Individuals subject to Bahraini court orders or involved in court proceedings arising from indebtedness, labor disagreements, family disputes, or other legal disputes may be prevented from departing Bahrain until their cases are resolved. Instances have occurred in which departure was prohibited for several years, since the legal process can be both lengthy and complex. Embassy Manama’s Consular Section maintains a list of local attorneys willing to represent U.S. citizens but cannot provide financial assistance for legal costs or living expenses while a person is prohibited from leaving Bahrain.
If you will be working in Bahrain, we urge you to have a valid work permit and signed employment contract prior to arriving in Bahrain. In particular, the contract should be clear in the provisions related to relocation expenses, type of housing and number of occupants, any visa fees to be paid by the employee, when salaries will be paid, any salary penalties, who will pay transportation costs if the contract is terminated by either the employee or the employer, and whether different provisions apply within the probation period. Under no circumstances should you take up employment while in Bahrain on a tourist visa. Bahraini authorities will hold you personally liable for remaining in legal immigration status, regardless of incorrect advice received from the employer or the employer’s failure to obtain a valid work permit for the employee. It is illegal for Bahraini employers to confiscate or otherwise retain an employee's passport. Questions regarding employment in Bahrain can be directed to Bahrain’s Ministry of Labor hotlines, or to a local attorney. While many U.S. citizens have a wonderful experience working in Bahrain, some individuals have complained of unfair employment practices. Specifically, the U.S. Embassy in Bahrain has received a number of complaints from U.S. citizens employed in the education sector.
Obtaining an employment permit may require providing properly authenticated documents. Failure to provide these documents may delay the issuance of the work permit or residence permits for the employee’s family. Applicants may visit the website of Bahrain’s Labor Market Regulatory Authority for complete requirements, and the Department of State’s Office of Authentications and Authentication of American Academic Credentials for Use Abroad pages for authentication procedures.
The Kingdom of Bahrain generally does not permit dual nationality. U.S. citizens eligible for Bahraini citizenship will usually be required to relinquish their U.S. passport to Bahrain’s General Directorate of Nationality, Passports, and Residence before they will be issued a Bahraini passport. However, the Kingdom of Bahrain has been known to make exceptions. For additional information, see our information on dual nationality.
There are no treaties in force between Bahrain and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction and custody cases. Child custody decrees issued in a U.S. court may be ignored by Bahraini courts, and may be unenforceable in Bahrain. Bahraini family law is different from U.S. family law. U.S. citizens who are divorced from or in the process of getting a divorce from a Bahraini citizen should seek legal counsel and ascertain their rights in Bahrain before visiting Bahrain, especially with their children.