- Reviewed: 13 September 2022, 09:28 NZST
- Still current at: 21 March 2023
Related news features
If you are planning international travel at this time, please read our COVID-19 related travel advice here, alongside our destination specific travel advice below.
Exercise increased caution
Exercise increased caution in Bahrain due to the potential for civil unrest and the threat of terrorism (level 2 of 4).View Larger Map Close/Open map
Civil Unrest/Political Tension
Demonstrations and protests are relatively common in Bahrain, some of which have resulted in violence in the past. Protests have involved disruption to traffic, unofficial checkpoints, the burning of tyres, throwing of Molotov cocktails and the use of improvised explosive devices.
New Zealanders in Bahrain are advised to avoid all protests and political rallies as they are illegal, and even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn violent. In recent years, security forces have responded to demonstrations with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets.
There continues to be a visible security presence in Bahrain, particularly around Manama city centre and Shia villages. You should adhere to any instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities, including curfews issued in response to protest activity.
We recommend New Zealanders keep themselves informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media, including political and regional developments which could result in demonstrations.
There is a threat from terrorism in Bahrain. Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region. They could be indiscriminate and occur at any time. These include references to attacks on government buildings, transport interests and tourist areas. Increased security measures are in place and may be reinforced at short notice.
New Zealanders in Bahrain are advised to maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness at all times – particularly in public and commercial areas known to be frequented by foreigners. If you see a suspicious looking package or object in a public place, you should move away from the immediate vicinity and report the location of the item to police.
Although the crime rate in Bahrain is low, petty theft such as pickpocketing and purse snatching can occur, particularly in crowded places like the old market areas (souks).
Travellers entering the Gulf area by sea should be aware that it is highly sensitive, due to regional tensions. This includes maritime boundaries and the islands of Abu Musa and the Tunbs in the Southern Gulf. Some vessels have been inspected and travellers detained. You should make enquiries before considering entering these waters.
A curfew is in place in the waterways around Bahrain from 1800 hours to 0400 hours. We recommend you respect curfew provisions.
General Travel Advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Bahrain to avoid offending local sensitivities, including via all kinds of social media. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour. There are serious penalties for acts that may not be illegal or inappropriate in New Zealand.
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during daylight hours. Throughout this month, eating, drinking, smoking, playing loud music and dancing in public places during daylight hours are strictly forbidden and punishable by law, including for non-Muslims.
It is a legal requirement under Bahraini law to carry photographic identification at all times. Failure to provide suitable identification may result in a fine.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment, fines, as well as the death penalty.
If you become involved in a commercial dispute with a Bahraini company or individual, you may be prevented from leaving the country until the dispute is resolved.
New Zealanders travelling or living in Bahrain should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders in Bahrain are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The New Zealand Embassy Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is accredited to Bahrain
Street Address Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Postal Address PO Box 94 397, Riyadh, 11693, Saudi Arabia Telephone +966 11 488 7988 Email NZEmbassyKSA@mfat.govt.nz Web Site http://www.mfat.govt.nz/saudi-arabia Hours Sun - Thurs 0800 - 1200hrs, 1230 -1500hrs Note
See our regional advice for the Middle East
Related News features
Accredited New Zealand Embassy Saudi Arabia
Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Telephone: +966 11 488 7988
Hours: Sun - Thurs 0800 - 1200hrs, 1230 -1500hrs