Citizenship In Brunei: An Expats Guide

Are you dreaming of calling Brunei your second home?

Unlock the secrets to Brunei citizenship for expats in this comprehensive guide.

Discover the pathway to your Brunei dream

What Is A Brunei Citizenship Visa?

A Brunei visa, which will allow you to stay in the country for up to thirty days, can be issued online. But for that, you need an invitation from someone in Brunei. This visa will be prepared for you in two weeks and issued at the airport upon arrival.

Brunei allows visa-free entry to several nationalities for short-term periods, and visas on arrival are also available for a handful of eligible countries.

Anyone who is not visa-exempt or eligible for a Brunei visa on arrival must apply for a visa at an Embassy before traveling.

How to get Brunei citizenship:

  • By origin: a child born in marriage to a Bruneian father;
  • by naturalization: through marriage or adoption;
  • marriage of a Bruneian man and a foreign woman;
  • A foreign spouse can obtain citizenship after 10 years of residence in the country;
  • Marriage of a Bruneian woman and a foreigner: the foreigner husband/wife must obtain permanent resident status, have the means to support themselves, and have lived in Brunei for 15 years.

Who Can Apply For Citizenship In Brunei?

To apply for citizenship in Brunei, you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be at least 18 years old
  2. Have lived in Brunei for at least ten years
  3. Be of good character
  4. Have a clean criminal record
  5. Be fluent in Malay, the official language of Brunei
  6. Have a basic knowledge of the history and culture of Brunei

If you are married to a Bruneian citizen or have Bruneian children, you may be eligible for citizenship regardless of your length of residency.

What Is The Process For Applying For Citizenship In Brunei?

You’ll need to follow a specific process to apply for citizenship in Brunei. The application process includes the following steps:

  1. Check your eligibility: You’ll need to check your eligibility for citizenship by visiting the Brunei government website or contacting the Bruneian embassy in your country.
  1. Gather the necessary documentation: You’ll need to gather a range of documentation, including your passport, birth certificate, and proof of residency. 

You may also need to provide a police certificate and undergo a medical examination.

  1. Complete the application form: You’ll need to complete the citizenship application form and provide all the necessary documentation. 

You can obtain the application form from the Brunei government website or the Bruneian embassy in your country.

  1. Submit your application: Once you’ve completed the application form and gathered all the necessary documentation, you can submit your application to the Bruneian government. The relevant authorities will review your application.
  1. Approval: If your application is approved, you’ll be granted citizenship in Brunei.

The entire application process can take several months, depending on the complexity of your application and the number of applications being processed by the Bruneian government.

Permanent residence

Obtaining the right to permanent residence in Brunei is difficult. Yes, you must live in the country for at least ten years and legally if you married a citizen of that country or were born there. Otherwise, you will have to wait at least fifteen years to apply. 

At the same time, the chances are higher for highly qualified specialists, in particular if you are a doctor or an engineer. And if you are already planning to move to the country, then the ideal option is to buy a checklist.

You also have a good chance of obtaining the right to reside in Brunei if you prove that one of your parents is a citizen of this country.

Another possibility to live permanently in Brunei is to run a legal business in this country and hire local people. Or you can work for the government of that country, although this is difficult for migrants to do. 

If you were born in Brunei, but your parents do not have citizenship, you will not receive the right to permanent residence or citizenship.

Residence card

If you are allowed to live in Brunei, you should quickly apply for a Residence Card. If you have received permission to stay in Brunei for a certain period, in this case, you will receive a green residence card

You will be issued a red card if you want to stay in this country for a long time and will be accepted as a permanent resident.

Loss of citizenship

You can renounce your citizenship voluntarily. For this, you need to contact the embassy of Brunei. 

Also, you lose your Bruneian citizenship when you acquire a foreign one. By the way, staying in Brunei after arriving legally is essential. You should also go there with only one passport if you have dual citizenship.

The Advantages Of Being Granted Citizenship In Brunei

Being granted citizenship in Brunei comes with a range of advantages, including:

  • Visa-free travel: As a Bruneian citizen, you’ll be able to travel to more than 140 countries without needing a visa, including the European Union, the United States, and Canada.
  • Access to social benefits: As a Bruneian citizen, you’ll have access to social benefits such as healthcare, education, and pensions.
  • Political participation: As a Bruneian citizen, you’ll be able to participate in Bruneian politics, including voting in elections and running for office.
  • High standard of living: Brunei offers a high standard of living, a strong economy, excellent healthcare, and a diverse culture.

