If you can already drive
If you’re a citizen of a GCC country (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman and Kuwait), converting your licence into a Bahraini one is easy-peasy. You’ll need your CPR card, your passport and licence from your home country, as well as a letter from your sponsor (usually your employer). You’ll also need passport-style photos and a copy of your CPR card and passport.
Once you’ve got all these documents, head to the Traffic Directorate's Driving School in A’Ali. Here, you’ll need to fill in a form and take a simple eye test. After that, you pay BHD26.5 for your new licence and officials will confiscate the old one. If you want to keep your original licence, you’ll need to prove that you are still a resident of the GCC country your licence is from (for example, with a copy of your visa). The Bahraini licence is valid for five years.
If you’re moving to the Kingdom and intend to drive, you will need to get a Bahraini licence. Unfortunately, if you are a resident of a non-GCC country, you may be forced to take a set number of driving lessons and take your test again before you can get a Bahraini licence. There are a number of exempt countries – including the UK, the US and much of the EU – but you will need to ring the General Directorate of Traffic to find out if your country is among them. If your country isn’t, read the section below for people who can’t already drive.
To drive in Bahrain, you will need your driving licence from your home country and an international driver’s permit. The process for picking up an international driver’s permit differs from country to country: for example, in the UK, you can get one at the post office, and in the US, you need to visit either the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the American Automobile Touring Alliance’s websites and fill in an application.
Don’t forget, while the driving age in Bahrain is 18, most rental car companies won’t lease their cars to people under the age of 24.
If you can’t drive
If you don’t already know how to drive, you’ll need to pick up a learning licence from the Traffic Directorate's Driving School in A’Ali for BHD35. To get this, you’ll need to bring along your CPR card and passport. You’ll then need to pass a theory test before you can get behind the wheel. Complete the theory test, then book your lessons. To take the final test, if you’ve never driven before, you’ll need to complete 22 hours of lessons at BHD5 a go. The test costs BHD10 a try, and once you pass, it’ll cost you a further BHD20 to get your new licence printed.
In total, the process should cost BHD175. It may cost less if you have a driving licence from a non-exempt country.