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Bahrain travel information

Bahrain travel informationAir traffic in/out from Manama in Bahrain has been reduced to a minimum, some air routes are still going, but the situation is unclear. Check with your airline which flights are going. For more information about coronavirus, including entry rules, see the section Health.

Safety

Although Bahrain is generally seen as a safe country to travel to, it has several security challenges worth noting. The Foreign Ministry encourages travelers to exercise caution when traveling to or staying in Bahrain.

The situation is at times tense between the Sunni Muslim royal house and the government apparatus and the Shiite Muslim population. This has sometimes led to demonstrations and riots in Shiite areas and e.g. at larger places in the capital. Demonstrations can lead to closed roads and checkpoints.

In recent years, groups have carried out some minor attacks that the authorities have defined as terrorism. However, the threat to tourists is considered limited since such estimates have largely been directed at security forces and oil infrastructure.

When traveling outside the capital Manama and especially to Shiite areas, it is necessary to exercise caution. The security situation is often linked to national and regional political conditions, so it is important to keep up to date on the news.

Otherwise, there is relatively little profit crime and violence in Bahrain. Nevertheless, one should take good care of valuables and use hotel safes, if possible. It is forbidden to photograph military buildings and facilities.

  • Countryaah: Manama is the capital of Bahrain. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.

Traffic is probably the biggest security challenge in Bahrain. The roads are generally good, but the speed is high and the driving style unpredictable. It is recommended to drive carefully and defensively. If you get into a traffic accident, you have to stay at the car until the police come and make a report. Car repair shops cannot repair the damage without this report.

Entry

Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.

Norwegian citizens must have a passport with at least six months validity when entering Bahrain. Visas for up to two weeks are purchased on arrival at the Manama airport or in advance via an e-portal. The visa fee is five Bahraini dinars (about NOK 100). The same applies if you cross the border by car from Saudi Arabia. If you fail to travel from the country before the visa expires or is renewed, you will be fined. It is possible to extend the visa for another two weeks.

All Norwegian travelers must ensure that they have a valid, ordinary passport. Emergency passport (orange color), travel document for refugees (green travel document) or travel document for people on humanitarian grounds (blue travel document) are not accepted as an entry document in Bahrain. In case of a stopover, emergency passports can be used, but you will not be able to leave the international zone if this happens, for example. delays or cancellations.

Norway does not have an embassy in Bahrain but covers the country from the embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Health

Coronavirus (covid-19): Norwegian travelers should keep abreast of the development of the coronavirus. Follow local authorities' advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation.

You can find more information and guidance from the Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. See also UD's answers to frequently asked questions about travel and coronavirus.

A couple of three thousand corona infections have been discovered in Bahrain, and the number is increasing. Air travel in/out of Manama in Bahrain has been reduced to a minimum. There are a couple of flights (Gulf Air) a week to Europe, but the situation is unclear. There are no flights between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Check with your airline which flights are going. Entry to Bahrain is only allowed for Bahraini nationals who wish to return to the country. The cross-border (road/bridge link) to Saudi Arabia is only open to Bahraini citizens traveling back to Bahrain, but there may be changes in the near future and opportunities for the embassy to apply for a driving permit. Contact the embassy about this.

All travelers are tested for the coronavirus and quarantined by positive results. This also applies to citizens of Bahrain and other GCC countries (countries in the region). Visas on arrival in Bahrain are suspended indefinitely.

All educational institutions and mosques have been closed for the time being, but some business activities have now reopened in April. Everyone who moves outside must use mouthwash. It is illegal to have collections of more than five people. Persons who do not follow the measures risk three months' imprisonment and a fine of at least BHD 5000 (NOK 140,000). The situation in Bahrain is evolving from day to day and Norwegian travelers are asked to monitor the situation with the help of, among other things. these pages:

  • Bahrain Health Department
  • Guidelines from Bahrain's Department of Health
  • Bahrain Health Department's account on Instagram: @mohbahrain
  • Bahrain's official news agency(on twitter)
  • Overview of the situation in the Middle East

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Most hospitals in Bahrain and especially the private ones are of a good standard. Prices can be high and prepayment may be required. It is therefore strongly recommended that before the trip you take out a regular, good travel insurance which also includes the possibility of transport home in case of serious illness.

For up-to-date information on health and diseases in the region, see the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

If you travel with prescription medicines, they should be stored in the original packaging and carried in the hand luggage. Further information can be found on the website of the Norwegian Medicines Agency under " Medicines on foreign travel ".

Practical information

Bahrain is a small island state in the Persian Gulf. The capital Manama is an international trade and finance center and a popular tourist destination for the entire region. Arabic is the public language, but English, Hindi and Urdu are widely used. There is a wide international presence in Bahrain, including about 40 Norwegians.

Emergency
telephones Emergency telephone: 999
UD's operational center: (+47) 23 95 00 00

The climate is very hot and humid in summer and from May to October the temperature can reach 45 degrees and above, with very high humidity. From November to April, however, considerably lower humidity and moderate temperatures can be expected.

The currency unit is the Bahraini Dinar (BHD), which has a fixed exchange rate against the US dollar of USD 1 = 0.376 BD. 1 BD = approx. NOK 23 (January 2020). One dinar is divided into 1000 fils, but many stores still use Saudi Riyals (SARs) as currency exchange. SAR can be used anywhere on par with Bahraini dinars. ATMs are very widespread and accept all regular cards. You can pay by card in most hotels, restaurants and shops.

When it comes to transport, Manama has a collective offering under development, but this is very limited in the rest of the country. Most people use a car and there is good access to rental cars, as well as taxis and Uber. International driver's license is a prerequisite for renting a car. For permanent residence in Bahrain, a local driver's license must be obtained.

The work week in Bahrain is from Sunday to Thursday. On weekdays, banks and public offices are normally open from 08.00 to 12.30/14.00. Friday is a Muslim holiday and most shops are closed until the afternoon. Saturday is day off, but most of the shops and other things are open.

National Day is December 16 and Martyr Day December 17.

The power supply is at 220 V voltage. British plugs (three plugs) are used. There is generally good telephone coverage and Norwegian phones can be used.

The time difference to Norway is 1+ hours at summer time in Norway and 2+ hours at winter time.

Customs and rules: Bahrain is a Muslim country and visitors must respect local norms and rules. Manama is nevertheless a relatively liberal metropolis, where alcohol is served in hotels and many other places. However, the legislation is strict and it is forbidden to be drunk in public places.

Bahrain has no official rules on how women should dress, but it is expected to cover themselves when visiting religious places. However, Bahrain has major regional differences. Villages on other parts of the island, often Shi'ite, are more conservative and have a different dress code. As a general rule, covered shoulders and knees are recommended. Women must wear abaya and scarf when visiting mosques.

Homosexuality is banned in Bahrain, but is rarely actively pursued.

Possession, use or smuggling of illegal drugs, even in small quantities, can result in severe penalties. This also applies to certain drugs classified as narcotic drugs. If in doubt, one should investigate further. The Bahrain Embassy in London, which is also the Bahrain Embassy to Norway, can be contacted for more information.

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