Comprehensive Bahrain Visa Process & FAQ - Work & Self sponsorship

Edit Feb'20: Merged stickies for work visa and self sponsorship visa
Edit Feb'21: Added visa cancellation law in case monthly fees are not paid
Note that I haven't managed to update this for quite a while now due to lack of time. While a lot of information is still valid, some things have changed e.g. parents visa sponsorship is now possible etc.  In case you want to suggest edits from your own experiences, please add to the thread and I will incorporate your suggested changes whenever I get time.

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.  Also a lot of administrative guidelines e.g. bans or extra scrutiny on certain nationalities are NOT advertised publicly e.g. the ban on Pakistani passport holders lasted for more than a year and was NEVER admitted to by either the Pakistan Government nor Bahrain immigration.  But the fact was that no Pakistanis were able to get new work or visit visas for a long time
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.  However, I will list some of the frequently asked questions on these topics below
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, children older than 18 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 recent 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.   Similarly, in another case, the application was rejected at this stage as the applicant had entered Bahrain on a multiple entry visit visa which was still valid and until that was cancelled, the application could not be approved.

These are just a few examples. 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).

If you are outside, then you enter with the visa and at the airport, they will take your picture & fingerprints and issue an appointment for medical.  At the same time, they will stamp your passport with a residence permit.  You can get it converted to a sticker later if is an ink stamp.  Similarly, if you are inside Bahrain, you will have to go for the fingerprint / photo to one of LMRA's centers.  This process is called enrollment and until that is done, you won't get the residence permit.

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.

EDIT for questions; 26th November 2019

What do you mean by attested documents? and do we need to get documents attested by Bahrain Embassy / MOFA Bahrain or will Apostille work?
Simply, your original document needs to be attested by the Bahrain Embassy in your home country.  And the Embassy will only attest the document if your Ministry of Foreign Affairs has done the same.  If you are based (with a valid resident visa) in another country e.g. the UAE with an attested degree from your MOFA, you may be able to get the attestation from the Bahrain Embassy in that country without needing to go back home.

The second part relates to "Apostilled documents".   Bahrain is a signatory to the Hague convention which means that theoretically speaking, your apostilled documents should work.  However, LMRA is in a habit of routinely rejecting apostilled documents and asking for Bahrain MOFA attestation.  That is easy and costs 10 BD if you are in Bahrain.  If not, then you have to follow the whole attestation route as described above in your home country. 

Can wife sponsor kids and husband?
If the wife is on a work visa and the husband is also in the country, then the answer is no for the majority of the cases.   There are a few exception for women in senior roles in some industries like financial services, healthcare and banks.

The ONLY situation where this is possible most times, generally speaking, is if the wife is on an INVESTOR visa.  In this case, she can sponsor both husband and kids.  HOWEVER, to sponsor kids, the husband MUST go to the notary public and give a statement that he is ok to allow his wife to sponsor the kids.  Then this must be attested by MOFA Bahrain.

Is it possible to sponsor parents?
No, there is NO process for doing that. However, it is possible but very difficult.  Generally speaking, only people who work for very big companies and in senior roles (high salary), have a chance.  I was able to sponsor my mother for a few years in the last company I worked for but other junior colleagues of mine were routinely rejected.   The application is directly with immigration and not through LMRA plus your employer needs to get heavily involved to get it through.

My visa has been rejected with message "Apply for a different expat", what do I do?
Unfortunately, nothing.  This message means that it is a security / CID rejection and no matter, how many times your employer or any other employer applies, you won't get a visa.  There is a remote chance to get it through but only if your employer has high level connections - that way, they can approach immigration directly and find out if it is a real issue or a case of mistaken identity / documents which they can get rectified.   It happened to me on my first time coming to Bahrain and took a few months to sort out - was sorted only because it wasn't a pure "security" issue.

Can I sponsor my girlfriend / boyfriend?
No, you can't.  Bahrain being a Muslim country doesn't recognize those relationships.

