BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei is set to gradually reopen its borders in September following an agreement with Singapore to establish a “reciprocal green lane” for essential business and official travel.

The foreign affairs ministries of both countries announced in a joint press statement on Tuesday that bilateral travel will resume for a “limited number of people”, including persons of all nationalities who are residing in Brunei and Singapore.

Necessary safety precautions will be put in place to ensure public health concerns of both countries are addressed, the statement read.

The announcement comes after Singapore last month said it would allow visitors from Brunei and Singapore to enter its country for general travel from September.

However, leisure travel is not applicable in the current green lane arrangement between both countries.

Singapore is the first country that Brunei has agreed to resume limited international travel since the sultanate imposed an outbound travel ban amid the COVID-19 pandemic on March 16.

Brunei had received a similar travel proposal from China in May, while Malaysia also expressed its interest to restart cross-border movement with the sultanate in June.

The number of coronavirus cases has slowed in Brunei and Singapore, with the sultanate reporting zero new domestic transmissions for 117 days while the city-state detected 40 additional cases on Tuesday.

Quarantine requirements waived

Eligible “green lane” travellers must follow a number of application procedures and safety guidelines during their stay in either Brunei or Singapore.

Those who are travelling from Brunei are still required to seek permission from the Prime Minister’s Office to obtain an exit travel permit.

The company or government agency will need to apply for Singapore’s SafeTravel Pass on the traveller’s behalf before an approval letter is issued to enter the city-state.

For travellers from Singapore, an application needs to be filed for an entry travel pass with Brunei authorities and they will be required to submit their itinerary for the first two weeks in the sultanate.

Applications for both travel passes begin on September 1, 2020.

Approved applicants must have remained in either Brunei or Singapore for at least 14 days before departure.

Prior to their travel, passengers are required to submit pre-trip health and travel history declarations.

Upon arrival in either countries, travellers need to produce their travel passes and a certificate showing negative results for COVID-19 in a swab test taken at least 72 hours before departure.

Travellers may be refused entry for failure to meet the requirements.

Inbound passengers will not be subjected to a 14-day isolation but are required to take another coronavirus test and remain in isolation for one to three days until they have received their test results.

Travellers will bear the costs of the COVID-19 tests. A coronavirus test in Singapore can cost up to $200 while foreign nationals pay $350 for the test in Brunei.

Visitors must also download and use contact tracing apps during their stay in either countries – BruHealth in Brunei and TraceTogether in Singapore.

Those who require visas can apply through the usual channels.

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