Thursday, December 26, 2013

Planning A Trip? What to Pack

WHETHER you are a tourist or a business visitor, the Gulf paradise of Bahrain promises a great time.

Take a few moments though, to check you have everything you need before taking that flight.

Visas: All visitors, with the exception of Gulf nationals, need visas to enter Bahrain.

Tourist visa applications are processed quickly at Bahrain embassies. Citizens of select countries may also obtain one on arrival at entry points - either Bahrain Airport or the King Fahad Causeway from Saudi Arabia. For further details, click

Authorities will insist on your having confirmed onward bookings, so have all your papers in order!

Business visas must be applied for in advance from the nearest Bahrain embassy. These are valid for upto two weeks, but can be extended on arrival.

Health requirements: A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for visitors from infected areas.

What to pack: A lot depends on when you have planned your visit for (See weather report). June to September are hot, so you would be well advised to take a lot of cottons or other light wear. Also throw in a pair of sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat - being out in direct sunlight can be quite disconcerting in the summer.

In the winter months - usually stretching from late November to early March - the mercury can dip quite dramatically (night temperatures of 10C are not uncommon), so better pack some light woollens or jerseys!

October-November and April-May are generally the most pleasant months, with temperatures in the low 20s.

Bahrain is a conservative society, and visitors, especially women, are expected to respect local sensibilities by dressing modestly in public places. While miniskirts and swimwear are acceptable at pools and beaches, women should avoid revealing dresses and short skirts while on the roads.

Customs allowances: Duty Free allowance for travellers visiting Bahrain includes the following:

400 cigarettes
50 cigars
250gm tobacco
6 beers
1L spirits
8oz perfume

There is a Duty Free shop in the Arrivals area (right after you clear Immigration) which stocks the most popular items from the bigger Departures Duty Free shops. These include leading brands of perfumes, alcohol and cigarettes, and at prices that are among the lowest in the world.

Buying from Duty Free is something you should consider if you would rather not lug heavy bags around until you land in Bahrain.

Cash or cards? All major credit cards, including American Express, Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted.

While shopping, however, you might find paying cash gets you better bargains, especially at smaller establishments.

Cashing travellers cheques or changing money is easy. There are many exchange houses, and most world currencies are accepted.

Visas to Bahrain - Visa Requirements

Visas are required by all visitors* to Bahrain except:

Passport holders of GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) States, (i.e. nationals of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates).

Citizens of the UK for a maximum of 4 weeks(providing they hold a passport with at least 6 months validity).

Those continuing their onward journey within 72 hours, hold confirmed tickets, and appropriate travel documents and on condition they remain within the transit area. (a fee of BD 0.500 will be charged).

Entry Visas: Foreign nationals may enter Bahrain with a tourist visa (for individuals or groups), 72-hour visa, 7-day visa, visit visa, business visa, family visa, dependent visa, or an employment visa. Generally all types of visas (except certain categories of tourist visas which can be obtained from Consulates abroad) are to be applied for by local sponsor in Bahrain.

1. Tourist Visa: Tourist visas can be obtained at the Bahrain International Airport or at the King Fahad Causeway for :

Citizens of the European Community, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan or Hong Kong.

Visitors who have been resident in the GCC for a minimum of six months, and who possess a return visa for the country of GCC residency.

All the above must have a valid passport and return ticket, they must have no criminal record or involvememt in activities that could threaten public order or national security. Visitors must not seek employment while in Bahrain.

Fee: For a stay of 2 weeks, BD5 each.

Groups who wish to visit Bahrain are advised to contact a travel agency to make the necessary visa arrangements.

Groups may obtain visa to Bahrain for a duration of up to 2 weeks which is renewable once a for a similar period.

Entry visas are obtained through hotels, travel and tourist agencies and other firms, licensed to carry out tourist activities in Bahrain.

Fees: Groups of upto 30 tourists are charged a fee of BD3 per person. Groups comprising more than 30 tourists are charged BD2 per person.

2. 72-Hour Visa / 7-Day visa:  
Can be obtained on arrival at the Bahrain International Airport or at the King Fahad Causeway. These visas are mainly intended for business visits, trade delegations, attending exhibitions and seminars. Apart from the passport, the passenger must possess a confirmed return or onward journey ticket for his/her visa application to be processed. Foreign nationals who have lived for six months in a GCC State are automatically granted a 72-hour visa on arrival.

