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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Brunei

Brunei travel guide

About Brunei

Thanks to sizeable deposits of oil and gas, the tiny tropical sultanate of Brunei Darussalam has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Its two non-contiguous territories, situated on the northern coast of Borneo in South-East Asia, are home to some of the region's most pristine rain forest habitats.

The country only gained independence in 1984, but has the world's oldest reigning monarchy and centuries of royal heritage. At the helm of the only remaining Malay Islamic monarchy in the world, the Sultan of Brunei comes from a family line that dates back over 600 years. The current sultan, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, has been on the throne for 43 years and is one of the world's richest individuals.

Visitors to the "Abode of Peace" (the literal translation of darussalam) will find the country surprisingly laid-back and relaxing. In addition to admiring the gilded domes, towering minarets and extraordinary ornamentation of two landmark mosques in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, tourists can explore water villages by boat and on foot, learn about local culture in several interesting museums, sample delicious Malay cuising (some of the best can be found at open-air markets), and experience the incredibly biodiversity of the Bornean rain forest in Ulu Temburong National Park.

Key facts

Area:

5,765 sq km (2,226 sq miles).

Population:

428,874 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density:

74.5 per sq km.

Capital:

Bandar Seri Begawan (popularly known as 'BSB').

Government:

Traditional Islamic monarchy.

Head of state:

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah since 1967.

Head of government:

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah since 1967.

Travel Advice

Coronavirus travel health

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Brunei on the TravelHealthPro website

See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry and borders

See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Brunei.

Returning to the UK

When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.

Be prepared for your plans to change

No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.

If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.

Plan ahead and make sure you:

  • can access money
  • understand what your insurance will cover
  • can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned

Public places and services

There has been no community transmission of COVID-19 in Brunei since May 2020. The government of Brunei has strict procedures in place for visitors to all public areas. The public can expect to have their temperature taken, electronically, and must check-in to business premises and government offices using the BruHealth App. Mosques and other places of worship are open. Restaurants cafes, schools and other services are operating normally. All public areas have a limit of permitting up to 1,000 people.

British people travelling should check the Brunei Ministry of Health for up to date guidance, policy on travel to/from Brunei and details on how to download and use the BruHealth app.

Healthcare in Brunei

For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.

Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.

View Health for further details on healthcare in Brunei.

See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.

COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Brunei

Wherever possible British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. We will update this page when the Government of Brunei announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.

The Brunei national vaccination programme started in April 2021 and is using the AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. British nationals resident in Brunei are eligible for vaccination. Further information and how to access vaccines can be found on the Brunei Ministry of Health website.

Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.

If you’re a British national living in Brunei, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider. Information about COVID-19 vaccines used in the national programme where you live, including regulatory status, should be available from local authorities.

Finance

For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.

Further information

If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.

Crime

Crime levels are low, but there are occasional incidents of petty crime against tourists as well as house burglaries. Take particular care of your passport, avoid carrying valuables with you and do not leave possessions in unattended vehicles, even if out of sight in a locked boot.

Road travel

Drivers of vehicles not registered in Brunei can only buy motor fuel at 14 designated filling stations throughout the country, to a maximum of 250 litres. Filling a foreign car is more expensive as the filling station will only sell the premium “V-Power” fuel to a foreign car.

You can drive in Brunei with a valid UK driving licence for up to 3 months.

Driving standards differ from the UK. Traffic will not always stop at red lights or pedestrian crossings. Speeding and non use of seatbelts is common. Road conditions are generally good but you should take extra care while driving through heavy rain as road surfaces are uneven.

If you’re involved in a road accident as a driver, you should not leave the scene or move the vehicle until the police have attended.   

Trekking

Police advise individuals against hiking alone in the forest, including at well-known recreation areas. It’s easy to get lost when visiting the rainforest. Use recognised and well-known guides, and stay on the footpaths.

Political situation

Demonstrations or large public gatherings are unlikely in Brunei. Keep yourself informed through the local media.

Local laws reflect the fact that Brunei is an Islamic country. You should dress modestly and respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times, especially during the holy month of Ramadan, or if you intend to visit religious buildings.

His Majesty The Sultan and other members of the Bruneian Royal Family are highly revered and public criticism of them would cause great offence.

There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK. If you’re planning to visit or live in Brunei, you’re strongly advised to familiarise yourself with local laws and customs.

In 2014, Brunei began the introduction of a Sharia Penal Code, to run in parallel with the Common Law. The final phase was introduced on 3 April 2019. It specifies severe punishments for certain crimes, including some that are not illegal in the UK.

Most laws under Common Law and the Sharia Penal Code apply to all people in Brunei, regardless of nationality or religion.

Adultery and close proximity in private between an unmarried man and woman is illegal if one party is a Muslim.

Possession of pornographic material is illegal.

Homosexual activity is illegal. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

It is an offence to criticise Islam, and for any person to consume food, drink or tobacco in public during the fasting hours of the holy month of Ramadan. For information on travelling during Ramadan, see Travelling during Ramadan.

There are severe penalties for drug offences in Brunei including, in some cases, the death penalty. Other crimes may attract caning and lengthy prison sentences.

The sale of alcohol and tobacco in Brunei is prohibited. Non-Muslims over 17 years of age may import a limited amount of alcohol, but must declare it to the customs authorities on arrival, and must consume it in private. A list of other prohibited and restricted items is available on the Royal Customs and Excise Department’s website.

Smoking is prohibited in certain public places, including shopping and eating areas, bus stops and stations, car parks and near buildings.

Places of business and offices including shops and restaurants shut between 12 noon and 2pm every Friday.

Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Brunei, attacks can not be ruled out.

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.

You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.

There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry and exit rules in response to coronavirus (COVID-19)

Entry to Brunei

Entry to Brunei is severely restricted. Anyone seeking to enter or exit Brunei must apply for a permit from the Prime Minister’s Office at least 8 working days before the intended date of travel. See the Brunei Prime Minister’s Office website for further information, or contact the Brunei High Commission.

Brunei has announced that travellers to Brunei will need to provide a negative COVID-19 RT PCR test on arrival, obtained within 72 hours of travel. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.

Exiting Brunei

Brunei continues to enforce an exit travel ban, including for permanent residents, and expatriate workers (green identity card holders), and their dependants. Exceptions will be considered by the Prime Minister’s Office on a case-by-case basis. Applicants must apply online, giving 3 working days’ notice of the intention to travel. Full details are available on the Prime Minister’s Office website.

From 1 August 2021, residents and expatriate workers will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to apply for and exit Brunei.

Brunei has banned any cross-border entry of travellers via land and sea ports, including transits through Brunei except for entry and transit travels that have been granted approval by the government. You should refer to the Prime Minister’s Office website for the latest information.

Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status

Brunei will accept the UK’s solutions to demonstrate your COVID vaccination status. Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.

Quarantine requirements

If the government of Brunei permits you entry, you will need to go into quarantine on arrival at a government designated facility (usually a local hotel). Travellers are responsible for booking directly with hoteliers and must secure your accommodation before arrival and have proof of their stay to show the airline at check-in. Currently quarantine is between 2 and 14 days. Travellers will be informed of the duration of quarantine on arrival and will need to cover the cost of their stay in their designated quarantine facility.

Testing/screening on arrival

Brunei has announced that travellers to Brunei will need to provide a negative COVID-19 RT PCR test on arrival, obtained within 72 hours of travel.

All foreigners must pay $350 BND for a COVID-19 test before they depart on their journey to Brunei. Travellers should carry proof of payment with them when checking in for their flight to Brunei.

You should ensure that you have the means to pay for your hotel in Brunei for the duration of your quarantine period.

Immigration Control Posts at Brunei’s land borders are operating shortened hours from 6am and last call at 4pm. There are health and temperature screening measures at borders. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities.

Data collection

On arrival in Brunei, you will be encouraged to download the BruHealth app. Failure to use the app may result in you not being able to access a number of day-to-day facilities.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

British Citizen passport holders may enter Brunei for up to 90 days without a visa. If you have another type of British nationality, check with Brunei immigration authorities about visa requirements.

Make sure the entry stamp in your passport indicates the validity of your stay. There are strict penalties for overstaying.

If you’re staying longer than 90 days and/or visiting for non-tourist purposes, you will need to get a visa from the nearest Brunei diplomatic mission before you travel.

Passport validity  

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Brunei. 

Dual nationality

Brunei does not recognise dual nationality. You can be refused entry if you’re found to be holding two passports of different nationality. If you’re a dual national, it’s advisable to enter Brunei on the passport on which you exited your last country of departure. While in Brunei your nationality will be deemed to be that shown on the passport which you used to enter the country. This may affect the consular assistance that you receive in Brunei.

Yellow fever certificate requirements

Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency travel documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Brunei. They should have at least 6 months validity. You’ll have to obtain an exit and entry visa from Brunei Immigration before you travel.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Brunei on the TravelHealthPro website

See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Brunei.

At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.

General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.

The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or bought in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).

Medical treatment

Under normal conditions, standards of healthcare in Brunei are generally acceptable, though basic hospital supplies can run low from time to time. There are two significant medical facilities, the Government General Hospital (RIPAS) in Bandar Seri Begawan and the private Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC). Should complications arise, medical evacuation to Singapore may be necessary. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.

Emergency dental treatment can be provided either at Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) or from local private dentists. Most branded pharmaceuticals are readily available though some items that are available without a prescription in the UK, like decongestants or anti histamines may need a Doctor’s prescription in Brunei.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 991 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you’re referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Credit cards are accepted at most major establishments. However, a number of shops and restaurants will only accept cash and will not have a credit card facility. Travellers’ cheques can be cashed at banks or major hotels. Singapore dollars may be used in Brunei and are of the same value as the Brunei Dollar. Most other major currencies are convertible at banks, hotels or official moneychangers.

If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).

Foreign travel checklist

Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.

Travel safety

The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can not provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.

When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.

Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.

Refunds and cancellations

If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can not offer a refund to their customers.

For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Registering your travel details with us

We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.

Previous versions of FCDO travel advice

If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can not find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.

Further help

If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.

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