If you are planning to come to Bahrain anytime soon — whether for work, business, or leisure travel purposes, then you should also be aware of what you can and cannot bring into the Kingdom. There are things that are banned for import, just as there are items that cannot be exported from the country.
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Meanwhile, there are certain things that are controlled or “restricted,” which means that you can bring them into or out of Bahrain — as long as you obtain permission from the relevant authorities. Keep on reading to know all about these banned and restricted items in the Kingdom.
All About Banned and Restricted Items in Bahrain
The main authority in charge of the import and export of goods in Bahrain is the Ministry of Interior – Customs Affairs. To monitor the movement of goods, they have established custom border points at all the major entry points into the Kingdom, including land border points, sea ports, and the airport. They also operate smaller, customs offices at entry points for postal mail and packages.
This article presents the list of items that are banned or prohibited in Bahrain, as well as the government authorities concerned with regard to the import and export of restricted items. Breaking the rules would result in fines and penalties, in accordance with Bahrain’s Customs Law, which is actually based on the Unified Customs Law of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
A. List of Items Not Allowed for Import
The following is a list of items that are not allowed entry or import into the Kingdom of Bahrain:
- All types of narcotic drugs (e.g. cocaine, hashish, heroin, pills having drug effects, etc.);
- Indian paan (betel plant) and its derivatives;
- Cultured pearls;
- Live swine;
- Used and reconditioned tires;
- Asbestos or items that contain asbestos;
- Raw ivory, ivory articles, and rhinoceros horn;
- Advertisement materials for all types of cigarettes;
- Radio/remote-controlled model aircraft (e.g. drone cameras);
- Children’s toy guns that can fire projectiles;
- Goods of Israeli origin or bearing Israeli logos or trademarks;
- Seditious or treasonable material;
- Printed publications, photos, pictures, books, magazines, sculptures, and mannequins that contradict Islamic teachings and decency, or that which may be considered immoral; and
- Any other items, whose importation is prohibited under Bahrain’s customs laws, or any other laws of the Kingdom.
B. List of Items Restricted for Import
As mentioned earlier, there are certain items that are simply controlled or restricted. This means that they may be allowed entry or import into the Kingdom of Bahrain, provided that you obtain a valid permit or approval document from government authorities.
Here is a list of controlled or restricted items, grouped according to the relevant authority, along with the document or condition required.
1. Items to be approved by the Ministry of Municipalities and Agricultural Affairs:
- Horses; and
- Live wild animals (for circus only).
NOTE: For the above items, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Ministry of Interior and/or a Valid Certificate from a Veterinary Authority is required.
- Birds and their by-products;
- Meat and meat products;
- Fish and seafood products;
- Fruit and vegetables;
- Animal or vegetable fertilizers; and
- Insecticides and fungicides.
NOTE: For these items, an NOC from the Ministry of Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs is required.
2. Items to be approved by the Ministry of Health:
- Food products (processed and unprocessed);
- Medicines; and
- Radioactive chemicals and active isotopes.
NOTE: Importation of the above items requires Permission from the Ministry of Health.
3. Items to be approved by the Ministry of Interior:
- Unadulterated ethyl alcohol, isopropanol;
- Pedestrian-controlled four-wheel mini car;
- Handcuffs made from iron or steel; and
- Arms, ammunition, explosives, and military weapons.
NOTE: For the above items, an NOC from the Ministry of Interior is required.
4. Items to be approved by the Ministry of Information:
- Magazines and publications;
- Films and videos;
- Optical and magnetic audio-visual media; and
- Items infringing intellectual property rights.
NOTE: For these items, an NOC from Ministry of Information is required.
5. Items to be approved by the Telecom Regulatory Authority:
- Telecommunications; and
- Radio and television receiving and broadcasting equipment.
NOTE: Importation of the above items requires an NOC from the Telecom Regulatory Authority.
C. List of Items Not Allowed for Export
Aside from items that are not allowed for import, there are things that are not allowed to be exported or taken out of the Kingdom of Bahrain. These include the following:
- All types of fuel and subsidized goods (e.g. diesel);
- All kinds of flour and similar subsidized goods;
- Fresh chicken bearing the trademark “Delmon;” and
- Red meat and similar subsidized goods.
D. List of Items Restricted for Export
Meanwhile, some items are simply controlled or restricted, which means that they can be exported from Bahrain, as long as you obtain a valid permit or approval document from the concerned authority. Below is a list of the said items, along with the relevant authority and necessary document:
- Live Horses – An NOC from the Equestrian and Horse Racing Club is required;
- Camels – An NOC from the Royal Court is required;
- Palm Tree Seedlings – An NOC from the Ministry of Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs is required;
- Antiquities – An NOC from the Ministry of Information is required; and
- Garbage and Waste – An NOC from the Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment, and Wildlife is required.
DISCLAIMER: The above details are presented for information-sharing purposes only. To learn more about the items that are banned and restricted in Bahrain, as well as how to obtain permission for the movement of restricted items, please visit the official website of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior – Customs Affairs. You can also contact them by calling 17359206 – 17359207 (General Enquiries) or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that you have a better idea of the items that are banned and restricted in Bahrain, be sure to keep these in mind the next time you decide to travel into or out of the Kingdom. Moreover, don’t forget to read this basic guide to the laws and regulations in Bahrain.
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