It was a week of the “BA”s and what a contrast they were: BAngladesh and BAhrain. While I got my Bangladesh Visa in Hong Kong, the Bahrain process for me was on arrival, and a tad smoother. But I thought you’d all like to know how to get a Bahrain Visa on Arrival at the International Airport, which is on Muharraq Island. So here’s a quick overview.
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Arrival into Bahrain at the International Airport
The international airport in Bahrain is not on the main island in the country, nor is it in the capital city of Manama. The airport is on the Muharraq Island in the north east corner of Bahrain. Muharraq is connected to the main island of Bahrain (where Manama sits) by bridge. On arrival, head to the immigration section, everything is written in Arabic and English.
Filling out the Visa Form for Bahrain at the International Airport
The visa form is simple. It’s a piece of card, double sided, and you only need to fill in the front of it. Basic stuff – what’s your name, passport number, name of hotel etc.
Nationalities That Can Get A Visa on Arrival
There is a sign at the immigration section that shows which countries need visas in advance and which can get a visa on arrival. I personally travel with an Irish and a British Passport. I am a dual national having grown up in Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK yet on the island of Ireland. Both my nationalities are able to get a visa on arrival.
Since 1996, the following countries nationals can get a visa on arrival: France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland (Republic of), Italy, Japan, Denmark, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei Darussalam, Andorra, Canada, Finland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Vatican City.
These countries are now able to get a visa online prior to arrival: Russia, South Korea, Turkey, Kazakstan, China, Thailand, Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay, Suriname, Peru, Paraguay, Guyana, French Guyana, Falklands, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Poland, Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Martinique, Bahamas, Barbados, St. Lucia, Curacao, US Virgin Islands, Aruba, Grenada, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guadeloupe, St. Vincent and Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Cayman Islands, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Martin, Turks and Caicos, British Virgin Islands, Caribbean Netherlands, Anguilla, Montserrat.
These countries will soon be added to the visa online procedure: Taiwan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Jordan, South Africa, India. * I’m not sure if they are kidding about the Isle of Wight as I used to work there and it’s part of England – it is definitely not separate!
These nationalities cannot enter Bahrain: Israel
Getting Your Bahrain Visa on Arrival
After filling in the form, join the queue, making sure you have the money (or credit card ready – see below). Hand your passport and form to the Immigration Officer. I used my Irish passport. The immigration officer only asked me three questions:
1. Where did I come/fly in from? (United Arab Emirates – I flew in from Sharjah)
2. Why was I visiting Bahrain? (Tourism – even though I ticked that box on the form)
3. When I am leaving Bahrain? (In 4 days time – I had a flight booked but he didn’t ask for proof of it)
Then I made the payment and he stamped me with a 3 months tourist visa on arrival at a cost of 20 Bahrainian Dinars. He also issued me with a receipt.
Paying for Your Bahrain Visa on Arrival
Bahrain is a rich country and the visa don’t come cheap! The price when I arrived (August 2015) was $60 US, or 20 Bahrainian Dinars. Payment can be done in US Dollars, Bahrainian Dinars or by credit card (Mastercard and Visa). If you get stuck, there is a cash machine and a money changer right in front of the immigration section, but take the hint like me and always carry US dollars. I was given a receipt and then proceeded to baggage claim and customs check.
I was now in Bahrain and ready to explore this small Middle Eastern country for 3 days (my flight out would be early A.M. on the fourth day).
Getting from the Airport to Manama
There are three main options for getting from the airport on Muharraq Island to Manama/central Bahrain – 1. Hire a Car 2. Bus and 3. Taxi. I was knackered and the bus doesn’t go near my hotel, so I bit the taxi bullet and paid it. Luckily the taxis are metered and you can find a list of the prices outside the airport.
As a bonus, my driver Ahmed was pretty knowledgeable and talkative and he dictated and acted as a tour guide on the short journey to the hotel. The taxi cost 6.5 Dinars, which is about $19 US so not a cheap country by any means!