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Travel Security Advice for Bahrain

 

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BAHRAIN_MAPBahrain_Overview


 

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION:

Kingdom of Bahrain is a hereditary kingdom governed by the Al-Khalifa family. In 2002, the country adopted a new constitution that reinstated a parliament, which consists of 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 the 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 web site, or, may obtain a visa upon arrival at any of the ports of entry. U.S. diplomatic passport holders can get a no-fee two-week visa upon arrival. 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 the country at the end of their authorized stay. The 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, so no additional exit fees are required upon departure. Residents of Bahrain who intend to return should 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 NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 342-1111; or the Bahrain Permanent Mission to the UN, 2 United Nations Plaza, East 44th St., New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 223-6200. Visit the Embassy of Bahrain web site for the most current visa information.

Information about
dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on the department of state’s web site. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information sheet.

SAFETY AND SECURITY:

The Government of Bahrain takes seriously its responsibility for protecting tourists and diplomats.  Spontaneous demonstrations take place in Bahrain from time to time in response to world events or local developments. American citizens should be aware that even peaceful gatherings may escalate into violence and are therefore urged to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations.  If possible, American citizens should entirely avoid areas of protest. American citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Information regarding demonstrations in Bahrain can be found on the U.S. Embassy Manama’s web site.

Visiting U.S. citizens can register their travel plans with the U.S. Embassy online or upon arrival. The Department of State remains concerned about the possibility of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world. Americans should maintain a low profile, vary routes and times for all required travel, and treat mail and packages from unfamiliar sources with caution. In addition, U.S. citizens are urged to avoid contact with any suspicious, unfamiliar objects, and to report the presence of the objects to local authorities. Please report any security concerns to the U.S. Embassy's Regional Security Office at telephone (973) 1724-2700 during office hours or (973) 1727–5126 after hours.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ web site, where the current
Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, as well as the Worldwide Caution, 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 United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States 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. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State’s publication
A Safe Trip Abroad.

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. The U.S. Embassy in Manama recommends that travelers using local taxis insist on the use of a meter to avoid being overcharged. Bahrain has a professional police force, and visitors are encouraged to contact the police if they encounter problems.

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 U.S. Embassy. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. The Embassy staff can, for example, assist you in finding appropriate medical care, in contacting family members or friends, and by explaining how to transfer funds. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can provide a list of lawyers and can help you to understand the local criminal justice process.

The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Bahrain is: 999 for fire, ambulance and police; 199 for traffic accidents (no injuries) or 999 (injuries).

Please see our information on
Victims of Crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.

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 Bahrain’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 States. Please see our information on Criminal Penalties.

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. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Manama maintains a list of local attorneys capable of representing Americans.

Please see our
Customs Information.

We urge all Americans seeking or taking up employment in Bahrain to have written assurances (in the employment contract if possible) as to who will be responsible for obtaining work visas; the amount of time it will take to process the visas; the amount of any visa fees to be paid by the employee; when salaries will be due and payable; and who will pay transportation costs in case of termination of the employment contract.

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 facilities.

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 Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s web site. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) web site. Further health information for travelers is available at
http://www.who.int/ith/en.

Some HIV/AIDS restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Bahrain.  While Americans do not have to declare their HIV status upon applying for entry into Bahrain, the government revokes the visas of non-Bahrainis who are discovered to be HIV positive.  Contact the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain for more information.

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 insurance overseas.

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. Although the Bahraini penal code calls for fines of up to 100 dinars ($270.00) or imprisonment of up to six months for driving above posted speed limits, it is not uncommon for drivers to drive well over the posted speed limits of 50-100 km per hour. The law allows the police to detain drivers for traffic violations until they can appear before a magistrate. 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 (about 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 should call the accident hotline at 199 (if there are no injuries) or 999 (when someone is injured) where they will be directed to one of five 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. The main switchboard at the traffic department is 1787-2222.

Please refer to our
Road Safety page for more information.

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 Bahrain’s Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s web site at http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/iasa/ .

CHILDREN'S ISSUES:

For information see our Office of Children’s Issues web pages on intercountry adoption and international parental child abduction.

REGISTRATION / EMBASSY LOCATION:

Americans living or traveling in Bahrain are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration web site, 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 Section’s fax number is (973) 1725-6242. The Embassy's web site includes consular information and the most recent messages to the American community in Bahrain. The workweek in Bahrain is Sunday through Thursday.

This replaces the Country Specific Information for Bahrain dated June 27, 2008, to update the sections on Country Description, Entry/Exit Requirements, Safety and Security, Crime, Information for Victims of Crime, Special Circumstances, Medical Facilities and Health Information, and Traffic Safety and Road Conditions.

 


 

The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office also has advice on Bahrain HERE.....

Check out the CDC Malaria Map HERE.....

Looking for an Embassy ?, check out our World Wide Embassy Listings Section HERE (For US Citizens) or HERE (For UK Citizens).........

Regards

The SW Team.......

 

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