Bahrain travel advice
Latest updates: The Health section was updated - travel health information (Public Health Agency of Canada)
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- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
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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
FIFA World Cup 2022
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar from November 20 to December 18, 2022. If you’re planning on travelling to Qatar during the tournament, consult the following links for important information, including entry requirements.
There is a threat of terrorism. Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
- Western interests in and around Manama
Increased security measures are currently in place and may be reinforced upon short notice. Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching occurs. Violent crime is rare.
- Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Exercise caution in the old market areas (souks), villages and poorer districts, especially after dark
Demonstrations take place regularly, particularly on evenings and weekends. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. Participants have been known to throw rocks, Molotov cocktails and use makeshift explosive devices during protests. Police have historically used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse crowds.
Areas prone to demonstrations include:
- Bani Jamra
- the Budaiya Highway and surrounding villages.
Demonstrations can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
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.
Road conditions are very good throughout the country. Drivers, however, are often aggressive. Drifting sands and roaming animals can pose hazards.
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
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.
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
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.
Regional tension may affect your travel. Exercise caution in the following areas, as vessels have been subject to detention, inspection and attacks:
- Gulf of Oman
- Northern Arabian Sea
- Gulf of Aden
- Bab El Mandeb
Exercise increased caution when travelling by dhow (small sailboat), as they may not be up to Canadian safety standards.
General safety information
Cellular phone coverage may not be available in some parts of the country.
Entry and exit requirements
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 the Foreign Representatives 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.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
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 foreign representative 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.
Travellers seeking to enter Saudi Arabia from Bahrain via the causeway are advised to check the terms of their Saudi visa before travelling. Some Saudi visas only allow for entry into the country by air, in which case entry from Bahrain via the causeway will not be permitted.
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.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines are right for you.
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.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
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.
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.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
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.
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 children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, 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 a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a 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.
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.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences, heavy fines, as well as the death penalty. The possession of even a very small amount of drugs can result in arrest and, if convicted, a four-year minimum prison term.
Alcohol is available for purchase by non-Muslims at special stores. However, Bahraini attitudes regarding alcohol are not favourable. Observe restrictions concerning the consumption of alcohol. Excessive drinking while in transit through a Bahraini airport could lead to detention and a fine.
Bahraini law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, the Bahraini government does not recognize same-sex marriage, and homosexuality is not widely socially accepted. 2SLGBTQI+ travellers could face arrest under other charges, such as morality or public decency laws.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Bahrain.
In June 2017, when Bahrain cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, it also announced that any expression of sympathy for Qatar on social media or by any other means of communication is an offence. Transgression could result in imprisonment or a fine.
You must carry photo identification. Under Bahraini law, failure to produce photo identification to an authority when asked is considered an offence and you may be fined. Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it’s lost or confiscated.
Do not take photographs of buildings or individuals without prior authorization.
Common-law unions are tolerated but not recognized. Extramarital relations are illegal.
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. The work week is from Sunday to Thursday.
Religious proselytizing is not permitted.
You may be subject to heavy fines if you show disrespect toward officials by making verbal insults and obscene gestures.
- Avoid physical contact, such as holding hands with another adult, in public
- Dress conservatively
- Behave discreetly
- 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
In 2023, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around March 22.
In public, between sunrise and sunset, be discreet when :
Possession of pornographic material is forbidden.
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.
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.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Bahrain.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Bahrain by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Bahrain to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
There is a zero-tolerance policy regarding drinking and driving.
You must carry an international driving permit.
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
Humidity and heat may be most severe during the hot season, from April to October. Bahrain is also subject to periods of drought.
Know the symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke, which can both be fatal.
Sand storms and dust storms may occur any time, particularly during the summer months.
Sand-laden winds can blow at high speeds for days, creating difficult driving conditions. Poor visibility can also affect flights. These storms can also cause respiratory problems, which can be fatal for some individuals.
During a storm:
- stay indoors
- keep windows closed
- follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
The rainy season extends from December to March. It can lead to severe flooding.
Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.
- Monitor local news and weather reports
- Follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
If there are injuries, call 999; if there are no injuries, call 199.
The Consulate of Canada in Manama is temporarily closed. The ability of Canadian officials to provide consular assistance in Bahrain is limited at this time. If you need consular assistance, contact the Embassy of Canada in Riyadh.
Riyadh - Embassy of Canada
Bahrain, Oman, YemenAppointment Book your appointment online
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, expressed 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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