Bahrain: Entry Visas Required for Citizens and Residents of Qatar

Effective immediately, Qatari citizens and foreign nationals holding a Qatari residency permit who travel to Bahrain under a visit visa, including visa-on-arrival, require pre-approval to enter Bahrain.

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Nov 15, 2017
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Effective immediately, Qatari citizens and foreign nationals holding a Qatari residency permit who travel to Bahrain under a visit visa, including visa-on-arrival, require pre-approval to enter Bahrain.

Impact on Qatari Nationals

  • Changes under new regulation. The new regulation does not rescind the travel banto which Qatari citizens have been subject since the break of diplomatic ties between the two countries in June 2017, but it allows for visa applications to be adjudicated on a case by case basis, for example, due to family ties.
  • Application process. Qatari citizens can apply for the entry visa online. A supporting letter specifying the reasons of the visit and contact details of the applicant and the host in Bahrain must be provided.
  • Background. Prior to the travel ban, all Qatari nationals could enter Bahrain without a visa based on a visa exemption for nationals of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states.

Impact on Qatari Residence Permit Holders

  • Prior to new regulation. Foreign nationals holding a residency permit for Qatar were initially not impacted by travel restrictions for Bahrain and could enter Bahrain under a visitor visa for GCC residents issued on arrival or a visit visa-on-arrival, subject to their nationality. Under the new regulation, pre-approval is now required.
  • Application process. Foreign residents in Qatar can apply for the entry visa online. A supporting letter specifying the reasons of the visit and contact details of the applicant and the host in Bahrain must be provided along with a copy of valid residency permit for Qatar.

Looking ahead

  • Qataris in Bahrain. Qataris in Bahrain who entered before November 10, 2017 should visit the Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs office in order to regularise their legal status.
  • Qataris seeking to travel to Bahrain. Qatari nationals seeking to enter Bahrain will be denied entry, unless they have obtained a pre-arranged entry visa.
  • Foreign nationals in Bahrain. Foreign nationals in Bahrain holding a residency permit for Qatar who entered before November 10, 2017, should visit the Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs office to regularise their legal status.
  • Foreign nationals seeking to travel to Bahrain. Foreign nationals who are residents in Qatar seeking to enter Bahrain will have to obtain a pre-arranged visa even if they qualify for a visa-on-arrival based on their nationality. For example, a United States citizen holding a residency permit in Qatar must obtain pre-approval for entry to Bahrain. Foreign nationals who are not residents in Qatar and are eligible for a visa-on-arrival based on their nationality are not affected.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to mideast@fragomen.com.

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