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Importing a car from Qatar into Bahrain - My experience

I had been searching online for this process for quite some time and couldn't find anything so I decided to try it out myself and below is my experience.

I work in Qatar and my company is transferring me to their Bahrain office. I have a new SUV (a little over 2 years old) which I wanted to take to Bahrain and register there. I talked to moving companies in Qatar about moving my car from Qatar to Bahrain and the lowest quotation I got was QR 3950, excluding duty, documentation and registration/insurance costs. Having driven to Bahrain many times before and having the experience of exporting and importing my previous car from UAE to Oman, I decided to move the car myself.

Since I did not already have an RP in Bahrain, I imported the car in my father's name (my father is a resident of Bahrain). But I believe the process would not change much if you did it after you got your Bahrain RP (you will need to figure out Qatar & Saudi visa though).

1. Go to Qatar traffic department, and obtain a Vehicle Clearance letter. It costs QR10. You have to pay all traffic fines before getting this letter. You can also request this letter through the Metrash mobile app. If your car is less than 2 years old, go to your car dealer, and tell them you want the customs paper (makasa) showing duty was paid for your car in Qatar, so that you dont need to pay duty in Bahrain - it is a GCC customs thing.
2. Take a Saudi transit visa. There are agents that will arrange this for you (cost: 150 QR, docs required: original passport, 2 photos white background, Qatar car registration copy, processing time: 2-4 days)
3. Drive to Bahrain from Qatar via Saudi. No need to get any other documents, or change your license plates. Just drive with the Qatari plates. For driving directions use a GPS, or check QatarLiving website. (Approx drive time: 5 hours)
4. At the King Fahd Causeway, cross the Saudi border and into Bahrain, ask for a visa on arrival against your Qatar RP (check eligibility on evisa.gov.bh beforehand). (cost: BD 12 for a week, BD 6 for 3 days. This visa is single entry).
5. Enter Bahrain like you are entering to visit, no need to talk about importing your car right now.
6. Go to the Traffic Department in Isa Town and go for vehicle inspection. You will need to hand over the Qatar vehicle clearance letter to the officer inspecting your car. If you had tinted your windows in Qatar, he will ask you to rip them off. After passing the test, he will give you a traffic form, signed and stamped in two places, and he will write something behind the Qatar vehicle clearance letter too. (note: you can get your car inspected at the customs area in the Saudi bridge too but its crowded there)
7. Go to an insurance company and get one year Bahrain insurance against the chassis number of your car. Better call Bahrain Credit 80008000 (they are insurance brokers). Tell them the type of insurance you need (comprehensive/mandatory) and they will call you back with a quote and an appointment with the insurance company. Go there and buy the insurance.
8. Head back to the King Fahd Causeway. Pay the toll and go to the middle island. At the traffic light just before the customs area, take a left turn toward the mosque. Keep heading straight that road, it will curve into a parking area with some brick buildings/clearance agent buildings.
9. Park your car there, and walk to the customs clearance buildings - talk to a clearing agent. We talked to Wadi Al Khuayrat clearing agency - they were fast and knew what they were doing (Ask for Hussain). Give them the traffic form, the Qatar vehicle ownership card (istimara), the vehicle clearance letter, your Qatar ID. They will go inside to the customs area and do all the legwork involved (it is complicated!). In the end a customs officer will assess duty for your car (5% of the assessed value). If your car is less than 2 years old, show them the makasa you got from the dealer and it may work. You can pay duty by card or cash in Bahraini Dinars. The whole process can take 2-3 hours depending on the rush. Better to go early in the morning.
10. The clearing agent will charge you BD 25 for all that work. You will get a certificate from customs showing that the car is now imported into Bahrain. Take back your Qatar ID, your Qatar car ownership/istimara, your vehicle clearance form, etc.
11. Drive the car back to Isa town traffic department. Remove your Qatari number plates. It's useful to bring the tools needed for that. Take all the papers and the number plates and go to the office next to the inspection area (they have a sign saying "number plates"). Give them your Qatari plates and the form. They will stamp it stating you handed over your Qatari plates. An employee and an officer will stamp it.
12. Go to the main building where they do the registrations, go to the traffic offenses section, take a token and wait. They will stamp your form stating you don't have any violations on the car in Bahrain.
13. Go to the vehicle registrations section, take a token (they will check if your documents are in order before giving you a token. You will need to show them the insurance you bought).
Note: At this point, if you are registering the car in someone else's name because you don't have a Bahrain RP, you need to tell them that and complete an additional form for the "transfer" with his Bahrain ID/CPR details. He needs to be with you as well to sign the form.
14. Register your car, they will take away your Qatari ownership/registration card/istimara, and give you a Bahraini one. You will have a Bahraini plate number on that card. They will also give you the circular registration sticker to paste on your windshield. You will pay some money for the plates and registration around BD 40 as I remember.
15. Go to the portacabin near the inspection area, there is a sign that says "B1" on the portacabin. Show them your receipt and they will start preparing your license plate. Bring your car to the plate fixing area and wait outside. They will fix your plates for you.

Your car is now officially imported and registered in Bahrain! Once you get your Bahrain RP, you can transfer the car from the other person to your name if that is what you want to do. He will have to visit the traffic department and sign the forms again, so make sure it is someone you can trust.

What happens to your Qatari registration? They send the plates and ownership card back to Qatar and later on it will get canceled in Qatar.

Hope this helps everyone!

Thank you for sharing this useful information shijaz!  :top:

That is super useful, thanks.
I want to do similar but from Saudi, which i guess has more complex rules.

I'm an expat with an iqama, so need to have the car taken off my iqama in Saudi, I don't think they can just send the stuff back on my behalf.

I'm wondering if it's possible to follow your procedures, but before doing the import on the causeway and removing the Qatari plates like you did, to go back to Saudi and remove the car from my Iqama for export, then drive it back over on temporary plates, and then follow the procedure with the agent...

That would be ideal. Any advice very much appreciated.
Vik

One important point I forgot to mention is that the insurance policy should be taken in the name of the person to whom you will register the car.

Hi Shijaz,

Thank you for this useful post. One thing I would like to ask is could you have done the same be done with the export plates from Qatar. This is an option as I understand to cancel the Qatar RP one needs to export / sell / unregister the vehicles he owns in Qatar, and the time required for the Bahraini registration to take effect in Qatar may take time. Any advice on that?

Regards

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