All foreign visitors to Bahrain require a visa except nationals from Arab neighbouring states which are part of the Arabian Gulf Cooperation Council. UK citizens do not require a visa providing they are only planning to stay for less than four weeks. Other visitors who are planning to stay for less than 72 hours while they make connections for an onward journey also do not require visas but may have to pay a small fee.

Tourist visas can be applied for at the Bahrain embassy in your home country and those visas which are required for work and residency must be applied for by the sponsor in Bahrain, which is usually the company which has offered the job.

Employment visas are required for foreign nationals to obtain a residency permit. The sponsoring company makes the application for the work permit from the Ministry of Labour and there must also be a certificate of No Objection from the Ministry of Immigration. Most larger companies employ somebody whose sole job it is to deal with the immigration of foreign workers.

Anyone who obtains a work visa can also apply for a family visa so that a wife and children may join their husband/father. This does not entitle the spouse to obtain work while in Bahrain but it will run for as long as the husband’s work visa remains in place.

Supporting documentation that is required for a visa application includes a passport which has at least six months left to run, birth certificate, marriage certificate if applicable and a medical certificate. All workers must be able to prove that they are free from sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and AIDS, but all workers must be prepared to undergo tests when they arrive in the country.

When moving to Bahrain for work it is the duty of the sponsoring employer to ensure that all documentation requirements are met and that you are aware of the procedures that you need to follow. Once a visa is granted it is important for foreign nationals to carry identification with them at all times. This is in the form of an ID card or passport copy. Passports are usually held by the sponsoring company so that they are available for instant inspection by the immigration authorities. Inspections are carried out regularly to clamp down on illegal workers.

Those who have any connection with Israel, even those who just have a stamp in their passports will be refused entry to Bahrain.