Moving to Bahrain?
Permits, Safety, and Health in Bahrain
Permits for the Whole Family
Family members and dependents of expat employees can apply for a residence permit, or “Family Visa”. It allows them to stay in Bahrain for the duration of the assignment, but does not give them the right to work. Applications must be submitted to the Labour Market Regulatory Authority, while the visa itself will be issued by the General Directorate for Nationality, Passports and Residence. In addition to the documents needed for a Work Visa (as detailed in the previous page), the following will be required:
- one completed application form per applicant
- a copy of every applicant’s passport
- a family health record from an authorized doctor or hospital
- a fee of 22 BHD per applicant
Once in Bahrain, every family member will also need their own CPR Card, a form of identification for foreigners. Applications should be sent to the Central Informatics Organization and include the applicant’s passport, the employee’s sponsorship letter stating the names of all dependents, marriage certificate where applicable, birth certificate(s) for children, and a fee of 1 BHD per applicant.
The Aftermath of the Arab Spring
The Arab Spring continues to affect Bahrain with tensions remaining high between the Sunni government and its mostly Shia citizens. Failed peace talks in 2014 led to further protests in 2015, and the trials of key protest leaders are still ongoing.
Demonstrations and protests are still a regular occurrence and can be violent. Foreign nationals are advised to stay vigilant and exercise caution on roads or in public places. Follow the local news (English-language newspapers are widely available) to find out whether any curfews or other restrictions are in place, and always adhere to security measures imposed by the government.
Feeling the Heat
Expats from cooler climates may find the heat difficult to deal with when they first arrive in Bahrain. Winters are mild, but summers are very hot with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius or more. It’s not unusual for foreigners to feel a bit under the weather for the first couple of weeks while they adjust.
There are no major health risks associated with moving to Bahrain, however, make sure to see your doctor well in advance before your departure for a general check-up. As well as making sure you’re up to date on all routine vaccinations, hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations are recommended for travel to Bahrain. Depending on your travel plans, hepatitis B and rabies vaccinations may also be recommended. If you are coming from a country with risk of yellow fever virus transmission, you may be asked to present proof of vaccination.
In general, importing prescription drugs is subject to approval by the Health Ministry. If you need to bring certain medications, make sure they’re for your personal use only and that you carry the original prescription stamped and signed by your healthcare provider that includes your personal information and details of your medical condition.
Psychotropic medicines, including many sleeping pills and anti-depressants, require approval from the Ministry of Health before arrival and can be difficult to get hold of in Bahrain. Obtaining any other medicine shouldn’t be a problem, although you may need to get a prescription from a Bahraini doctor as pharmacies are usually not authorized to accept foreign prescriptions.
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