Bahrain Consular Information
May 14, 2007
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Bahrain is a hereditary kingdom
governed by the Al-Khalifa family. In 2002, the country became a monarchy
with a new constitution that reinstated a legislative body with one elected and
one appointed chamber. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative
foundation of the country's customs, laws and practices. Bahrain is a
modern, developed country and tourist facilities are widely available. The
capital is Manama. Read the Department of State Background
Notes on Bahrain for additional information.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A passport and a visa are
required. Passports should be valid for at least six months after date of
arrival. U.S. passport holders outside of Bahrain may apply and pay for a
two-week tourist visa online through the Bahraini government websitehttp://www.evisa.gov.bh , or may obtain it
upon arrival at the airport. U.S. diplomatic passport holders receive a
no-fee two-week visa. Prior to travel, visitors may obtain five-year
multiple-entry visas valid for stays as long as one month from Bahraini
embassies overseas. Bahrain assesses heavy fines on visitors who fail to
depart Bahrain at the end of their authorized stay. The exact amount of
the fine is determined by a formula related to the visa type, duration, and
location of issuance. An exit tax is included in the ticket price for
flights out of Bahrain, and no additional exit fees are required upon
departure. Residents of Bahrain who intend to return must obtain a
re-entry permit before departing. For further information on entry/exit
requirements, travelers may contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain, 3502
International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 342-1111; or
the Bahrain Permanent Mission to the U.N., 2 United Nations Plaza, East 44th
St., New York, N.Y. 10017, telephone (212) 223-6200. See our Foreign
Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Bahrain and other
countries. Visit the Embassy of Bahrain web site at www.bahrainembassy.org for the most
current visa information.
See Entry and Exit
Requirements for more information pertaining to dual
nationality and the prevention of international
child abduction. Please refer to our Customs
Information to learn more about customs regulations.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Americans in Bahrain should
maintain a high level of security awareness. The security situation in
Bahrain has changed significantly since the September 11, 2001 attack against
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the initiation of U.S. military
operations in Iraq in 2003, and the onset of the current cycle of violence in
Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Several anti-American demonstrations
occurred in 2002, one of which resulted in the U.S. Embassy being attacked with
firebombs, and in 2003 at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Isolated incidents of aggressive or violent confrontations with individual
Americans have also occurred. Events in the region can spark a mass
response locally and further inflame current sentiments. Spontaneous
demonstrations pertaining to local issues have occurred, and in the past,
protests against Israelâ€™s military actions in Lebanon included criticism of the
U.S. Visiting U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to register with the
U.S. Embassy in Manama upon arrival and to maintain a low profile. The
Embassy recommends that visitors limit their activities to tourist attractions
and major urban commercial districts, particularly at night. The Embassy
also suggests that all Americans maintain an unpredictable schedule and vary
travel routes whenever possible. Americans also are urged to treat mail
from unfamiliar sources with caution and to avoid contact with any suspicious,
unfamiliar objects. Please report any suspicious activity, individuals,
vehicles, or objects to the U.S. Embassy's Regional Security Office at telephone
(973) 1724-2700 during office hours or (973) 1727â€“5126 after hours.
For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should
regularly monitor the Departmentâ€™s Internet
web site, where the current Worldwide
Caution Public Announcement, Middle East and
North Africa Public Announcement, Travel
Warnings and other Public Announcements can be found.
Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling
1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada or, for callers outside the U.S.
and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available
from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S.
The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for
their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general
information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves
in an overseas environment, see the Department of Stateâ€™s pamphlet A Safe Trip
CRIME: The crime rate in Bahrain is low and violent
crime is rare. However, burglary, petty theft, and robberies do
occur. Visiting Americans are urged to take the same security precautions
in Bahrain that one would practice in the United States. Hotel room doors
should be locked when visitors are in their rooms, and travelers are encouraged
to store valuables in hotel room safes when they are available. Women are
encouraged to keep their purses firmly under their arms, and men should avoid
keeping their wallets in their hip pockets while in the old market area
(Souk). The U.S. Embassy in Manama recommends that travelers using local
taxis insist on the use of a meter since unexpectedly high fares may otherwise
be charged. Bahrain has a professional police force, and visitors are
encouraged to contact the police if problems are encountered.
INFORMATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME: The loss or theft
abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and
the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime
while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the
nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate
staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact
family members or friends and explain how to transfer
funds. Although the investigation and prosecution of the
crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can
help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an
attorney if needed.
