Bahrain: Import (general)

From: Saudi ArabiaTo: Bahrain

Important: Be sure to check both general and product-based categories for relevant information. Product-based categories include parts and accessories unless otherwise specified. See disclaimer below and use independent care before relying on this information.

General import regulations and requirements

The term "Persian Gulf" should not be used on any shipping documents; the term "Arabian Gulf" must be used.

Bahrain observes the Arab boycott of Israel, whereby no vessel or aircraft used for shipments to Bahrain may call on any port in Israel.

Consular legalization is required for certain documents, see below.

The Bahrain Directorate of Customs must certify all product descriptions on customs documents to be specific and clear before goods are cleared for entry. Identifying imports by supplying the applicable tariff item numbers in customs documents and letters of credit will facilitate their customs clearance.

(Last updated on 2013-07-25)

Samples, low value and non-commercial importations

Samples that will not be sold are exempt from customs duty.
Samples having a commercial value may enter Bahrain temporarily by payment of a deposit that is equal to the applicable duty.
Drug samples may be consigned only to an approved pharmaceutical importer.
In general, advertising matter is free of duty.

(Last updated on 2012-04-18)

Import customs tariff

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are the member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a customs union that has established a common external tariff rate of 5% for most goods imported from member states.

Certain items, e.g., basic foodstuffs and medical items, are exempt from the Common External Customs Tariff (CXT) and enter the member-countries free of duty. Currently, each member-state has created an individual "exempt/duty-free" list, e.g., Bahrain's list includes alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.

(Last updated on 2013-12-26)

Customs valuation basis

Customs value is generally based on transaction value, which is the price actually paid or payable (the commercial invoice price). This value is subject to certain adjustments including freight, insurance, packing, commissions, royalties, and license fees. If value cannot be determined using this method, another method of valuation must be used. For more information see Customs Valuation of Imported Goods. In most cases the customs value is equivalent to CIF value.

There are no additional customs surcharges or value-added taxes in Bahrain.

(Last updated on 2012-12-21)

General import license/permit requirements

An import license is required for imports of arms, ammunitions and alcoholic beverages, fertilizers, pesticides, fireworks, natural pearls, handcuffs, satellite dishes and accessories.

(Last updated on 2012-02-17)

Prohibited or highly restricted imports

Prohibited imports include: food products containing cyclamates; irradiated food products; pornography; wild animals; radio-controlled model airplanes; children's toys that methyl chloride; articles determined to be dangerous by the Ministry of Health.

All imports from Israel are prohibited.

Any imports which pose a threat to public policy and security are also prohibited.

(Last updated on 2014-02-20)

Foreign exchange controls and letters of credit

Foreign exchange is controlled by the Bahrain MonetaryAgency. There are no restrictions on capital movements, foreign exchange, foreign trade or foreign investment.

The central bank is the Central Bank of Bahrain, King Faisal Highway, Diplomatic Area, Block 317, Rd. 1702, Bldg. 96, POB 27, Manama.

The unit of currency is the BHD = Bahraini Dinar (subdivided into 1,000 fils).

(Last updated on 2012-12-10)

Commercial invoice

A commercial invoice is required for every commercial shipment. At least three (3) original, signed copies should be included in the shipping documents sent to the consignee or the agent thereof. Consular legalization is required.

General information requirements are described in our GISTnet definition of commercial invoice.

The invoice must be on the letterhead stationery of the seller and either English or Arabic is acceptable.

Include the six-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) number(s) applicable to the product(s) as part of the description of the shipped goods.

If the shipped goods contain any components from another country, the country of origin and the percentage of that foreign component must be shown.

When the seller arranges the shipping insurance, a copy of the insurance certificate or insurance policy must be included among the shipping documents. If the insurance coverage is provided by the buyer, the invoice must state that the insurance is placed in Bahrain.

The invoice must include the name of the vessel and the date of sailing and the following statement:

Visit the website of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States of America and review the detailed Documentation Requirements provided there.

