Visa and Residence permit - Kuwait

Citizen of other GCC states have a right to enter and live in Kuwait without undergoing any particular formalities.

Kuwait will grant 34 nationalities entry visas upon arrival, according to a new decision from the Ministry of Interior (Feb. 2004).
Among those that will benefit are nationals from the

  • USA.
  • UK.
  • France.
  • Italy.
  • Germany.
  • Canada.
  • Australia.
  • New Zealand.
  • Japan.
  • The Netherlands.
  • Belgium.
  • Luxembourg.
  • Switzerland.
  • Austria.
  • Sweden.
  • Norway.
  • Denmark.
  • Portugal.
  • Ireland.
  • Greece.
  • Finland.
  • Spain.
  • Monaco.
  • the Vatican.
  • Iceland.
  • Andorra.
  • San Marino.
  • Liechtenstein.
  • Brunei.
  • Singapore.
  • Malaysia.
  • Hong Kong.
  • South Korea.
  • China.

But all other nationals are subject to strict rules of entry and registration as foreigners under the sponsorship of Kuwaitis or Kuwait companies or as dependents of foreigners under who already enjoy residence under Kuwait sponsorship.
An applicant for a visa must be sponsored by a Kuwaiti individual or company. Technically the visa application is made by the sponsor and the sponsor is responsible for the visitor while he or she is in Kuwait. A non-GCC national whose country has a visa abolition treaty with Kuwait (such as the U.K.) which allows Kuwaitis to enter their country without a visa, may be granted reciprocal entry rights in Kuwait. However these nationals may reuire an "entry permit; they may also require a sponsor.The cost of a visit visa is KD 3. Entry permits are free. International airlines have been instructed by the Kuwaiti authorities not to board passengers for Kuwait unless they have a valid visa or entry permit. There are two basic types of visas, a single visit visa and a residence visa. Multiple entry visit visas were available after Liberation, but these now seem to be restricted to persons being sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. Visit visas may be obtained from Kuwaiti consulates abroad on production of a supporting letter from a kuwaiti sponsor. Or the Kuwaiti sponsor can obtain the visa in Kuwait, using a faxed copy of the visitor's passport. This will take about two working days. The sponsor can then fax a copy of the visa to the visitor, enabling him to travel to Kuwait. The entry will be stamped in the passport on arrival, when the Kuwaiti sponsor presents the original at the airport. The actual visit visa consists of two sheets of paper. One is taken up on arrival. The other must be retained to be handed in when the visitor is leaving. Visit visas are valid for entry within 90 days of issue, and for a stay of up to 30 days after entry. Visit visas cannot be renewed and the visitor must leave the country once his 30 day stay is over. However, the visit visa may be extended within Kuwait for more than 30 days which must be done at the passport office. Visitors leaving after the visa has expired will be directed to go to passport office to pay a fine of KD 10 per extra day before being allowed to leave.

Transit Visa

A transit visa valid for a maximum stay of 7 days can be obtained from the Kuwaiti Consulate abroad or from the port authority in Kuwait.


To live in Kuwait all nationals with the exception of GCC citizens, must acquire resideence visas. Those found without valid visas are fined and deported. The three main types of residence visas are work, dependent's and servant's visas.

Work Permits & No Objection Certificates

To obtain residence on a work visa, an offer of employment must first be accepted. The Kuwaiti sponsor who may be a governmental organization or a prived company then applies for a work permit from the Ministry of Social Affairs & Labour. To do this, the sponsor needs a copy of the employee's passport. No objection certificates are issued by the General Administration of Criminal Investigation at the Ministry of the Interior. They are required by all employees fo non governmental organisations or companies and and are obtained by the sponsor on submission of the employee's personal details. If the employee is living in a country that has a Kuwaiti Embassy, the employer will send him a copy of the work permit which the employee will take with a medical certificate to the Kuwaiti Embassy for endorsement. The Kuwaiti Embassy will receive a copy of the work permit through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Those sponsored by a none governmental organization or company will require their NOCs wich must also be endorsed by the Embassy. A good conduct certificate which is obtained from the police in the last place of residence may be required by some nationalities. Applicants are also required to provide a medical certificata. The Embassy will then provide an entry visa for Kuwait. If the employee is living in a country that has no Kuwaiti Embassy, then the sponsor will submit the work permit and the NOC to the Ministry of Interior to obtain the entry visa. If an employee is on a visit visa to Kuwait when he accepts employment, then once the work permit and the NOC are ready he must leave Kuwait and return on the entry visa the sponsor obtains for him. This can be a short round trip to Bahrain by air for a day (return fare is about KD 60).

Medical Tests & Fingerprinting

Once he has entered Kuwait on the entry visa, the employee is required to undergo medical tests and obtain a fingerprint certificate before he can process his residence visa. The medical test includes blood test for serious infectious diseases and chest x-ray and a meningitis vaccination is also given

Residence Visa

Application for a residence visa is made at the Immigration and Passport Department of the Ministry of Interior.
documents needed are:

  • Declaration & Undertaking on the prescribed form duly completed and signed by the sponsor.
  • Passport
  • Work permit
  • NOC
  • Mecial certificat
  • Fingerprint certificate
  • Copies of the above documents plus 4 passport sized photographs.

The residence visa fees is KD 12 per year. A maximum of five years residence can be granted. It can bee cancelled if the holder is absence abroad for a continuous period of six months.

Civil ID

Once residence procedures have been completed, you are required to register for a Civil ID card. This is compulsory and the cards, once issued, should be carried with you at all times. Once the form has been completed, you will need to submit it along with photographs and a photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport to the Public Authority for Civil Information.

Dependent Visas

Once he has secured his own residency, the employee may sponsor his wife, children and parents to live in Kuwait. adult sons cannot be sponsored in this way but adult daughters can. A husband can sponsor his wife but a wife cannot sponsor her husband as a dependent. When a baby is born to expatriates in Kuwait, the parents must obtain a dependent's residence visa for the child.


As the rules are changing very often, please check with the officials for latest rules and procedures.