer information below) is required.
  2. If your research involves aerial survey/ drone/ unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV): written permission from the State Internal Affairs & Research office, Chief Minister's Department of Sabah and Department of Civil Aviation, Malaysia (refer information below) is required.
Location / Area Resource PROVIDER/ Authority
Forest Reserve, UNDP Project site, SAFE Project site Sabah Forestry Department
Wildlife Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Area Sabah Wildlife Department
Parks (Terrestrial and Marine) Sabah Parks
Maliau Basin Conservation Area, INIKEA project site

Maliau Basin Management Committee

(If you are applying as a group with SaBC, kindly get individual approval for all group members from MBMC and submit all letter of support to SaBC)

Note: It will take up to 21 working days to process. Therefore last submission to MBMC is 3 weeks before SaBC closing date


Imbak Canyon Conservation Area

Imbak Canyon Management Committee

(If you are applying as a group with SaBC, kindly get individual approval for all group members from ICMC and submit all letter of support to SaBC)

Note: It will take up to 21 working days to process. Therefore last submission to ICMC is 3 weeks before SaBC closing date


Danum Valley Conservation Area, INFAPRO project site

Danum Valley Management Committee

(If you are applying as a group with SaBC, kindly get individual approval for all group members from DVMC and submit all letter of support to SaBC)

Note: It will take up to 21 working days to process. Therefore last submission to DVMC is 3 weeks before SaBC closing date


State Lands

Villages around the area

Lands and Surveys Department/ District Office

Village headman (Ketua Kampung)

Marine Water Sabah Fisheries Department
Marine water/ Marine park situated in East Coast of Sabah

The relevant resource manager AND clearance from:

National Security Council (Kota Kinabalu branch)


Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM)

*Refer to our FAQ section for more information

Involve Aerial survey/ Drone/UAV

Note: Apply through local collaborator to the respective State authorities. Include support letter from resource provider(s)- specifically commenting on the use of drone in the area, date and time of operations/ activities,

flying radius and coordination, flying altitudes, drone specificaitons, operation purpose,

Reference: View policy

The relevant resource provider AND clearance from:



State Internal Affairs & Research Office, Chief Minister's Department

21st Floor, Block A, Sabah State Administrative Building

88400 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

*Kindly fulfil terms and conditions imposed by relevant authorities



When you should submit your application to SaBC

Kindly take note that before you submit your application to SaBC, you are required to gather all supporting documents as stated above.

Submission from applicant to SaBC for processing

*terms & conditions apply

Committee meetings will be scheduled anytime within these period to vet your research access application

(Committee meetings to be held four(4) times a year)

1 December - 28 February March/April
1 March - 31 May June/July
1 June - 31 August September/October
1 September - 30 November December/January

Only complete applications received within the time frame will be submitted to the scheduled committee meeting provided applicant comply fully with the terms and conditions. You are strongly advised to submit your completed documents earlier in case there are queries which you might need additional time to prepare for additional documents or if revision of your application is necessary.

Important Information (*terms and conditions)
  • All queries after submission must be answered and finalised before SaBC can submit your documents for vetting purposes
  • The day when you reply and finalise the queries by submitting the necessary documents to SaBC will be the date of your submission (not based on your first incomplete submission/ unclear information)
  • It is the applicant’s responsibility to follow up with the respective agencies involve in issuing the supporting documents and submit to SaBC
  • It is the applicant’s responsibility to be aware of any correspondence from SaBC through email, if you do not hear from us, please check your spam or junk mail, or contact your local collaborator
  • All applications must be submitted online and in full (complete according to the checklist given) to Loose documents will not be entertained.
  • Only complete documents will be submitted to the committee members
  • The dates stated above are based on Malaysia local time GMT/UTC + 08:00 hour


Additional Information

  • Transfer licence application has different procedures, kindly check the details here.
  • You should only confirm your travel dates once you receive email notification from us notifying you the result of your access licence application
How to submit your application to SaBC and to ensure you get an acknowledgement

All applications must be submitted online and in full (complete according to the checklist) to If you do not receive confirmation from us through email after submission, please check your spam or junk mail, or contact your local collaborator. To ensure you receive any reply or correspondence from us in the future, please add to your email's safe senders list.


What's next?

  • Once we have the result of your application from the Access and Transfer Licence committee and/or Sabah Biodiversity Council, you will be notified through email whether your application is approved or rejected (please check your spam or junk mail if you do not hear from us).
  • If your application is successful, you are required to complete the Statutory Declaration Form before we can release the Access Licence. Please take note that the Statutory Declaration Form must be signed in the presence of a Sessions Court Judge, Magistrate, or Commissioner for Oaths in Sabah or in Malaysia. You may download the Statutory Declaration Form here.
Compliance Requirements- after obtaining your access licence
  1. You must ensure that you keep a copy of your access licence and comply with the Statutory Declarations that you subscribed
  2. You are only authorised to access the list of biological resources and place(s) where access is permitted as stipulated in your access licence
  3. Apply for Professional Pass from the State Immigration of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu. Only Sabahan is exempted from this procedure. Check out the list of documents required by the Immigration Department of Malaysia. Important note: It is the applicant's responsibility to check with the Immigration Department of Malaysia and to fulfill the visa/ pass requirements as the requirements and charges vary from country to country
  4. Report to your local collaborator, to the relevant resource manager(s) or to collect the relevant entry pass before entering the area(s) as mentioned in the notice/letter of support given by the relevant authorities
  5. You must comply with relevant laws, rules and regulations, code of conduct governed by the resource manager(s) and relevant authorities
  6. You must submit progress report and/or final publications/ thesis to local collaborator and SaBC
  7. Application for patent or other intellectual property rights to the relevant authority in or outside Malaysia subject to first obtaining the prior written consent of the Sabah Biodiversity Council
  8. You must comply with other terms and conditions stated in your Access Licence

Should your application not approved, you may appeal through SaBC within the period of 3 months beginning from the date you received the decision.

How to collect your licence?

Access Licence: Print out and complete the Statutory Declaration Form (signed and stamped) and hand it over to SaBC office in order to collect your Access Licence in person. If your licence is imposed with a fee, you will need to make the payment to Sabah State Treasury first. 

Transfer (export) licence: Your local collaborator must complete the Material Transfer Declaration form for you to collect your transfer licence. A fee will be imposed to all transfer licence(s). 

*For any payment of licence fee, you may collect the payment form from the SaBC office before proceeding to the State Treasury.

sabc licence fee 2021


List of Committee Members
  • Secretary of Natural Resources- Chairman
  • Secretary of Sabah Biodiversity Council (Sabah Biodiversity Centre)- Secretariat
  • State Attorney General's Chambers
  • State Internal Affairs and Research Office
  • State Economic Planning Unit
  • Sabah Forestry Department
  • Sabah Wildlife Department
  • Environment Protection Department
  • Sabah Parks
  • University Malaysia Sabah
  • DVMC/MBMC/ICMC Secretariat
  • Immigration Department of Malaysia
  • Royal Malaysian Police (Special Task Force- security screening)

Access Licence Application Flowchart