Getting here and advice about your stay
Entry requirements for Kuwait
You should consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Regardless of age, British nationals travelling by air can get a free 30-day entry permit/tourist visa, or a 90-day visit/business visa for a fee, on arrival in Kuwait. For further information contact the Kuwait Embassy in London at:
Embassy of Kuwait
2 Albert Gate
Telephone: 020 7590 3400.
You can now apply for an e-Visa before arrival, at: https://evisa.moi.gov.kw/evisa/home_e.do.
On arrival in Kuwait, the immigration authorities may ask to see evidence of return or onward travel, a sponsor’s letter and hotel confirmation.
If you are arriving by land or sea, you should obtain visas in advance from the Kuwaiti Embassy in London.
For visit visas, your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Kuwait.
For residency visas, your passport should be valid for a minimum of two years.
UK emergency travel documents
UK emergency travel documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry into Kuwait. However, ETDs are accepted for airside transit and exit from Kuwait.
Previous travel to Israel
If you have an Israeli stamp in your passport you may be refused a visa and/or entry into Kuwait.
Living and working in Kuwait
For work or residency visas apply to the Kuwaiti Embassy in London.
If you intend to use UK documents like academic records, marriage certificates, or your driving licence in your application, you should have all such documents authenticated by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK or by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country in which they were awarded and the nearest Kuwaiti Embassy. The same procedure is necessary for children’s birth certificates.
Your employers should not retain your passport.
[Source – FCO Travel Advice/gov.uk]
The currency in Kuwait is the Kuwaiti Dinar (KD).
There are plenty of ATMs and credit cards are widely accepted, although some banks and shops do not accept foreign-issued bank or credit cards.
Local laws and customs
Around 8,000 British nationals live in Kuwait and a further 10,000 visit each year. Most visits to Kuwait are trouble-free.
Kuwait is a Muslim country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. This year, the holy month of Ramadan began on 16th May and will finish on 14th June. See the FCO’s guidance on travelling during Ramadan at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travelling-during-ramadan.
You must carry your passport or a Kuwait civil identification card at all times.
Entry to and photography near government, military and industrial and other restricted areas (e.g. near borders and oil fields) is forbidden.
In public, you should dress and behave modestly. Women wearing shorts or tight-fitting clothes, in particular in downtown areas, are likely to attract unwelcome attention.
The importation or possession of narcotics, alcohol, pork products or obscene material is a crime and can lead to imprisonment.
Possession and abuse of drugs can lead to a prison sentence of between 5 and 10 years, and a heavy fine. Bail is not usually given and even if found not guilty you can expect to spend several months in detention while the case progresses through the judicial system. Penalties for drug trafficking include the death sentence.
Drunken behaviour in public or driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable by a fine or imprisonment, and/or deportation and the withdrawal of your driving licence.
Sexual intercourse between men and imitating the appearance of the opposite sex are punishable by law. See the UK Government’s information and advice page for LGBT travellers at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/lesbian-gay-bisexual-and-transgender-foreign-travel-advice before you travel.
Intimate displays of affection between men and women are also frowned upon. Co-habiting of unmarried partners in Kuwait is illegal. If you wish to live with your partner in the same house, you need to be married.
Bouncing cheques is illegal and the law does not provide for offenders to be released from custody on bail. Post-dated cheques can be banked immediately.
If you are involved in a commercial dispute with a Kuwaiti company or individual, you may be prevented from leaving the country pending resolution of the dispute.
The British Embassy cannot intervene with labour disputes.
[Source – FCO Travel Advice/gov.uk]
Safety and security
Violent crime against foreigners is rare. However, you should take care if you intend to travel in conservative areas like Jahra, where there have been incidents involving firearms, and Jleeb Al Shuyoukh where there have been instances of civil unrest.
You should only use authorised road border crossing points into Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Border posts can be easily missed on the Kuwait-Saudi Arabian border. However, you must get an exit or entry stamp before continuing your journey. Any other unauthorised movement near borders is illegal and dangerous. Armed guards patrol border areas. If you plan to cross the border from Kuwait into Iraq, make sure you have the correct paperwork. See the Iraqi Embassy to Kuwait website at: http://mofamission.gov.iq/en/Kuwait for more information.
