Brunei is a small Islamic Sultanate on the northwest coast of the island of Borneo. The capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, is the only major city. Tourist facilities are good, and generally available. For more information concerning Brunei, see the homepage on the Internet at http://www.brunet.bn or http://www.borneosearch.com.
U.S. passport-holders may take advantage of Brunei's participation in the Visa Waiver Pilot Program (VWPP), which allows visitors to Brunei for business or pleasure to obtain visas upon arrival for up to 90 days at no charge. The existing airport tax upon arrival/departure is Brunei dollars 12. For further information about entry requirements, travelers may consult the consular section of the Embassy of Brunei, 3520 International Court, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; Tel: (202) 342-0159 (http://www.embassy.org/embassies/bn.html).
The crime rate in Brunei is low, and violent crime is rare. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and to the U.S. Embassy. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
There is adequate care for basic medical conditions in Brunei; however, due to unpredictable shortages of materials and uncertain support staff, any elective surgery or complicated care is best obtained in Singapore or elsewhere. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States, however, can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas may face extreme difficulties. Check with your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death. Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of Stateís Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Brunei is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of public transportation: Good
Urban road conditions/maintenance: Poor
Rural road conditions/maintenance: Poor
Availability of roadside assistance: Good
Driving in Brunei is similar to driving during rush hour in large cities in the United States, although traffic moves on the left. Major roads in Brunei are generally good and most vehicles are new and well maintained. Vehicular accidents are now one of the leading causes of death in Brunei. Brunei suffers a high traffic accident rate, possibly due to excessive speed, poor driver education, or carelessness.
While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that countryís laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and do not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Bruneiís laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Brunei are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines, or worse.
Brunei has a mandatory death penalty for many narcotics offenses. Under the current law, possession of heroin and morphine derivatives of more than 15 grams, and cannabis of more than 20 grams, carries the death penalty. Possession of lesser amounts carries a minimum twenty-year jail term and caning.
Americans living in or visiting Brunei are encouraged to register in person or via telephone or fax at the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Bandar Seri Begawan and obtain updated information on travel and security within the country. The U.S. Embassy is located on the 3rd floor, Teck Guan Plaza, Jalan Sultan, in the capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan. The U.S. mailing address is American Embassy, PSC 470 (BSB), FPO AP, 96507. The telephone number is (673)(2)229-670, fax number (673)(2)225-293 and e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. The after hours number for emergency calls is (673)(8) 730-691.