Caution
October 19, 2023

Worldwide Caution

Update
January 10, 2024

Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

International Travel

English

Learn About Your Destination

Bahrain

Bahrain
Kingdom of Bahrain
Exercise increased caution in Bahrain due to terrorism.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise increased caution in Bahrain due to terrorism.

Country Summary: Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Bahrain. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.

Read the country information page  for additional information on travel to Bahrain.

If you decide to travel to Bahrain:

 

 

 

 

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:

6 months

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

1 page per entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

Yes

VACCINATIONS:

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

$10,000

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
See “Exit Restrictions” info below

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Manama

Building No. 979
Road 3119, Block 331
Zinj District
Manama
Kingdom of Bahrain
Telephone: +(973) 1724-2700
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(973) 1727-5126
Fax: +(973) 1727-2594; 1725-6242 (Consular Section)
The workweek in Bahrain is Sunday through Thursday.
ManamaConsular@state.gov

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s website www.state.gov for information on U.S. – Bahrain relations

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Requirements for Entry: 

  • Passport valid for at least six months
  • Visa 

COVID-19 Requirements: There are no COVID-related entry requirements for U.S. citizens.

Types of visas: 

  • Tourist Visas: Apply for two-week tourist visas at the Bahrain eVisa website or upon arrival. Ask for ten-year multiple entry visas if applying through the Bahrain embassy.  
  • U.S. Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders: Diplomatic passport holders should coordinate their arrival with Embassy Manama. Official passport holders should follow their chain-of-command for DoD specific guidance.
  • Journalism Visas: Journalists must have a journalism visa. Please apply for a visa in advance of your travel.

Be prepared to answer questions regarding your purpose of travel. Be sure to leave Bahrain before your visa expires; otherwise, you will face heavy fines, possible arrest, and/or deportation. 

To work in Bahrain you must have: 

  • a valid work visa
  • a residency permit
  • a local identification card 

Consult Bahrain’s Labor Market Regulatory Authority for complete details. 

Obtain a valid work permit and signed employment contract before arriving in Bahrain. The contract should clearly state: 

  • Provisions related to relocation expenses
  • Type of housing and number of occupants
  • Any visa fees to be paid by the employee
  • Salary payment schedule and any salary penalties
  • Terms of probation period
  • Who pays transportation expenses, should the contract be terminated 

Do not work in Bahrain on a tourist visa. Even if employers advise you otherwise, Bahraini authorities will hold you personally liable if you do not have a valid work permit.  

Have all documents required for your employment permit authenticated before arriving. The U.S. Embassy in Manama cannot provide this service. For information on authentication of U.S.-issued documents, see Authentication of American Academic Credentials for Use Abroad and contact our Office of Authentications

Do not allow your employer to retain your U.S. passport. It is illegal, but a common practice, for Bahraini employers to retain your passport. Such retention could delay your travel or grant undue leverage to your employer in case of a dispute.

While many U.S. citizens have a positive experience working in Bahrain, some employed in the education sector have complained about lack of private accommodations, delay in payment of salary, withholding of passports, delay in issuance of residency, and a debt-related travel ban on leaving the country if the employee breaks a contract and the sponsor requires repayment of travel costs.

Exit Restrictions: If you have unpaid debt or are involved in legal proceedings, authorities may not allow you to leave Bahrain until the issue is resolved.  Resolution may take several years. Additionally, this could force you to stay in Bahrain beyond the validity of your visa, at which point you would begin to accrue daily fines. The U.S. Embassy cannot pay your debt, fines, tickets, legal expenses or living expenses. 

Residents intending to return to Bahrain should obtain a re-entry permit valid for at least six months before leaving. Renew visas and residency permits through the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports, and Residence (GDNPR)

HIV/AIDS Restrictions: Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Bahrain. All declared HIV-positive foreigners risk immediate deportation. Although you are not required to declare HIV status upon arrival, the government may revoke visas of non-Bahrainis who are HIV positive. Please verify this information with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain before traveling.  