How to cancel your visa, how long does it take and is any money refunded to the sponsor?
For work visas, only your sponsor can cancel those.  The process is to fill a termination declaration form and upload it in the EMS system. This is signed both by the sponsor and the employee.  Once this is submitted, it takes literally seconds to cancel the visa.  Once cancelled, the employee will appear as terminated in the EMS portal.  On LMRA website, it will show as "Expired Employment Visa" or visa not valid.

Once the employee leaves the country or transfers to another employer, the EMS portal for the CR will update and healthcare fee credit for work visas will be given on a pro-rata basis. This is the only credit that is given on visa cancellation.  Visa fee is only credited pro-rata on mobility and not on cancellation.

How to update CPR address for employees under LMRA domain?
Employer logs into EMS system
Goes to General Functions
Clicks on Update Expatriate Address
Takes print of confirmation
Books appointment with CIO
Takes necessary documents for chip update - EWA or Municipality letter from employee as well as passport and CPR'

When I look on LMRA express services, it says record not found?
This could mean many things i.e. either the application for a visa has not been made or updated in LMRA system or the visa has been cancelled and the record deleted from LMRA system.  In all cases, you should follow up with your sponsor.

When I look on LMRA express services, it says monthly fees not paid?
This has nothing to do with the individual visa applicant.  Every business or CR has to pay LMRA a monthly fee of 5 BD for each work / investor visa on it's CR.  If this fee is not paid in time, this message appears.  And if the fee is not settled within three months, all the visas issued by the CR, get cancelled.  Here is the law which LMRA is flashing nowadays on their website i.e. Feb'21 - I am pasting it here as someone was arguing with me on a post that visas are not cancelled in this case.

Note that in accordance to Article (26 / B / 8) of the Labour Market Regulation Law which stipulates that non-payment of monthly invoices for more than 3 months will result in the cancellation of work permits, thus the employer will be obligated to incur the expenses of his workers' deportation fees.

Why is my visa application delayed beyond the time period listed above?
This happens.  It could be due to nationality related security matters or any other reason.  The only thing you can do is to wait.

I cancelled my visa in Bahrain and applied for a new visa.  It was approved but could not be printed as offence 15 came on the CR?
Don't worry.  This is an automatic enrollment offence.  When people come to Bahrain for the first time; the visa is issued when they are outside the country.  When they enter, enrollment i.e. finger prints and photo is done at the airport.  When you apply for a visa while in Bahrain, after cancelling your previous visa, and not leaving the country, the system automatically marks an offence as soon as new visa is approved, as it detects that enrollment is not done and you have already physically entered (assumes you skipped it at the airport).  With this offence, the CR is immediately blocked for issuance of all visas. Then after a day, the system automatically carries over the past enrollment data (which you did for your previous visa) and the offence disappears.

Besides work visas to Bahrain, what other options do I have to get residence here?
You can self sponsor yourself (but not work) through investment.  This sticky:

Continued in thread below

OR start a business in Bahrain and sponsor visas for yourself.  This sticky:

https://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=739858

I have an issue which is not listed here.  How do I contact you and can you share your details?
You can message me through the private messaging option.  I don't share my contact details on the forum as I have a day job and don't have much time on my hands.

SELF SPONSORSHIP VISA - RESIDENCY THROUGH INVESTMENT

I went through this process recently and thought to pen down a sticky as there are lots of questions on the forum about this.  I will continue updating it as and when required.  The issue with this topic is that while the visa process is listed on the NPRA website, the details behind that are not.  Also, when you ask property agents or PROs, depending on your question, you will get different answers - so there is a general lack of clarity.

Basically there are three ways to apply for a self sponsorship visa as listed on the NPRA site:

https://www.npra.gov.bh/en/services/vis … onsorship/

1) Property purchase of 50K BD or more
2) Retired foreigner - worked for 15 years or more in the GCC
3) Foreign investor - invest 100K BHD or more in a Bahraini company (recent news in Nov' 19 : This is going to be reduced to 50K to bring it in line with point 1.  Not sure exactly when it will be in force)

Practically speaking, if you want to live in Bahrain but don't work here (no work visa), these are your ONLY LEGAL options for staying here.  Setting up a company for visas (process on the sticky) is not advised for this as LMRA can and will shut down "shadow" companies set up for this purpose - in fact, they are doing it right now.

