Tourist visas: Apply for two-week tourist visas online on the Bahraini government website or upon arrival in the country. Ask for five-year multiple entry visas at Bahraini embassies.
U.S. Diplomatic and Official passport holders: Request a no-fee two-week visa upon arrival.
Journalism visas: Journalists must have a journalism visa.
Be prepared to answer questions regarding your purpose of travel. Be sure to leave Bahrain before your visa expires; otherwise, you face heavy fines and possible arrest and/or deportation.
Working in Bahrain: To work in Bahrain you must have the following:
Valid work visa
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.
Authenticating Documents for Your Employment Permit
Have all required documents 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.
Employer Retention of U.S. Passports: 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. U.S. passports are the property of the U.S. government.
While many U.S. citizens have a positive experience working in Bahrain, we have received a number of complaints from U.S. citizens employed in the education sector.
Exit Restrictions: If you have unpaid debt or are involved in legal proceedings (including debt, traffic tickets, unresolved traffic accident to include repair, labor, or custody disputes), authorities may not allow you to leave Bahrain until the issue is resolved, even if takes several years to close the case. 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. Should this happen, the U.S. Embassy cannot pay your debt, fines, tickets, legal expenses or living expenses.
Residents intending to return to Bahrain: Be sure to 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: All declared HIV-positive foreigners risk immediate deportation; deportation may be applied to all “communicable diseases.” Although you are not required to declare HIV status upon arrival, the government revokes visas of non-Bahrainis who are HIV positive. Please verify this information with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain before traveling.
HIV travelers: Carry enough medication to cover your intended stay, since obtaining drugs locally could be difficult and/or lead to deportation. Pharmacies reportedly will not sell AIDS drugs to non-Bahraini citizens without a permit from the Ministry of Health. Similarly, health facilities and pharmacies are required to report HIV-positive foreigners to the Ministry of Health.
Dual nationality: Bahrain does not recognize dual nationality, though some exceptions are made. In early 2017 Bahrain launched a campaign requiring all dual nationals to declare and register their other nationality with the government.
If you are eligible for Bahraini citizenship, authorities will not issue you a Bahraini passport unless you relinquish your U.S. passport.
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