Guidance

Living in Brunei

Advice for British people living in Brunei, including information on health, education, benefits, employment and more.

Overview

This guide sets out essential information for British nationals residing in Brunei, 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. See our information on what the British high commission can and cannot do for British nationals.

Health

Medical care is generally good in Brunei and relatively reasonable unless you opt for private hospital services. Healthcare is not provided free of charge in Brunei but the government run hospital would extend their treatment without the need for any form of payment guarantee.You are expected to settle your bill prior to your discharge.

There is no reciprocal National Health Service agreement in Brunei and medical costs are to be borne by the individual. Insurance is essential, therefore, ensure that comprehensive travel insurance is taken out before you travel. Make sure that your policy provides for the following:

  • an air ambulance, in case you need to be flown home;
  • full medical cover (bills can be expensive);
  • bringing the body home, in the event of death;
  • bringing your family home, in the event of your illness or injury.

If you need emergency medical assistance, you can attend any medical clinic, hospital emergency room or dial 991 for an ambulance.

List of medical facilities and practitioners (PDF, 404KB, 6 pages)

Education

Brunei Government’s policy is to provide free education to its citizens. However, expatriates and permanent residents of Brunei have to pay for education and apply for the appropriate student pass to study in Brunei.

The Ministry of Education provides information regarding education policies and services in Brunei.

Employment

As a general rule, any person who is coming to Brunei for the purpose of study or taking up employment, must obtain a visa before coming to Brunei.

Expatriate employment is controlled by a labour quota system from the Labour Department and the issuance of employment passes, by the Immigration Department. Work permits are generally issued to an expatriate in line with employment contracts. For further details please click here.

In general British citizens visiting Brunei are given 90 days visa free stay on arrival.

Please visit the Brunei Immigration website for further information.

Benefits

Brunei has an excellent social security system. However, only those who are citizens of the country or who are permanent residents and who pay into the insurance scheme will qualify for benefits from the system.

For information on UK benefits, seebenefits-if-you-are-abroad.

If you are considering moving or retiring abroad, see moving-or-retiring-abroad for information.

Driving Licences and vehicles

In order to drive in Brunei, you will require a Brunei driving licence. Please visit the Land Transport website for more information.

Traffic accidents should be reported to the police within 48hours.

Also check our information UK driving licences.

Guidance on bringing medication into Brunei

Brunei Customs authorities allow you to bring certain medication for your personal use, provided that it is kept in carry-on baggage. It is advised to take an English prescription from your doctor at home for both your prescription drugs and non-prescription medicines. This will help to avoid problems or misunderstandings at the customs in Brunei.

For more information, please visit the Royal Customs and Excise Department.

If you’re travelling with Royal Brunei Airlines please check their website for restrictions.

Social ethics and traditions

It is important for expatriates in Brunei to be conscious of the need for appropriate behaviour. In the interests of good relations with your colleagues, neighbours and government officials, it is essential that every effort be made to behave according to local customs.

Islam is the official religion of the country and is intimately woven into the culture and life-style of Brunei Malays. Muslims take their religious beliefs and duties very seriously and expect non-Muslims to respect these beliefs. There is a government department of religious affairs to check on and prosecute breaches of Islamic conduct, and there have been a few occasions when expatriates too have been liable to prosecution in the Islamic Courts. Propagation of other religions is a serious offence and could result in deportation.

Please refer to our travel advice for further information.

Disclaimer

This information is provided as a general guide and is based upon information provided to the High Commission 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.

Published 18 December 2013
Last updated 8 June 2015 + show all updates
  1. Updated list of medical facilities and practitioners
  2. Updated list of medical facilities and practitioners
  3. First published.