In this thread, I will only discuss option number 1 in detail.   The visa process for the other options works in the same way but the documentation requirements are a bit different e.g. evidence of having worked in the GCC for 15 years for option 2 and copy of MOA for option 3 in addition to showing a tenancy agreement or EWA bill.

Property requirements:

As an expat, you must buy property valued at 50,000 BD or more.  Generally, properties built on reclaimed land or in touristic areas e.g. Juffair, Seef etc are eligible.  In addition, developments with villas like Riffa Views, Durrat etc, also offer freehold properties for purchase.  Rule of thumb is that if you are buying apartments, go for buildings of 10 stories or more as there are specific requirements for property for this type of visa.

You want to go for properties which have a "Title deed' or are "Title deed ready" i.e. the title deed for your property has been issued after being split from the developer's mother title deed.  Off-plan properties are not eligible for this reason. 

Purchase process:

1) Short list a property and sign a pre-sale agreement.  This is usually accompanied with token money of around 2,000 BD which is refundable in case your security clearance fails.  If you change your mind, you lose it.  If the seller changes his mind, he has to pay you back double of what you put in.  This is done on stamp paper and signed by the buyer/seller & property agent as witness.  Keep in mind that this is time bound i.e. valid for a few months - so if your security clearance does not come during that time, the seller can refund the money and walk away from the deal
2) Once this is done, the property agent or developer will submit the title deed along with your ID documents i.e. passport / CPR to the Notary in Ministry of Justice for security clearance / NOC.  This clearance is only for expat buyers
3) This usually takes 1-2 months. Sometimes it can take a LOT longer.  For some nationalities, security clearance doesn't come at all despite waiting years.  Therefore, sometimes, the developer will ask you to pay him and book the apartment under your name ( in their records only - especially for new buildings for which the first transfer to new buyer hasn't happened) before they apply for this.  DON'T do this and NEVER pay anything more than a token deposit.  Because if you don't get clearance, you are stuck with an apartment that you won't be able to transfer under your name nor get the visa.  The number that is given for security clearance, when documents are submitted, is the SAME number under which the sale agreement is done, which means, that unless there is a clearance in place, the sale agreement CANNOT be signed and without sale agreement, there is no title deed.  This then means that your property ownership is on a piece of paper given to you by the developer and depending on their credibility, you are at risk of losing everything
4) Once the clearance is done, both the buyer and seller appear in the notary office (GOSI mall or SLRB office i.e. Survey and Land registration bureau) and sign a "Sale-purchase" agreement.  The buyer pays the seller via manager's cheque at this point
5) Make sure that when you go to the notary, you go there early in the morning i.e. before 9 and that the seller brings literally every single document imaginable (and you bring your passport / CPR).  Because, they have a habit of asking for documents out of the blue and if you don't have them, they won't give you a token.  And by the time, you get the document and bring it back, the process which could have finished under 1 hour, will end up taking 5-6 hours as the queue would have overtaken you by then
6) Once the agreement is signed, you submit the original title deed and original sale agreement to SLRB registration section to get the title deed i.e. red book transferred under your name. You will pay one point seven percent of purchase value if done within 60 days from purchase date or two percent after 60 days.  Also be mindful that the sale purchase agreement validity is only 1 year which is why you must transfer before this time.  This is why I would recommend to use the notary in SLRB office as for one, it's not as crowded as GOSI mall and secondly, the next step to be done is at the registration counter right next to the notary.  This transfer of title deed (for first time issuance) can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months - there is an option to fast track by paying 51 BD which reduces this time to 2 weeks usually.  For existing title deeds, the transfer & update on the red book takes a day or two as all they do is, print on one page in the title deed / red book after the first owner pages & the property map, showing the second owner transaction
7) Take a copy of the title deed (ideally original) and follow the process for getting the EWA bill transferred in your name. It can also work with a copy of the sale agreement but sometimes they are finicky about this.  You also need to take your passport, original CPR, title deed and a stamped letter / statement from the bank which shows your IBAN number. You would need to go to one of the three customer service centers i.e. Muharraq, Zayed Town or Country Mall.  Go VERY early - they open at 7 AM (The busiest center by far is Muharraq).  If you go then, you will be out within the hour.  Otherwise you will waste a lot of time as there are tons of people doing change of name requests at any given time - as tenants of rental properties.  When done, they will take a security deposit which will vary depending on the meter in the property e.g. 100 BD for single phase, 300 BD for three phase and 1000 for villas.  Pay the amount and get the bond certificate.  Practically speaking, for the visa, you just need the title deed and EWA bill / bond.