Travelers with HIV: Carry enough medication to cover your intended stay. Pharmacies reportedly will not sell HIV/AIDS medication to non-Bahraini citizens without a permit from the Ministry of Health. Health facilities and pharmacies are required to report HIV-positive foreigners to the Ministry of Health, which could lead to deportation. 

Bahrain does not recognize dual nationality, though some exceptions are made. Bahraini dual nationals are required to declare and register their second nationality with the government.

If you are eligible for Bahraini citizenship, authorities will not issue you a Bahraini passport unless you renounce your U.S. citizenship. 

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations  on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism:  Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad.  Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds.  Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as: 

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.) 
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists 
  • Places of worship 
  • Schools 
  • Parks 
  • Shopping malls and markets 
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)  

For more information, see our Terrorism page.  

Crime:  The crime rate in Bahrain is low, and violent crime is rare. Thieves and pickpockets are known to operate in the old market area.  Common sense security precautions are effective in countering the threat of crime.

Demonstrations occur frequently.  They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, during international events, at night and on weekends. Such activity is usually confined to specific neighborhoods and is rarely widespread or impacts public order. 

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable. Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. 
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

Demonstrations sometimes result in blocked highways and unofficial checkpoints.  Protestors occasionally throw rocks, lob Molotov cocktails, and in the past have used improvised explosive devices and shotgun-like projectile launchers against government forces.  The Ministry of Interior maintains official checkpoints and will deploy crowd control agents against demonstrators if it is determined that the protest is becoming unruly or could impact the security environment.  In recent years, dialogue and community policing elements have been used to lower tensions and crowd control measures have been as a last resort.

No U.S. citizens have been specifically targeted during protest activity. Local media outlets have sometimes expressed anti-U.S. sentiment, and demonstrators have occasionally burned U.S. flags. 

Remain alert to local security developments.  For assistance, call the local police at 999.

Restricted travel:  The U.S. Embassy restricts its employees from traveling to specific areas where protest activity is more likely and advises all U.S. citizens to do the same. 

See the Embassy’s website for travel restrictions and security updates.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 999 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +(973) 1724-2700 (business hours) or +(973) 1727-5126 (after hours).  Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.

See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation   and following its conclusion
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance.

Tourism:  The tourism industry is generally regulated and safety inspections are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country. Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and provide life-saving assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.  Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.  

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. Embassy officials can more readily visit you while you are still being detained at a police station than after you have been transferred to a prison. See our webpage for further information and our embassy website for a list of local lawyers.

Extra-marital sexual relations are a criminal offense. If a child is born out of wedlock, obtaining a civil birth certificate is extremely difficult and, while rare, may lead to the deportation of the mother and the child. Without a birth certificate, obtaining a passport for the child can be difficult.  Additionally, transmission of citizenship is typically through the father which could lead to the child being stateless.  In the case of U.S. citizen mothers, the embassy may be able to document such children as U.S. citizens or may be able to process an immigrant visa petition.  Consult the embassy for options, but it is advisable to depart the country before giving birth.

Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs are severe, including long jail sentences and heavy fines. You can be arrested for public drunkenness and disorderly behavior.

Penalties for driving under the influence include imprisonment and/or heavy fines. Any sign of alcohol consumption may be taken as evidence of driving under the influence.

Using vulgar language or hand gestures can result in heavy fines or criminal charges.

It is illegal to photograph certain buildings in Bahrain.

Always carry a form of identification with you, such as a passport, local ID card (CPR card), or driver’s license.

Child Abduction and Custody Cases: There are no treaties in force between Bahrain and the United States concerning international parental child abduction and custody cases. Bahraini courts may ignore child custody decrees issued in the United States. 

Sharia law generally controls custody issues. Decisions are often based on age and gender of the children rather than the U.S. “best interest of the child” standard.

Social Services: Information concerning family and child services can be found on the Ministry of Labor and Social Development’s website.

