Kuwait Travel Information

Last modified: July 25, 2023
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No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus

Only Kuwaitis and their first degree relatives are allowed to enter Kuwait until further notice.

Visit visas are not issued on arrival or at Embassies outside Kuwait, until further notice

Regular entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Visas

The Kuwaiti Government automatically extended visit visas and residency visas that expired after 1 March 2020 until 30 November 2020. A small number were subsequently extended for further three month periods. This only applies to visa holders already in Kuwait. If you hold valid Kuwaiti residency and are outside Kuwait, your residency is now valid until its expiry date, and does not automatically expire after 6 months outside Kuwait.

The Kuwaiti Government has suspended the visa on arrival and e-visa service. You should get a visa in advance from the Kuwaiti Embassy in London when this service reopens. On arrival in Kuwait, the immigration authorities may ask to see evidence of return or onward travel, a sponsor’s letter and hotel confirmation. For further information, contact the Embassy of Kuwait, 2 Albert Gate, London, SW1X 7JU (telephone 020 7590 3400).

Passport validity

For visit visas, obtained on arrival or in advance, your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Kuwait.

For residency visas, your passport should be valid for a minimum of 2 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. Residents and tourists will need to get an exit stamp before leaving. Kuwait residency permits are cancelled when an ETD is issued.

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 FCDO 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.

Crime

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 robbery.

Local travel

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 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. Don’t pick up any strange metal, plastic or other objects lying around.

Road travel

If you have a visit visa, you can drive in Kuwait using an International Driving Permit (IDP) or a valid UK licence. From 28 March 2019, you should have the 1968 version IDP, as 1926 IDPs previously issued by the UK may no longer be accepted in Kuwait after this date. You can only get IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

Before driving you must obtain third party insurance in Kuwait. If you’re hiring a car, you can usually get insurance through your car hire company. If you’re planning to drive a car belonging to a relative or friend then you’re responsible for obtaining insurance. The insurance document must be kept with you at all times while driving.

If you’re applying to live in Kuwait, see our Living in Kuwait guide for information on driving licences.

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 don’t attempt to move the vehicle before they arrive. If you have a major accident, where there are serious injuries or the car is not drivable, you must stay with the vehicle if it is safe to do so, call the police on 112, and do not attempt to move the vehicle before they arrive. If you have a minor accident, where there are no serious injuries and the car is drivable, try to take pictures of any damage to the vehicles involved in the accident if it is safe to do so. Record the licence plate numbers of any vehicles involved, and move the vehicle from the road to avoid blocking traffic (you can be fined if you fail to do so). Call the police and follow their instructions on what to do next.

Sea travel

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.

Political situation

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.

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