Now there is one huge gap / issue in this for people who are not resident in Bahrain and don't have a CPR.  This means that you won't have a bank account or IBAN to give to EWA. as the banks won't open an account without a CPR, which you can't get without a visa.  So it is a circular loop and even property agents are complaining about this.   So the options are to either go to self sponsorship section in immigration and try to get a letter / temporary cpr number with which the banks can open an account or take someone else with you who is resident in Bahrain and can give / sign on the debit undertaking with EWA to get the electricity running.

Visa process:

Now that you have the property, the next step is to apply for the visa.   These are available for 2, 5 and 10 years.  Note that the 10 year visa IS available but most agents don't know it.  I met a lot of PROs & agents who swore that the self sponsorship visa is only 2 years.   Simply, as I keep saying in this thread, most people do NOT know the process or requirements so trust only what the self sponsorship section in immigration tells you - go there yourself in case of any doubt.

You must NOT be working in Bahrain for the public or private sector.  You can apply for the visa and once approval is given, to get it stamped, you will have to cancel your existing visa.  But generally, if you are not a resident or on Saudi iqama, there is no issue in applying or stamping - no cancellation required.

The documents are listed on the NPRA site as per link above.  Point to note is that they dropped the requirement for the 15,000 BHD bank deposit which is a welcome step.  Secondly, you MUST show monthly income of 500 BD or more through investments in or out of Bahrain or work outside of Bahrain.  This cannot be from your job or work inside Bahrain.

Take all the documents and apply at the NPRA office on Exhibition road in the self sponsorship section. I submitted the following documentation:  Filled out visa forms (one form for each member of the family - forms can be downloaded from NPRA site.  It is the same form for ALL types of visas), copies of passports and CPRs for all family members, copy of title deed of property - first page, survey map pages and the transfer page which showed my details, copy of EWA bond (as first bill wasn't issued then), copy of insurance cards (just the front of the cards - no need for insurance letter), original certificate of good conduct from Bahrain / Saudi and documentation for proof of monthly income (bank statements from abroad showing investment income and also employer letter from Saudi).   Was given a contact card for self sponsorship section with my file number.   Now the wait begins.   It takes roughly between 1 to 6 months to issue this type of residence permit.  It took 2 months for my 10-year permit to be approved.

Once approved, you go in with your passport, get it stamped and pay the fees. Note that the visa fee is the same for EACH visa.  This means; with the cost of a 10 year visa @ 604 BD, if you are sponsoring your family, say a wife and 2 kids; then you will pay 604 BD*4 as your total cost.  This is why a lot of people, when they find this out, ask for the cheaper 2 or 5 year permit at the counter, at the time of stamping.

Once you get the visa, be aware that you CANNOT work in Bahrain but can live there without issue and sponsor your dependents as well (spouse and children up to the age of 18 only). Hence, I would only recommend this option for people who are wealthy and don't need to work (or are retired) OR people who work in Saudi but want to live in Bahrain.   

The self sponsorship visa section contact details are as under.  They are generally very helpful towards investors.

