Official Name : Kingdom of Bahrain
Capital : Manama
Size : 765 km2
Population : 1,343,000 as per 2014 statistic
Time Zone : 3 hours prior to GMT
Language : Arabic is the official language. English is widely used especially in the business world.
Currency : Bahraini Diners is the functional currency and consists of smaller units of 1000 Fils. The Bahraini Diners are pegged to US Dollars that is equal to 378 Fils.
Currency Note Denominations : Half Dinar, 1 Dinar, 5 Dinars, 10 & 20 Dinars.
Coin Denominations: 5 Fils, 10 Fils, 25, 50, and 100 Fils.
Religion : Islam is the official religion in Bahrain, which is the majority of people practice, beside other groups of religion.
Location : Bahrain is in the Arabian Gulf near the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia.
Bahrain has hot and humid summers and mild winters. The temperature from November until April averages between 15°c and 24°c weather could be colder from December to March. From July to September the weather is hot with temperatures exceeding 36°c. Rain average is 77mm and water depth in the Arabian Gulf is 35m only.
Bahrain is an archipelago of forty islands and has a total area of 711.9 km2 in the Arabian Gulf. Bahrain is known as ‘two seas’ referring to the fresh water springs that can be found within the salty seawater surround it. This is believed to be the main reason of shaping the natural bahraini pearl, which used to be Bahrain's economic pillar before discovery of oil. In addition to that, Bahrain used to have a big number of springs that irrigated the arable lands in north and south the Kingdom. In the middle, land was generally flat and arid covered by salty sands that were only good for desert plants. The highest point is the 134m jabal Aldukhan that surrounded by oil wells.
The procedures for getting a visa to enter the Kingdom of Bahrain are relatively simple and hassle-free and if all documents are in order, then the visa is issued within 72 hours. In urgent cases, visas are also issued within a day. The General Directorate of Nationality, Passports & Residence is the sole administrative authority responsible for issuing visas to foreigners who wish to visit the country.
GCC National and Visa on Arrival
Visa requirements for entering Bahrain vary greatly between different nationalities and it is always advised to check regulations before traveling. Currently, every nationality entering the bahrain needs a visa except citizens of gcc countries (Gulf Cooperation Council: Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia) and visitors who have been residents in the GCC for a minimum of six months, and who possess a return visa for the country of GCC residency. Citizens of the European Community, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan or Hong Kong, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea can receive visas on arrival. All visas require you to pay a fee for the initial grant, and then for subsequent extensions (if any extension is permitted).
For all other nationalities, a visa must be applied for before the visitor enters the country either through their respective embassy, a local bahraini sponsor or a local hotel or a travel agent. For tourists, there are broadly two types of visas - visit visas and transit visas - and they are issued depending on the duration of stay requested. Visit visa is issued for people who are sponsored by a company operating in Bahrain. It is valid for two months from the date of arrival, with the option of being renewed for one more month. A transit visa is issued to individuals at the request of any licensed company such as hotels or trading companies who hold an authorization for applying for this visa. It is valid for 14 days and its renewal varies according to each individual case. You can learn more about your eligibility for a visa by applying for an evisa (www.evisa.gov.bh), and provide your nationality, purpose for visit, and current place of residence.
Click here to know how to apply a visa online.
Bahrain has a rich history that was later found by archaeologists. Archaeological evidence dating back to the third millennium b.c.e. indicates that Sumerians probably settled the main island. Around 2000 b.c.e. it was known as Dilmun where it was described as legendary aden gardens in epic of Gilgamesh. Dilmun served as a trading post on the route between Indus valley (now India) and Mesopotamia (now Iraq). In the fourth century, C.E. Bahrain was annexed in the Sasanian Empire. In the seventh century, Muslims conquered the area and ruled until the sixteenth century. In 1521, portugal took control, using Bahrain as a pearling post and military garrison. This situation lasted until 1602, when the Persians wrested the country from the Portuguese. The ruler Ahmed Bin Khalifa took control from the Persians in 1783; his descendants lead this country to this day.
Manama and Muharraq used to know as Tylos and Arados by the Greeks in the third century B.C.E. they were rich of palm trees, pearl, fish and other natural resources.
During its history Bahrain was called by different names such as Awal, before Islam. It was named after a god of the ancient Wael tribe that used to live in Bahrain at that time. Bahrain adopted Islam in 629 A.D., after receiving a messenger sent by Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). The Bahraini people played a great role in conquering many places afterward. Al-Khamees mosque considered as one of the first mosques built in Bahrain, where it was mentioned in one of the manuscripts. It says that it was built during the ruler Omer Bin Abdul-Aziz testament.
Public sector working hours are from 7.30 to 14.15 from Sunday to Thursday (Five days a week).
Private sector: working hours differ, but most of the corporate companies start from 8.00 to 13.00 and then from 15.00 to 17.30 five days a week.
Shops and Malls
They operate from 10.00 to 22.00 five days a week. Some of the shops work on weekends with different timing. Banks: from 7.30 to 12.00 from Sunday to Thursday. Some of the branches open from 15.30 to 17.30. During Ramadan, working hours differ from a corporate to another.
Friday and Saturday are the public sector weekend, companies and banks weekends are Friday, Saturday with half day working hours on Thursday.