Dual Citizenship in Brunei

Brunei does not allow for dual citizenship, meaning that you cannot become a citizen of Brunei while retaining your existing citizenship. 

If you become a citizen of Brunei, you’ll need to renounce your existing citizenship.

Types Of Brunei Visas

The types of visas issued by the Brunei government are:

  • Brunei tourist visa. This visa is issued to foreign nationals who will enter Brunei for tourism or visit friends or family.
  • Brunei business visa. This visa is issued to foreign nationals who intend to invest or will be engaged in business-related activities in Brunei.
  • Brunei work visa. This visa is issued to foreign nationals who have found employment in Brunei.
  • Brunei dependent visa. This visa is issued to work visa holders’ spouses and dependent children.
  • Brunei student visa. This visa is issued to foreign nationals who will study in a Brunei educational institution.
  • Brunei transit visa. This visa can be issued on arrival for 72 hours at Brunei International Airport.

What Are The Brunei Visa Requirements?

The documents required for a Brunei visa application are:

  1. The Brunei Visa application form.
  2. Your passport and a copy of your passport have at least another six months of validity.
  3. Two recent passport-size pictures. They should be colored and with a white background.
  4. A copy of your return ticket.
  5. Proof of accommodation in Brunei. E.g., hotel reservation or the address where you will stay if staying with family/friends.
  6. Proof you can financially support yourself in Brunei.
  7. Your contact details.
  8. Payment of the visa fee.
  9. If you apply by mail, A prepaid, self-addressed envelope for the consular services to return your documents.
  10. If traveling for business/investment:
  • Your sponsor must submit the relevant company/organization documentation
  • Your sponsor must write you a Letter of Support

Do I Need Travel Insurance When Applying For A Brunei Visa?

No, having travel insurance is not required by law in Brunei. However, governments always advise you to purchase travel insurance when visiting Brunei. 

If you are planning to stay longer in Brunei, i.e., with a work visa, student visa, or dependent visa, you should look out for expat health insurance options.

Ways To Apply For A Visa To Brunei

You can apply for a Brunei Visa in one of the following three methods:

  1. At the nearest Embassy/Consulate of Brunei. You have to apply via this method if:
  • You are not visa-exempt
  • You are not eligible to apply for a Visa on Arrival
  • You are visa-exempt/eligible for the VOA, but you want to stay in Brunei long-term
  1. On arrival. Only nationals of countries eligible for the Brunei VOA.
  2. Your sponsor applies on your behalf at the Department of Immigration and National Registration. People traveling for business or investment purposes have to apply via a sponsor.

Applying For A Brunei Visa At The Embassy

To apply for a Brunei visa, you have to find the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Brunei. You can find a list of Brunei’s missions abroad here.

  • Contact the Embassy/Consulate to make an appointment (if necessary). You can also learn about visa application requirements by visiting their website.
  • Complete the Brunei Visa Application Form. You can find the application form online at the website of the Brunei Ministry of Foreign Affairs (here).
  • Collect the required documents for the Brunei visa application. See a list of required documents under Brunei Visa Requirements.

Apply:

  • In person, on the date of your appointment, if the Brunei diplomatic Embassy/Consulate is in your country of residence.
  • If the Embassy/Consulate is in another country, Send the application through a secured courier. Include a prepaid, self-addressed return envelope so they can return your documents and passport.

Processing time: It takes about three working days for your visa to be processed from the time you submit your completed application.

Applying for a Brunei Visa on Arrival

You must approach the Department of Immigration and National Registration officers at the point of entry to get your Brunei visa on arrival.

Applying For A Brunei Visa With A Sponsor

Suppose you are traveling to Brunei for business, investment, or professional reasons, such as offering professional work/expertise in a project. In that case, you need a sponsor to apply for your Brunei visa.

  • Your sponsor has to submit the visa application to the Visa and Diplomatic Section of the Department of Immigration and National Registration in Brunei.
  • Your sponsor must submit any required supporting documents from the company/organization.
  • You must send your sponsor any relevant supporting documents.
  • After the application is approved, you can proceed to the nearest Brunei Embassy or Consulate to pick up the visa.

