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Privileges Accorded to Foreign Diplomatic Missions
Accompanying Baggage/Personal Effects -
Parking/Communications/Property Tax -
Stamp Duty/Identity Card/Other Privileges-
DC Number Plates
Diplomatic bags and pouches - Other facilities -
Departure from Brunei Darussalam
Privileges Accorded to Foreign Diplomatic Missions
In order that appropriate privileges are accorded to Foreign Diplomatic Missions and their staff members, applications should be made to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as early as possible.
Fiscal and other privileges accorded to them are as follows:
Accompanying Baggage/Personal Effects
The privileges of exemption from examination of baggage and other effects, and of admission thereof free of duties and taxes is granted to the following persons:
- Heads of diplomatic missions and their immediate families accompanying them
- Officers of diplomatic missions who are eligible for inclusion in the diplomatic list and their families
- Consular officers and their families
In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 (Article 36, Paragraph 2) authorities have the right to inspect personal baggage of a diplomatic agent if there are serious grounds for presuming that it contains:
- articles not for the official use of the mission
- articles not for the personal use of the diplomatic agent and/or members of his family forming part of his household
- imported or exported goods prohibited or controlled by law.
The inspection will be conducted in the presence of the consignee/owner or his authorized representative.
I. Customs Duties and Import Taxes
Diplomatic missions/diplomatic agents are granted exemption from customs duties and import taxes on:
- Articles for the official use of the mission other than motor vehicles
- Articles for the personal use of a diplomatic agent or members of his/her family forming part of his/her household, provided that the person for whom the goods are intended is not a Citizen, Permanent Resident of Brunei Darussalam or a foreign resident of Brunei Darussalam.
Non-Diplomatic Home-Based Staff (Technical and Administrative Staff)
Duty-free articles for the personal and domestic use of members of the administrative and technical staff (Category A of Non-Diplomatic Home-Based Staff) and their families will only be granted within the first six month of their initial arrival to Brunei Darussalam. Subsequent importations are not exempted from duties and taxes.
Foreign diplomatic missions and their diplomatic staff including members of the administrative and technical staff (Non-diplomatic home-based staff) are granted exemption from the following fees and duties and other charges under the Road Traffic Enactment on vehicles approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: -
- Registration fee
- Licensing fee (road tax)
- Import duty
- Full driving licence/provisional Driving Licence fees
- Driving test and examination and other fees
For non-diplomatic home-based staff, the above exemption will be granted the first six month from arrival.
The exemption accorded to diplomats is subject to the following guidelines in addition to the requirements imposed by the Land Transport Department:
i. A permit to import used cars must be approved first;
ii. The application to import a used motorcar must be made under a personal name and not for business use;
iii. An applicant can import not more than two units of any type of used motorcars within 4 years;
iv. Transfer of ownership of a used motorcar is not allowed within the first 4 years of importation;
v. A used motorcar to be imported must not be more than 5 years old from the date of its first registration and must be technically approved by the Land Transport Department;
vi. The imported used motorcars must not be sold in Brunei Darussalam after the completion of tour of duty of the diplomatic staff concerned and should be re-exported out of Brunei Darussalam;
vii. Motorcars must be right-hand drive.
viii. Imported used motorcars which do not comply to the above conditions and specifications during Technical Inspection by Land Transport Department will not be registered and licensed. Such motorcars must be re-exported back to the country of origin
Imported used motorcars must comply with the following specifications
a. Space for the front and rear registration's plates must not be less than 216mm x 343mm or 533mm x 152mm
b. All windscreens and windows must be fitted with clear safety glass.
i. Manufacturer fitted tinted glass light transmission must be 70% and above
ii. Safety Glass Certificate should be enclosed
c. The colour of the motorcars lamp as follows:-
i. Front lamp - white light
ii. Rear and brake lamp - red light
iii. Indicator lamp - yellow (amber) light
d. No sport light is allowed on imported used motorcars
e. Imported used motorcars must not be modified or any other additional accessories while for rims and tyres should be met as in the original specification
f. Imported used motorcars with the engine capacity over 1000cc must be fitted with catalytic converter
Applications for importing cars, both new and used, should be made through the Protocol and Consular Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade by at least two (2) weeks before before the estimated date of arrival of such cars to Brunei Darussalam.
