Fire and rescue services
We haven't changed our level of advice:
Exercise a high degree of caution in Bahrain.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Terrorists have killed and injured people in recent years. The main targets are police and security services.
Bahraini authorities warn residents and foreigners to avoid suspect packages and objects.
Attacks could occur at any time. Possible targets include:
Authorities have increased security. They may reinforce these measures at short notice.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Since 2011, protests and clashes have occurred throughout Bahrain, including in:
Security forces sometimes use force to disperse protesters.
Public rallies and meetings of large groups without the permission of the authorities are illegal. You could face legal action if you join them. If you're caught up in unrest, authorities could arrest you.
Monitor the media for political and regional tensions.
Take extra care around the time of Friday prayers.
If you're in an affected area:
If unrest disrupts transport, contact your airline, travel agent or insurer for advice.
The overall level of crime in Bahrain is low, however pickpocketing and bag snatching occurs. Criminals target the old market areas (souks).
To protect yourself against petty theft:
Where possible, avoid travelling alone or at night.
Bahrain often has extremely high temperatures. From June to August, the temperature can be above 50°C.
To avoid heat stroke and dehydration:
Sand and dust storms often happen.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you need counselling services, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre on (+61) 2 6261 3305. Ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to take medication, check if it's legal in Bahrain by contacting the nearest Bahraini Embassy. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating:
Get DFAT to authenticate medical documents before you leave, if required.
You may be at risk of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Cases have been reported in several Middle Eastern countries. Other countries have had cases from returned travellers.
Avoid contact with camels. Don't consume raw camel milk, undercooked camel meat, or anything contaminated with camel secretions.
Get medical advice if you have a fever, cough, breathing difficulties or diarrhoea.
You're at risk of waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases.
To protect yourself from illness:
Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
The standard of medical care is high.
You may have to pay before treatment begins. Costs can be high.
The Bahraini Government may ask you to repay all costs of emergency treatment.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to a place with better facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive. Ensure that your insurance can cover these costs.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
The nearest Australian Embassy is in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It doesn't have direct access to police, jails, hospitals and other services.
The Australian Embassy has to formally ask for access through the Bahraini Embassy in Riyadh. Authorities approve this on a case-by-case basis, so there may be a delay.
Behaviour in Australia that you might consider offensive or anti-social, but not criminal, could be illegal. Anyone breaking Bahraini law, even without knowing, may be subject to severe punishment.
Bahraini law applies to you even if you're transiting and don't leave the airport.
Penalties for drug offences, including possession, are severe and include the death penalty and life sentences.
Bahrain's laws differ from Australia's in several areas, including:
If you have family or commercial interests in Bahrain, get professional advice on your legal rights and responsibilities.
Authorities might stop you from leaving Bahrain if you have a commercial or labour dispute, legal proceedings or unpaid debts. See Travel
There are no diplomatic ties between Bahrain and Qatar.
In Bahrain, it's illegal to support Qatar. You can't speak or write against the Bahraini Government's policy on Qatar, including on social media. If you break these laws, you may face jail time and a large fine.
You may face the death penalty for serious crimes, such as murder and drug offences.
You may face lashing for some offences, including stealing.
Always carry photo ID or authorities may fine you.
If you drive under the influence of alcohol, authorities may detain, fine and ban you from driving.
It's illegal to:
Ask for permission before photographing people. Don't take photos of locals, especially women and children, without permission.
In some cases it is illegal to take photos of government buildings, official motorcades and sensitive infrastructure, including oil fields.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Bahrain doesn't recognise dual nationality.
If you're a dual citizen and you enter Bahrain on your non-Australian passport, this may limit the consular services we can provide you.
If you're a dual national of another country (for example, an Australian-UK citizen) you can only exit Bahrain with the passport that you used to enter.
The Bahraini weekend is Friday and Saturday.
Respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. Be aware of sensitivity around Ramadan and Shia religious festivals.
The Islamic holiday month of Ramadan will be from late April to late May in 2020. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws at this time.
Avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public or around people who are fasting.
Standards of dress and behaviour are generally more conservative than in Australia.
If you disrespect Islam, you'll cause great offence.
Take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.
Hotels may refuse couples who can't prove they're married.
Avoid public displays of affection — they may offend.
Same-sex sexual acts between consenting adults aged over 21 years are not criminalized.
However, LGBTI activity isn't socially accepted. It's likely to attract the attention of Bahraini authorities under some broader morality and public order laws.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its border.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
Entry and exit rules can change at short notice. Contact the Bahrain Ministry of Foreign Affairs for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
You need a visa to enter Bahrain which can be obtained on-line.
There's no Bahraini embassy in Australia. The nearest embassy of Bahrain is in Jakarta, Indonesia.
If your passport shows evidence of travel to Israel, authorities may refuse you entry to Bahrain. This evidence includes entry or exit stamps.
Authorities may also ask detailed questions about why you're visiting. They sometimes refuse entry to Australians based on their answers.
They may not let you enter or exit Bahrain:
The legal age of maturity in Bahrain is 21. A child of a Bahraini father does not need his permission to leave Bahrain unless there is a travel ban imposed on the child in connection with custody proceedings.
Bahrain's only land exit is into Saudi Arabia. The border with Saudi Arabia can close without notice. This may happen if the security situation in Bahrain declines.
Saudi Arabia doesn't offer visas on arrival to Australians. You might not be able to get a Saudi visa.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
Bahrain has rules about the amount of currency you can bring in and take out. Currency limits can change. Check details with the Bahraini embassy.
The local currency is the Bahraini Dinar (BHD).
Credit card facilities and ATMs are widely available.
Ask your bank if your cards will work in Bahrain.
Road travel can be dangerous. Unsafe driving is common, especially speeding.
Residents must obtain a Bahraini drivers licence. This can be done in one day through Bahrain's traffic department. Applicants for the licence need to pass a vision test.
Visitors can use a foreign drivers licence and an international drivers' ;licence. The international licence must be endorsed by an office of the Bahraini traffic department of at any car rental office (available at the airport).
Watch for roaming animals and drifting sands.
Off-road driving can be dangerous. Ensure vehicles are well equipped and maintained.
Many areas of the Gulf are sensitive to security issues and territorial disputes.
Disputes about sea boundaries can occur. There are disagreements about the sea boundaries and control of Abu Musa and Tunbs islands in the Southern Gulf.
Authorities can inspect your vessel, detain you and arrest you. There can be government curfews on the waters.
Ships and boats might not meet the safety standards you'd expect in Australia.
Always use available safety equipment, such as life jackets, even if others don't.
If the right safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Bahrain's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Always get a police report when reporting a crime.
Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
Australia doesn't have an embassy or consulate in Bahrain. The Australian Embassy in Saudi Arabia can give consular help to Australians in Bahrain.
Abdullah Bin Hozafa Al-Shami Avenue
Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Phone: +966 11 250 0900
Fax: +966 11 250 0902
The embassy in Riyadh is open Sunday to Thursday.
Check the embassy website for opening hours and temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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