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Bahrain work visa - Process, timelines and FAQ

There is almost a constant stream of threads asking about the process and how long it takes, why is it delayed and what's happening.  I have some time on my hands today so thought to create a single thread that should address most but not all questions.

Important points - please read before any response or message:

1) I am not an agent or PRO or the definitive source on this.  This is all based on personal experiences from the employer and applicant side of things.  This is meant to aid people but at the same time, I cannot help or respond to requests for help - not a PRO as stated :)
2) Rules and regulations change so the information here may become out dated over time.  Check lmra.bh website for the latest information
3) This is about the application process ONLY; from beginning to end.  I won't dwell on other items CPR, requirements for visas, attestations etc
4) No one and absolutely NO ONE in this forum can tell you which stage your application is at, where it's stuck, why is it stuck and how long will it take.  The best source for that is your employer.  We understand that you are anxious but repeated questions and private messages are pointless and will only annoy people
5) In most cases, the only thing you can do is talk to your employer and / or wait.  There is no process for fast tracking applications.  That is not to say that they can't be fast tracked but that requires connections by either you or the PRO. I have seen an application leading to a visa within one or two days in such a case.  And NO, I cannot help you in doing that

The process is as follows.

Application by Employer


Once you accept the job offer, the employer will create an application in the LMRA system (EMS).  They will ask you for documents for this purpose such as copies of first two pages of the passport, photos, attested educational degrees, preliminary medical report (or GAMCA number) etc.  For dependent visas (wife and kids), it is the same but additional documents will be required like attested birth certificates and attested marriage certificates (but no medical reports as not needed for dependents).  Other type of visas such as parents, maids and so on are NOT through LMRA but directly through immigration on paper forms.   The employer will upload the documents and submit.

At this stage the application will show the status of SUBMITTED as well as show on LMRA stage on the LMRA website (Express services tracking tool).

LMRA will verify documents, employer eligibility and other matters.  The application can be returned here for many many reasons such as offence on CR, fees not paid, bahrainisation ratio, documents missing or not clear etc.  If the application is returned more than twice; it will be rejected and employer has to apply again.

This stage usually takes 2-3 days but can take longer if more verification is required, system is down and / or there are holidays.  Once done, it goes through CIO onwards to immigration.  Also the employer can follow up with LMRA through the contact center or e-support.

NPRA

Most time is taken here as security checks are conducted at this stage.  The application can take anywhere from 2 to 3 days to 2 to 3 weeks.  Sometimes it can take months.  Most application rejections also happen here for different reasons e.g. security check failed etc.

The status on the site will show AWAIT GDNPR while it is in processing here.  If rejected, it will show EMPLOYMENT VISA NOT VALID or in some cases, will go back to LMRA or not show at all.

Now this bit is important; at this stage, LMRA cannot help with queries as they will say that the application is with immigration and to wait.  Because while LMRA determines eligibility and quota for visas etc; the final approving authority for the right to come to Bahrain is with immigration NOT LMRA.   Also, in most cases, your employer can follow up directly with immigration by visiting their offices or through a PRO but in 99% of the cases, cannot influence any faster processing or get reasons for why the application is delayed. If immigration want additional details, they will ask the employer or LMRA directly (they don't in my experience though). 

The ONLY thing you can do here is wait.

PAYMENT

If the application is approved, it will come back to the employer for payment.   Once paid, it takes a maximum of 2-3 days for the visa to be issued and printed.  Sometimes it is almost instantaneous.

The status shown is AWAIT IMM when payment has been made.  Then it goes to immigration and finally back to LMRA for final issuance of visa.

HOWEVER and this is important; sometimes there are delays after this stage.  In most cases, it is because the system is slow or not working properly or there are holidays - as a result of which it takes longer.  At other times, LMRA or immigration could hold final issuance of visas due to any number of reasons such as violation by CR etc.  As an example, a company had a health check violation/failure for one of its workers (Worker failed the medical in Bahrain) and the entire CR/address was put on hold until that violation was cleared i.e. expat deported and evidence provided to immigration. Till that was done, no visas could be issued irrespective of which stage the application was at.   

