Essential Employment Paperwork in Bahrain



Anyone expatriate who plans on working for either an international or Bahraini business in Bahrain will need a work visa to allow them to do so legally. In most instances, it is the employer who will take care of the work visa application for their expat employees.

All expats bound to Bahrain are required to secure a visa except for nationals coming from neighbouring Arab countries that are included in the Arabian Gulf Cooperation Council. Even citizens of the United Kingdom are exempted from obtaining a visa as long as they won’t exceed four weeks of stay in Bahrain. The movement of foreign citizens are strictly regulated in this country, and here, we will explain some of the most important factors that'll help expats secure all the relevant paperwork for job purposes in Bahrain.


Bahrain recently updated its visa policy and there are now more countries that are eligible or the eVisa or visa on arrival. Expats coming from countries that are not included in the list are required to have a sponsor. The sponsor is usually the employer, and it is the company’s duty to process the application for the work permit from the Bahrain Ministry of Labour. It is also the job of the sponsor to ensure that the expat carries all the correct documents, adheres to the local procedures and to carry the passport of their foreign assignees for inspection purposes from the immigration authorities.

Work Visa

Those who do not have a job offer from are not eligible to apply for a work visa because as mentioned above, it is the duty of the sponsor/employer to process the work permit and visa in behalf of the foreign employees prior to their arrival in Bahrain. The work visa is normally valid for one up to two years. It is also the employer’s role to obtain a certificate of ‘No Objection’ from the Ministry of Immigration along with other documents (provided by the applicant) such as:

  • Passport with at least six months validity
  • Birth certificate
  • Sponsorship letter stating the name of the employer, commercial registration number, expatriate’s capacity, salary, contract duration, name, date of birth and nationality
  • Copy of the employment contract
  • Medical Certificate from a certified clinic
  • Proof that the expat is free from sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS and HIV

Residency Visa

Expats who will work in Bahrain and have obtained a work permit are also required to apply for a residence permit. It is issued to employees and their family members who wish to stay in the Kingdom in of Bahrain and is classified into two: one for expats who will work in Bahrain under a sponsorship and one for residence purpose only. The application fee usually costs 22 Bahraini Dinar or USD 58.36 and must be processed at the General Directorate of Immigrations and Passports.