Tariffs and regulations

Tariffs and duty rates are constantly revised and are subject to change without notice.

Austrade strongly recommends you reconfirm these prior to selling to Bahrain.

For further information, visit the Bahrain Customs website.

Tariffs and non-tariff barriers


Bahrain became the first country to enter into a Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with the US resulting in tariff free trade between the two countries.

The following are the broad categories of the customs duty:

  • Free duty: vegetable, fruits, fresh and frozen fish, meat, books, magazine and catalogues
  • Five per cent duty: all other imported items like clothes, cars, electronics items and perfumes
  • 100 per cent duty: tobacco and tobacco related products. These are also evaluated based on the quantity or weight, and the higher value is taken into consideration for duty
  • 125 per cent duty: alcohol.

Non-tariff barriers

Import restrictions

Consolidated shipments, charges collect and back-to-back shipments are allowed.

There is no general import licensing system. However, imports of arms and ammunition alcohol, pearls and jewellery, drugs and pharmaceuticals and some electronic and camera equipment are controlled.

Importers must be members of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and be registered in the commercial registry, Ministry of Commerce.

The Bahrain Monetary Agency is responsible for exchange control. Foreign exchange is freely available from authorised banks. Most trade is transacted in US dollars, to which the Bahrain Dinar is directly tied.

Cigars and cigarettes (tobacco) promotional items are not allowed. The sale of pork and pork products is restricted and can only be retailed in specially marked areas. The import of cultured pearls is prohibited.

All imports from Israel are prohibited, as are products manufactured by foreign companies blacklisted by the Arab League.

Product certification, labelling and packaging


Outer containers should carry consignee's and port mark and should also be numbered (according to packing list) unless their contents can be otherwise readily identified. It is essential that the country of origin is indicated. The name of the manufacturer or supplier should be shown on four sides of the packing case.

Labelling in Arabic is mandatory and additional labelling in another language should be identical.

All imports must bear a label indicating country of manufacture. Labels on foodstuffs must indicate common or generic name, list of ingredients, nutritional qualities, preparation and storage directions, name and address of manufacturer, packer and distributor, country of origin, production date, date of packing, expiry date, net contents, grade or quality and batch number.

Gold and silver jewellery must be correctly hallmarked.

All drugs sold must display the dates of production and expiry.


Packing should be strong and should guard against extreme heat in summer, humidity in winter and possible storage in the open.

Special certificates

Health certification, issued by an approved authority in the country of origin, is required for all shipments of animals, plants and their products.

Live plants are not permitted entry if packed in soil, but peat moss is acceptable. The certificates issued for animals must indicate freedom from infectious diseases (rinderpest inoculation in the case of cattle). Certificates accompanying shipments of fresh, chilled and frozen meat, poultry and fish must state that the products are fit for human consumption.

A certificate of free sale may be required for imports of food, drugs and pharmaceutical products.

Methods of quoting and payment

Quotations should be in US dollars on a cost and freight (C&F) or Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) basis (Incoterms 2000). Payment is usually by letter of credit or sight draft.

Documentary requirements

Commercial invoice

No prescribed form. Two copies are required by customs and the customer should advise the number of additional copies, with the top copy being an original. Photostat copies are considered original if they are stamped 'Original' and bear the original official stamp and signature of the exporting company. Fax copies are not acceptable.

The commercial invoice must contain accurate descriptions of the goods, country of origin, marks and numbers, rebates and discounts and the name and address of the manufacturer. It is important that details of the CIF value and gross and net weights of each separate commodity (especially on mixed consignments) should be provided by the exporter on invoices and shipping documents to enable the importer to clear the goods.

The commercial invoice must bear the following certification: 'We hereby certify that the goods enumerated in this invoice are not of Israeli origin nor do they contain Israeli material and are not being exported from Israel.' It must include an endorsement to the effect that all particulars given in the invoice are true and correct and must state whether it was prepared by the manufacturer or by the exporter.

Certification by an Arab representative may be requested, if so follow importer's instructions.

Bill of lading

To Order bills are acceptable.

Goods may be consigned directly to Bahrain or in transit, in which case, the words In Transit must appear on the lading document if the destination of the goods is beyond. Some merchants may require all documents to be stamped In Transit, in which case, the words should be entered in the Leading Marks column. Bahrain should be entered as the port of delivery.

Freight charges must be prepaid for CIF invoices (Incoterms 1990) or else a separate invoice for freight must be included, to enable collection prior to clearance of the goods.

The Customs Cooperation Council Nomenclature (CCCN) heading must be included on at least one copy of the bill of lading.

Packing list

A packing list is not compulsory, but facilitates clearance.

Certificate of origin

One copy is required and must indicate:

  • country in which the goods were manufactured
  • the name of manufacturer or supplier
  • no material of Israeli origin was used in the manufacture
  • the product is not being imported from Israel.

It must be certified by the Chamber of Commerce in the country of origin prior to consular legalisation.


Normal commercial practice, however, insurance must be arranged with a company with no Israeli connections.

Weights and measures

The metric system.

Public health requirements

The import of animals and animal products, plants and plant products (including seeds, fruit and vegetables) require health certification from an approved authority in the country of origin. In Australia this is usually the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Livestock also requires prior permission from the government.

Only licensed merchants may import food, drugs or pharmaceuticals. A certificate of free sale may also be required, which are issued by the approved authority in the country of origin, (proving that the product is allowed to circulate in that country). In Australia the issuing body is generally either the Therapeutic Goods Administration or the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals.

The import of products containing phenylbutazone and oxyphenbutazone is prohibited.

Imported food products must be accompanied by a certificate, issued by a 'reliable authority', stating that the products contain no cyclamates.

Air shipment

Original, printed, signed, legalised invoice is required clearly mentioning the manufacturer's name, country of origin, harmonised commodity code, packing list and purchasing terms.

The commercial invoice (one original and two copies) signed showing specific name, address and country of manufacture with description of goods and showing terms of purchase.

Certificate of origin is also required.

Legalisation is required. Commercial invoice and Certificate of Origin is to be legalised at the Bahrain Embassy in the country of origin, if not available, legalisation can be done at any Arab embassy. There will be a fine if legalisation is not done.

Limited pre-inspection facilities and transhipments/transit are available at the ports of entry, subject to restrictions applied as per IATA Rules Books for Bahrain.

Ocean shipment

The following shipping documents should be forwarded at least 72 hours prior to the arrival of shipments to Bahrain:

  • original carrier master bill of lading
  • one full set of house bill of lading
  • freight invoice (if any freight collection at Bahrain)
  • one set of freight/cargo manifest (cargo destined for Bahrain only).

Carrier master bill of lading should show the shipper name and consignee name (destination agent's name). House bill of lading should show full style address of the actual consignee in Bahrain (with contact details) prompt dispatch of cargo arrival notices.

All cargo documents must show the following details clearly:

  • correct address of consignee/notify party (not bank's address or to order only)
  • number of packages
  • weight and measurements.

Original, printed, signed, legalised invoice is required clearly mentioning:

  • manufacturer's name
  • country of origin
  • harmonised commodity code
  • packing list
  • purchasing terms.

Legalisation is required. Commercial invoice and Certificate of Origin is to be legalised at the Bahrain Embassy in the country of origin, if not available, legalisation can be done at any Arab embassy. There will be a fine if legalisation is not done.