Bahrain Travel Alert
Issued by US Department of State
Jan 23, 2012
The U.S. Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for unrest in Bahrain. This Travel Alert supersedes the Travel Alert dated November 18, 2011, and expires on April 19, 2012. It updates information about spontaneous and sometimes violent demonstrations.
All travelers to Bahrain face increased scrutiny from Bahraini authorities, and the Government of Bahrain has refused to allow some U.S. citizens permission to enter Bahrain. The airport remains open and operational.
Spontaneous and sometimes violent anti-government demonstrations occur in some neighborhoods, particularly at night and on weekends. These demonstrations have included blockades of major highways, trash can fires, and establishment of unofficial checkpoints. Participants have thrown rocks and Molotov cocktails and used various other homemade weapons. The Ministry of Interior maintains official checkpoints in some areas and routinely uses tear gas, stun grenades, and other crowd control measures against demonstrators. The violent clashes between security forces and demonstrators can make travel in and around Bahrain dangerous without advance warning.
The U.S. Embassy restricts its employees from traveling to specific areas and advises all U.S. citizens to do the same. The recent increase in violent demonstrations along the Budaiya Highway corridor has led to traffic disruptions, effectively restricting travel for those living in the area. The resulting inability to leave one's home for an extended period poses significant safety and security concerns. As a result, Embassy employees and their dependents are being relocated to different neighborhoods. We continue to urge U.S. citizens to follow the latest security guidance and to avoid demonstrations. Please check our Demonstration Notices where the latest information and security guidance along with the latest map outlining the recommended areas of travel can be found.
There are no indications that Westerners or U.S. citizens are being targeted directly, but recent isolated examples of anti-U.S. sentiment have been seen on the streets and U.S. flags have occasionally been burned during demonstrations. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security by knowing the locations of police and fire stations, hospitals, and the U.S. Embassy. The Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly, and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse. If you are in immediate danger, call the police at 999.
The U.S. Embassy in Manama can be reached at (973) 1724-2700; the after-hours emergency number is (973) 1724-2957; the fax number is (973) 1725-6242. The U.S. Embassy in Manama is located at Building No. 979, Road 3119, Block 331 Zinj District, Manama.
The U.S. Embassy is open for all routine American Citizens Services (such as passports, Consular Reports of Birth Abroad, and notarials) by appointment via our website, bahrain.usembassy.gov. U.S. citizens with routine inquiries can write to [email protected] Emergency passport services can be arranged via email or by calling the Embassy directly.
U.S. citizens in Bahrain are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Those enrolled in STEP receive Messages and Emergency Messages for U.S. citizens as well as Demonstration Notices. These messages and notices are placed on our website at the same time that they are sent via email to STEP enrollees. U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll in person at the U.S. Embassy. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.
Updated information on travel and security in Bahrain may be obtained from the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). For further information, please consult the Country Specific Information for Bahrain, as well as the Worldwide Caution. You can also stay up to date by bookmarking our Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which also contains current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.