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Bahrain - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Bahrain due to protests, demonstrations and the threat of terrorist attacks.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Demonstrations occur regularly and may become violent. They can also lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings and the areas where they can occur. Follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media and road closure announcements.
Foreigners participating in protests or even being found in the vicinity of protesters may be arrested and are subject to fines and jail sentences.
There is a threat of terrorism. Targets could include:
- government buildings
- public areas
- tourist areas (such as hotels, bars and nightclubs)
- Western interests in and around Manama
Increased security measures are currently in place and may be reinforced upon short notice. Be aware of your surroundings at all times in public places.
Petty crime, such as purse snatching and pickpocketing, occurs. Violent crime is rare. Exercise caution in the old market areas (souks), villages and poorer districts, especially after dark.
Road conditions are very good throughout the country. Drivers, however, are often aggressive. Drifting sands and roaming animals can pose hazards.
In the event of an accident resulting in injuries, do not move your vehicle until a report has been filed, even if the vehicle impedes traffic. If there are injuries, call 999; if there are no injuries, call 199.
Off-road driving can be hazardous. Only go off-road driving in a convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles and with an experienced guide. Leave your itinerary with a family member or friend. Be well prepared, and carry extra gasoline, water, food and a cellular phone.
Taxis are generally safe. Use only officially marked taxis. Negotiate fares in advance, or insist that the driver use the meter, as you may be overcharged.
On June 5, 2017, the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen announced the severing of diplomatic relations with Qatar. Some airlines have suspended flights to and from Qatar. Further measures could impact transportation. If you are planning to travel from Bahrain to or through Qatar, verify your travel plans with your airline or travel agent. Monitor local media for the latest development.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
There is a curfew in effect on the waterways around Bahrain from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. Vessels operating in these waters may be detained and inspected, even outside curfew hours.
Exercise increased caution when travelling by dhow (small sailboat), as they may not be up to Canadian safety standards.
Women travellers have been subject to physical and verbal harassment. See Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-travel Guide for travel safety information for Canadian women.
Women have been detained when reporting sexual assault, as they must prove that the sex was not consensual to avoid being charged under extramarital sex statutes (see Laws and customs).
General safety information
Leave your passport in a safe place and carry a photocopy for identification purposes.
Cellular phone coverage may not be available in some parts of the country.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from Bahraini authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Bahrain.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Canadians must have a visa to visit Bahrain.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
You should obtain a visa from the nearest Bahraini government office prior to arrival. Tourists can also obtain their visa online from Bahrain eVisas.
The Government of Bahrain has implemented measures restricting the entry of Qatari citizens and foreign residents of Qatar into Bahrain. These measures should not affect Canadians travelling to or transiting through Qatar. If you are a resident of Qatar, contact diplomatic representatives of Bahrain to confirm current entry requirements.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Adequate medical services are available in Bahrain. Immediate payment is required.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
The work week is from Sunday to Thursday.
Carry your identification documents with you at all times.
Illegal or restricted activities
Religious proselytizing is not permitted.
Common-law unions are tolerated but not recognized. Extramarital relations are illegal.
Avoid physical contact, such as holding hands with another adult, in public.
Penalties for possession, use and trafficking of illegal drugs are strict and include the death penalty. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines. The possession of even a very small amount of drugs can result in arrest and, if convicted, a four-year minimum prison term.
Possession of pornography is illegal.
Alcohol is available for purchase by non-Muslims at special stores. Observe restrictions concerning the consumption of alcohol. Excessive drinking while in transit through a Bahraini airport could lead to detention and a fine.
Do not take photographs of buildings or individuals without prior authorization.
While not illegal, homosexuality is not socially tolerated in Bahrain. The Bahraini government does not recognize same-sex marriage, and LGBTQ2 travellers may be prosecuted under morality or public decency laws. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Bahrain. See Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians abroad for more information.
Bahraini customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning the temporary import or export of certain items, including firearms, ammunition and other weapons, seditious literature and habit-forming drugs.
If you are involved in Bahraini court proceedings due to indebtedness, labour disagreement or other legal dispute, you may be prevented from leaving the country until your case is resolved.
Dress and behaviour
Bahrain’s customs, laws and regulations adhere closely to Islamic practices and beliefs. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities. For example, women should cover their arms and legs, and men should not wear shorts in public. Bahraini attitudes regarding alcohol are not favourable.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), use discretion when drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2019, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 5.
You may be subject to heavy fines if showing disrespect toward officials by making verbal insults and obscene gestures.
Child custody decisions are based on Islamic law. It is extremely difficult for a Canadian woman, even if she is Muslim, to obtain custody of her children through a Bahraini court decision. Regardless of their parents’ marital status, minor children of a Bahraini father may not leave Bahrain without their father’s permission.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Bahrain.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Bahrain, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
An International Driving Permit is recommended.
There is a zero-tolerance policy regarding drinking and driving.
The currency is the Bahraini dinar (BHD). Credit cards, traveller’s cheques, U.S. dollars and Saudi riyals are widely accepted. Automated banking machines are available.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
Bahrain is subject to sand and dust storms, as well as periods of drought.
Dial 999 for emergency assistance.
Manama - Consulate of Canada
Riyadh - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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