For more information on preparing and distributing commercial invoices, review these GISTnet headings: Commercial Invoice and Shipping Document Distribution Based on Specific Functional Needs.

For airfreight shipments, in most cases, the shipping documents should accompany the cargo and/or the air waybill (AWB).

Non-commercial shipments require a pro-forma invoice.

(Last updated on 2013-03-27)

Packing list

A packing list is required. At least two (2) copies should be included, describing in detail the contents of each case or container. Include net weight, gross weight, and the CIF value.

In general, even when it is not required regulation, it is recommended that a packing list be used with all shipments containing more than one shipping unit of packaged cargo. Most countries require a packing list be provided together with the commercial invoice. The required information must be consistent with all information shown on the commercial invoice.

At least three (3) copies of the packing list should be included as part of the shipping documents sent to the consignee or the agent thereof. The exact contents of each package should be clearly identified. This should include each item's gross weight and net weight and each package's marks and numbers.

(Last updated on 2013-06-26)

Transport document

Four (4) copies of a properly prepared transport document are required for transportation purposes and as a source document for customs clearance purposes.
Typically, for ocean freight, an ocean bill of lading is used.
The term "Persian Gulf" should NOT be used on any shipping documents; the term "Arabian Gulf" is required.
In general, ocean freight charges must be "Freight Prepaid."
For detailed information on completing a bill of lading, please see our GISTnet Interactive Bill of Lading Exhibit.
Scroll down to see the form, and click on any data field for details on the information required there.

For airfreight, an air waybill (AWB) replaces the B/L.

(Last updated on 2014-02-03)

Certificate of Origin (general)

A Certificate of Origin (CO, C/O) is required.
The number of copies required is determined by the needs of the importer.
After confirming that number, the C/O should be prepared using the general form available from a commercial printer.
The C/O must include the name of the vessel and state that the port of discharge or final destination is Bahrain.
The C/O must list the contents of each shipping unit, the manufacturer of each item within and the products' country of origin.
If any of the shipped goods are not wholly the product of their origin country, the following statement should be incuded:

The statement should be followed by a list of countries and the percentages of each country's foreign components.
The C/O should include a notarized statement by the shipper that the information stated is true and correct.
Each C/O copy should be attached to a copy of the commercial invoice.
Each of these documents must be signed and then notarized.

Once notarized, the documents must be certified by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce [Typically, at the nearest office.]:
Washington, D.C.: 1023 15th St. N.W., Fourth Floor; Washington, D.C. 20005; tel: (202) 289-5920; fax: (202) 289-5939
New York City: Graybar Building, Suite 2034; 420 Lexington Ave.; New York, N.Y. 10170; tel: (212) 986-8024; fax: (212) 986-0216
Houston: 1330 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 1600; Houston, Texas 77056; tel: (713) 963-4620; fax: (713) 963-4609
Los Angeles: 8929 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 310; Los Angeles, Calif. 90045; tel: (310) 646-1499; fax: (310) 646-2462
There will be a per-page charge for each document certified. The Chamber will require a copy of each document certified but they will not charge for the copies left for them. Consular fees are subject to change without notice. Contact the Chamber (Telephone numbers are above.) to verify their charges and their hours of operation.

The Bahraini Customs Directorate requires only the Certificate of Origin to be legalized. Upon request, other documents will be legalized by the Washington, D.C., and New York Consulates.

(Last updated on 2013-09-16)

Official cargo insurance requirements

When the seller/exporter arranges for the shipping insurance, a copy of the insurance certificate or insurance policy must be included among the shipping documents sent to the consignee.
If the insurance coverage is provided by the buyer/importer, the commercial invoice must state that the insurance is placed in Bahrain.

A shipper who wishes to protect his beneficial interest in the cargo in the event of loss or damage prior to delivery to the ultimate consignee should cover the cargo with either an FOB/FAS clause or contingency insurance clause coverage.

