See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Kuwait for information on U.S.-Kuwaiti relations.
Visit the Embassy of Kuwait’s website for visa information or the Kuwait Ministry of Interior’s (MOI) e-Visa website.
Requirements for Entry:
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:
Private citizens can also initiate travel bans for various reasons. U.S. citizens resident in Kuwait can check their residency status, including if a travel ban exists, by entering their Civil ID through the MOI’s online portal.
Emergency (Limited Validity) Passports
Kuwait accepts U.S. emergency passports for entry and exit as of May 1, 2018. The following conditions apply to U.S. citizens intending to enter or exit Kuwait with a limited-validity emergency passport:
If you are a full-time resident of Kuwait and enter Kuwait on the emergency passport, you must apply as soon as possible for a full-validity passport at the U.S. Embassy. You will have 30 days from your date of entry to obtain a new regular U.S. passport and apply for a No Objection Certification from the Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Investigation Division for Residency Affairs to receive a new residency permit in your new full-validity passport.
Though Kuwait accepts emergency passports under these limited conditions, the Department of State strongly recommends all U.S. citizen travelers to be in possession of a regular full-validity passport before they travel.
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.
To obtain Kuwaiti citizenship, Kuwaiti authorities only accept a Certificate of Loss of Nationality as evidence of renunciation of U.S. citizenship.
If you are seeking residency in Kuwait, have all required legal documents authenticated before arriving. The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait does not 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.
You have the right to retain your passport at all times in Kuwait. If you provide your passport to your employer, you should obtain a written, date-stamped, and signed receipt. Otherwise, your employer may not be accountable for unlawfully retaining your passport.
If you plan on working in Kuwait, you must obtain a work visa before you arrive. The U.S. Embassy advises all U.S. citizens in Kuwait not to work on a visitor visa to avoid potential adverse legal consequences or 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 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.
U.S. military personnel, DoD civilians, and military contractors must use the same form of ID when entering or exiting Kuwait. If not, your arrival and departure records may not match, and you could be subject to a travel ban and/or fines.
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.
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. Kuwaiti authorities have delayed, temporarily detained, or refused entry to U.S. citizens of Iraqi descent. The U.S. Embassy recommends all travelers to Kuwait who were born in Iraq apply for an e-VISA as far in advance of travel.
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.
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.
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:
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 of or sexual assault on women traveling alone. The U.S. Embassy recommends all visitors to Kuwait to dress conservatively to avoid unwanted attention.
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 are injured, seek medical treatment before filing a police report. Bring the medical report with you to the police station. Please note, while the U.S. Embassy does not recommend any particular medical course of action or provider, only medical reports from Kuwait public hospitals will be accepted as the basis of a legal claim for injuries in Kuwait.
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.
Victims of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault
Contact the U.S. Embassy at 965-2259-1001 for assistance. 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 Kuwaiti 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:
You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be deported, arrested, or imprisoned. The U.S. government does not have legal jurisdiction over private U.S. citizens or military contractors in Kuwait.
Have your U.S. passport or civil ID with you at all times, or authorities may detain you for questioning.
Alcohol and Drugs
The following actions may also lead to prosecution, imprisonment, and immediate deportation:
It is illegal for non-Kuwaiti citizens to participate in any demonstration, even if the demonstration is licensed.
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 weeks without formal charges being filed. Juvenile proceedings are closed to all but court officers.
Kuwait’s Public Authority of Manpower (PAM), assists all residents of Kuwait with employment and labor disputes. PAM offices assist residents according to the location of your employer and are open Sunday through Thursday, 08:00 a.m. to 01:00 p.m. We recommend going to the office with an Arabic speaker. PAM offices are located at:
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.
Alcohol, pork products, and pornography are prohibited. Custom regulations are strict, particularly regarding firearms and religious materials. Contact the Embassy of Kuwait, the Consulate General of Kuwait, or the Kuwait General Administration for Customs for specific information on customs regulations.
Proselytizing is prohibited in Kuwait for all religions except Islam.
See our following webpages for details:
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. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
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:
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.
If traveling with prescription medication, please contact the Embassy of Kuwait, the Consulate General of Kuwait, or the Kuwait General Administration for Customs to ensure the medication is legal in Kuwait.
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 (CDC) and the Kuwait Ministry of Health. Please note that Kuwait’s vaccination requirements for residents are different and may require more inoculations than recommended by the CDC.
Air quality in Kuwait can be monitored with the U.S. Embassy’s public air quality monitor at the following website: http://aqicn.org/city/kuwait/kuwait-city/us-embassy/
Further health information:
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
Driving in Kuwait is extremely hazardous due to excessive speeding, distracted driving, 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.
Once you receive your Kuwait residence permit, you cannot drive with a foreign drivers license and must obtain a Kuwait drivers license. If you are stopped by police and found driving as a resident but without a Kuwait drivers license, you will face imprisonment and immediate deportation. You will not receive access to your personal effects at your residence or hotel.
See the Kuwait Ministry of Interior website for further information.
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.
Mariners planning travel to Kuwait should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the NGA broadcast warnings website (select “broadcast warnings”).