Travelers to Kuwait will require a valid passport with un-used visa pages for the visa to be issued. A minimum of atleast 6 months of validity is recommended in the passport at all times. Thereafter, contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Kuwait to confirm the required documents and time taken for processing the visa and for other details of travel.
Citizens of other GCC states are permitted to enter and live in Kuwait without undergoing any major formalities. Kuwait grants entry to 34 nationalities on arrival, which according to a new decision from the Ministry of Interior will benefit the nationals from USA, UK, Italy, France, Canada, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Finland, Spain, Monaco, Vatican, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea and China.
Other countries can obtain visa through Kuwait Airways offices. The airline has an online facility to process the visa through the Ministry of Interior. However, all other nationals are subject to strict rules of entry and registration as foreigners under the sponsorship of Kuwaitis or as dependents of foreigners who already own residence under Kuwait sponsorship.
Visit Visas and entry permits are valid for entry within 90 days of issue and then for a stay of up to 30 days only after entry. As for sponsorship, visitor to Kuwait will have to be sponsored by an individual in Kuwait or a Company, or a resident foreigner who is a relative of the visitor.
Requirements: To obtain a visit visa for a relative, a resident foreigner will need to produce along with completed visa application, a security form completed by the sponsor, copy of visitor’s passport, original and copy of sponsor’s passport, original and copy of sponsor’s civil ID, original and copy of sponsor’s work permit (in case of private sector employees), salary certificate from sponsor’s employer, and authentic proof of family relationship.
Receiving a visit visa would require two working days. Hotels can also arrange for visit visas for business purposes, but it takes nearly a week to obtain the visa.
This visa is solely for the purpose of leisure travel, including vacationing, sightseeing, cruising, and for other such recreational activities.
The visa is necessary, if during a visit to Kuwait, the visitor intends to carry out business or commercial activities. Business Visas are not issued to visitors who are paid salaries for the work done to an entity in Kuwait. For such purposes, visitors will have to obtain a work visa.
Requirements: To obtain a visit visa for a business, a visitor will have to produce:
The multiple entry visit visas permit holders to visit the country any number of times within a one-year period. It could be available for business when sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. Certain nationalities can obtain a multiple entry visa valid up to 10 years, and that could permit indefinite number of entries.
A transit visa will have 7-day validity, and can be obtained from a Kuwait Consulate abroad, or from a Port Authority in Kuwait. The applicant should also hold a valid onward visa for his next destination and a confirmed onward ticket.
A visitor holding a visit visa in Kuwait cannot take up employment, as he or she should have a work permit and a residence visa.
Work visas and residence permits are granted under Articles 17 (for Public sector employees) and 18 (private sector employees) of immigration regulations. Only after an employment offer is accepted, can the residence visa be obtained. The employer seeks work permit from Ministry of Social Affairs & Labour Affairs, by producing a copy of employee’s passport. A No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the General Administration of Criminal Investigation at the Ministry of Interior will have to be obtained by submitting employee’s personal details. The employee should then seek an entry visa for Kuwait, using the endorsed work permit and producing other necessary documents such as medical certificate, good conduct certificate, etc.
Fingerprint and Security Clearance: There are four fingerprinting departments where expatriates can get their fingerprinting done to obtain security clearance. These departments are located in Khaed Ibn Al Waleed Street, Sharq, Al Gazali Street, and Farwaniya, Ahmadi and Jahra. Registrations for fingerprints can be done by producing employee passport, copy passport, photographs and letter from Ministry of Social Affairs and LAbour. The Criminal Evidence Department at the Interior Ministry issues the Security Clearance Certificate in a week’s time.
The first time applicants for residence should submit the following documents such as declaration on the prescribed work permit, NOC, Passport, Security Clearance Certificate, passport size photographs, in the form of originals and photocopies. A maximum of 5 years residency will be granted. The cost of the visa will have to be borne by the employee if the sponsor is a government organization. As for private company, the issue could be negotiated between employee and the sponsor.
