Living in Bangladesh
Advice for British people living in Bangladesh, including information on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more.
This guide sets out essential information for British nationals living in Bangladesh, including advice on health, education, benefits, entry and residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. See our information on what consulates can and cannot do.
This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Bangladesh, including advice on health, education, benefits, residence requirements and more. We are unable to provide any guidance on general lifestyle enquiries apart from the information and links listed below. This information supplements the Travel Advice for Bangladesh.
Many standards applied to life in the United Kingdom are not applicable in Bangladesh, especially those involving religious aspects. We estimate that there are up to 115,000 British nationals residing in Bangladesh, the majority of who are dual nationals living in the Sylhet area.
As Bangladesh is a member of the Commonwealth, the Consular Sections in Dhaka and Sylhet are unable to undertake notarial acts. If you require legal services please contact a local lawyer or Notary Public for this service.
You should ensure that you have adequate medical insurance as Bangladesh has extremely limited free medical care and, whilst costs are generally lower than private treatment in the UK, they can rise steeply.
You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Medical facilities are generally good in major cities, but limited in rural areas. There are some endemic diseases in Bangladesh, including malaria and dengue. If you need emergency medical assistance, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance. Immediate cash payment could be required for any medical service.
If you have any particular medical needs you should ensure that you have adequate supplies of your medicines for your stay in Bangladesh as the same medicines might not be available locally.
The educational system in Bangladesh has three major stages - primary, secondary and higher education. Primary education is a 5-year cycle while secondary education is a 7- year one with three sub-stages: 3 years of junior secondary, 2 years of secondary and 2 years of higher secondary. Private schools receive strong financial support from the state. The tertiary education (3-5 years) is provided through universities (34 public and 60 private universities) and affiliated colleges under the supervision of the University Grants Commission. Establishment of private universities has gained momentum in recent years. At all levels, students can choose the medium of education in either Bangla or English.
Most expatriates, who choose to educate their children in Bangladesh, send them to private schools. There are international, American and British schools in Dhaka.
Entry and residence requirements
Mono British nationals wishing to enter Bangladesh must be in possession of the correct visa. Details can be obtained from the Bangladeshi High Commission London.
If you are a British-Bangladeshi holding a valid British passport you, your spouse and children can apply for a long-term “No Visa Required” (NVR) sticker in your British passport for “Visa Exempt Status” for travelling to Bangladesh. NVR endorsements can be applied for at Bangladeshi missions in the UK or at regional passport offices in Bangladesh.
Employment and recognised qualifications
Foreign nationals working in Bangladesh must get an “Income Tax Clearance Certificate” or an “Income Tax Exemption Certificate” before each departure from Bangladesh. Full details are available on the Bangladesh Board of Revenue website.
Social ethics and traditions
Local laws reflect the fact that Bangladesh is an Islamic country. You should respect local customs and sensitivities at all times, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.
You should dress modestly at all times. Men and women should cover their shoulders and legs when in public; low cut tops should be avoided. Women should always cover their heads when entering mosques or other holy places and when travelling in rural areas. Homosexuality and co-habitation by an unmarried couple is illegal.
If you, or your father, were born in Bangladesh, you might be considered a Bangladeshi national by the local authorities, even if you do not hold a Bangladeshi passport, and the British government may be limited in providing the full range of consular assistance.
You should carry some form of photo ID at all times, preferably a photocopy of your passport and current visa or local ID card if you have one.
Driving licences & vehicles
Holders of UK driving licences will need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in Bangladesh. An IDP is valid for 12 months following arrival in the country. The IDP must be accompanied by your UK driving licence. After 12 months you will need to obtain a Bangladeshi driving licence issued by the Bangladesh Roads Transport Authority (BRTA).
Bangladesh drives on the left. Road conditions and driving standards in Bangladesh can be challenging. Vehicles are often in poor condition and can be found driving on the wrong side of the road, reversing on main roads, not signalling their intentions and making u-turns unexpectedly. Many drivers are unlicensed and uninsured. Many roads in both urban and rural areas are in extremely poor condition. Care and patience is required to navigate safely.
