Bahrain employment visas
Overseas professionals who want to live and work in Bahrain must obtain both a residency visa and a work permit in Bahrain (also known in Bahrain as the labour card). A foreign national is entitled to a residency visa in the Bahrain after i) incorporating a business in the Bahrain or ii) after becoming a shareholder of a Bahrain company or iii) after purchasing real estate in the Bahrain or iv) after employed within Bahrain.
- International entrepreneurs relocating to the city of Bahrain to manage their Bahrain business need to apply for an investor work permit. This two year visa is suitable for investors/partners holding the minimum share capital of a limited liability company (LLC);
- Investors holding more than US$265,000 worth of shares, do not need a work permit but only a residency visa;
- After obtaining the investor work permit, residency visas can be obtained from the General Directorate of Immigration and Passport (GDIP) by obtaining a “No Objection Certificate” (NOC);
- Entrepreneurs can simultaneously apply for residency visas for their spouse and children;
- A summary of entrepreneur visa costs include:
|Residence visa charges||61||GDIP|
|Healy Consultants fees||3,950||Healy Consultants|
|Total costs per visa||4,276|
- All foreign workers require a residence visa and a ‘labour card’. Expatriate employees must be sponsored by their employer to obtain a two year employment visa. The employee must i) submit to a medical examination ii) show copies of employment contract and iii) provide academic or professional qualifications and iv) provide an employer sponsorship letter. An individual with minimum wages of BD250 (US$670) is entitled for family sponsorship;
- Employment visas are issued prior to arrival by the Bahrain Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA). Upon arrival, extends the six month visa to a two year regarding-entry visa. The labour card is also an identity card and is to be carried at all times;
- Residence visas are granted to dependents of employees with minimum wages of BD250 (US$670) is entitled for family sponsorship; Current legislation will eliminate the previous quota system is imposed on immigration into Bahrain;
- The number of visas each company can sponsor is dependent upon the size of the Bahrain office space, in addition, the company has to provide proof of work contracts with third party or proof that the activity requires expertise. For reference, a 500 sq. ft. office space with work assignments can sponsor four to six visas.
- A citizen of the countries listed below is entitled to easily obtainable online visa applications valid for two weeks. Those countries include Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Korea, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, UK, and the United States;
- Passport holders from GCC member countries do not need a visa prior to arriving in Bahrain;
- Most countries that are not mentioned above will require their nationals to apply for visa at their country’s Bahrain embassy and be sponsored by a company, hotel or tourist agency.