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Life in Kuwait Blog

February 5, 2019 in Blog

An expats guide to everything Kuwait!

Kuwait is a small, oil-rich constitutional emirate, with foreign workers constituting 90 percent of the labor force. Kuwaiti nationals constitute 1.1million of the 3.4million population in the country.

Kuwait City has numerous attractions which include excellent museums, a corniche ornamented with combed beaches and extravagant restaurants, modern shopping complexes and marinas, long and lazy retreats, and new beach resorts.

Outside Kuwait City, however, there are only few attractions, except at resorts along the coast. Tourist development of the historical Failaka Island is still in developmental stage. There are flat desert plains that are given over for oil excavation, and there are few distinctive features.

As for travellers, while in Kuwait, there are some definite rules that need to be followed to avoid any faux-pas, so that local populace is not offended. Further, the tips given herein can help you in taking care of all that you need to, before planning a trip to Kuwait.

Best time to visit Kuwait
Kuwait’s weather pattern is similar to that of Europe, although the weather here is hotter and drier. Summers (April to October) are hot and humid with very little rain. Winters (November to March) are cool with limited rain, while Spring (February to April) is cool and pleasant.

If you happen to visit Kuwait in summer, there are plenty of air-conditioned amenities to make your summer visit tolerable. The winter months are chilly in the evenings, but, with pleasant daytime temperatures. During Spring, the desert is laced in a transparent lime green, decorated with petunias, making it the ideal time to visit.

Kuwait has cheap and well spread transport system with local and intercity buses that operate round the clock. Taxis charge a flat rate between the city and airport. Local taxis without meters are available for getting around. To hire a car, one must have an International Driving Permit.

Individuals with special needs may find accessibility and accommodation easy in Kuwait, as the law mandates access to buildings for people with disabilities. The government enforces such provisions, and also supervises and contributes to schools and job training programs that cater to people with special needs.

Expatriates must hold a valid passport, with a minimum validity of six months from date of entry, to enter Kuwait. Expatriates can obtain a 30-day entry permit or tourist visa, or a 90-day visit/business visa for travel to Kuwait. While Kuwait emphasizes on arranging visas prior to entry into Kuwait, some nations are allowed visa on arrival. You should also have a ticket for travel out of Kuwait. The visa processing may get quicker if you have all necessary documents with you, including sponsor letter or confirmation of hotel reservation.

If you have an Israeli stamp in your passport, you may be refused visa, or if you plan to enter Kuwait over land from Iraq, you could obtain a visa in advance.

Kuwait has now eased visa requirements considerably, to encourage more visitors into the country. Nationals of all GCC countries can enter Kuwait without a visa, while nationals of 34 countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, UK, Andorra, Belgium, Austria, Brunei, China, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Luxembourg, Monaco, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, the Vatican, and the USA can obtain a visitor visa at the Kuwait International Airport.

Visitor visas have a validity of 90 days from date of issue. Multiple-entry visas are valid only for business needs, and hold one-year validity. But such visas should be applied in advance.

It is possible to extend visa duration by one-month, twice. To do this, an application should be submitted to the immigration department in Shuwaikh before expiry of the visa.

Kuwait has also implemented biometrics, and fingerprints, which will be taken for both visitor and resident visa holders on entry and exit.

For further information on entry and exit requirements, travelers can contact their respective embassy in Kuwait.

Kuwait Customs
Kuwaiti customs authorities enforce strict regulations for temporary importation into or export from Kuwait on items such as religious materials, firearms, pornography and alcohol. Alcohol, pork products and pornography are considered illegal in Kuwait. Travelers with prescription medications should carry them in their original packaging or bottle, as dispensed, along with a copy of their prescription, in case the authorities question about their importation to Kuwait. Baggage of all travelers are screened before entry into Kuwait.

Visitors to Kuwait should have accommodation and all such set-up beforehand, as independent travel is fairly new to the country. Hotels here range from deluxe to first and second class. Several top hotels in Kuwait feature restaurants, sport complexes and shopping malls. Serviced apartments with hotel-style room service are also available.