KuwaitOfficial Name: State of Kuwait
6 months; Emergency passports not accepted
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
1 page per entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
Embassies and Consulates
Bayan, Block 13,
Masjed Al-Aqsa Street,
Kuwait City, Kuwait
Telephone: +(965) 2259-1001
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(965) 2259-1001
Fax: +(965) 2259-1438
See our Fact Sheet on Kuwait for information on U.S.-Kuwaiti relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
See the Embassy of Kuwait’s website for visa information.
Requirements for Entry:
- Passport valid for at least six months
Apply for a tourist visa upon arrival at the airport.
Be sure to complete Kuwaiti exit procedures and leave before your visa expires; otherwise, you face heavy fines and/or imprisonment. This also applies to official travelers and contractors supporting regional U.S. military operations transiting between Kuwait and Iraq or Afghanistan.
When placed under a travel ban, you cannot exit the country, even if you are a U.S. citizen. Travel bans are rigidly enforced and can take months to resolve. Only Kuwaiti authorities can remove travel bans.
The government may issue travel bans on people who are:
- charged with criminal offenses
- under investigation
- involved in financial disputes/have unpaid debts
- delinquent in paying traffic or parking fines
Private citizens can also initiate travel bans for various reasons.
Emergency (Limited Validity) Passports
U.S. citizens traveling on an emergency passport will not be admitted into the country.
With prior approval from Kuwaiti immigration authorities, U.S. citizens with residency permits in Kuwait may enter the country on an emergency passport.
Kuwait does not recognize dual nationality. At times, Kuwaiti authorities have confiscated U.S. passports of U.S.- Kuwaiti dual nationals applying for Kuwaiti citizenship. Should this happen, report the incident to the U.S. Embassy. This does not constitute loss of U.S. citizenship.
Residency Permits: If you are seeking residency in Kuwait, have all required legal documents authenticated before arriving. The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait cannot provide this service.
Have U.S. issued documents authenticated by the Department of State Office of Authentications, (202-485-8000) and attested by the Embassy of Kuwait in Washington or the Kuwait General Consulate in Los Angeles.
Work Visas: If you plan on working in Kuwait, you must obtain a work visa issued before you arrive. If you work on a tourist visa, you risk deportation.
Department of Defense Contractors (DoD) working in Kuwait must hold a valid U.S. passport and a work visa. DoD contractors must transit or enter the country at the Kuwait City International Airport (KWI).
While DoD contractors may not enter Kuwait via Ali Al Salem (AAS) Air Base, they may depart from AAS Air Base after obtaining a passport exit stamp from Kuwaiti immigration officials.
Arms Prohibition: Regardless of your status in Kuwait – official, diplomatic, military, contractor, or private citizen – you may not bring weapons, ammunition, or ammunition clips into the country when flying into KWI on commercial flights.
These items will be confiscated, and you may be arrested. Import/export of these items in Kuwait is illegal.
Iraq Travel: When traveling to or from Iraq, be prepared for delays at land crossings. Kuwaiti officials are extremely sensitive about such travel and may detain you for questioning or deny entry into the country.
HIV Restrictions: Medical examinations are required for all individuals seeking residency in Kuwait. Any applicant testing positive for HIV/AIDS or hepatitis will have to leave the country immediately and be permanently barred from re-entry. Verify this information with the Embassy of Kuwait before traveling.
Safety and Security
Potential for Terrorist Activity: Kuwait continues to face the threat of terrorism. Terrorists may target U.S. citizens and interests in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula. Please review the Worldwide Caution before traveling to Kuwait.
Terrorists may target public transportation, as well as residential areas, schools, places of worship, oil-related facilities, restaurants, hotels, clubs, and shopping areas.
Terrorist actions may include bombings, hijackings, hostage taking, kidnappings, or assassinations.
- Practice personal security measures.
- Avoid large gatherings and areas frequented by Westerners.
- Monitor local news broadcasts and consular messages.
- Report suspicious activity to Kuwaiti police and the U.S. Embassy.
- Be aware that desert areas and some beaches contain unexploded ordnance and war materials.
- Be on the alert for police impersonators at check points or when you are using public transportation. Official police will be uniformed and have visible IDs.
Avoid Jleeb Ash Shuyoukh, a high-crime area, especially at night.
U.S. diplomats may not to travel to the following areas without special permission:
- Kuwait/Iraq border – north of Mutla’a Ridge
Crime: Criminal activity is low, but on the rise, particular along the Gulf Road, at shopping malls, hotels, and residential neighborhoods. Incidents include petty theft, car break-ins, and harassment/sexual assault of women traveling alone.
For more information, see the Overseas Security Advisory Council’s Crime and Safety Report for Kuwait.
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the U.S. Embassy at 965-2259-1001.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.
Filing Crime Reports: If you have been injured, seek medical treatment before filing a police report. Bring the medical report with you to the police station.