How Long Does It Take To Receive A Brunei Visa?

Most visas for Brunei are processed within three working days. If you are applying for a visa with a sponsor, the processing time may take up to 5 days.

If you are applying via mail, take into account the time it takes to deliver and receive your documents.

Brunei Visa Fee

The Brunei visa fees are:

  • For a single-entry visa: B$20.00 or US$16.00
  • For a multiple-entry visa up to 3 months: B$30.00 or US$24.00
  • For a multiple-entry visa for more than 3 months: B$50.00 or US$40.00

How Long Is A Brunei Visa Issued For?

The validity of a Brunei visa depends on the visa type. For short-term visas, such as for tourism and business, visas are issued for up to three months, either for a single entry or multiple entries.

Long-term Brunei visas are issued for a validity corresponding to the purpose of the application.

Can You Extend A Brunei Visa?

If you need to stay longer than your visa allows, then you can apply for a Brunei visa extension at one of the local immigration offices in Brunei.

If you are visa-exempt and know before you travel that you want to stay longer than allowed, you must apply for an Embassy visa.

What Are The Benefits Of Being A Citizen Of Brunei?

Brunei provides generous welfare benefits for its citizens and residents. Note there is a clear distinction between citizens and residents in many aspects; that’ll be another post for another day.  

The Brunei citizenship benefits include the welfare includes:

NO TAXES

Brunei does not require its citizens and residents to pay any form of taxes to finance the state’s welfare benefits. 

There is NO income tax, NO Goods and Services Tax (GST) or Value-Added Tax (VAT), NO license fees for television sets, etc. 

FREE EDUCATION

Brunei citizens enjoy free education in public schools in the Sultanate from the primary to the tertiary level. 

Promising students are sent abroad to the UK and Australia on Brunei Darussalam Government scholarship. 

On top of that, the government generously provides an allowance of 999.78 BND per tertiary student per month, regardless of whether they are in local or overseas tertiary institutions. 

Unlike Malaysia, education in Brunei uses English as the medium of instruction, and most students possess at least a GCE O Level or GCE A Level certificate.

FREE HEALTHCARE

Brunei citizens are entitled to free medical services. They do not have to pay for consultations with any doctors, nor do they have to pay for any operations or surgeries performed. 

However, Permanent Residents are required to pay a nominal consultation fee of a few dollars. 

In the case that a Brunei citizen requires a very specialized treatment that is not available in the Sultanate, they will be sent overseas to Singapore or the UK to receive treatment, being that the government bears all expenses. 

Accompanying family members also have their expenses paid for by the government. For expecting mothers, prenatal checks are entirely free. After birth, the government would generously provide free milk powder and tonics.

PENSION SCHEME

Since the First NDP in 1955, the government has heavily emphasized taking care of older people in the country.

Pension rates have been revised recently, and all citizens and residents above the age of 60 are now entitled to 249.95 BND per month, funded directly from the government’s coffer.

On top of that, residents also have a Workers’ Provident Fund, or what is locally known as Tabung Amanah Pekerja (TAP). Apart from that, widows, orphans, and invalids are also entitled to handouts.

HOUSING SCHEMES/SKIM PERUMAHAN

Since independence in 1984, the government has been actively advocating a policy to ensure everyone has a right to own a house. 

If you are a couple with no assets, you will be entitled to a free land with no strings attached. The government will even provide a very low-interest loan to build your dream house. Civil servants, however, will be entitled to an interest-free loan instead. 

A typical house costs only around 99,987 BND to 199,975 BND to build. Otherwise, you can always opt for readily-built houses from the government, and if you are starting a family, you can pay interest-free installments of a few hundred dollars for over 10 to 20 years.

After that, the house is yours forever, unlike the 99-year HDB lease in Singapore, and you can bequeath it to your descendants. 

The benevolent monarch is so concerned about the housing welfare of his citizens/rakyats that he hands them the keys to their new house. 

Conclusion

So, there you have it—your roadmap to Brunei citizenship as an expat. With the insights and steps outlined in this guide, your journey to becoming a Bruneian citizen just got easier. Best of luck on your Brunei adventure!

Happy exploring!

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