Landmines and other hazardous ordnance are still present in Kuwait. You should avoid off-road driving. If you do travel off-road, restrict your movements to clearly identifiable tracks, and take great care even if an area has been officially cleared. Do not pick up any strange metal, plastic or other objects lying around or hunt for war memorabilia.
If you have a visit visa you can drive in Kuwait using an international driving permit or a valid UK licence. Before driving you must obtain third party insurance in Kuwait. If you are hiring a car, you can usually get insurance through your car hire company. If you are planning to drive a car belonging to a relative or friend then you are responsible for obtaining insurance. The insurance document must be kept with you at all times while driving.
If you are applying to live in Kuwait, you will not be able to drive unless you have a Kuwaiti driving licence. In this case, you should apply for a Kuwaiti driving licence after you receive your residency permit. You should confirm eligibility requirements for a Kuwaiti driving licence with the nearest Kuwaiti Embassy before you arrive. Your eligibility to obtain a Kuwaiti licence may be affected by your residency or employment category, annual salary and time spent in Kuwait.
Driving is hazardous. Many drivers pay little attention to other road users; drive in excess of speed limits, switch lanes without warning, ignore traffic lights and use mobile phones while driving. If you have an accident you must stay with the vehicle. Call the police on 112 and do not attempt to move the vehicle before they arrive.
Many areas of the Gulf are highly sensitive, including near maritime boundaries and the islands of Bubiyan and Warbah in the northern Gulf and Abu Musa, and the Tunbs in the southern Gulf. The area in the northern Gulf, between Iran, Iraq and Kuwait has not been demarcated and vessels entering these areas have been detained and inspected. There have been occasional arrests. Make careful enquiries before entering these waters or visiting ports.
Following maritime restrictions issued by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior in 2011, you should take care when sailing in Kuwaiti waters. You should also remain alert to the effect any regional tensions may have on your route. Vessels operating in the Gulf of Oman, North Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and Bab El Mandeb regions may be under an increased risk of maritime attack.
Take care when travelling by Dhow, as the safety of these vessels may not be up to UK standards. Make sure life jackets are available.
Demonstrations and protests are uncommon in Kuwait and are normally, but not always, peaceful. Rioting is rare. You should be vigilant, avoid demonstrations, follow the advice of the local authorities, and be alert to local and regional developments.
Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Kuwait. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.
On 26th June 2015, Daesh carried out a suicide attack at the Al-Sadiq Mosque in the Al Sawabir area of Kuwait City, resulting in 27 deaths and many injured. Further attacks on places of worship are possible.
Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf Region. These include references to attacks on western interests, including residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests, as well as crowded places, including restaurants, hotels, beaches, shopping centres and mosques. You should maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places. Avoid demonstrations, take security precautions and follow the advice of the local authorities.
There is a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Find out more about the global threat from terrorism, how to minimise your risk and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack at gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reduce-your-risk-from-terrorism-while-abroad.
[Source – FCO Travel Advice/gov.uk]
Visit your health professional at least four-to-six weeks before your trip to check whether you need any vaccinations or other preventive measures.
Country-specific information and advice is published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre on the TravelHealthPro website: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries and by NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/destinations.aspx.
Useful information and advice about healthcare abroad is also available on the NHS Choices website: http://www.nhs.uk/NHSEngland/Healthcareabroad/Pages/Healthcareabroad.aspx.
There is a state medical service with local clinics and several good hospitals. There are also private medical and dental facilities. Fees are controlled by the state and are expensive. From 1st October 2017 the Kuwaiti Government has decided to further increase the cost to expatriates and visitors for using state medical facilities.
Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. If you are working in Kuwait, check whether your employer provides private medical insurance. If not, you are strongly advised to take out personal medical insurance for yourself and any dependents.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 112 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
[Source – FCO Travel Advice/gov.uk]
FCO travel advice
If you are travelling to Kuwait for business, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) website has travel advice to help you prepare for your visits overseas and to stay safe and secure while you are there.
For advice please visit the FCO Travel section pages on the gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kuwait.
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel. See the FCO Foreign Travel Insurance guidance at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/foreign-travel-insurance.
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