The Kuwait residence visa, locally known as iqama must be obtained by the expatriate. Based on the individual’s needs he/she can choose from the following types of resident visa: work, dependent or domestic. Each type requires a sponsor, in which a work visa requires a Kuwaiti sponsor; whereas the expatriate may act as the sponsor for the other two types.
Every migrant, except citizens of the Gulf Cooperation Council member states, is required to obtain a work permit before he/she commence to work in Kuwait. Work permits are issued, only after the expat obtains a valid job offer.
Once the offer has been accepted by the immigrant, the Kuwaiti employer then acts as a sponsor and applies for the work permit through 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 from his/her own native country by showing a copy of the work permit which he/she received from the sponsor and submitting the employer’s NOC and the copy of the authorized signatory as registered for business purpose. Meanwhile, the Embassy also will receive a copy of his work permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait. If there is no Kuwait Embassy in his/her country, the sponsor must submit the work permit and NOC to the Ministry of Interior, in order to obtain the entry visa.
Holders of visit visa in Kuwait are not allowed to work until they secure a work permit as instructed by the Constitution.
Dependant visa (Family)
After procuring work and residence permit, the expatriate can in turn function as a sponsor for his spouse and children who are termed dependents. However, in case if any of the dependents want to work in Kuwait, he/she must acquire a separate work permit through a Kuwaiti citizen.
To apply for the dependent visa, the sponsor working in the public sector must have a salary of minimum K.D. 450 and those in private should earn a minimum of K.D. 650.
However, a female employee cannot act as the sponsor for her spouse. Though the sponsor’s wife and daughters of any age category are eligible for the dependent visa, sons having age above 21, doesn’t have the eligibility for the same.
The steps to request for the visa is, the sponsor should fill an application in Arabic in the ‘jawazaat’(passport) bureau at Shuwaikh and submit the copies of the dependent’s passport, Civil ID and salary certificate of the sponsor, and the authenticated marriage(for spouse entry) or birth certificate(for the entry of child).
Fees for the residence visa for families are: 100KD/person during the first year for wife and the 1st and 2nd child and 200KD/person for the next child & so on for a private sector employee (sponsor), and 10KD/person during the first year for wife and the 1st and 2nd child and 100KD/person for the next child and so on for a public sector employee (sponsor). For the residence renewal, 10KD/person for the child and spouse in all cases and 200KD/person for sponsor’s parents and in-laws must be paid.
A newborn child in Kuwait
If a baby is born to an expatriate in Kuwait, the parent must procure a dependent visa for the child. The procedure doesn’t demand a minimum salary of the father; however, a birth certificate should be obtained in prior.
To collect the birth certificate, a written consent 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 the proposed first name of the child must be submitted at the registry along with a fee of KD.10
After collecting the birth certificate which usually takes 7 days, the child’s name can be added to the parents’ passport or should apply for a separate passport for the child, for which a certified translation of the child’s birth certificate must be submitted at the respective embassy in order to procure a passport.
The newborn will receive the residence status at once the child’s name is added to the parents’ passport or after obtaining a separate passport and the procedure is the same as that of the dependant visa.
Residence permit fee for the newborn is K.D. 10 per year
A family, Kuwaiti or expatriate, can bring a maid to the country for their personal needs, provided they meet certain requirements, after which a domestic (servant) visa is issued for the same. A male sponsor can hire a female servant, only if the sponsor is married & his partner is living along with him in Kuwait, and the visa demands no salary range for the sponsor. However, both husband and wife must be employed and have a child or children. The servant should be of age between 20 and 50. Domestic visa does not include family members or relatives.
In order to apply for the visa, the following must be submitted at the ‘jawazaat’(passport office)
- A duly filled application in Arabic
- Salary certificate of the sponsor and his spouse
- Copies of house rental agreement, sponsor and spouse’ passports and their Civil ID, birth certificate or passport of children, passport of servant and servant’s work contract.
- Servants’ passport size photograph – 8nos.
The visa can be collected at the Kuwait Embassy in the country of the servants’ permanent residence. Fee for the residence permit is K.D. 200 for the first year and K.D. 10 for renewal thereafter.
Temporary resident visa is provided for students, and to those who require medical treatments in Kuwait for a period of 3 months.
Performing medical tests and fingerprint registration
After arriving in Kuwait, before obtaining the residence stamp in the passport, the applicant must undergo a blood test and Chest X-ray to screen for serious infections such as AIDS, hepatitis, malaria, Tuberculosis etc. A meningitis vaccination may also be administered. These medical tests should also be exercised in the country of residence before reaching Kuwait. (Now it is GAMCA, the authorized center for medical screening for the Indians)
If the applicant fails in the test, he/she is bound to be deported.
Moreover, the applicant’s fingerprints must be registered at any of the fingerprint departments within 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(PCC translated in Arabic)
- Rent agreement and
- Declaration signed by the sponsor
Those who wish to visit Kuwait can be sponsored by a Kuwaiti national or company, or by an expatriate residing in Kuwait with a valid work permit. Roughly 34 countries, including US, Australia, UK and many other Western European countries don’t require a visa, as per treaties laid between Kuwait and the respective country. In such cases, entry permits are required.
The visit visa and entry permits are valid only for 90 days after issuing and by entering within the period; the visitor can stay up to 90 days.
The visit visa costs K.D. 3, whereas entry permit is 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 should be submitted at the Kuwait Embassy of the applicant’s country: proof of kinship, a copy of visitor’s passport and Sponsor’s Civil ID, and the latest salary certificate of the sponsor with a filled in application form and a processing fee.
If a traveler is willing to stay for a while in Kuwait, during his/her ongoing visit to another country, he/she may obtain a transit visa from the port authority or the consulate abroad by paying a fee of K.D. 2. Please note that the traveler should possess a confirmed onward ticket.