Passport & Visa
The movement of foreigners is tightly controlled in Bahrain, and issuing of visas and other permits is subject to strict bureaucratic procedures.
Those who are denied access therefore have little opportunity for appeal. Fortunately, the average expatriate doesn’t need to deal with much of the bureaucracy. Most companies and institutions, large or small, have a ‘fixer’, whose job is to wade through the red tape generated by the various ministerial departments in order to obtain work and residence visas for foreign workers and their families. The fixer will also act as your guide whenever your presence is required.
The documents required to enter Bahrain include the following:
* a passport valid for at least six months (it’s useful to have at least three or four photocopies);
* at least six passport-size photographs;
* a marriage certificate (if applicable);
* birth certificates for all family members;
* a medical certificate in the case of workers.
Note that foreigners working in Bahrain must have a certificate to show that they’re in good general health and free from HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, although tests are usually also carried out locally. Your sponsor will advise you what’s required.
Note also that any visible connection with Israel, e.g. an Israeli passport or an Israeli entry stamp, will disqualify you from entry.
While you’re in Bahrain, you’re required to carry identification documents, e.g. passport or national identity card and appropriate entry and residence visas. Note that it’s common for labour officials to carry out spot checks on businesses in search of workers employed illegally and to inspect passports in the possession of the employer.
This isn’t to suggest that Bahrain is a repressive regime: expatriates have little to worry about if they conduct themselves in a reasonable way, obey the laws and observe the rules of the culture. Indeed, you will usually be treated with kindness and generosity.
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