The Kuwait residence visa, locally known as iqama must be obtained by the expatriate. Based on the individual’s needs he/she can chose from the following kinds of resident visas: work, dependant and domestic. All the three types require a sponsor, of which work visa requires a Kuwaiti sponsor; while the expatriate may act as the sponsor in the case of the other two visas.
All foreigners except citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council member states are required to obtain a work permit before they work in Kuwait. Work permits are issued only once the expat obtains a valid employment offer.
Once an employment offer has been accepted by the individual, the Kuwaiti employer then takes the role as a sponsor and applies for the work permit from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor with the employee’s passport and NOC from the General Administration of Criminal Investigation at the Ministry of Interior.
The employee may then apply for an entry visa at the Kuwaiti Embassy in the country where he resides upon showing a copy of the work permit he received from his sponsor and submitting the employer’s NOC and copy of the authorized signatory as registered for business purpose. The Embassy also should have received a copy of his work permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait. If there is no Kuwait Embassy in his country, the sponsor must submit the work permit and NOC to the Ministry of Interior in order to get the entry visa.
Holders of visit visa in Kuwait are not allowed to work until they obtain a work permit as required by the Constitution.
Dependant visa (Family)
Upon obtaining a work permit and residence, the expatriate can in turn function as a sponsor for his/her spouse and children and are termed dependants. However, in case any of the dependants want to work in Kuwait, he/she must acquire separate work permits under a Kuwaiti citizen.
To apply for dependant visas, those working in the public sector must have a salary of minimum K.D. 450 and those in private a minimum of K.D. 650.
However, a female employee is not allowed to act as the sponsor for her husband. Moreover, though adult daughters and parents are provided dependant visa, sons over 21 years do not have the eligibility for the same.
To apply for a dependant visa, the sponsor must fill an application in Arabic at the ‘jawazaat’ bureau in Shuwaikh and submit the copies of the passport of the dependant, civil ID and salary certificate of the sponsor, and the authenticated marriage or birth certificate.
Fees for the residence visa for families are: 100KD/person during the first year for wife and the 2 first children and 200KD/person for remaining children for private sector employees, and 10KD/person during the first year for wife and the 2 first children and 100KD/person for remaining children for public sector employees. For the renewal of the residence, 10KD/person for children and wife in all cases and 200KD/person for sponsor’s parents and in-laws must be paid.
New born child in Kuwait
If a baby is born to an expatriate in Kuwait, the parent must attain a dependant visa for the child. The procedure does not ask for a minimum salary of the father; however a birth certificate must first be obtained.
To get the birth certificate, a written notification of the child’s birth from the hospital with its address, with a duly filled application form, photocopies of parents’ passports and civil IDs, authenticated marriage certificate and proposed first name of the child must be submitted at the registry along with a fee of K.D. 10.
On obtaining the birth certificate which usually takes 7 days, the child’s name may be added to the parent’s passport or a separate passport may be taken. A certified translation of the child’s birth certificate must be submitted at the respective embassy in order to attain a passport.
The newborn’s residence maybe obtained once its name is added to the parent’s passport or after obtaining a separate passport and the procedure is the same as that of obtaining a dependant visa.
Fee for residence application is K.D. 10 per year.
A family, Kuwaiti or expatriate, may bring a maid to the country provided they meet the set requirements, and a domestic (servant) visa is issued for the same. A male sponsor must have his wife living with him in order to be able to hire a female servant, and a minimum salary of the sponsor is not required. However, both the husband and wife must be employed and they have children. The servant should be of 20 – 50 years of age. Domestic visa does not include family members or relatives.
In order to apply for the visa, the following must be submitted at the ‘jawazaat’:
- Duly filled application in arabic
- Salary certificate of the sponsor and spouse;
- Copies of house rental agreement, sponsor’s and spouse’ passports and civil IDs, birth certificate or passport of children, passport of servant and servant’s work contract;
- Servant’s 8 passport sized photos.
The visa maybe collected at the Kuwait Embassy at the country of the servant’s residence. Fee for the residence is K.D. 200 for the first year and K.D. 10 for renewal thereafter.
Temporary resident visas are provided to students, and for a period of 3 months to those requiring medical treatments in the country.
Performing medical tests and finger print registration
Upon arrival in Kuwait, before obtaining the residence stamp in the passport, the individual must undergo blood test and X-ray to screen for serious infections such as AIDS, hepatitis, malaria, etc. A meningitis vaccination may also be administered. These medical tests must also be run in the country of residence before reaching Kuwait.
If the individual has failed the tests, he is bound to be deported.
Moreover, the individual’s fingerprints must be registered at any of the fingerprint departments around the country.
Obtaining Civil ID
After getting the residence stamped in the passport, the individual may then apply for the civil ID card at the Public Authority of Civil Information by submitting the following:
- Photocopy of passport
- Security clearance
- Rent agreement
- Declaration signed by the sponsor
Those who wish to visit Kuwait maybe sponsored by a Kuwaiti national or company, or by an expatriate residing in Kuwait with a valid work permit. Around 34 countries, including US, UK, Australia and many Western European countries, do not require a visa, as per treaties laid between the countries. In such cases, entry permits are required.
The visit visas and entry permits are valid for entry within 90 days of issue and upon entry within this period the visitor can stay for 90 days.
The visit visa costs K.D. 3, while entry permits are free. A fine of K.D. 10 per day is charged for those who stay beyond the expiry of their visa.
In order to apply for a visit visa, the following at the Kuwait Embassy in the country of residence: proof of kinship, copy of visitor’s passport, copy of civil ID of sponsor, and the latest salary certificate of the sponsor with a filled in application form and service fee.
While on travel to a different country, if an individual has to stay over in Kuwait for a while, he may obtain a transit visa from the port authority or the consulate abroad for a fee of K.D. 2. The individual must have a confirmed onward ticket in possession.