Bahrain Travel Advice
Security travel advice for Bahrain
Threat level: Medium-High
There is a heightened risk of terrorism in Bahrain and attacks could be aimed at places frequently visited by tourists. Recent terrorist attacks in neighbouring countries including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait means that visitors should be on high alert at all times.
Recent Security Risk Events
June 2016 saw officials from Bahrain revoke the citizenship of a top Shia cleric, Isa Qassim's. This caused outrage with many of the country’s citizens and is thought to have been one of the motives behind the protests that followed it. A British based campaign group expressed concerns that this move would escalate tensions between citizens and government authorities.
UPDATE: There are public demonstrations planned for the Formula One race to be held in Bahrain on the 16th April 2017. Human rights campaigners have urged Formula One management to cancel the event. It was cancelled in 2011 due to unrest when Bahrain declared a state of martial law.
A number of groups have put their name to a letter sent to F1 management and sponsors ahead of the race. The groups are:
- Americans for Democracy
- Human Rights in Bahrain
- ARTICLE 19
- Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy
- Gulf Centre for Human Rights
Any visitors to the F1 in Bahrain, are advised to be aware of their surroundings and not to join protests, as these in the past on occasions, have turned violent.
Demonstrations regularly break out in Bahrain and may include protesters trying to stop traffic, burning tyres and occasionally using home-made explosive devices. These events often happen with little warning especially during the night and at weekends and can turn violent quickly. As such, there can be clashes between security forces and protesters. You should be wary of such events and avoid them at all costs.
Bahraini officials require all residents and visitors to carry a form of identification on them at all times. If you are unable to produce ID on request, you may be subject to a fine.
Bahrain achieved independence from Britain in 1971 and continues to hold strong diplomatic and trade relationship with Britain. It enjoys friendly relations with most of its neighbouring countries and is working on narrowing any disagreements.
The country is a member of United Nations, World Trade Organisation as well as the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf which is a union focusing on regional intergovernmental political and economic issues.
Bahrain and Iran have traditionally had a strained relationship since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, however at present, the countries are working on improving relations to increase regional harmony.
The major roads and highways in Bahrain, particularly in the north, are well maintained. Some of the roads in other parts of the country including smaller older villages, many have congested roads that are narrow and often dangerous. Drive with extra caution in these areas. There is a waterways curfew around the country between 6pm and 4am. Travellers are asked to respect this.
You can drive in Bahrain using most national licences for a period of up to 3 months. Visitors beyond this length of stay should apply for an International driving permit.
There are strict regulations with regard to driving under the influence of drink or drugs. Should you choose to ignore advice and drink-drive, you will be arrested and put in a driver’s prison. The minimum fine is £900 and you can be banned from driving altogether in the country.
Currency: Bahraini Dinar (BHD)
Time now in Manama:
Most nationals entering Bahrain will be required to apply for a visa before entering the country. In order to ensure a smooth arrival, it is recommended that you arrange your visa prior to arrival. This can be done online or via your local Bahraini Embassy. Alternatively, it is possible to apply for a visa upon your arrival in Bahrain. You can find out more visa information here: Bahrain visa requirements.
It is advised that visitors to Bahrain are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is recommended for most travellers to get a Tetanus vaccination. You may also want to consider Hepatitis A and B vaccinations.
Although there is no direct risk of the disease in Bahrain, if you are coming from a country where there is a risk of Yellow Fever, or transiting for longer than 12 hours in an at risk country, you will be required to provide a vaccination certificate. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
The medical facilities available in Bahrain are generally very good standard, however you will be charged for any medical treatment during your trip anf this can prove costly. As such you should ensure that you are able to cover the cost at the time and that you have comprehensive medical insurance that will cover you for all treatments.
U.S. Embassy Manama
Building No. 979,
Road 3119, Block 331
Telephone: +973 172 427 00
Telephone Emergency After-Hours: +973 172 751 26
British Embassy Manama
21 Government Avenue,
P O Box 6079
P O Box 114,
Telephone: +973 175 741 00
Other useful info