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Bahrain – Driving Licenses

Bahrain is a small island country in the Persian Gulf, and it has become a popular destination for tourists and expatriates in recent years. If you are planning to drive in Bahrain, you may need to obtain a driving license. In this article, we will provide an overview of the rules and regulations for obtaining a driving license in Bahrain, including how to exchange, obtain, and renew one. We will also cover the penalty system for motoring offenses and whether an International Driving Permit is recognized in the country.

General Rules for Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals who are visiting Bahrain can use their valid driving license from their home country for up to three months. After that, they will need to obtain a Bahraini driving license.

License Exchange Agreements

Bahrain has license exchange agreements with some countries, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. If you hold a driving license from one of these countries, you may be able to exchange it for a Bahraini driving license without taking a driving test.

If you are from a country that does not have a license exchange agreement with Bahrain, you will need to take a driving test to obtain a Bahraini driving license.

Procedure for Exchanging, Obtaining, and Renewing a Driving License

Exchanging a Driving License

If you hold a driving license from a country that has a license exchange agreement with Bahrain, you can exchange your license for a Bahraini driving license without taking a driving test. To do this, you will need to provide the following documents:


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  • Your original driving license
  • A translation of your driving license into Arabic, if necessary
  • A copy of your passport and residency permit
  • A medical certificate, if required

Once you have these documents, you can apply for a Bahraini driving license at the General Directorate of Traffic. You will need to pay a fee for the exchange.

Obtaining a Driving License

If you do not hold a driving license from a country that has a license exchange agreement with Bahrain, you will need to take a driving test to obtain a Bahraini driving license. The driving test consists of a theoretical exam and a practical driving exam.

To apply for a driving test, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • A copy of your passport and residency permit
  • A medical certificate, if required

Once you have these documents, you can apply for a driving test at the General Directorate of Traffic. You will need to pay a fee for the test.

Renewing a Driving License

Bahraini driving licenses are valid for 10 years. To renew your driving license, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Your current Bahraini driving license
  • A copy of your passport and residency permit
  • A medical certificate, if required

You can renew your driving license at the General Directorate of Traffic. You will need to pay a fee for the renewal.

Contact Details of Relevant Government Departments or Agencies

If you need to contact the relevant government department or agency for driving licenses in Bahrain, here are the contact details:

  • General Directorate of Traffic: The General Directorate of Traffic is responsible for issuing and renewing driving licenses in Bahrain. You can find more information on their website: https://www.traffic.gov.bh/

International Driving Permit

An International Driving Permit (IDP) is recognized in Bahrain. An IDP is a document that allows you to drive in countries where your home country driving license may not be recognized. You can obtain an IDP in your home country.

It’s important to note that an IDP is not a replacement for a valid driving license. You must still carry your valid driving license with you when driving in Bahrain.

Penalty System for Motoring Offences

The penalty system for motoring offenses in Bahrain is strict. If you commit a motoring offense, such as speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may face fines, imprisonment, or even deportation.

If you commit a motoring offense while driving with a foreign driving license in Bahrain, you may be required to pay a fine or have your driving privileges revoked in Bahrain. In some cases, you may also face legal proceedings in your home country.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the local traffic laws and regulations when driving in Bahrain to avoid any potential penalties or legal issues.

Obtaining a driving license in Bahrain can be a relatively straightforward process, especially if you hold a driving license from a country that has a license exchange agreement with Bahrain. However, it’s important to understand the rules and regulations surrounding driving licenses in Bahrain, including how long you can use your foreign driving license and the penalty system for motoring offenses.

If you need to exchange, obtain, or renew a driving license in Bahrain, contact the General Directorate of Traffic for more information. And always drive safely and follow the local traffic laws and regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience in Bahrain.


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