(Last updated on 2011-12-21)

Other general import document requirements

A "steamship certificate", issued by the steamship line, may be required stating that the vessel carrying the ocean freight is not an Israeli vessel and no scheduled Israeli port calls.

All import shipments of food and drink to Bahrain must be covered by a "cyclamate certificate" issued and signed by the manufacturer or the exporter that the products do not contain cyclamates.

(Last updated on 2012-02-17)

Wood packaging materials

The International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM-15) has not yet been adopted by this country.

See information issued by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), Plant Protection Service, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, I-00100 Rome, Italy; fax: +39 6 570 56347; email: ippc@fao.org

Contact: Agricultural Quarantine Unit, Plant Health Directorate, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Agriculture, POB 251, Manama; phone: +973 1779 6688; fax: +973 1769 3386; email: amamohamed@mun.gov.bh

(Last updated on 2013-10-25)

Product packaging/labeling requirements

Labels must be in Arabic or in Arabic/English. Arabic stickers are accepted.

Common GCC labeling standards should be observed. Check: GCC Standardization Organization, Al Gadeer and Olaya Street, POB 85245, SA-11691 Riyadh; phone: +966 11 274 6655; fax: +966 11 210 5391; email: csc@gso.org.sa

Goods should be clearly marked with country of origin.

There are specific packaging and labeling requirements that apply to food products, pharmaceuticals and cigarettes.

Food labels must include:

All fats and oils (including gelatins) used as ingredients must be specifically identified on the label.

Pork products, or products containing pork or pork lard, should be clearly identified as such on the label. Products found to contain traces of pork that are not so labeled will be confiscated and possibly banned from future import for a specified period of time.

Additional product packaging and/or labeling requirements may apply to particular types of products. Refer to the product-based information herein for the product you are considering to import or export. An exporter should also verify with its prospective importer in the destination country as to requirements for a specific product to be shipped.

(Last updated on 2013-12-17)

Standards

Product standards are regulated by the Bahrain Standards & Metrology Directorate (BSMD), Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Bldg. 240, Road 1704, Block 317, POB 5479, BH-Bahrain; phone: +973 17 574871; fax: +973 17 530730; email: bsmd@moic.gov.bh

Also see ISO Standards Membership.

GCC Standards (click button for English on top bar, right side): The Gulf Cooperation Council member countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have recently established standards (GCC Standards) for the importation of certain products. These standards have been instituted in collaboration with the Saudi Arabian Standards Authority (SASO), Imam Saud Bin Abdul Aziz Bin Mohammed Rd. (West End), POB 3437, SA-11471 Riyadh; phone: +966 1 452 0000; fax: +966 1 452 0086; email: saso@saso.org.sa.

(Last updated on 2014-01-07)

ATA carnets

Bahrain has ratified the Istanbul Convention on temporary admission of goods in May 2012. The ATA Carnet System is expected to be implemented shortly.

An ATA Carnet is obtained in the country from which the goods are to be first exported (see list of participating countries). Initiating and governing authority for ATA Carnets is the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), 38, Cours Albert 1er, F-75008 Paris, France; phone: +33 149 532828; fax: +33 149 532859

Note: An ATA Carnet is typically accepted for Commercial Samples, Exhibitions and Fairs, and/or Professional Equipment. An ATA Carnet does not cover perishable or consumable items, nor goods for processing or repair. Some countries are more restrictive in the scope of allowances for temporary imports covered by ATA Carnet. It is recommended that prior verification be made with the issuing agency.

(Last updated on 2013-09-02)

Important: Exercise independent care before relying on information contained herein. Although we strive to ensure all information is correct and current, GISTnet assumes no liability for detrimental reliance on this information. Trade requirements may change with little or no prior notification, de-facto requirements in certain countries vary from official regulations, and particular shipments and/or importers may have special destination customs arrangements. We encourage you to check with the importer or its customs agent in the destination country for specific importation requirements for specific products and circumstances. We ask your help with feedback (cidb@gistnet.com) concerning information which may be outdated or incomplete.