Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Kuwait International Travel Information
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 through Kuwait to third countries.
Travel Bans: The government may issue travel bans for 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 to ascertain if a travel ban exists, by entering their Civil ID or passport number through the MOI’s online portal.
If you are 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.
Emergency (Limited Validity) Passports: Kuwait accepts U.S. emergency passports for entry and exit. The following conditions apply to U.S. citizens intending to enter or exit Kuwait with a limited-validity emergency passport. The bearer of a U.S. emergency passport:
If you are a full-time resident of Kuwait and enter Kuwait on an 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. Note that it typically takes two weeks from your application to receive a new U.S. passport.
Though Kuwait accepts emergency passports under these limited conditions, the Department of State strongly recommends all U.S. citizen travelers possess a regular full-validity passport before they travel. Airlines may decline boarding if a traveler has less than six months validity on his or her passport.
Dual Nationality: Kuwait does not recognize dual nationality. Kuwaiti authorities have sometimes confiscated U.S. passports of U.S. citizens applying for Kuwaiti citizenship. Should this happen, report the incident to the U.S. Embassy. If you did not intend to relinquish your U.S. citizenship, this is not an expatriating act and does not constitute loss of U.S. citizenship.
Residency Permits: If you are seeking residency in Kuwait, you should 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, the Kuwait General Consulate in Los Angeles, or the Kuwait Consulate in New York.
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, dated, and signed receipt. Otherwise, your employer may not be held accountable for unlawfully retaining your passport.
Work Visas: 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.
To obtain residency, whether a work visa or a dependent visa, you must obtain a police clearance from the United States in advance. This must be done in the United States and cannot be done in Kuwait or at the U.S. Embassy. For more information, please see the Embassy Website.
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 but must obtain a passport exit stamp from Kuwaiti immigration officials prior to departure.
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 (See section on Travel Bans).
Arms Prohibition: Regardless of your status in Kuwait – official, diplomatic, military, contractor, or private citizen – you may not bring weapons, ammunition, or ammunition magazines 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 you 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 well in advance of travel.
HIV Restrictions: Medical examinations are required for all individuals seeking residency in Kuwait. Any applicant testing positive for HIV/AIDS or hepatitis will be denied entry or deported and will 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 Arabian 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.
Exercise Increased Caution:
Desert Areas and Unexploded Ordnance: Unexploded ordnance (UXO) from the 1991 Gulf War remains primarily a problem in the desert areas. However, mines have washed up on the beaches of Kuwait City, including on resort beaches, and have emerged at construction sites in the city. The Embassy urges caution if traveling off paved surfaces outside of Kuwait City.
Crime: Criminal activity is low. Nonetheless, reported incidents include petty theft, car break-ins, and harassment or sexual assault of women traveling alone. The U.S. Embassy recommends that all visitors to Kuwait 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. The U.S. Embassy does not have legal jurisdiction over private U.S. citizens, including military contractors, in Kuwait.
Filing Crime Reports: If you are injured during the commission of a crime, seek medical treatment at a public hospital before filing a police report. Bring the medical report with you to the police station. While the U.S. Embassy does not recommend any particular medical course of action or provider, local police investigators are only on duty at Kuwait’s public hospitals. You can only obtain the required medical report at a at a public hospital.
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:
For further information:
Criminal Penalties: 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, including 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 are illegal and may also lead to prosecution, imprisonment, and immediate deportation:
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 weeks without formal charges being filed. Juvenile proceedings are closed to all but court officers.
Children Born Out of Wedlock: Sexual relations outside of marriage are a criminal offense. Parents may not be able to obtain a Kuwait birth certificate or residence permit for a child born out of wedlock. A child born less than 9 months after the date on the marriage certificate may also be considered born out of wedlock. While the embassy will document the U.S. citizenship of children born out of wedlock, parents may be subject to prosecution, court proceedings, and/or fines to document the birth of the child.
Labor Disputes: 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, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. We recommend going to the office with an Arabic speaker. PAM offices are located at:
PAM provides responses in English and Arabic via their Twitter handle, @manpower_KWT, or Instagram account, pr.manpower.
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. Customs regulations are strict, particularly regarding firearms and religious materials. Contact the Embassy of Kuwait, the Consulate General of Kuwait, the Kuwait Consulate in New York, or the Kuwait General Administration for Customs (Email : email@example.com. Telephone: (+965) 24955000, Fax: (+965) 24838056) for specific information on customs regulations.
Faith-Based Travelers: Proselytizing is prohibited in Kuwait for all religions except Islam.
See our following webpages for details:
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual conduct between men is illegal. Crossdressing is also illegal. The law punishes consensual same-sex sexual activity between men older than 21 with imprisonment of up of to seven years; those engaging in consensual same-sex sexual activity with men younger than 21 may be imprisoned for as long as 10 years. No laws criminalize sexual behavior between women. The law imposes a fine of 1,059 dinars ($3,495) and imprisonment for one to three years for persons imitating the appearance of the opposite sex in public. Transgender persons reported harassment, detention, and abuse by security forces. 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 on Kuwait for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Public transportation is generally inaccessible for patrons with disabilities. Accessible parking spaces are common, but are often used by the general public. Kuwait traffic enforcement has made efforts to penalize unauthorized use, but this remains a problem. Most medical facilities and public buildings in cities have wheelchair ramps and elevators.
Women Travelers: To deter sexual harassment:
For emergency assistance, call 112.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Healthcare in Kuwait is accessible both in the government-run system and many private institutions. The government facilities provide services for foreigners at reasonable costs, and payment for all services is expected in advance. Government facilities offer more specialty care services, though wait times are often long and difficult to access for non-nationals. No private facility is completely comprehensive, but private facilities will have a variety of basic services available. Private clinic costs generally are higher than the government sector, but are generally considerably less than the U.S. private physicians. Private hospitals charge fees in advance for services, and some do not accept local health insurance. Some medical services are below U.S. standards.
The Embassy does not pay the medical bills of private U.S. citizens. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Government of Kuwait medical providers only accept cash payments, whereas private clinics will accept credit cards. 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, the Kuwait Consulate in New York, or the Kuwait General Administration for Customs (Email : firstname.lastname@example.org. Telephone: (+965) 24955000, Fax: (+965) 24838056) 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 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 driver’s license and must obtain a Kuwait driver’s license. If you are stopped by police and found driving as a resident but without a Kuwait driver’s 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.
Flooding: Road flooding occurs in Kuwait during and after heavy rainstorms. Drivers should avoid driving after heavy rainstorms or through standing water, be alert for flooded areas, and monitor local media for road closures and weather updates.
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.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Kuwait should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the NGA broadcast warnings website (select “broadcast warnings”).