Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 1 October 2018, 10:06 NZDT
  • Still current at: 15 October 2019

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Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution in Bahrain due to the potential for civil unrest and the threat of terrorism.

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Regional travel
Bahrain suspended diplomatic relations with the State of Qatar in June 2017.  All air and sea travel between Bahrain and Qatar has been suspended.

The Bahrain Government has announced that it is an offence to show or voice sympathy or bias towards Qatar, or demonstrate disapproval to the Government's current policy in relation to Qatar. This includes the use of social media or any other form of communication. Offenders could be imprisoned and subject to a fine. New Zealanders in Bahrain are reminded they should familiarise themselves with local laws and customs and comply with them.

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 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 anytime. These include references to attacks on government buildings, transport interests and tourist areas.

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.

Local travel
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. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour.

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 or fines.

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 1 1 4887735 Fax +966 1 488 7912 Email Web Site Hours Sun - Thurs 0800 - 1200hrs, 1230 -1500hrs Note

See our regional advice for the Middle East

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy Saudi Arabia

Street Address
Diplomatic Quarter, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Telephone: +966 1 1 4887735

Fax: +966 1 488 7912



Hours: Sun - Thurs 0800 - 1200hrs, 1230 -1500hrs

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