Following the expiry of the initial residence visa, the expatriate will have to continue under the same sponsor if it has to be renewed. The process of renewal should be started two weeks ahead the expiry of the current residence visa. However, the employee’s work permit will have to be renewed first with the Labour Ministry, before renewal of the application.
Apart from work visas, dependent visas and expatriates have other kinds of visas such as student residence visa, medical treatment visa, and temporary residence visa.
The temporary residence visas permits a stay of up to one year, in cases where an ordinary residence visa need not and cannot be obtained. This is granted only to visitors with personal emergencies such as illness, or western businessmen who can obtain temporary residence without difficulty. Temporary residence visas for 2-3 months are also being granted to immediate relatives of residents (father, mother, sister but no brothers), whose visit visas have expired. Such visas are also given to expats who have resigned from jobs but require stay in Kuwait for some time to settle their financial issues or a court case. Such a visa gets cancelled when the holder leaves the country.
On obtaining a residency, a male employee can sponsor his wife and children to reside with him in Kuwait, provided he earns a monthly salary of KD450 minimum, if he is on a 17-visa, or a minimum monthly salary of KD650 if on a 18-visa. If both husband and wife are working in Kuwait, they can sponsor their children if their combined salaries exceed KD350 per month.
Even a working wife can sponsor her husband as a dependent. But, sons over 21 years cannot be sponsored as dependents. However, the dependent family member cannot work without transferring to a work visa under Kuwaiti sponsorship.
Requirements: The following documents may be required for dependent visas
The parents of a new born child in Kuwait will have to obtain a dependent residency visa for the child. There is no minimum salary requirement and the father of the child in Kuwait can sponsor his infant’s residence, irrespective of his salary levels. An official birth certificate for the child is a must. To obtain residency, the baby’s name will have to be included in father’s passport or a separate passport will have to be obtained for the infant.
Thereafter, the procedure for obtaining residency is the same as that for any dependent. Parents on domestic servant visas cannot keep their child as they will have to obtain an exit visa for the infant from the Interior Ministry.
Resident expatriates can sponsor a full-time servant to care for their household. However, only couples are allowed to sponsor a servant if the servant is a female. The age limits are 20 to 50 years.
Requirements: Salary certificates of sponsor and wife, copy of house rental agreement, copy of sponsor’s and wife’s passport, proof of ages of children, copy of sponsor’s and wife’s civil ID, copy of servant’s passport and passport size photographs, and copy of work contract for the servant.
Expatriates who have spent several years in Kuwait can sponsor themselves under article 24 of regulations and obtain a residence for two to five years, provided, they can support themselves financially and can produce good conduct certificate. Such a form can be renewed on expiry. Such foreigners can also sponsor their wives and children and can run their own business.
The service permits issuance of treatment visa in Kuwait. A letter of approval from hospital for treatment in Kuwait should be submitted approved by Health Ministry, copy of ID of the sponsor, and valid passport copy of the visitor will be required.
The visitor will be fined KD10 per day for staying more than 30 days. A visitor with an expired visa will not be allowed to leave Kuwait until the fine has been paid. The fine should be paid at the Immigration Department during the government working hours. A foreigner will be allowed to obtain two one-month extension on a visit visa or temporary residence visa, provided, the application is made to the Immigration Department before the expiry of the visa.
Will have to be obtained by expatriate employees of Ministries and other government institutions before leaving Kuwait. But other expatriates do not require exit visas.
Return Visa of Govt. employees and students in Kuwait for GCC nationals: This service permits issuance of return visas for GCC citizens employed in government entities or studying in Kuwait.
Requirements: Copy of civil ID of sponsor, Two photos for pass ticket holder, letter from employer as proof for employment in a government entity, educational certificate as proof for studying in Kuwait, original pass ticket with departure and arrival timings of the applicant, and departure notification from General Department of Citizenship and Travel documents.
List of countries whose citizens can obtain Visas upon arrival at all Kuwaiti ports of entry: