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Bahrain - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Bahrain. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to protests, demonstrations and the threat of terrorist attacks.
Safety and security
Safety and security
On September 21, 2014, Daesh released a statement threatening retaliation for the American-led coalition campaign against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. The statement encouraged opportunistic and indiscriminate attacks against citizens and interests of countries supporting the coalition, which includes Canada. Individuals and terrorist groups in the region may be inspired to carry out attacks in a show of solidarity with Daesh. Exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times, maintain a heightened level of vigilance and be aware of your surroundings.
Attacks may occur in and around Manama, and would likely target government buildings, public areas, tourist sites or Western interests. Increased security measures are currently in place and may be reinforced upon short notice.
Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness at all times, exercise caution in areas that foreigners likely frequent (such as commercial districts, movie theatres and tourist areas including hotels, bars and nightclubs). Monitor local developments and follow the advice of local authorities. Register with, and carefully follow messages issued through, the Registration of Canadians Abroad service.
Since 2011, civil unrest involving violent altercations has occurred in many parts of Bahrain, and could potentially spread throughout the rest of the island. Demonstrations occur regularly and may become violent.
Recent demonstrations have been held in response to executions held in Saudi Arabia on January 3, 2016, including that of a high profile Shia cleric.
Avoid all political gatherings, crowds and demonstrations, and stay away from areas where they can occur. Foreigners participating in protests or even being found in the vicinity of protesters may be subject to arrest with serious consequences, including a jail sentence.
Monitor local media and road closure announcements.
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.
Driving habits differ markedly from those practised in Canada. 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 though it may impede 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 travel itinerary with a family member or friend. Be well-prepared by equipping yourself with 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.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
Women travellers have been subject to physical and verbal harassment. Consult our publication, Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-travel Guide, for travel safety information for Canadian women.
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.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from Bahraini authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Bahrain, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Canadians must be in possession of 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.
Violations of entry and exit requirements may result in serious penalties.
When travelling in the Middle East, immigration officials may increase their scrutiny of your passport and question its authenticity, due to incidents of possible misuse. Contact the nearest Canadian government office or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa for advice and assistance.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
- Measles: Global Update - July 28, 2016 00:00 EDT
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) - July 12, 2016 00:00 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider 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 provider.
- 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 for children, 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 provider 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 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 are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
The work week is from Sunday to Thursday.
Carry your identification documents with you at all times.
An international driving permit is recommended.
Illegal or restricted activities
Religious proselytizing is not permitted.
Homosexuality is illegal, and is punishable by imprisonment and deportation.
Common-law relationships are tolerated but not recognized.
Avoid physical contact, for example, holding hands, in public.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict and include the death penalty. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and/or heavy fines. The possession of drugs, even a very small amount, can result in arrest and, if convicted, a four-year minimum prison term.
Alcohol is available for purchase by non-Muslims at special stores. Observe restrictions concerning the consumption of alcohol. Attitudes regarding alcohol are not favourable.
There is a zero-tolerance policy regarding drinking and driving. Drinking while in transit through a Bahraini airport could lead to detention and fines.
Obtain authorization prior to photographing buildings or individuals.
Bahraini customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning the temporary import or export of certain items, such as firearms, ammunition and other weapons; pornography or seditious literature; and habit-forming or hallucinatory drugs.
If you are involved in Bahraini court proceedings due to indebtedness, labour disagreement or other legal dispute, you may be prevented from leaving Bahrain until your case is resolved.
Dress and behaviour
The country’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.
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 2017, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 27.
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 Bahreini citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Bahreini passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
The currency is the Bahraini dinar (BD). 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. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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