- We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Brunei Darussalam.
- Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
- On 1 May 2014, Brunei phased in a new Islamic Sharia penal code. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, the offences and punishments set out in the code will apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims.
- Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
Entry and exit
Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Before travelling, you should confirm what the minimum validity requirement is for your passport. Contact the nearest Embassy, High Commission or Consulate of Brunei for the most up-to-date information.
Transit visas (valid for 72 hours) and single and multiple entry visas can be issued to Australian passport holders on arrival. The visa fee must be paid in cash in either Brunei or Singapore dollars. There is a money changer in the arrival hall of the airport beyond the immigration control point, but no banking facilities.
Immigration regulations are strict. Australians working in Brunei are strongly advised to closely monitor their immigration status and visa expiration dates. You should check your entry stamp in your passport to confirm your permitted length of stay.
A departure tax is payable in local currency at Brunei International Airport in Bandar Seri Begawan and the Muara and Serasa ferry terminals. Depending upon the airline, the departure tax may be incorporated into the cost of the air ticket.
Make sure your passport has at least six months' validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.
Safety and security
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.
We advise you to be alert to your own security in Brunei Darussalam. Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
Brunei has a low incidence of serious crime. Foreigners are occasionally the victims of petty crime, such as burglaries and theft. Exercise normal safety precautions and ensure personal belongings and passports are secure at all times.
Money and valuables
Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work overseas. Singapore dollars are accepted in Brunei.
Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.
As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.
Since October 2007, a limit has been imposed on the sale of diesel and petrol for vehicles and vessels not registered in Brunei. Information on these measures is available at the Government of Brunei Darussalam’s Energy Department website.
The standard of driving and adherence to road rules differs from Australia. It is common for drivers to drive through red lights, speed and not use seatbelts. Vehicles are also sometimes driven by unlicensed or uninsured drivers.
If you are involved in a road accident as a driver, you should not leave the scene or move your vehicle until the police have attended. For more advice, see our road travel page.
If you are planning to visit the neighbouring eastern states of Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak), you should read our travel advice for Malaysia. If you are planning to visit nearby Indonesian provinces in Kalimantan, you should read our travel advice for Indonesia.
Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.
When you are in Brunei, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we cannot get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.
On 1 May 2014, Brunei began implementing a new criminal code based on Sharia Islamic law. Most offences under the new penal code will apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims. The first phase offences are punishable with a fine, imprisonment or both. Subsequent phases will introduce severe penalties, including both corporal and capital punishments. The new code will introduce penalties, including fines, imprisonment or both.
It is also forbidden for non-Muslims to eat, drink and smoke in public places during Ramadan between sunrise and sunset. Failure to comply could result in a fine, imprisonment or both.
The new penal code can be accessed online at the Brunei Attorney-General’s Chambers website.
Some drug offences carry a mandatory death penalty. Other penalties include lengthy prison sentences and corporal punishment.
Serious crimes, such as murder or kidnapping, may attract the death penalty. Other serious crimes, such as rape and robbery may attract corporal punishment.
Offences that do not exist in Australia such as adultery and close proximity between the sexes may attract a fine, imprisonment or both. In some circumstances, it may also attract corporal punishment.
Immigration related offences are taken very seriously and offenders may be subject to corporal punishment.
Consensual homosexual acts between adults of either sex are illegal and penalties include prison sentences. See our LGBTI travellers page.
It is illegal to persuade or incite a Muslim to neglect their religious duties. It is illegal to preach religions other than Islam. Adult male Muslims are required to attend Friday prayers; failure to attend may attract fines. Muslims should not teach Islamic doctrine outside their own home or to anyone outside their household without permission.
The sale of alcohol is prohibited in Brunei and laws governing the limited importation of alcohol are strictly enforced. Travellers should familiarise themselves with local requirements and be aware that they may be required to produce documentation showing that any alcohol was legally purchased and imported.
Possession of pornographic material is prohibited.
Smoking is banned in specific public places, including government buildings, hospitals, recreational and educational centres, public transport and restaurants. Offenders could be fined.
It is an offence to photograph prohibited places, including government and military infrastructure and equipment, places used by security forces and communications and civil infrastructure, and areas in the vicinity of such places.
Persons detected carrying firearms and related items, such as ammunition, including empty cartridge shells, can be detained by local authorities and may face criminal prosecution.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.
The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around 28 June 2014 and finish on or around 27 July 2014. During Ramadan, Australians travelling to countries with significant Muslim communities should take care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. In particular, people who are not fasting are advised to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in the presence of people who are fasting. For more information see our Ramadan travel bulletin.
There are conservative standards of dress and behaviour in Brunei. You should take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.
You should be cautious when making comments about local issues, particularly those relating to the royal family. Such comments could cause offence and in some cases, could attract legal consequences.
Information for dual nationals
Brunei does not recognise dual nationality. Australian citizens entering Brunei with a Bruneian passport will be treated as Bruneian by local authorities. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Bruneian dual nationals who are arrested or detained.
Our Dual nationals page provides further information for dual nationals.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
Medical facilities in Brunei's public hospitals are of reasonable quality. Private hospital facilities are of a high standard. In the case of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to Australia or Singapore may be necessary. Medical evacuation costs are considerable.
Dengue fever and other mosquito-borne diseases, including Japanese encephalitis, occur in Brunei. We recommend you take precautions against mosquito bites including using insect repellent at all times, wearing long, light coloured, loose-fitting clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.
Japanese encephalitis is found throughout many regions of North, South and South-East Asia and Papua New Guinea. A Japanese encephalitis vaccine is registered for use and is currently available in Australia. For further details please consult your travel health doctor.
Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, hand, foot and mouth disease and tuberculosis) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We advise you to boil all drinking water or drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
When red algae reaches certain levels, Bruneian authorities may issue Red Tide warnings which may advise against swimming in certain areas and eating certain types of seafood. The warnings, which vary from time to time depending on climatic conditions, are printed in local newspapers, including in English language publications.
There is smoke haze across some parts of Brunei usually during the July to October period. This haze can cause health problems for some people. Keep up-to-date with the advice of local authorities and seek medical advice on appropriate precautions.
Where to get help
In Brunei, you can obtain consular assistance from the:
Australian High Commission, Bandar Seri Begawan
Level 6, Dar Takaful IBB Utama building
Bandar Seri Begawan BS 8711
Telephone: (673) 222 9435
Facsimile: (673) 222 1652
If you are travelling to Brunei, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, we encourage you to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.
In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the High Commission you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Flooding and mudslides are common during the wet season (September to January and May to July). Essential services, such as power supplies, can be affected at these times. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with Children page.