Bahrain - Consular Information Sheet
May 7, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Bahrain is a hereditary emirate,
governed by the Al-Khalifa family in consultation with a council
of ministers. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative
foundation of the country's customs, laws and practices. In Bahrain,
a modern developed country, tourist facilities are widely available.
The capital is Manama.
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Passports and visas are required.
Two-week visas may be obtained for a fee upon arrival at the airport.
Prior to travel, visitors may obtain from Bahraini embassies overseas
five-year multiple entry visas valid for stays as long as one
month. Visitors who fail to depart the country at the end of their
authorized stay are fined. An exit tax is charged all travelers
upon departure. Residents of Bahrain who intend to return must
obtain a re-entry permit before departing. For further information
on entry requirements, travelers can contact the Embassy of the
State of Bahrain, 3502 International Drive, N.W., Washington,
D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 342-0741; 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. Information also may
be obtained from the
Embassy's Internet home page at http://www.bahrainembassy.org.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of the relationship between the
child and an accompanying adult and, when the child's parent(s)
or legal guardian is not traveling with the child, permission
from that adult for the child's travel. Having such documentation
on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
DUAL NATIONALITY: The Bahrain government does not recognize
dual nationality. Bahrain authorities have confiscated the U.S.
passports of dual (Bahrain/U.S.) nationals when they applied for
a Bahrain passport. This does not constitute loss of U.S. citizenship,
but should be reported to the U.S. Embassy in Manama. For additional
information, please refer to
the Consular Affair home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/
and click on the dual nationality flyer.
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Americans in Bahrain should maintain
a high level of security awareness. Over the past several years,
Bahrain has experienced sporadic acts of politically related vandalism
and arson in which explosive devices have been used. Although
domestic political tensions have been reduced by recent government
initiatives, political developments in either Bahrain or the Middle
East region can inflame emotions and, potentially, anti-American
sentiments. The Department of State remains concerned about the
possibility of terrorist attacks against United States citizens
and interests throughout the world. The U.S. Embassy in Manama
recommends that visitors limit their activities to tourist attractions
and major urban commercial districts. The U.S. Embassy in Manama
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 suspicion 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 973-273-300.
The Embassy informs the registered resident American community
of security matters through a warden system (please see the registration
section below for more information). The U.S. Embassy in Manama
also maintains an English language hotline providing information
about current travel conditions in Bahrain. This hotline may be
accessed by telephoning 973-255-048.
CRIME : Crime is not a major problem in Bahrain. However,
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 the rooms, and
travelers are encouraged to store valuables in hotel room safes,
when these are available. While in the old market area (Souk),
women are encouraged to keep their purses firmly under their arm,
and men should avoid keeping their wallets in their hip pocket.
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. Useful information on ways to promote a more
trouble-free trip is available in the Department of State pamphlets,
Safe Trip Abroad and Tips
for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa. The
pamphlets may be obtained by mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402; via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs;
The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported
immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Basic modern medical care and medicines
are available in several hospitals and health centers in Bahrain.
Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical
evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars
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. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs
incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage
is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do
not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance
plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas,
including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000.
Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face
extreme difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased overseas
medical insurance have found it life-saving when a medical emergency
has occurred. When consulting with your insurer prior to your
trip, please ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas
healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses
that you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage
for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the
event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions 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); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via CDC's
Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/.
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
concerning Bahrain is provided for general reference only, and
may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside/Ambulance Assistance: Fair
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 they
are well maintained; roads in villages and older parts of Manama
and Muharraq are narrow and twisting. As in the United States,
Bahrain traffic 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 Bahrain Dinars for speeding (speed
limits range from 50 to 100 km. per hour), it is not uncommon
to be passed by cars traveling 120 to 140 km. per hour on the
highway. A car flashing its high beams is generally asking for
a chance to pass.
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. If involved in an
accident, drivers may not move their vehicles until a report has
been filed with the traffic police. If the cars are moved, insurance
companies may not provide coverage. If an accident results in
legal proceedings, both drivers may be prohibited from leaving
the country until the matter is resolved.
Emergency numbers are as follows:
Passers-by commonly stop to assist stranded drivers; many have
mobile phones and will offer to call for assistance. Members of
the American Automobile Association (AAA) can call for assistance
from the red and white Automobile Association boxes located on
additional general information about road safety, including links
to foreign government sites, please see the Department of
State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: As there is no direct commercial
air service by local carriers at present between the United States
and Bahrain, nor economic authority to operate such service, the
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Bahrain's
civil aviation authority for compliance with international aviation
For further information, travelers may contact the Department
of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit
Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S.
Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
As a result of the August 23, 2000 crash of a Gulf Air flight
in the Persian Gulf, the DOD has recommended that military commanders
use air carriers other than Gulf Air for DOD official travel,
at least until investigation of the crash is complete. For information
regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact
the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Bahrain customs authorities may enforce
strict regulations concerning temporary import or export of items
such as: firearms, ammunition, or other weapons; pornography or
seditious literature; and habit-forming or hallucinatory drugs.
It is advisable to contact the Embassy of the State of Bahrain
in Washington, D.C. or Bahrain's Consulate in New York for specific
information regarding customs requirements.
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. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Bahrain's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Bahrain are strict, and convicted offenders can expect
jail sentences and heavy fines.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Individuals subject to Bahraini
court orders arising from indebtedness, labor disagreements, or
other legal disputes may be prohibited 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. Businesses and
banks in Bahrain no longer accept old-style U.S. one hundred dollar
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children, international
parental child abduction, and international child support enforcement
issues, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY LOCATION: Americans living in or
visiting Bahrain are encouraged to register at the Consular Section
of the U.S. Embassy in Manama and obtain updated information on
travel and security within Bahrain. 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 973-273-300. The Consular Section fax
number is 973-256-242. The Embassy maintains an English language
hotline providing information on current travel conditions in
Bahrain at telephone 973-255-048. The
Embassy's website, which includes consular information, is
http://www.usembassy.com.bh. The workweek in Bahrain is Saturday
This replaces the consular information sheet for Bahrain dated
November 9, 2000, and includes updated information on entry/exit
requirements, safety and security, traffic safety and road conditions,
and crime information.