Manama Visas & Permits

As a foreign resident, what is my status in your country?
A foreigner cannot obtain a Bahraini passport unless he or she has been a resident for more than 25 years. Foreign residents, however, are welcomed. It is strongly suggested that any foreigner wanting to come to Bahrain make prior enquiries at their nearest embassy of Bahrain as there are different requirements for different nationalities. You can only come to Bahrain as a resident if you are sponsored by a Bahraini or a company.
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What kinds of visas are available?

  • Visitors/tourist visa - can be obtained on arrival at the Bahrain International Airport. Gulf Corporate Council or GCC nationals (from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates) are exempt from having to obtain this visa. The tourist visa costs BD5 and is valid for two weeks. It is issued to most native-born nationals from Europe, Canada, Australia or New Zealand. US citizens must pay BD10 for a three-day visa or BD15 for seven days. British nationals will be issued a three-month visa, which costs BD3. It should not be assumed that visas will be issued for the spouse and children of the worker. The tourist visa is available to citizens from the EU, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong and the United States.
  • Employment visa - This is required for those who wish to work legally in Bahrain and become residents of the country. A work permit from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and a Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the General Directorate of Immigration and Passports (GDIP) are required before this visa can be issued. The sponsor or the company employing the expat must compile educational records and their reasons for justifying the employment of an expat. They can then submit the employment visa application. In addition, all American and Canadian passport holders can be issued a 5-year multiple-entry visa for temporary business visits of one month's stay per visit. British passport holders can be issued a three-month entry visa, valid for one month's stay on each visit. This can be issued by the GDIP in Bahrain or by any Bahrain Embassy.

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What is required to obtain these visas?

  • A valid passport is required to obtain these visas.
  • Vaccination certificates against yellow fever are required for travelers arriving from endemic areas. Children under the age of one are exempt.
  • Resident permits and employment visa - It is up to the sponsor to ensure all correct documentation is provided to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in order to obtain these permits. When the employment visa has been approved, the sponsor then has to apply for a Non-Objection Certificate, which the foreigner has to present on arrival. The Resident Permit and CPR (Central Population Registration) card are applied for after the arrival. Resident Permits are also required for spouses and dependents. It is more difficult for certain nationalities to obtain these permits than others, such as nationals from the African Continent and Eastern Europe. Once the transferee has obtained the Employment Visa, Non-Objection Certificate, the CPR Card and has undergone a medical examination, the Resident Permit will be granted by the Ministry of Immigration and Passports. Please contact Crown Bahrain for more information.

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Are spouses permitted and/or likely to find work?
Strictly speaking, the spouse is not permitted to work; however, if the spouse is sponsored separately by the company of employment, then he or she may be employed. It is common for spouses to obtain work in Bahrain. As long as the company he/she would like to work for can justify the employment, then there will not be any complications.

Keep in mind that this arrangement is not feasible if the couple has children, as the husband and wife must both be under the same sponsorship in order for the children to be sponsored.
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What are the main forms of identification and how does a newcomer obtain them?
The main form of identification is the CPR Card. This should be carried at all times.
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Are there any other important permits I must obtain, or places where I must register right away?
It is always recommended that a foreigner register at a hospital within a short time of their arrival. A Bahraini driver's license can only be applied for after a Resident Permit has been obtained.
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What items should I avoid bringing into the country?
Alcohol - You can bring in one bottle of alcohol as accompanied baggage, however, if sent unaccompanied, a duty of 110 per cent will be charged. Books, videocassettes, CDs and DVDs with religious or pornographic contact should not be brought into Bahrain. Cordless telephones are restricted simply because they will have connection problems. Some models are allowed. Crown Bahrain can check this prior to the personal effects being sent from origin. Other prohibited items are guns/weapons (even if decorative or toys), food, drugs and plants.
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Is there anything else I should know about entering and remaining in the country legally?
Nothing comes immediately to mind.
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Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.