Official Name: The Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace
Bandar Seri Begawan
Brunei dollar (BND)
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Brunei, officially known as the Sultanate of Brunei, is a small sovereign state located on the northern coast of the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. This nation, with a rich history and vibrant culture, is renowned for its oil and gas reserves, which have significantly shaped its economy and political landscape.
The history of Brunei can be traced back to the 7th century when it was influenced by Indian and Chinese civilizations. The Sultanate of Brunei reached its height of power in the 15th and 16th centuries, controlling much of Borneo and the Philippines. During this time, Brunei became a major trading hub, prospering through its control of the lucrative spice trade. However, by the 19th century, Brunei’s power began to decline due to internal conflicts and external pressures from European colonial powers.
In 1888, Brunei became a British protectorate, ensuring its survival as a sovereign state. It regained full independence from the United Kingdom in 1984 and has since thrived under a constitutional sultanate. The current ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, has been instrumental in the modernization and development of Brunei.
Brunei’s culture is deeply rooted in Malay traditions, with Islam serving as the predominant religion and influencing various aspects of daily life. The people of Brunei take pride in their customs, language, and arts. The national language is Malay, and traditional customs and ceremonies are celebrated throughout the year. Traditional music, dance, and handicrafts play an essential role in preserving Brunei’s cultural heritage.
The economy of Brunei is heavily reliant on its vast reserves of oil and natural gas. These resources have made Brunei one of the wealthiest nations in the world in terms of GDP per capita. The government has successfully utilized oil revenues to provide its citizens with free education, healthcare, and generous welfare programs. However, in recent years, Brunei has recognized the importance of diversifying its economy to reduce its dependence on oil and gas. Efforts are being made to develop sectors such as tourism, finance, and technology to ensure long-term sustainability.
Politically, Brunei is an absolute monarchy governed by the Sultan, who serves as both the head of state and the head of government. The Sultan has the authority to appoint and dismiss government officials, and the country operates under a system of Islamic law. Brunei has maintained a stable political environment, and the government has pursued a policy of non-interference in regional and international affairs.
Types of companies in Brunei
A sole proprietorship is the simplest form of business entity in which a single individual owns and operates the business.
The owner has unlimited liability for the company’s debts and obligations.
There is no legal distinction between the owner and the business.
A partnership is formed when two or more individuals or entities agree to carry on a business together.
Partners share the profits, losses, and liabilities of the business.
There are two main types of partnerships: general partnership and limited partnership.
In a general partnership, all partners have unlimited liability, while in a limited partnership, there is at least one general partner with unlimited liability and one or more limited partners with limited liability.
Private Limited Company (Sendirian Berhad, Sdn Bhd):
A private limited company is a separate legal entity from its shareholders.
Shareholders’ liability is limited to the amount of their share capital.
It requires a minimum of two shareholders and can have a maximum of 50 shareholders.
The company’s shares are not publicly traded.
Public Limited Company (Berhad, Bhd):
A public limited company can offer its shares to the public and may be listed on the stock exchange.
It requires a minimum of seven shareholders, and there is no maximum limit on the number of shareholders.
The liability of shareholders is limited to the amount of their share capital.
There are additional legal and regulatory requirements for public limited companies, including financial reporting and disclosure obligations.
A foreign company can establish a branch office in Brunei to conduct business.
The branch office is an extension of the foreign company and does not have a separate legal identity.
The activities of the branch office are governed by the laws and regulations of Brunei.
A representative office is established by a foreign company for non-commercial purposes, such as market research or promotion of the parent company’s products or services.
It does not engage in profit-generating activities and cannot enter into business contracts on behalf of the parent company.
The representative office operates under restrictions and must comply with relevant laws and regulations.
Advantages of companies in Brunei
Brunei is strategically located in Southeast Asia, providing access to regional markets such as ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and the Asia-Pacific region.
Its proximity to major markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore offers opportunities for trade and business expansion.
Political Stability and Ease of Doing Business:
Brunei enjoys political stability and a low crime rate, providing a secure environment for businesses.
The country has a favorable business climate, and the government has implemented measures to streamline business processes, making it easier to set up and operate a company.
Brunei offers a competitive tax regime, including low corporate tax rates. Currently, the corporate tax rate is 18.5%, which is relatively lower compared to many other countries.