The number of vehicles on the roads is increasing and heavy congestion is now common. Lack of discipline and the numerous cycle-rickshaws plying the streets cause much of the chaos on Bangladesh roads.
All private vehicles must be insured with a local company for third party insurance and passenger liability. At the scene of an accident crowds can gather quickly and tempers can fray, potentially leading to violent confrontation, even it is not you fault. If you are involved in an accident, call the police immediately and remain calm.
Guidance on bringing goods in Bangladesh
Current customs rules and regulations on bringing in goods can be found on the Bangladesh Customs Portal.
Property & property disputes
You should take legal advice before entering into any agreement over the ownership or use of property or other assets.
Disputes over property ownership are common in Bangladesh. However, these are civil matters and the British High Commission Dhaka cannot intervene in these matters. Consular staff are not legally trained and cannot, therefore, offer legal advice. If you are unable to reach an amicable solution to the situation, you may wish to consider taking legal advice and engaging a lawyer to act on your behalf. It may be necessary to take legal action through the courts in order to achieve a lasting resolution to the disagreement.
You should also see our property disputes information on our Travel Advice for Bangladesh.
If you have lost you British passport and have been issued with an Emergency Travel Document, you must ensure that you arrange for an Exit Visa prior to leaving the country. You should contact Bangladesh Immigration & Passports department for more information.
The information below refers to the Pensions Office, which based at the British High Commission in Dhaka. The Pensions Office is an office of the UK Department for Welfare and Pensions and is a separate office from the British high Commission.
The International Pension Service (IPSO) is part the Department for Work and Pension based in the British High Commission, Dhaka. This office provides assistance to process new claims, enquiries related to benefits and transfer of payment from the UK to Bangladesh. The four types of benefits dealt by this office are:
- Bereavement Allowance
- Bereavement Payment
- Widowed Parent’s Allowance
- State Pension
You might be able to claim Bereavement Allowance if you are a widow, widower or surviving civil partner between 45 and State Pension age. It is paid to you for up to 52 weeks from the date of death of your husband, wife or civil partner.
If your husband, wife or civil partner has died, you may be able to get Bereavement Payment: a one-off, tax free, lump-sum payment of £2000.
If you are widowed below State Pension age and have at least one dependent child, you could claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance.
If you are 65 years or over (for a man) and 60/65 years or over (for a woman) and meet the contribution criteria, you might be eligible for a State Pension. You can claim 4 months before you reach your State Pension age.
If you are moving to live permanently in Bangladesh from the UK and would like to get information of what benefits you might be able to get, how to claim them/order for claim forms or transfer existing benefits to Bangladesh, you can contact the following section:
British High Commission
United Nations Road,
Counter opening time: Sunday to Thursday: 9am to midday.
Telephone: +880 2 8822705-9
The following benefits are for people who are ordinarily resident in the UK. They are not available in Bangladesh:
- Pension Credit
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- UK Child Benefit
- Council Tax benefit
- War Pensions
- Carers Allowance
To get information about new rules for customers who delay claiming their State Pension/Bereavement Allowance, please contact the Pension Section, British High Commission, Dhaka.
Tell either the Pensions Office, based at the British High Commission, Dhaka, or the Department for Works and Pensions in the UK immediately if you change any personal details, eg your address or bank account details or you get married, separated, divorced or widowed.
A ‘Life Certificate’ is a form the UK Department for Work and Pensions might send you directly or via the Pension Section, Dhaka, to check if you are still eligible for the state pension. If you get one, you will need to get it signed by a witness and send it back, as instructed on the form. Your payments may be suspended if you do not respond.
Check the list of people who can witness a Life Certificate. If you cannot find a witness then the International Pension Service Officer based in the British High Commission, Dhaka can act as a witness.
For further details see the information on getting benefits if you are abroad or contact the Department for Work and Pensions:
Department for Work and Pensions
International Pension Centre
Tel: +44 (0) 1912187777
This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the embassy by the relevant local authorities and may be subject to change at any time with little or no notice. The FCO and the British high commission will not be liable for any inaccuracies in this information. British nationals wishing to obtain any further information must contact the relevant local authority.