Visa requirements depend on the nationality of the visitor and the purpose of the trip. Conference attendees from France or the UK, for example, can obtain visitor visas on arrival, but many other nationalities must get the visa from their local Bahrain embassy before travelling. More information on visas can be found at the kingdoms e-visa website.
There are currently 22 airlines flying to 38 destinations from Bahrain. Plenty of parking is available and three taxi companies operate from the airport, as do all major international car hire companies.
Travellers entering Bahrain from Saudi Arabia must use the King Fahd Causeway, which opened in 1986 and connects Al-Jasrah in the west of Bahrain to Al-Khobar in the east of Saudi Arabia. The 25-kilometre crossing is huge, with five bridges and seven embankments. More than 50,000 vehicles a day use the crossing, rising to more than 70,000 at peak times. The cost to use the causeway is SR20 ($5) for cars and SR30 ($8) for trucks and buses. Documents required to pass into Bahrain include a passport, a driving licence and a valid vehicle certificate. If the driver is not the owner, a certificate of authorisation from the owner is needed.
Congestion can be terrible and a truck crisis occurred in early 2013, with lorries held for days and even weeks at the crossing. Slow-moving customs procedures in Bahrain were blamed and these have now been improved to allow trucks through to Saudi Arabia. In the long term, 12 new lanes are expected to be added to bring capacity up to 100,000 vehicles a day.
Bahrains main sea port is the Khalifa bin Salman port, which opened in April 2009 and replaced the Mina Salman port. It occupies an area of 110 hectares of reclaimed land on the northeast coast and lies just 13km from Bahrain International airport. It also has road links to the King Fahd Causeway. The port has a total quayside of 1,800 metres and is designed to accommodate a container capacity of 1.1 million 20-foot equivalent units a year, as well as handling passengers, general break-bulk and roll-on/roll-off cargo. Plans to expand the port are currently under study as the traffic volumes have shown strong growth since it opened. In 2012, the port handled 525,309 containers, compared with 374,823 in 2011 and 367,589 in 2010. Figures for 2013 show further increases in demand.
The port also has a passenger terminal for the ferry service to Bushehr in Iran; future services to Qatar and the UAE have been discussed, but are not yet available.
Imports and exports
Importing and exporting goods is governed by the Unified Customs Regulation Law of GCC States, which covers imports and exports via land, sea and air. This is supplemented by local regulations, for example the 2008 ban on cement exports. A range of documentation is required to import goods, including an import customs declaration form; a shipping agent delivery order; three copies of the original invoice from the exporter; two copies of the packing list with detailed weights, packaging and goods classification for each individual item; an original certificate of origin from the relevant chamber of commerce; a copy of the insurance policy and bank advice or guarantee if applicable. For exports, a customs declaration is required along with invoices and cargo manifests. There are no customs duties on exports.
Bahrain International airport
CEO: Mohamed Yousif al-Binfalah
Tel: (+973) 1 732 1997
Tel: (+973) 1 768 2999
Tel: (+973) 1 726 6266
Tel: (+973) 1 746 1746
Khalifa bin Salman port
Tel: (+973) 1 736 5500
CEO of Bahrain International airport Mohamed Yousif al-Binfalah