Fee: 72-hour Visa - BD10, 7-day visa BD15.

3. Visit Visa: Issued to foreign nationals who intend to visit Bahrain to meet their relatives or friends. The application for a visit visa must be made by a local sponsor to the General Directorate of Immigration and Passports (GDIP). The visit visa is normally valid for one month's stay in Bahrain, but can sometimes be extended up to a maximum of three months. A person on a visit visa cannot work or engage in business activities during his/her stay in Bahrain.

Fee: BD22.

4. Business Visa

This type of visa is a similar to that of a visit visa, except that the purpose of the visit is business.

Fee: BD42 (multiple entry, valid for 6 months).

5. Family Visa
Granted to a wife and children joining the husband/father.The family visa holder may not take up gainful employement in Bahrain but can stay in Bahrain as long her husband stays.

Fee: BD22.

6. Dependent Visa

Granted to dependants of a Bahrain resident. The visa holder cannot take up gainful employement in Bahrain but can stay as long as the head of the household stays.

7. Employment Visa

Required to work legally in Bahrain and become a resident of Bahrain. A work permit is required from the Ministry of Labour and a No objection Certificate from Directorate of Immigration before this visa is granted.

Fee: BD15.

*NOTE: Entry regulations and fees are subject to change without notice. Please contact the nearest Bahrain mission to confirm current entry rules.

Bahraini Transit visa

Please note: In individual cases, you may be required to provide additional documents. Embassy rules and regulations can and do, very occationally change overnight. We accept no responsibilty for any such changes. Also, we regret that we cannot, under any circumstances, intercede or take responsibilty for any transaction initiated directly between an applicant and the embassy.

There are two options to check whether you require a Bahraini visa or not for your trip to Bahrain.

Option 1:
Check the current Bahraini visa regulations from the Bahraini foreign ministry from or find the Bahraini embassy in your country of permanent residence to obtain the visa application requirements for Bahrain.

The Bahraini Embassies and Consular Offices are the only accredited Bahraini Government agencies, who are permitted to grant Bahraini visas in a different country. Generally, to avoid any risks that can come up when getting on flights to Bahrain or at Bahraini ports of entry due to possible miscommunication, visitors are highly adviced to apply with the Bahraini Embassy and Consular Offices in your home country to get Bahraini visas in advance of travelling.

To apply for a Bahraini visa, you will require a visa application form and this can be obatined from Bahraini tourist visa form or Bahraini business visa form. You can also obtain sample visa cover letters, which you can send it to the Bahraini embassy in your city from visa letter for Bahrain.

    Option 2:
The visa information below is provided by VisaHQ, who specialises in providing visa services to travellers in Canada, United Kingdom and United States.

The Bahraini tourist visa requirement for nationals of Canada, UK and USA are shown above. If you are a permanent resident of either Canada or UK or USA, please select your nationality shown in your passport from the box appropriate box above, to see whether you will need a visa for Bahrain.

Visa Requirements

People wishing to visit or work in Bahrain would now be able to know if they are eligible for a visa, apply and even view its status electronically without the need of being present in person.

The Bahraini government is trying through these services to help people get their visa applications processed in the fastest time possible without any delays as requirements are clearly stated for the e-visa to be issued.

You can determine if you are eligible for any visa and what's required online:

In case the information is invalid or unacceptable, procedures can be done manually following the below mentioned steps.

Regular Visas:

    You should fill in the visa application form and attach it with a recent photo.
    You must submit a letter to the Head of Mission detailing the reasons for getting your visa.
    Regular visa is issued for only one travel.
    Your visa application is sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for approval.
    In the case of requesting the (foreign) wife of a Bahraini citizen to join her husband in Bahrain, those concerned must fill in a joining visa.
    You are requested to submit an original marriage contract certified from official agencies in the country of issuance.
    You are also requested to submit a copy of the passports of the husband and wife.
    You should submit a passport-size photo of the wife.
    All documents are sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bahrain to for approval.  

Working Visas:

Work visas are issued based on the Non-Objection Certificate (N.O.C) issued by the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Working Visas cannot be issued without taking prior approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A form is already available here, which could be printed out and filled in alongside Required attachments for submission to Bahraini diplomatic missions abroad or the General Directorate for Nationality, Passports and Residence in Bahrain.

You can apply for a visa electronically (e-visa) from the types of available visas listed. This could be all done by visiting website.