There are no personal income taxes, capital gains taxes, or withholding taxes on dividends and interest.
Double tax treaties with various countries help to avoid or reduce double taxation for companies engaged in international business.
Access to Natural Resources:
Brunei is rich in natural resources, particularly oil and gas. This has contributed to its high per capita income and provides opportunities for companies involved in related industries.
Access to abundant energy resources at competitive prices can be advantageous for businesses, especially those that are energy-intensive.
Brunei has a well-educated and skilled workforce. The government places significant emphasis on education and training, providing a pool of talented individuals for businesses to tap into.
The availability of English-speaking professionals further facilitates communication and business transactions with international partners.
Strong Financial Sector:
Brunei has a stable and well-regulated financial sector, offering a range of banking and financial services to support business activities.
The presence of both local and international banks provides businesses with access to various financing options and financial instruments.
Government Support and Incentives:
The Brunei government actively promotes foreign and local investments, offering incentives such as tax exemptions, grants, and investment guarantees in targeted sectors.
Initiatives like the Brunei Vision 2035 aim to diversify the economy and encourage private sector participation, providing opportunities for businesses in priority sectors such as tourism, ICT, and halal industries.
“Our team can provide assistance if you need help registering a company in Brunei”
What are the requirements for company registration in Brunei?
The requirements for company registration in Brunei include a completed application form, proposed company name, registered office address in Brunei, shareholder and director details, Memorandum and Articles of Association, consent to act as director forms, and identification documents of shareholders and directors.
How long does it take to register a company in Brunei?
The registration process typically takes around 7 to 14 working days, depending on the completeness of documents and the workload of the relevant authorities.
What is the minimum share capital required to register a company in Brunei?
The minimum share capital required to register a company in Brunei is BND 1 (Brunei Dollar).
Can a foreigner register a company in Brunei?
Yes, a foreigner can register a company in Brunei. However, there are restrictions on certain industries that require local participation or licensing.
What are the types of companies that can be registered in Brunei?
The types of companies that can be registered in Brunei include sole proprietorship, partnership, private limited company, public limited company, branch office, and representative office.
Do I need a local partner to register a company in Brunei?
In general, a local partner is not required to register a company in Brunei. However, for certain industries or activities, local participation or licensing may be required.
What is the process of company name registration in Brunei?
The process of company name registration in Brunei involves submitting the proposed company name to the Registrar of Companies for approval. Once approved, the name can be reserved for a period of 120 days.
Can I reserve a company name before starting the registration process?
Yes, it is possible to reserve a company name in Brunei before starting the registration process. The reserved name will be valid for 120 days.
What are the documents required for company registration in Brunei?
The documents required for company registration in Brunei include identification documents of shareholders and directors, Memorandum and Articles of Association, consent to act as director forms, and other relevant supporting documents.
Can I register a company online in Brunei?
Yes, it is possible to register a company online in Brunei through the online registration system provided by the Registry of Companies and Business Names (ROCBN).
Are there any specific industry licenses required for certain types of businesses?
Yes, certain types of businesses in Brunei may require specific industry licenses or permits. It is important to identify the applicable licenses or permits based on the nature of the business activities.
What are the statutory obligations after company registration in Brunei?
After company registration in Brunei, statutory obligations include filing annual returns, maintaining proper accounting records, conducting annual general meetings, and complying with tax obligations and other relevant regulations.
Can I register a sole proprietorship in Brunei?
Yes, it is possible to register a sole proprietorship in Brunei. A sole proprietorship is a business structure where an individual owns and operates the business as a single entity.
How many directors are required for a company in Brunei?
A private limited company in Brunei must have at least one director, while a public limited company must have at least two directors.
Do I need a physical office address for company registration?
Yes, a registered office address in Brunei is required for company registration. This address will be used for official correspondence and as the company’s registered address.
What are the ongoing compliance requirements for registered companies in Brunei?
The ongoing compliance requirements for registered companies in Brunei include filing annual returns, maintaining proper accounting records, conducting annual general meetings, and complying with tax obligations and other relevant regulations.
Can I change the company name after registration?
Yes, it is possible to change the company name after registration by filing a request with the Registrar of Companies and paying the necessary fees.
How can I check the availability of a company name in Brunei?
You can check the availability of a company name in Brunei by conducting a search on the online platform provided by the Registrar of Companies.