This is one example. There could be many other similar or different reasons.

ISSUANCE

This is the last stage and the application comes back to your employer.  They login to the system, print the work visa and either send it to the employee (if he is outside the country) or send it to immigration with passport (if the employee is in the country).

All in all, the overall process normal time range is between 1 to 4 weeks with the average being two weeks.  In few cases, it could take a couple of months.  As I said before, the only advice that can be given in such a situation is to follow up with your employer, wait and generally never resign from your current job until you have the printed visa in your hand.

//Also, in most cases, your employer can follow up directly with immigration by visiting their offices or through a PRO but in 99% of the cases, cannot influence any faster processing or get reasons for why the application is delayed.//

I went to Immigration, i told the guy that i'm waiting for 2 weeks and it's still saying awaiting for NPRA, he checked and changed it to "awaiting for payment"

Haseeb91 :

//Also, in most cases, your employer can follow up directly with immigration by visiting their offices or through a PRO but in 99% of the cases, cannot influence any faster processing or get reasons for why the application is delayed.//

I went to Immigration, i told the guy that i'm waiting for 2 weeks and it's still saying awaiting for NPRA, he checked and changed it to "awaiting for payment"

That is because:

1) You were lucky :)   as you probably met someone who was helpful
2) The application had passed all necessary checks but wasn't updated.  Sometimes happens after holidays or system updates.  Same happened to a friend once

Whenever i visit ministries in Bahrain, people are nice with me, but i was not able to apply visit visa for my mother few months back, they rejected because i went alone without agent.....
i applied my visa on 19th or 20th dec, got my visa few days back,

Haseeb91 :

Whenever i visit ministries in Bahrain, people are nice with me, but i was not able to apply visit visa for my mother few months back, they rejected because i went alone without agent.....
i applied my visa on 19th or 20th dec, got my visa few days back,

20th Dec to a few days back is almost a month.   So the application would have cleared immigration which means that it wasn't updated as i said.

Yes, they are always nice.  But helpful is a different topic i.e. sorting out your problem without sending you back :)

You need a very strong agent.  I have seen timelines for every type of visa vary between a day to weeks depending on agent.

Thanks for the detailed post XTang, will be easy to give as a reference to many.

cheers,
T&R

logicalindian :

Thanks for the detailed post XTang, will be easy to give as a reference to many.

cheers,
T&R

Thanks.  Sticky?

@ XTang : Yes sticky :D   ;)

We've lived in Bahrain Before and then moved away but my husband has been offered another job in Bahrain.  I believe the work permit has been issued and the application is now with immigration.  Any Ideas how long this process takes Please....?

Thank you for this informative post. much obliged. :)

Dear friends

    I am an indian and i want to know that which is the best bank i bahrain for my salary account.  Can i get a zeero balance account and i need to do online banking through mobile app .  Please help anyone

I have been using standard chartered and Ahli united, i dont think there is a zero balance account concept here guess min 20BHD. Both the banks have mobile banking app.

T&R

Thank you logicalindian

dear friends
Me and my wife are doctors and have applied for work visa throught our employer 3 weeks back. when i check online it shows under processing and is with npra. i understand that it can take up to 1 month but i have got a valid qatar residency permit. would that be the reason of delay or is there a possibility that they will deny my visa. appreciate if someone could give me details on that.
thankyou

Please read sticky. No one can advise reason of delay. But its not likely to be due to Qatar residency. I know people who have moved recently and had no issues.

Hie everyone ..i got a job with some company in Bahrain already i resigned here in UAE ..the prob is its almost 2months waiting fr my visa...i remember early  January it was saying its not found in the data base..later in January around 28 it started showing working visa in progress ..could there be any problem ..i am worried and m suppose to exit uae early march...i am worried coz m nolonger financially stable ...

cheryil :

Hie everyone ..i got a job with some company in Bahrain already i resigned here in UAE ..the prob is its almost 2months waiting fr my visa...i remember early  January it was saying its not found in the data base..later in January around 28 it started showing working visa in progress ..could there be any problem ..i am worried and m suppose to exit uae early march...i am worried coz m nolonger financially stable ...