Entitlement for Vehicles ownership as follows:
Diplomatic missions and consular posts are permitted to import or purchase a reasonable number of vehicles under privilege according to the size and needs of the mission or post. The general guideline is one vehicle for each two privileged officers at the mission or post. However, the requirement of each Diplomatic Mission will be considered on its own merits and approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, depending on the size of the Diplomatic Mission and the number of its diplomatic staff. The Diplomatic Mission must use imported official mission cars and locally purchased cars for a minimum period of four years and two years respectively before disposal is allowed.
b. Heads of Missions
The Head of Missions will be eligible for the purchase of two duty-free cars for their personal use, to be registered in their name and in the name of their spouse respectively during their tour of duty in Brunei Darussalam. Cars must be used for a minimum period of two years before disposal is allowed.
c. Diplomatic Staff
Diplomatic officers will be eligible for the purchase of two duty-free cars for their personal use, one to be registered, in their name and the other in the name of their spouse during their tour of duty in Brunei Darussalam. Cars must be used for a minimum period of two years before disposal is allowed.
d. Non-Diplomatic Home Based Staff (Administrative and Technical Staff)
Non-diplomatic home-based staff will be eligible for the purchase of one duty-free car for his/her personal use during his/her tour of duty and the car must be registered in his/her name. Exemption of import duty will only be granted within the first six (6) months of their intial arrival in Brunei Darussalam. However application for refund of duty for locally purchased vehicle must be made within 12 months from the date of purchase.
Disposal of vehicles
Vehicles must be used for a minimum period of four (4) years before disposal is allowed. (This does not apply to Non-Diplomatic home-based staff). However, applications to sell the original car and purchase another duty-free car within the minimum period of two (2) years usage may be made to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, if:
i. The car is badly damaged in a road accident and the Insurance Company/Land Transport Department has issued a write-off certificate
The car is beyond economical repair. This claim must be supported by evidence from a motor vehicle repair firm.
Law and Regulations
Each case will be considered on its own merit and these cars will be subject to registration fee, road tax and import duty, calculated on its depreciated values when sold to non-privileged persons.
Foreign missions and their diplomatic staff members must observe the law and regulations governing the use of motor vehicles in Brunei Darussalam
Terms of disposal are as follows:
- Official mission cars can be replaced only four (4) years after the first initial registration;
- Diplomatic officers can replace cars only two (2) years after registration
- Non-Diplomatic Home Based Staff (Administrative Technical Staff) are not allowed to replace their cars. They may however sell their cars at the end of their tour of duty.
Necessary documents for disposal of cars
- Deeds of sale executed by the parties, in triplicate
- Certificate of payment of taxes and duties paid on the vehicle, in triplicate
- Return of assigned car plates
- Copies of Vehicle Registration Card (Blue Card) and Insurance Policy
Diplomatic missions are granted exemption from the payment of parking fees for two of their motor vehicles subject to the availability of such parking slot(s) near the office/missions. Diplomatic missions should inform the Protocol and Consular Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which of their vehicles are to be exempted so that the requisite stickers may be issued.
Telephone and Telegraph Rates
Missions and diplomatic officers are not exempted from installation/rental fees and call charges. Deposit rates are exempted.
Method of granting the land as to its tenure, premium, annual rental and quit rent, fees, in land transaction and others will depend on the basis of reciprocity. Applications will be forwarded to the Councils of Ministers for consideration.
Stamp Duty/Identity Card/Other Privileges
Exemption from stamp duty is accorded for Lease Agreements in respect of the chancery and the residence of Heads of Missions and diplomatic/consular officers.