File crime reports at the police station in the area where the crime occurred. Have a local attorney or an Arabic speaker come with you.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical
- support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Victims of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault: Contact the U.S. Embassy at 965-2259-1001 for assistance. Given the way domestic violence and sexual assault crimes are handled in Kuwait, the Embassy’s ability to assist, however, is extremely limited.
Victims often encounter difficulties reporting domestic violence or sexual assault crimes to the police. Female officers are rarely available to assist with these cases.
There are no rape crisis centers or women’s shelters for victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. The few social service agencies that exist are often limited to Kuwait citizens.
Consider hiring a private attorney. The Embassy maintains a List of Attorneys on the website.
Seek medical attention and collection of evidence as soon as possible. Victims of abuse or sexual assault must obtain a medical report from a Kuwaiti hospital.
Hospitals typically contact a criminal investigator to assist a victim of crime. The investigator may have you file a police report and obtain documents required for evidence collection before you can receive treatment.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be deported, arrested, or imprisoned.
Have your U.S. passport or civil I.D. with you at all times, or authorities may detain you for questioning.
Alcohol and Drugs
- You risk immediate imprisonment for possession of alcohol or driving under the influence.
- Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs, synthetics, and drug making ingredients are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
The following actions may also lead to prosecution and imprisonment:
- Humiliating or insulting a person, including a police officer or a public official
- Unpaid debts
- Driving without a license
It is illegal for non-Kuwaiti citizens to participate in any demonstration, even if the demonstration is licensed.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
If arrested for criminal violations, you may be detained for up to 30 days without formal charges being filed. Juvenile proceedings are closed to all but court officers.
Photography Restrictions: It is illegal to photograph government buildings, military installations, and oil-related infrastructure. Ask for permission before photographing people. Some women find being photographed offensive and may report the incident to local police.
Customs: Alcohol, pork products, and pornography are prohibited. Custom regulations are strict, particularly regarding firearms, and religious materials. Contact the Embassy of Kuwait or the Kuwait General Consulate for specific information on customs regulations.
Faith-Based Travelers: Proselytizing is prohibited in Kuwait for all religions except Islam. See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual conduct between males is illegal, with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and fines. Cross-dressing is a crime, with a penalty of up to three years’ imprisonment for imitating the appearance of the opposite sex in public. Societal discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity is common. For further information read our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Public transportation is generally inaccessible for handicapped patrons. Handicapped parking spaces are common, but are often used by the general public. Kuwait traffic enforcement has made efforts to penalize unauthorized use, but this still remains a problem. Most medical facilities and public buildings in cities have wheelchair ramps and elevators. Outside of urban areas, access is greatly reduced.
To deter sexual harassment:
- dress modestly
- do not engage in “small talk” with taxi drivers (as that can be interpreted as interest),
- avoid sustained eye contact
- be cautious when using public transportation
- maintain a low profile in public
For emergency assistance, call 112. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Many medical services are below U.S. standards. Public health facilities provide services for foreigners at reasonable costs; private clinic costs generally are higher. Private physicians and private hospitals charge fees for services, and some do not accept local health insurance.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Travel & Transportation
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: Driving in Kuwait is extremely hazardous due to excessive speeding, road rage, lax enforcement of traffic regulations and a high volume of traffic.
With a valid visitor visa and U.S. driver’s license, you may drive a rental car. To drive vehicles other than rental cars, a Kuwait driver’s license and appropriate car registration is required. Police may detain you if you cannot produce these documents.
See the Kuwait Ministry of Interior website for further information in Arabic.
- You are required to have your driver’s license with you at all times when operating a vehicle. There are no exceptions.
- Driving while intoxicated can result in fines, imprisonment, and/or revocation of your driving license.
- You risk deportation for serious/repeat traffic violations.
- It is against the law to use cell phones or text while driving.
- Use of seat belts is mandatory.
- Do not turn right on a red light unless there is a yield sign and special lane to do so.
- Do not park where curbs are painted black and yellow.
- Police at checkpoints may arbitrarily fine motorists.
- Pay traffic fines within 12 hours; otherwise, fines double every 12 hours up to 72 hours, after which time police may seize your vehicle.
- Nonpayment of traffic and parking fines can result in travel bans. This means you cannot leave Kuwait until all fines and penalties are paid.
- In case of emergency, call 112. Ambulance crews often do not include trained paramedics, nor do they respond as quickly as in the United States.
- Involvement in an accident, whether or not you are at fault, can lead to arrest and detention. Immediately notify the police and remain at the scene until the police arrive.
- At-fault accidents can result in arrests, demands for financial restitution, and/or travel bans preventing you from leaving Kuwait.
- Only use marked taxis with meters. Taxis are available at major hotels and may be telephoned to pick up passengers at other locations.
- Avoid sitting in the front seat of a taxi, do not travel to unfamiliar areas, and do not enter taxis with unknown passengers.
For more information, please visit our Road Safety page.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Kuwait’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Kuwait’s air carrier operations.
Further information may be found on the FAA's safety assessment page.