Foreigners who have lived in other GCC states for 15 years and have bank deposits of BD40,000 can now make Bahrain their permanent home, it was revealed yesterday.

The General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence (GDNPR) Affairs has announced new self-sponsorship residence permit regulations for GCC residents.

The new rules are aimed at encouraging foreigners living in other GCC countries to lead a retired life in Bahrain, said GDNPR acting director of administration and finance Nasser Al Thawadi.

Under the new regulations issued by Interior Ministry Under-Secretary for Nationality, Passports and Residence Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, foreigners living in GCC countries are allowed to stay in Bahrain permanently on a self-sponsorship basis.

Those who have worked in the government or the private sector in one of the GCC states for at least 15 years will be eligible for self-sponsorship, provided they fulfil one of the following criteria:

  • A deposit of not less than BD40,000 or equivalent is made in a reputable bank in Bahrain.
  • An investment of a minimum of BD40,000 is made in one of the local business or commercial industries.
  • An investment of not less than BD40,000 is made as partners in a commercial, economic or financial company with an office in Bahrain. This office should be the centre of the company's business in the GCC states.

"We are giving an opportunity for all expatriates who have been living in one of the GCC states to enjoy the hospitality of the friendly kingdom of Bahrain," Mr Al Thawadi told the GDN. "We believe that their stay here will activate our economy."

Expatriates who have been living in Bahrain for not less than 15 years were earlier granted similar self-sponsorship facilities by the government.

"Under these facilities, renewable residence permits for five years are being granted to retired foreigners who worked in a managerial position either in the government or in the private sector," said Mr Al Thawadi.

The applicant must fulfill the following criteria:

  • Must have a good reputation and must obey all regulations regarding public safety.
  • Must have a residence rented in his name.
  • A deposit of a minimum of BD5,000 at a Bahrain bank.
  • An adequate source of income to support himself and his wife.
  • Must be in good health and have health insurance for himself and his wife.

Such people will not be allowed to work in Bahrain, but they are allowed to trade in shares.

Foreigners living in other GCC states and who want to benefit from the self-sponsorship scheme should contact Mr Al Thawadi on telephone numbers 00973 17535203 or 17528830 or fax number 17532152.

Expatriates in Bahrain who want to enjoy their retirement in Bahrain should submit the application to the GDNPR public relations office for a preliminary assessment.