Are there any restrictions on foreign ownership in certain industries?
Yes, certain industries in Brunei may have restrictions on foreign ownership, requiring local participation or licensing. It is important to identify the specific regulations and requirements for the intended industry.
Can I register a company with a virtual office address in Brunei?
No, Brunei requires registered companies to have a physical office address in the country for official correspondence and legal purposes.
Can I register a company with a foreign address?
No, the registered address of a company in Brunei must be located within the country’s jurisdiction.
What are the restrictions on company names in Brunei?
Company names in Brunei must comply with guidelines set by the Registrar of Companies, which include avoiding misleading or offensive names and not infringing upon existing trademarks or copyrights.
Do I need to engage a local agent for company registration in Brunei?
No, it is not mandatory to engage a local agent for company registration in Brunei. However, it can be helpful to seek professional assistance to ensure compliance with local regulations.
Can I register a company without being physically present in Brunei?
Yes, it is possible to register a company in Brunei without being physically present. However, you may need to appoint a local representative or engage the services of a registered agent to fulfill certain requirements.
What is the role of the Registrar of Companies in Brunei?
The Registrar of Companies in Brunei is responsible for the administration and regulation of companies, including the registration, maintenance of records, and enforcement of company-related laws and regulations.
Are there any tax incentives for registered companies in Brunei?
Yes, Brunei offers various tax incentives for registered companies, including tax exemptions, reduced tax rates, and investment allowances, to promote economic growth and attract foreign investment.
Can I register a non-profit organization in Brunei?
Yes, it is possible to register a non-profit organization, such as a society or foundation, in Brunei. Different requirements and regulations may apply compared to for-profit companies.
Can I register a branch office of a foreign company in Brunei?
Yes, foreign companies can establish a branch office in Brunei by submitting the necessary documents and fulfilling the registration requirements specified by the Registrar of Companies.
Is it possible to convert a sole proprietorship into a private limited company in Brunei?
Yes, it is possible to convert a sole proprietorship into a private limited company in Brunei by following the conversion procedures and meeting the requirements set by the Registrar of Companies.
What are the advantages of registering a private limited company in Brunei?
Registering a private limited company in Brunei provides limited liability protection for shareholders, separate legal entity status, ease of transferability of shares, and enhanced credibility and business opportunities.
Are there any annual filing requirements for registered companies in Brunei?
Yes, registered companies in Brunei are required to file annual returns, which include updated company information, financial statements, and other relevant documents, with the Registrar of Companies.
Can I register a company with multiple business activities?
Yes, it is possible to register a company with multiple business activities in Brunei. You would need to specify the different activities during the registration process.
Is it necessary to have a local bank account for a registered company in Brunei?
Yes, it is generally necessary for a registered company in Brunei to have a local bank account to facilitate business transactions and comply with financial regulations.
Can I register a company with only one director?
Yes, a company in Brunei can be registered with only one director. However, it is recommended to have at least two directors for better corporate governance.
Are there any restrictions on the nationality of directors and shareholders?
There are generally no restrictions on the nationality of directors and shareholders in Brunei. Foreign individuals and entities can hold directorship and shareholding positions in Brunei companies.
Can I register a company without a physical office space?
No, Brunei requires registered companies to have a physical office space within the country’s jurisdiction for official correspondence and legal purposes.
What are the fees associated with company registration in Brunei?
The fees associated with company registration in Brunei can vary depending on the type of company and the services required. It is advisable to consult the Registrar of Companies or seek professional advice for specific fee details.
Can I register a company with a foreign currency as the share capital?
No, the share capital of a company in Brunei must be denominated in Brunei dollars (BND) at the time of registration.
Is it mandatory to have a company secretary in Brunei?
Yes, it is mandatory for registered companies in Brunei to have a qualified company secretary. The company secretary ensures compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
Can I register a company with different classes of shares?
Yes, it is possible to register a company with different classes of shares in Brunei. The rights and privileges attached to each class of shares should be clearly defined in the company’s articles of association.
What are the rules regarding the appointment and removal of directors?
The rules regarding the appointment and removal of directors in Brunei are specified in the company’s articles of association. The appointment and removal processes typically require board resolutions and proper documentation.
Can I register a company with a foreign director and a local shareholder?
