Tuesday, February 2, 2010

on brunei citizenship application process

recently i happen to revisit my old blog. saw some comments asking for information on brunei citizenship so i thought i might as well start a topic on it, for the benefit of those seeking the same information.

actually i have no idea where to start. maybe i shall start with my own experience of acquiring brunei citizenship.

having been born in brunei as a stateless chinese person, i was often frustrated that i was not issued a brunei passport, but instead a brunei international certificate of identity for travel. immigration officers from around the world would hound you for your purpose of requesting entry and all countries, except singapore, requires a pre-arrival visa. some countries don't even recognize the document. i was really tired of answering the question: "can you please show me your passport instead?" or being unnecessarily detained for further checks. fyi majority of the chinese people in brunei are stateless.

in order to be eligible to initiate the citizenship application process, the naturalization law requires all potential local-born applicants to have a continuous 15 years of residence in brunei or 20 years of residence in brunei for those born overseas.

fulfilling the above criteria, one must then present himself/herself in front of an immigration officer under the citizenship department in the district you are born. the officer will proceed to interview the applicant in pure malay, having satisfied that, hand the application form over, again in malay, to be completed on the spot. the completed form must be submitted with the necessary supporting documents.

once over, all the applicant can do is wait to be called for a naturalization exam. i waited for almost 2 years to be called. the scope of the 2-hour exam, in malay, can be summarized as followed:
  • 1 composition, 1 short essay, 1 comprehension
  • malay proverbs and classical literature (puisi, sajak, pantun etc)
  • bahasa istana (formal language used in the palace or when referring to the sultan)
  • bahasa brunei (local brunei dialects)
  • general knowledge of the country (famous places, functioning government departments)
  • name of the current ministers with full titles (trust me, they have really long names)
  • local customs and traditions ( how is a malay wedding conducted etc)
  • the brunei flag and crest, and ability to narrate the symbolic purpose of each part of the flag and crest
to pass this exam, one's malay would need to be of O-Level standard. due to more exposure to the malay language from school education these days, the younger chinese generation has a higher chance of passing. within the next 6 months, the applicant will be informed of the exam results.

once passed, please wait for another letter requesting the applicant to take up an oath to renounce all former nationalities as required by brunei nationality law. brunei currently does not permit multiple nationalities. the applicant have to wait again for another detailed letter to attend a citizenship presentation ceremony.

the ceremony was divided into two sessions: morning and afternoon. the morning session is essentially a taklimat, orientating us mostly on brunei nationality laws and some other civil departments, whereas the afternoon session saw the presenting of our citizen certificates, or sijil kerakyatan.

participants have to attend the ceremony in Brunei's national costume - baju cara melayu. pledges of allegiance to brunei were recited and the national anthem was played.

with the citizenship certificate, the new citizen can now applied for the yellow identity card and the brunei passport. the new brunei biometric passport currently enables the holder to perform visa-free travel to many countries in world, including the united states, china, japan, europe etc.

the citizenship does not entails much liabilities. anyway the benefits can be left for another post=). this post is too long in my opinion.

all the best and i hope this piece of information has been useful to those seeking it.

1 comment:

  1. Form N-400 is the application for obtaining US Citizenship (naturalization). The Form N-400 is used by Lawful Permanent Residents (green card holders) over the age of 18 who meet the eligibility requirements for Citizenship Application.