Brunei consists of two parts; while most people live and work in the larger part, which has an advanced shoreline strip, much of the land in the smaller part of the country is still covered in a virgin tropical forest. The capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, the international airport, and Muara’s principal seaport are all located on the shore. The largest population of inhabitants can be found in the capital or several clustering urban areas such as Rimba, Berakas, Jerudong, etc. Brunei Darussalam became a fully independent state in January 1984. Its laws relating to citizenship were made in line with general Islamic law. Acquiring a certificate of residency here grants ex-pats not just the right to settle for a longer time, they can vote, seek employment, have access to a visa-free policy, etc.
If you are interested in becoming a citizen here, your options are very limited. Unfortunately, being born within the territory of land does not automatically make you a citizen. This is a guide on how you can acquire citizenship in the nation, despite being a foreigner.
What are the options?
There are couples of citizenship options you can choose, depending on your motive.
Citizenship by jus sanguinis (DESCENT)
This applies to persons born in a marriage between a Bruneian father and a foreign spouse, irrespective of the place of birth. It also applies to an illegitimate child born to a Bruneian mother and a stateless father, irrespective of the country of birth. If you are a foreigner born abroad with at least one parent who is a native citizen, you may apply for this.
Citizenship by Naturalization
Marriage, descent, or adoption are the most popular ways to obtain citizenship in this country. However, there are cases where the King grants a foreigner who has been found worthy and has met all requirements of citizenship if the applicant has stated that he or she intends to stay in the country indefinitely. In addition, will renounce previous citizenship if granted.
Citizenship by Jure matrimonii (MARRIAGE):
If you are a Bruneian woman married to a Bruneian, you can petition for citizenship after living in the country for at least 10 years with a permanent residence status (purple card). A Bruneian woman’s male spouse can apply for citizenship. However, he must possess a permanent residency permit, live in the city for at least 15 years, and have a reliable means of support.
Note: Dual citizenship is not recognized in the country, except in the case of a child born abroad to parents who are natives. Such a child is allowed to hold citizenship until he/she is old enough to renounce one of the two citizenships.
For a person to be granted the rights to be a citizen, who comes with the benefits of living and working indefinitely here, His Majesty, The Sultan must be convinced that the request is genuine.
- Has spent at least 20 years within the preceding 25 years before the date of application, or 15 years for citizenship by registration
- Before the application, he must have stayed for two years in a row.
- Is of credible character
- Knows and speaks Malay fluently.
- Has declared to settle indefinitely without leaving
- Has a reliable source of income
Applying for Citizenship involves submitting an application form to the office of His Majesty the Sultan. He will approve of the conferment when the applicant is found truly worthy. This takes a great deal of time, at least 3 months to process and run background checks.
All applicants must submit their forms, all required documents, and application fee to the Immigration Department. Acquiring a Certificate of residency does not cost much.