Telephone Number: +973-17399712
Fax: +973-17535204
Email: [email protected]

Other questions:

1) If property is in two names, do both parties or one only become eligible for the visa?  - Not many people are clear on this but each person's share must be 50K BHD, to be eligible for a visa. If the share works out to be less than 50K then no one is eligible for a visa.  A lot of people will tell you that husband and wife on a 50K property will get a visa - also a lot say no.  The answer is yes (but only for husband and wife) and it is possible if you have an attested marriage certificate, both are equal shareholders in the property, electricity bill is in husband's name and the husband applies for the visa & then sponsors wife as dependent (Same situation as me - visa was approved).  BUT this is allowed only in the case of a husband and wife relationship; all other family relationships are subject to the same rule of 50K per person per visa
2) Can the wife sponsor the husband if the property is in her name? - Again, another question to which you will hear different answers.  But, the answer is no as self sponsorship requires the breadwinner to sponsor his family and not the other way round.  There may be exceptions here and there in cases where the wife is showing income independent from the husband but this needs to be confirmed
3) Is the visa guaranteed when you purchase property? - No, it is entirely at the discretion of immigration just like other visas.  The chances for refusal are low if you have a clean record and have gone through the clearance at purchase time but it can happen
4) Is this permanent residency? - Yes and No.  The visas are for lifetime IF you continue to hold the property but must be renewed 6 months before expiry at 2, 5 or 10 year periods.  Secondly, you can only sponsor your children until they are 18.  After which they need to get their own visas through work or studies or other means
5) Can you rent the property? - Yes, you can but try to keep the EWA bill under your name
6) What happens if I sell the property?  - The visa will be cancelled.  You may at most get an extension of your stay in Bahrain by 3 months when that happens
7) Does buying a property lead to citizenship? - No it doesn't.  You must fulfill all the other requirements i.e. length of stay etc.  HOWEVER, be aware that they recently changed the rules and now for all citizenship applications, you MUST have property under your name.  So this will obviously help if you are otherwise eligible to get the passport
8) What happens if I die?  - This is a big topic but generally speaking, if you are a Non-Muslim and have a will, the provisions of your will are applied by the Bahrain courts for succession certificate.  This certificate will allow the beneficiary to transfer the property under their name and apply for a visa in turn.  If you are Muslim, then Shariah law will be applied - even if you have a will, while they will consider it, it cannot be in contravention to Shariah law.
As far as the visa is concerned and IF, you are buying as a family i.e. husband and wife, and the property is worth less than 100K (i.e. each party's share is not 50K which means you only get one main visa) it is best to have both names on the property title deed.  Because you can get a visa under this arrangement and if the husband dies, the transfer of the visa to the wife is a simple matter - the self sponsorship people told me that they routinely do this under these circumstances.  Alternatively, if the property is worth 100K then both husband and wife can get self sponsorship visas of their own i.e. two main visa holders and one of them can sponsor the kids.  No difference in cost and in the event one dies, the kids can be transferred easily to the other party.
9) What about power of attorney, can it help?  - A POA given by you to someone allowing them to sell or dispose off the property is only valid while you are alive.  On your death, the POA is invalid.  Don't attempt to use in that case as you could be subject to legal proceedings for fraud.

Edit: 23rd July 2019 - Choosing between investment in UAE, Saudi & Bahrain for visas?
  I have gotten lots of questions through private message asking for advice on whether to invest in Bahrain vs. UAE or Saudi.  Based on the general confused tone of the messages :), I thought I should clarify some points.

In Bahrain, for a 10 year visa, you invest 50K BHD with proof of monthly income of 500 BHD.  In UAE, you need 100K BHD with proof of monthly income of 1000 BHD for a 2 year visa!!!.  The UAE 10 year visa is for AED 10 mn and as far as I know, it is not linked to property purchase but investment (property visa is maximum for 5 years with an investment of AED 5 million).

In USD terms, Bahrain gives you a 10 year visa for $132K investment whereas UAE gives it to you for close to $2.7 million!!!.  At that price point, you can buy a passport for an EU country e.g. Malta or Cyprus.  What you have to understand is that price point is set for a very unique category of people i.e. people who have been in UAE their entire lives and have big business set ups there.  For them, it is very convenient as it safeguards their investment in the country which is worth a lot more than this price point.  See the news about the people who got permanent residency in the UAE - and you will get an idea as to what type of people this program is targeted towards.   Saudi is similar with a SAR 800K one-off payment (not investment) to get an indefinite term visa - targeted towards big business owners in the country who will benefit a lot from this especially by having businesses and property in their names vs. their sponsors.