See our information on Victims of
MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION: Basic
modern medical care and medicines are available in several hospitals and health
centers in Bahrain. Two government hospitals, several private hospitals,
and numerous private clinics located throughout the country offer a wide range
of medical services. Cardiac care, general surgery, internal medicine,
obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, orthopedics and dentistry services are
readily available, as are x-rays, CT-scan and MRI testing. The government
hospitals house both trauma and ICU units. Pharmacies are common
throughout Bahrain and carry a wide range of medications. Prescriptions
are normally required.
Payment at all medical facilities is due at the time of service. Some
hospitals have limited direct billing capability for certain insurance
carriers. Billing and insurance practices vary among the medical
Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food
and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the
Centers for Disease Control and Preventionâ€™s hotline for international travelers
at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDCâ€™s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For
information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World
Health Organizationâ€™s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health
information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly
urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to
traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it
will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. Please see our
information on medical
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly
from those in the United States. The information below concerning Bahrain
is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a
particular location or circumstance.
Travel by road in Bahrain is generally safe although unsafe driving practices
are common. Highways and major roads in the northern third of Bahrain are
four to six lanes wide and well maintained; roads in villages and older parts of
Manama and Muharraq are narrow and twisting. As in the United States,
traffic in Bahrain moves on the right. Roundabouts (traffic circles)
follow the British system, with those automobiles within the traffic circle
having right of way over those attempting to enter. While there is a fine
of at least 50 Bahraini Dinars (135 US dollars) for speeding, it is not uncommon
for drivers to drive well over the posted speed limits of 50-120 km per
hour. A driver flashing the carâ€™s high beams is generally asking for a
chance to pass. It is illegal to use a cell phone while driving.
Under Bahraini law, any sign of having consumed alcohol may be taken as prima
facie evidence of driving under the influence, which can lead to imprisonment
and/or fines of up to 1,000 Bahraini Dinars (2,700 U.S. dollars). Except
for minor accidents, drivers may not move their vehicles after an accident until
a report has been filed with the traffic police. This is true even in
cases of single-car accidents. Insurance companies may not provide
coverage if the cars are moved. However, drivers involved in minor,
non-injury accidents no longer need to wait at the scene for the police.
Individuals should get their vehicles off the road to avoid further
accidents. Drivers must then call the Bahrain Accident Hotline (1768-8888
or 1768-5999) where they will be directed to one of five new centers to file the
accident report. This report must be filed within 24 hours of the
accident. Both drivers may be prohibited from leaving the country until
the matter is resolved if an accident results in legal proceedings.
Emergency numbers are as follows:
Traffic/Accidents: 1768-8888 or 1768-5999
Please refer to our Road
Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Bahrainâ€™s
national authority responsible for road safety at http://www.traffic.gov.bh/main.htm.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct
commercial air service between the United States and Bahrain, the U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Bahrainâ€™s Civil Aviation
Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the
FAAâ€™s Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Individuals subject to Bahraini
court orders arising from indebtedness, labor disagreements, or other legal
disputes may be prevented from departing Bahrain until their cases are
resolved. Instances have occurred in which departure was prohibited for
several years, since the legal process can be both lengthy and complex. A
list of local attorneys capable of representing Americans in such matters is
available from the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Manama.
Please see ourinformation on Customs
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes
differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the
protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Persons violating
Bahrainâ€™s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for
similar offenses. Disrespect to officials in word or deed can result in
heavy fines. Travelers who are driving should be aware that one
drink may be sufficient grounds for a DUI arrest.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Bahrain are
severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy
fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating
child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information on international
adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Childrenâ€™s
REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living or
traveling in Bahrain are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or
Consulate through the State
Departmentâ€™s travel registration website, and to obtain updated information
on travel and security within Bahrain. Americans without Internet
access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to
contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located at Bldg.
979, Road no. 3119, Zinj District(next to Al Ahli Sports Club). The
mailing address is P.O. Box 26431, Manama, Bahrain. The telephone number
is (973) 1724-2700. The after-hours number is (973) 1727-5126. The
Consular Sectionâ€™s fax number is (973) 1725-6242. The Embassy's website,
which includes consular information and the most recent messages to the American
community in Bahrain, is at http://bahrain.usembassy.gov/.
The workweek in Bahrain is Sunday through Thursday.
* * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated October 2, 2006, to update
sections on Entry/Exit Requirements, Traffic Safety and Road Conditions, and
http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html for State Department Travel