Yes, it is possible to register a company in Brunei with a foreign director and a local shareholder. The nationality or residency of directors and shareholders can be a combination of local and foreign individuals or entities.
Is it possible to change the registered address of a company after registration?
Yes, it is possible to change the registered address of a company after registration by submitting the necessary documents and notifying the Registrar of Companies.
Are there any specific requirements for company seals in Brunei?
Yes, Brunei companies are required to have a common seal, which should be engraved with the company’s name. The use of the common seal is typically required for official documents and contracts.
Can I register a company with a nominee shareholder in Brunei?
No, Brunei does not allow the use of nominee shareholders. The shareholders of a company must be the actual beneficial owners of the shares.
What are the restrictions on company names that contain sensitive words or phrases?
Brunei has restrictions on the use of sensitive words or phrases in company names. These may include words related to government, national symbols, religious references, or those that are misleading or offensive. The Registrar of Companies has the authority to reject or request changes to company names that violate these restrictions.
Can I register a company with a foreign director and a foreign shareholder?
Yes, it is possible to register a company in Brunei with both a foreign director and a foreign shareholder. Brunei allows foreign individuals and entities to participate in the directorship and shareholding of companies.
What are the disclosure requirements for registered companies in Brunei?
Registered companies in Brunei are required to disclose certain information, including their registered office address, details of directors and shareholders, and the company’s financial statements. These disclosures are made to the Registrar of Companies and are typically included in annual returns.
Can I register a company with a non-resident director?
Yes, it is possible to register a company in Brunei with a non-resident director. Brunei does not impose residency requirements for directors, allowing non-residents to hold directorship positions.
Are there any restrictions on the transfer of shares in Brunei companies?
Brunei does not impose significant restrictions on the transfer of shares in companies. Share transfers are generally allowed, but it is advisable to review the company’s articles of association and comply with any internal procedures or requirements related to share transfers.
Can I register a company without a local shareholder in Brunei?
Yes, it is possible to register a company in Brunei without a local shareholder. Brunei allows full foreign ownership, and there are no requirements for local shareholding in most industries. However, specific industries or sectors may have their own regulations regarding shareholding and foreign ownership, so it is advisable to research and consult with relevant authorities or professional advisors.
Major Banks in Brunei
Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) – The largest bank in Brunei offering a wide range of banking and financial services to individuals, businesses, and institutions.
Baiduri Bank – A leading bank in Brunei providing retail, corporate, and treasury services, including credit cards, loans, and investment products.
Standard Chartered Bank Brunei – A subsidiary of Standard Chartered Bank, offering a comprehensive range of banking services to personal, business, and corporate clients.
HSBC Brunei – A branch of HSBC Bank operating in Brunei, providing retail and commercial banking services, including savings accounts, loans, and trade finance.
Citibank Brunei – A branch of Citibank, offering a range of banking services such as deposits, loans, credit cards, and wealth management solutions.
The top universities in Brunei
Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD)
Location: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Major Courses: UBD offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs across various disciplines, including Business, Economics, Engineering, Science, Arts, and Social Sciences.
Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB)
Location: Gadong, Brunei
Major Courses: UTB specializes in engineering, technology, and applied sciences. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in areas such as Civil Engineering, Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Computer Science, and Business Technology.
Institut Teknologi Brunei (ITB)
Location: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Major Courses: ITB focuses on technical and vocational education. It offers diploma and higher national diploma programs in fields such as Engineering, Information Technology, and Business.
Laksamana College of Business (LCB)
Location: Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Major Courses: LCB offers undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Business, Accounting, Finance, Marketing, and Hospitality Management.
“If you need assistance registering for college or university, our team is here to help.”
Strange or unusual to visitors in Brunei
Strict adherence to Islamic customs: Brunei is an Islamic country, and visitors may notice the strong influence of religion in daily life. This includes practices such as the call to prayer, modest dress codes, and the observance of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
Limited availability of alcohol: Brunei has strict regulations on the sale and consumption of alcohol. Non-Muslim visitors may find it unusual that alcohol is not widely available in public places, and there are restrictions on its importation and consumption.
No smoking in public areas: Brunei has implemented a smoking ban in public areas, including restaurants, cafes, and public transportation. Visitors who are used to smoking in designated areas may find it unusual that smoking is prohibited in many public spaces.
Quiet and serene streets: Brunei is known for its clean and peaceful environment. Visitors may find it unusual to experience the calmness and lack of noise in the streets, especially if they come from bustling urban areas.
