BAHRAIN

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Country Description: Bahrain is an emirate, governed by the Al-Khalifa family in consultation with a Council of Ministers. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws and practices. Bahrain is a modern, developed country, and tourist facilities are widely available.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements: Passports and visas are required. Three-day and seven-day visas may be obtained upon arrival at the airport, but obtaining visas before travel is recommended. For further information on entry requirements, travelers can contact the Embassy of the State of Bahrain, 3502 International Drive, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 342-0741/2; or the Bahrain Permanent Mission to the U.N., 2 United Nations Plaza, East 44th St., New York, N.Y. 10017, telephone (212) 223-6200.

Medical Facilities: Basic modern medical care and medicines are available in several hospitals and health centers in Bahrain. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has proven useful. Additional information on health matters can be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's international travelers hotline at (404) 332-4559 or visit the CDC home page on the Internet at http://www.cdc.gov.

Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: Although crime is generally not a problem for travelers in Bahrain, there have been demonstrations in and around Manama in which property owned by American citizens, such as vehicles, has been damaged by acts of arson or vandalism. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlets, "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to the Middle East or North Africa." They are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.

Drug Penalties: Travelers are subject to the laws and legal practices of the country in which they travel. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict in Bahrain, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: Travel by road in Bahrain is generally safe. Most major roads in the northern third of Bahrain are four-lane and well maintained. In the older parts of Manama and Muharraq, many streets are narrow, twisting, and often in poor condition. Traffic is congested in some areas of Manama. Drivers should exercise caution at roundabouts (traffic circles) found at most intersections. Travel at night is more hazardous.

Embassy Location and Registration: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within Bahrain. The U.S. Embassy is located in Manama, at Bldg. 979, Road No. 3119, Zinj District (next to Al Ahli Sports Club), P.O. Box 26431. The telephone number is (973) 273-300.

The workweek in Bahrain is Saturday through Wednesday.

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