Visas for Bahrain
Visas for Bahrain fall into several different categories depending on the purpose of the visit. The type of visa required will depend on the purpose of the visit, number of expected visits and the length of an expat's stay in the Kingdom.
Nationals of over 60 countries can obtain a visa on arrival in Bahrain and will receive a stamp in their passport when entering. If not eligible, nationals of more than 140 additional countries can apply for an eVisa which is stored online and applied for in advance.
In most cases, foreigners entering Bahrain will be required to have a Bahraini sponsor to support their visa application. Sponsors can be an individual, a company or an institution. In most cases, it will be the expat's employer.
It is important to note that any foreigner wishing to reside in Bahrain for an extended period of time will be required to undergo a full medical examination, including an HIV test.
Tourist visas for Bahrain
Foreigners visiting Bahrain for holiday or those on a short fact-finding trip prior to accepting an expat contract will need to apply for a tourist visa. Some travellers will be entitled to a visa upon arrival at the airport in Bahrain, providing that they are in possession of a valid passport and an onward or return ticket.
Visitors ineligible for a visa on arrival must pre-arrange their visa, either through the eVisa system or by application through a Bahraini embassy. These applications must be supported by a sponsor. Those without a contact in Bahrain may be able to use a travel agency, national embassy or the Directorate of Tourism at the Ministry of Information in Bahrain as a sponsor.
Once the visa has been granted, the foreigner is entitled to visit Bahrain for the duration of the period stated on their visa. However, a tourist visa does not permit the holder to carry out any form of economic activity during their stay, including working and business related activities.
Business visas for Bahrain
Business visas are issued to those visiting Bahrain for business and representing a company. Those in possession of a business visa are only permitted to carry out official company business while in the Kingdom. They are not entitled to look for alternative employment or take up any form of employment with another company in Bahrain.
Work visas for Bahrain
Most expats moving to Bahrain have been lured to the Kingdom by a lucrative job offer.
Anyone who plans on working for either a Bahraini or international business in Bahrain will need a work visa to allow them to do so legally. In most cases, expats will find that their employer will take care of arranging the work visa for them. However, it is worth being aware of the requirements as expats will be required to provide their employer with a number of important documents.
Those without a confirmed job offer in Bahrain are not eligible to apply for a work visa.
Residency permits for Bahrain
Those taking up employment in Bahrain will need to apply for a residency permit in addition to their work visa. The residency permit, once granted, will run concurrently with the work visa.
There are two types of residency permit for expats in Bahrain. The first is for those taking up a job in Bahrain and who have sponsorship from an employer. The second is for those who are seeking residency only.
It is important to note that a residency permit alone will not allow the holder to take up employment in Bahrain.