One required document when shipping goods to Bahrain is the residence permit. This indicates an assumption on the part of Bahrain customs authorities that there is an intent on the part of the consignee to stay in the country for some time. In this regard, you should take note that the permit has to have a two-year validity period.
With a residence permit, the consignee is entitled to have the imported item, assuming it is second-hand, to be duty-free. Otherwise, the shipment can still be released but only after the consignee agrees to the payment of a corresponding deposit.
New items, on the other hand, will be subject to duty taxes and will need to be accompanied by the appropriate purchase invoice. These are then sent by Bahrain customs to the Muharraq or the Bahrain post office. From there, a notification letter will be sent to the consignee. When claiming the item, Bahrain customs authorities will make another round of inspection. Upon clearance, any duty due should be paid first before the item is released.
Of all imported merchandise being transported into Bahrain, perfumes and scented products normally have higher taxes. The same thing goes for personal computers and musical instruments like pianos. Importing video cassettes meanwhile will incur a screening fee, and cordless phones will undergo inspection from the Bahrain Ministry of Labor.
In the case of motor vehicles, pertinent documents will have to be presented in addition to the residence permit and the purchase invoice. These include the certificate of registration, the ownership title, an original copy of the consignee’s passport, and the appropriate insurance policy. On top of this, an Import Customs Declaration Form (CDF) will have to be submitted as well as a clearance certificate from the Traffic Technical Inspection and an Inspection License Plate issued by the Bahrain Traffic Department. To obtain the latter, the following documents are required: an identification card, an Export License Plate, a vehicle insurance certificate and a copy of the vehicle specifications as drafted by Bahrain customs.
In all shipments made to Bahrain, complete and thorough inspection from customs authorities should be expected. Motor vehicles, however, can be subject to more rigid examination as Bahrain customs need to determine the exact duties to be levied based on the price value of the car and on the purchase invoice.
Apart from the normal charges, imported motor vehicles can also incur demurrage fees if these remain within customs premises. This can take place in cases when the consignee is unable to settle the standard customs duties for automobiles.
If the vehicle was manufactured in the USA and shipped directly to Bahrain, this will not be charged the customs duty. However, if the vehicle involved is a motorcycle or a four-wheel tractor, an authorization certificate will have to be secured from the Bahrain General Directorate of Traffic.
Additionally, if the importation was made by either sea or air, a bill of lading as well as a delivery order should accompany the CDF. When all of these have been accounted for, the consignee can then seek the assistance of the Bahrain General Directorate of Traffic to secure an authorization certificate for the shipment.