No littering and strict cleanliness: Brunei places a strong emphasis on cleanliness, and littering is strictly prohibited. Visitors may find it unusual to see the cleanliness of public spaces and the absence of litter.
Cultural respect and modesty: Bruneians value modesty and respect in their culture. Visitors may find it unusual to observe local customs such as removing shoes before entering homes or mosques, addressing elders or officials with proper titles, and showing restraint in public displays of affection.
“Tips for Newcomers: Adjusting to Life in Brunei”
Understand the culture and customs: Take the time to learn about Bruneian culture, traditions, and customs. Respect for elders, modesty in dress, and adherence to Islamic values are important aspects of the Bruneian way of life.
Embrace the local lifestyle: Immerse yourself in the local lifestyle by trying Bruneian cuisine, participating in cultural festivals, and engaging with the local community. This will help you develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for Bruneian culture.
Be mindful of Islamic practices: Brunei is an Islamic country, and it is important to be respectful of Islamic practices. Familiarize yourself with basic Islamic customs, such as dress codes, prayer times, and the observance of Ramadan.
Establish a support network: Connect with fellow expatriates, join community groups, or reach out to local organizations to build a support network. This can help you navigate the challenges of living in a new country and provide opportunities for socializing and making new friends.
Learn the local language: While English is widely spoken in Brunei, learning basic phrases in Malay (the national language) can be beneficial for everyday interactions. It shows respect for the local culture and can help you communicate more effectively with locals.
Adapt to the climate: Brunei has a tropical climate with high humidity and rainfall throughout the year. Be prepared for the warm and humid weather by dressing appropriately and staying hydrated. Embrace outdoor activities during the cooler parts of the day.
Familiarize yourself with local regulations: Take the time to understand the local laws and regulations in Brunei. This includes knowing the rules regarding alcohol consumption, smoking, and appropriate behavior in public spaces.
Seek assistance when needed: If you need assistance or have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the appropriate authorities, expatriate support groups, or your employer. They can provide guidance and support during your transition.
Maintain an open mind: Approach your new life in Brunei with an open mind and a willingness to learn and adapt. Embrace the differences and unique aspects of the local culture, and be open to new experiences and perspectives.
Enjoy the natural beauty: Brunei is known for its lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and diverse wildlife. Take advantage of the opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking, diving, and exploring the beautiful landscapes that Brunei has to offer.
Top recruitment agencies in Brunei
JobCentre Brunei – Official government job portal
DARE (Darussalam Enterprise) – Supports entrepreneurship and employment in Brunei
Brunel – Global recruitment and workforce services provider
AITI (Authority for Info-Communications Technology Industry of Brunei Darussalam) – Offers job opportunities in the ICT industry
TEO (Telekom Brunei Berhad) – Telecommunications company with career opportunities
AzeemRizal – Recruitment agency specializing in oil and gas industry
I-Recruit – Provides recruitment and manpower services
Necessary phone numbers in Brunei
Fire and Rescue: 995
Ambulance and Medical Emergencies: 991
Royal Brunei Police Force (General Line): +673 224 2334
Hospital and Medical Services (Ripas Hospital): +673 224 2424
Government and Public Services:
Prime Minister’s Office: +673 238 0404
Ministry of Health: +673 238 0345
Ministry of Education: +673 238 0323
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: +673 226 1177
Immigration and National Registration Department: +673 238 0552
Tourism and Travel:
Tourism Brunei: +673 238 2822
Brunei International Airport (Brunei Airport): +673 233 9204
The best way to immigrate to Brunei
Employment Pass: Obtaining a job offer from a Brunei-based employer is a common route for immigration. The employer sponsors the applicant’s Employment Pass, which allows them to work and reside in Brunei.
Investment: Brunei offers opportunities for foreign investors to contribute to the country’s economy. By making substantial investments in sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, or services, individuals can apply for an Investor Visa or Business Visa.
Study and Work: Students who enroll in recognized educational institutions in Brunei can study and potentially work part-time during their studies. Upon graduation, they may be eligible for employment opportunities or further stay through work visas.
Spouse or Family Sponsorship: If you have a close family member who is a Brunei citizen or permanent resident, they may be able to sponsor your immigration and facilitate your stay in Brunei.