Assessing travel and visa obligations in Bahrain

When traveling to Bahrain, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if work authorization will be required. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to Bahrain, you may engage in the activities below. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, you may:

  • Attend business and sales meetings
  • Buy goods for sale outside the country
  • Tour a company facility
  • Attend a trade show or seminar convention
  • Establish a business venture or explore possibilities to set up a business venture


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for Bahrain?

Most foreign nationals, including nationals of the United States and most European countries, will be required to obtain a Business Visa (also called a Visit Visa) to enter Bahrain. Depending on the traveler’s nationality, visas may be obtained from a Bahraini Consulate or Embassy prior to travel, online as an e-visa or upon arrival. Nationals of select countries, including Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states (Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), may be eligible for visa waiver status, which allows visitors to enter and conduct business activities without a visa. Please verify your eligibility for a visa on arrival, visa waiver status or an e-visa prior to travel.

Working in Bahrain

What types of activities require work authorization?

The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Bahraini law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in Bahrain, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Performing technical repairs
  • Facilitating or receiving technical training
  • Market integration
  • Participating in an inventory evaluation


If I am traveling to Bahrain for work, what type of work authorization do I need?

The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in Bahrain. The most common form of work authorization in Bahrain is the Work Visa and Residence Permit.


Is it possible to be exempted from work authorization requirements?

Nationals of eligible GCC member states are exempt from obtaining work authorization and may work indefinitely in Bahrain.

What else should I know?

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.


Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.