So, simply, the investment in Bahrain, if you want a 10 year visa and are a normal individual investor, is BY FAR the most cost effective of any other GCC country program out there.  If money is no issue, then yeah, you can always go for UAE or Saudi.

Edit: 29th Sep 2019 - Copying of my post by newspapers & publications
Interestingly, a publication called "Salaam Bahrain" copied from my post, especially the FAQ/Q&A portion which is pretty much word for word in most questions (See POA, death and other questions) and published it in their July retirement issue.  And since I posted this for the first time in April 2019; it is quite obvious that it is my post that was used to "borrow" from.

https://issuu.com/salaambahrain/docs/sb_july_2019_issue

See page 22-23 (they even got parts of the process wrong relying on old information rather than this post).

Now this is what I call lazy journalism :).   I don't mind this information being copied especially if it helps people but it would be courteous to give credit or cite a reference vs. trying to pass it off as their own research (which it is not!).

Edit: 21st October 2019
A slight update on two things.   

CPR Process for this type of visa: As you know, if you read the thread, once you get this visa, you are no longer under LMRA.   And you sponsor yourself so you don't need an agent to do this for you.

So to get a CPR card; you would either need to book an appointment in the category of "Investors and dependents" on bahrain.bh under identity card services or go to the VIP counter in Isa Town.  Take your passports with you, along with photographs - all card holders need to be in the country.  The EWA account in your name will appear in their systems.  They will print out the CPRs.  At VIP counter, they will charge you 10 BD extra per card  (I assume that at visa issuance, immigration also issues you a CPR number or it could be the same paper CPR number they give you to register EWA and open bank account - needs to be confirmed).   Because, in the sponsor field, in the CPR reader print out, it is your own CPR number plus name which flows through from the immigration system.  Employer name and number is blank.

If you already have a CPR card and want to get the chip updated, it is the same process as above except it has to be by appointment (VIP services only does renewal or new prints of CPR and not chip update only).   Be aware that if you have bought a property for investment i.e. you are not living in the property and instead are renting a place somewhere else; they will NOT accept municipality letters for the rental contract and only update on the address on which the EWA is in your name.  If you rent out your property and the tenant uses a municipality letter to get the address updated on his / her CPR; then you can use your municipality letter to get your real address sorted.

Transferring from LMRA visas: Once you cancel your visa and get this stamped, you are sorted.  However, since you didn't leave the country, your details will still appear in LMRA system showing as "TERMINATED".  To get them to disappear and for your employer to get a refund on the healthcare fees, you have to either leave or employer has to raise a ticket online with LMRA esupport.  With this ticket, they should attach copies of your cancelled visas and new visas and tell LMRA to remove you from their system as you are no longer under LMRA umbrella.  This will be done in a few days and the refund will be processed.

Edit: 6th February 2020

A minor update on address certificate.

What most people might not know is that CIO (CPR office) have address certificates in their system for each property.  Now, while this isn't proof of legal ownership like the title deed, it is still helpful especially if you want to do things like rent to US Navy or organizations etc.

For your property, there is ALWAYS an address certificate with CIO.  It is usually just in the name of the developer.  It is better to get it changed in your name.   The process for that is simple. 

Just go to Isa Town CPR office.  Don't go in the main building and instead look for a sign which says "Addresses / Birth & death registration".  Take a copy of your title deed, EWA bond or bill and CPR of owner (optional copy of existing address certificate and copy of CPR/CR of previous owner).  Go in and take the token for addresses.  When your turn comes, tell the officer that you want to "change" the name on the address certificate, pay 1 BD and take your certificate.  It is important to say "change" as their English speaking skills vary and most people who go there are for new buildings or buildings which don't have address certificate.   So if he / she gets confused, they will tell you to bring building permit and municipality letter, which you don't need for the change in name.  So avoid the waste of time.

//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 wrote:

//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 wrote:

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 wrote:

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 wrote:

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 wrote:

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 wrote:

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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