From: Saudi Arabia
To: Anywhere
From: Saudi Arabia
To: Bahrain
From: Anywhere
To: 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.

Bahrain: Import (general)

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 2014-07-23)

Samples, low value and non-commercial importations

Samples not for sale are exempt from customs duty.

Samples having a commercial value may enter temporarily by payment of a deposit equal to the applicable duty.

In general, advertising matter is free of duty.

Drug samples may be consigned to an approved pharmaceutical importer only.

There is no allowance for low (de minimis) value duty free entry.

(Last updated on 2014-04-27)

Import customs tariff

Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are all member-countries 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 countries.

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-country has created an individual "exempt/duty-free" list.

Note: Kuwait prohibits the importation of pork, pork products, alcoholic beverages, products containing alcoholic beverages, gambling machines, and pornographic materials.

(Last updated on 2014-11-13)

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 2013-01-01)

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 2013-01-01)

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.

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

This country prohibits imports of hazardous waste as per the Basel Convention. For additional information see: Basel Convention (select country for details).

Note: All imports from Israel are prohibited.

(Last updated on 2014-07-23)

Official customs/import information

Rules of origin are important in implementing such trade policy instruments as anti-dumping and countervailing duties, origin marking, and safeguard measures. Follow rules issued by WTO.

Check Member and Observer countries of World Trade Organization, Centre William Rappard, Rue de Lausanne, 154, CH-1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland; phone: +41 22 739 5111; fax: +41 22 731 4206; email:

(Last updated on 2015-04-02)

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 2013-01-01)

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 his agent.

The commercial invoice should conform to the information required for Consular legalization. It should be including the following information:

The invoice must be on the letterhead stationery of the seller. Either English or Arabic is acceptable. It should also contain the following statement:

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.

Note: If the shipped goods contain any foreign components, include their country of origin and their percentage of the cargo.

For more information on preparing and distributing commercial invoices, see comments on: Commercial Invoice and Shipping Document Distribution Based on Specific Functional Needs.

Airfreight shipments, in most cases, require the shipping documents to accompany the cargo/air waybill(AWB).

Non-commercial shipments require a pro-forma invoice.

(Last updated on 2014-12-27)

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 2013-01-01)

Transport document

A properly prepared transport document is required for transportation purposes and as a source document for Customs clearance purposes.

For ocean cargo, an ocean bill of lading is typically used. It may take several forms (a traditional negotiable bill of lading, a straight bill of lading, and express bill of lading, or an electronic bill of lading (EBL)).

An ocean bill of lading issued to order may be negotiated by endorsement to a buyer/consignee, however the designated port of discharge cannot be amended.

In general, ocean freight charges must be Freight Prepaid.

Note: For detailed information on completing a bill of lading see interactive bill of lading exhibit. (Scroll down to see the form, and click on any field for details on the information that goes in that box.)

For air cargo, an airwaybill (AWB) replaces the bill of lading used for ocean freight. Nine (9) copies on a standard IATA AWB form are required.

Alert: The term Arabian Gulf is required on all shipping documents; the term Persian Gulf is NOT be used.

(Last updated on 2015-03-31)

Certificate of Origin (general)

A Certificate of Origin (CO, C/O) (Original) certified by the relevant Chambers of Commerce of the country of origin is required. The number of copies 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 included:

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.

(Last updated on 2014-11-11)

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 2013-01-01)

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 2013-01-01)

Wood packing 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:

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:

General Information:

For a listing of countries that have adopted ISPM-15 requirements see:

For IPPC contact information by country see: International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and select "Countries".

(Last updated on 2015-04-30)

Shipment packaging and marking requirements

In general, follow standard shipping practices.

(Last updated on 2014-09-02)

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:

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)


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:

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:

(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 ( concerning information which may be outdated or incomplete.