Divorce: Seek legal counsel and ascertain your rights in Bahrain before visiting the country if you are a U.S. citizen divorced from/in the process of divorcing a Bahraini citizen.  This is particularly important regarding child custody issues.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the following webpages for details:

LGBTQI+ Travelers: While there are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations between people 21 and over, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activities are not accepted by many Bahrainis. Some LGBTQI+ travelers have reported difficulties entering Bahrain on a passport bearing a name and photo that do not correspond to their gender identity. See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights Report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Bahrain prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual or mental disabilities, and the law is enforced.  Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States.  Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure. Sidewalks and crosswalks—even in large cities—are not accessible.  There are very few accessible restaurants, shops, or historical sites.  Accessible bathrooms, even in major hospitals, are generally not available.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: Women traveling alone should maintain vigilance. Review our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

For emergency services in Bahrain, dial 999.

Ambulance services are:

  • Widely available but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards.
  • Not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment. 
  • Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance. 

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas.  Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

Payment at all medical facilities is due at the time of service. Some hospitals have very limited direct billing capability for certain insurance carriers.  Billing and insurance practices vary.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with Customs Affairs of Bahrain to ensure the medication is legal in Bahrain. Most narcotic painkillers, stimulants, and controlled sedatives/hypnotics are not easily available, and may be illegal.  Do not bring CBD oil or products to Bahrain.

Basic medical care is available through public and private hospitals, as well as private clinics. In some facilities, the care is below U.S. standards. Public hospitals have trauma and Intensive Care Units. Most postoperative and trauma centers do not provide adequate pain management. People with chronic general medical or mental health conditions and HIV-related health issues may not be able to obtain appropriate emergency care in Bahrain. U.S. privacy and confidentiality laws may not apply to Bahraini medical providers.

COVID-19 Testing:  All COVID-19 testing is conducted at local health centers. The cost of the test can vary, and results are typically available electronically (email or text) or a physical copy can be picked up.  Some sites provide walk-in services with no appointment required, and the price typically varies based on how quickly the results will be available.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Road travel is generally safe. Highways and major roads in northern Bahrain are wide and well maintained. Roads in villages and older parts of Manama and Muharraq are narrow, congested and twisting.

Traffic Laws:

  • Traffic moves on the right.
  • At roundabouts (traffic circles), cars within the traffic circle have right of way over those attempting to enter.
  • Drivers frequently speed despite stiff penalties, including fines and possible imprisonment.
  • Police can detain drivers for traffic violations.
  • It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving, though it is very common.
  • Drivers are required to wear seat belts.
  • Traffic is more congested on the weekends with an influx of vehicles from neighboring countries.

Traffic Accidents:  Except for minor accidents, do not move the vehicle until you have filed a report with the traffic police. This applies to single-car accidents as well. If you move the car, insurance companies may deny coverage.

For minor accidents with no injuries, move your vehicle off the road to avoid further accidents. You do not have to wait at the scene for the police.

Filing Accident Reports:  You must file a report within 24 hours of the accident.

  • For minor accidents with no injuries, call 199. 
  • For accidents involving injury, call 999.
  • For the traffic department’s main switchboard, call 1787-2222. 

If an accident results in legal proceedings, both drivers may be prohibited from leaving the country until the matter is resolved.

See to our Road Safety page for more information.

Visit the website of Bahrain’s Tourism Authority and Ministry of Transportation

Public Transportation:  Bahrain has a newly expanded public bus system that extends throughout most of the country. A car is still needed to access most locations.

Taxis are available in Bahrain and are typically arranged by phone. Uber also operates in Bahrain.

Aviation Safety Oversight:  As there is no direct commercial air service to the United States by carriers registered in Bahrain, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed the government of Bahrain’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards.  Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page

Maritime Travel:  Mariners planning travel to Bahrain should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts.  Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Bahrain.  For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

 

Last Updated: July 13, 2023

Travel Advisory Levels

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Manama
Building No. 979
Road 3119, Block 331
Zinj District
Manama
Kingdom of Bahrain
Telephone
+(973) 1724-2700
Emergency
+(973) 1727-5126
Fax
+(973) 1727-2594; 1725-6242 (Consular Section)

Bahrain Map