Please refer to the sticky.  You need to ask your employer about the visa.  But as a general rule of thumb; never ever resign until you have the visa in your hand - no matter what anyone says about your chances of getting one.

well i ddnt know its differ from uae ....online its showing its bern uldated fees monthly paid ..but still saying working visa in progress

cheryil :

well i ddnt know its differ from uae ....online its showing its bern uldated fees monthly paid ..but still saying working visa in progress

It's a different country :)

I am speaking about the principle i.e. never ever resign unless you have the visa in your hand.  The only exception is if you are transferring to another employer within the same country - in that case, you have to resign to be transferred.

And yes, from what you say, the visa is in process.  You need to check with your employer about the status of why is it taking long and when do they expect to get it.

i did last week thursday and he was very convinced that this week wil be out and by the 14th wil be in bahrain...and now m scared to keep on asking ....its stressing blve me.

Understand.  Just relax and wait as you cannot control this situation.  Don't worry yourself unnecessarily.  What is meant to happen will happen.

Thank you so much for cheering words....will kip u posted as time goes on..

can anyone help me? I am currently working here in bahrain and i have change my previous employer. My new employer applied my mobility(known as local transfer) on feb 12, 2018 in LMRA and after 2 days it goes to NPRA while the status is working visa is on progress and my application stay there for almost 7 days, but when i check it today it goes back now to LMRA while the status is still working visa is on progress and there is a note that if the status did not change within 3 days the employer can send eticket. Can anyone help me what does it mean that my application was returns back to LMRA after 7 days from NPRA? does it mean my application rejected or it will be rejected?

Thank you!

It does not necessarily mean it will be rejected.  Most probably it has been sent back to LMRA to do further checks of information.   Ask your employer what the status says in the EMS system now and also what does the status say exactly on express services?

Thank you for your swift response! Yes, just today I called LMRA and asked them why my application was sent back to them by NPRA and what is the status of my application? they told me that it was there in immigration for security check for 7 days and it was sent back to them for processing and stamping, but unfortunately they told me that it's not ready for stamping and I need to wait. I just don't know what exactly stamping means? may be you can help me with this?

Thank you!

It means it has cleared immigration and LMRA now needs to issue visa. Once visa is issued, the sticker will be put in your passport (called stamping). Read the sticky above as sometimes there are delays at this stage for many reasons. Most common is employer offences which need to be cleared before application can proceed.

Employment visa is not valid

Hi this is azhar i have a concern about my bahrain employment visa, 2 days back when i checked my legal status on lmra.bh web site it was showing employment visa is in progress but now its showing employment visa is not valid, i can able to see my occupation, company name and monthly fees not paid, this is the first time im applying for Bahrain,im really worried now because it is more than 2 months. I request you to please provide some information

Thanks
Azhar

Check with your employer.

hello. just want to know once you got your visa on hand, how many days does the country require for you to enter Bahrain? will it be within 30 days from the day it was released? thanks in advance.

It says so on the visa. Between 30 and 90 days usually.

Can anyone please update how many days are taken by NPRA to approve the visa? in this time period.

Highly appreciate the response.

I suggest that you read the sticky carefully.  As it clearly states there, no one can predict exactly how long.  But usually it can be anywhere from a week to a month.

Hi if you have been working in UAE before and left debts there will this affect the working visa process in Bahrain?

It is always recommend to exit the country the legal way.

Emmalene :

Hi if you have been working in UAE before and left debts there will this affect the working visa process in Bahrain?

Depends.  If a police case has been filed, then it could.  Otherwise, no.   And a police case is not always filed - it depends on the nature of the case, size of the debt, was fraud involved or not etc.

NPR Can Reject the Visa due to any  Name Block ?
What they Check usually in NPR

Regards

Your name has Abbas Rizvi, that's why

They do a lot of security checks and name is one of them.

Thank You so much your information has been generally so helpful. One inquiry Please. What site can i use to check my visa status ie "Await GDNPR" to see how far it has gone if i dont have the reference number because its my employer and agency applying for me

Lmra.bh is where you check your visa status.  And it will not show very detailed information in case you are wondering.

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