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Gaining a Visa to Work in Bahrain

In Bahrain it is generally accepted that approximately half of the entire work force must be composed of Bahraini citizens therefore it is becoming more difficult to obtain a working Visa for the region. In order to take up employment in the country you must first get a Bahrain employer to act as your sponsor. It is then the job of your new employer to get you a work permit before you will be allowed to commence employment in that region. You will often find that when you are offered a job this will be under the condition that your employer has already obtained a work permit he can then assign to you. Employers are allowed to apply for work permits up to a year in advance of actually hiring the employee.

However you must be careful here because sometimes the employer might have applied for a work Visa which does not exactly fit the description of your job and while that might not cause you any immediate problems when this permit expires you may have difficulty renewing it because your job description will not match what your permit has specified you are doing.

If you are self-employed and you own your own business in Bahrain then you can apply for your own work permit. As a business owner or even if you share a business with one or more other partners you are entitled to a residency permit. The business you own will also be automatically entitled to a certain number of work permits and you are allowed to use one of these for yourself provided you can prove you work in the business yourself.

For obtaining your work permit you need to have your passport, some standard photographs of yourself and a copy of an up to date Curriculum Vitae. You should really also have all of your original qualification certificates that can verify everything on your Curriculum Vitae.

Normally you don’t have to worry too much after this as your Employer will be used to dealing with work permits and there will be someone within the company who normally handles all the paperwork relating to such matters. Even if you are self-employed there are agencies available to complete the process for you and it is advisable to avail of their services as they are familiar with all aspects of the process and will already know all the procedures involved. If you are self-employed you will need a Bahraini national to deal with the Ministry of Defense as this is a mandatory requirement.

When you obtain a work permit you will automatically be entitled to a residency visa. There are two forms of residency Visas for those who are employed and their dependent spouses and families. It is now becoming more common for expatriates to buy property in certain areas of Bahrain and this will automatically entitle them to a residency visa. Then you can sponsor your spouse and children for residency Visa’s.

You are not currently allowed to obtain Visas for extended family members but you can apply for visit Visa’s for a short term visit. If you have a child born in Bahrain your employer also needs to state that they are prepared to sponsor this child also. It is much more difficult at present for mothers to sponsor their children so it is less complicated if the father is available to do it. If you are a spouse who came to Bahrain as a non-working member of the couple but then decide you later want to take up employment you will also need to obtain a work permit from your new employer but you will also remain sponsored by your spouse’s employer so you also need to obtain an NOC from them before a new work permit can be processed for you in your own right.

Please note that visa rules for Bahrain can change and it is always advisable to check the latest ones at the Visa Section of the Embassy of Bahrain in the country where you live at the moment.