The Protocol and Consular Affairs Department will issue identity cards (ID) to Heads of Missions, their diplomatic/consular staff and non-diplomatic home-based staff. The identity card contains holder's photograph, signature and an indication of his/her official position
DC Number Plates
Diplomatic Car Number Plates
Diplomatic Car (DC) number plates for cars belonging to diplomatic personnel will be allocated according to their ranks and status in their respective missions. The distribution of numbers is as follows:
Head of Mission's official car : 01
High Commissioner/Ambassador's personal cars : 02
Deputy Chief of Mission, Deputy High Commissioner, Minister : 03 to 04
Minister Counsellor : 05
Counsellor : 06 to 09
First Secretary : 10 to 19
Second Secretary : 20 to 29
Third Secretary : 30 to 39
Attaché (including Military Advisers, Defence Advisers and Others of similar rank) : 40 to 59
For diplomats who are entitled to two duty-free cars, the second car will be given number : 60 to 99
Mission's cars : 100 and above
Followed by number signifying the country and the letters "DC" DC Number Plate(s)
All number plates must be returned when the vehicle is either sold or exported. Failure to do so may result in the Land Transport Department refusing to issue new plate numbers.
Importation of alcoholic liquor
17 cases of spirits, liquors and other spirituous beverages such as Brandy, Whisky, Rum, Gin, Vodka. (204 x 0.75 litre bottles) 5 cases of wine of wine-based including aperitifs such as Vermouth, Sake, Sherry (60 x 0.75 litre bottles) 50 cases of beer, and other fermented beverages such as Shandy, Cider, Perry, Mead (1,200 x 0.375 litre - can/bottles)
Head of Mission
14 cases of spirits, liquors and other spirituous beverages such as Brandy, Whisky, Rum, Gin, Vodka (168 x 0.75 litre bottles) 8 cases of wine or wine-based including aperitifs such as Vermouth, Sake, Sherry (96 x 0.75 litre bottles) 48 cases of beer, and other fermented beverages such as Shandy, Cider, Perry, Mead (1,152 x 0.375 litre - can/bottles)
Other members of diplomatic mission
The procedure for the importation of alcoholic liquor is provided for under the diplomatic privileges accorded to diplomats.
The serving and consumption of alcoholic liquor is restricted to within the residence of the diplomats and within the Chancery. Alcoholic liquor shall not be served and consumed neither in public nor in the presence of Muslims.
Imported Films, Tapes, Slides
Films, tapes and slides related to official correspondence of other official matters may be imported free of customs duties on presentation of an undertaking by the mission that such items shall be shown only within the premises of the mission.
Films, tapes and slides not related to official correspondence or other official matters, which shall be shown to the public, need clearance from the Board of Censorship. The items and a full description of its contents should be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for subsequent submission to the Board of Censorship for its approval through the Protocol and Consular Affairs Department.
Diplomatic bags and pouches
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade sets the following guidelines to be observed in the delivery and claiming of diplomatic bags/pouches.
- Outgoing diplomatic pouches shall be delivered by the mission representative to the Cargo building, Brunei International Airport and handed over to the officer-in-charge of the Cargo, Royal Brunei Airlines. The officers will liaise with the Security Section, Royal Brunei Airlines for the diplomatic pouches to be loaded into the aircraft. The Security Officer, Royal Brunei Airlines will keep the diplomatic pouches inside a diplomatic locker in the aircraft.
- The reverse of the procedure for the delivery of outgoing diplomatic bags/pouches will be observed for the claiming of incoming diplomatic bags/pouches.
- Airport arrangement (based on the principle of reciprocity). The VIP Lounges of the Brunei International Airport are reserved for the welcome and departure of official guests whose travels have been notified to the Protocol and Consular Affairs Department.
- Heads of Missions may be extended certain facilities with regard to arrival and departure formalities. However, arrangements must be made in advance with the Protocol and Consular Affairs Department.
- Two airport passes will be issued to each Embassy/High Commission by application
Departure from Brunei Darussalam
Whenever the Heads of Mission or principal officer is leaving Negara Brunei Darussalam for a temporary absence, missions are requested to inform the Protocol and Consular Department by note of the date of his absence and the name of the officer who will be in charge during that period. The appointment of the Charge d'Affaires is governed by Article 19 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relation of 1961.
Prior to the final departure from Negara Brunei Darussalam of the Head of Mission, it is expected that the Protocol and Consular Affairs Department will be informed so that farewell calls on His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade can be arranged.
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