Permanent Residence in Kuwait: All You Need to Know

Dreaming of making Kuwait your forever home?

You’re not alone, but the permanent residence maze can be daunting.

Stick with us for a guide that turns the complex into the comprehensible.

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Living In Kuwait

Social Life

Kuwait is an amiable place, and many clubs and societies cater to most interests.

Amongst them are the British Ladies Society and American Women’s League, which have a range of activities and raise significant amounts for local and overseas charities.

They are a great place to start for the newcomer as they have regular coffee and evening get-togethers.

A good number of Kuwaitis have been educated at American, British, Irish, and overseas colleges, and they are very hospitable to foreigners and often form friendships with them.

There is still a sense that they have not forgotten those who helped to liberate their country, and the recent war in Iraq has served as a reminder. Spend time in a Kuwaiti home, and you will experience Arabic hospitality at its best.

Burns Night, St. Andrews Ball, St. Patrick’s Ball, St. George’s Day, Remembrance Sunday ceremonies, Anzac Ball and service, and Thanksgiving are just some of the many events on the calendar.

There are amateur dramatics companies, one of which has its theatre and two excellent choral groups. Guest lecturers from overseas give monthly talks on Islamic art, history, and architecture to members and guests of one of the societies.

Every year in October or November, a newcomer’s evening, not unlike a university, ‘Freshers Night’, is organized by the British Business Forum to showcase all the different societies, schools, and clubs in Kuwait.

Those arriving in Kuwait at any time during the year need only look in the Arab Times (one of three English-language daily newspapers) to get an idea of the activities.

The expatriate community here is amicable. Kuwait has fewer exciting places to visit or things to do than some of the other Gulf States, but few would dispute that the social life is what makes this place unique.

Young children are an excellent asset for the so-called ‘trailing spouse’ who is not working, as the schools are an easy place to meet others.

For those without little ones, joining one of the societies can lead to an instantly full diary, which could leave you wishing for just a little time to yourself.

Turn up at any health club gym around 8:00 a.m. when the school drop-off is over, and you will find the room very busy. Exercise classes are popular and are often followed by a trip to the nearest coffee shop to catch up on the latest happenings.

There is also a wide range of employment opportunities for spouses.

Local Rules And Events

Alcohol and pork products are banned.

Though certain groups of people are allowed access to these items, the reality is that Kuwait is a relatively tolerant country where the Christian churches offer several services a day to a large expatriate community from Asia and the West.

Young Kuwaitis follow fashion avidly, and while black abayas wholly cover some ladies, others can be found in hipster jeans and lycra t-shirts.

How to dress is a personal decision, but many Western ladies do not bear their shoulders in public to avoid unwanted attention.

Having said this, ladies from other, more liberal Middle Eastern countries have few qualms about stepping out in skimpy, figure-hugging outfits. Beach wear is, of course, the norm in the beach clubs.

The Holy Month of Ramadan is marked by Muslims fasting from sunrise to sunset. Non-Muslims are not permitted to eat or drink in public during these hours. Children are exempted from this.

The evenings in Ramadan have an air of festivity, and special foods are prepared for the meals during this time. Shops and restaurants stay open late, and large crowds of people are moving around the city. 

Extra Curricular

Shopping malls abound as retail therapy is an essential part of daily life for most Kuwaitis. For those looking for a little more action, there is the Arabian Gulf, which stretches the length of the country.

Diving, boating, and fishing are popular pastimes, as are the dreaded jet skis! There are several islands, including one with a ruined Greek temple.

Camping on the islands during the cooler months is a pleasant and often very friendly activity, as you will rarely be the only ones there.

All the leading sporting activities are on offer. However, they are often informal, borderless, loosely organized activities.

The British tend to form running/drinking clubs all over the world, wherein joggers check to see when and where they are meeting to run that week or to go riding or play rugby and cricket.

There are indoor and outdoor tennis courts and several good beach and health clubs.

Jobs

Those with teaching qualifications are in demand. There are often vacancies for teaching assistants, too. There are about 8,000 British here, and around half are teachers.

In the commercial sector, native English speakers will find a strong demand for people with any office or computer skills.

When seeking a job, the applicant must ensure that all terms and conditions are written and understood by all parties.

Kuwait is booming, and businesses are expanding, resulting in a demand for personnel who can turn their hand to many different areas.

Traveling Around

Kuwait is well placed strategically for the traveler. You can be in Cairo, Beirut, Damascus, Amman, Dubai, or Muscat within a couple of hours by airplane. India and Sri Lanka are a short hop, and the Far East is just a little further.

However, time spent in Kuwait getting to know its people and customs is an exciting journey.

The need for an adventurous spirit comes into play when driving. Big, wide roads, powerful engines, and a love of speed combine to make the roads quite frightening initially. There is little regard for traffic rules, indicating your desire to turn is only for wimps.

Extra Sensory Perception is the most valuable survival tool, as a left indicator may mean the car is turning right, though most do not bother at all. Even when the traffic is backed up, the cars race at high speeds along the stiff shoulders, kicking up dust and stones.

Although there is little consideration for others while on the move if you break down, you will find that someone will have stopped to offer assistance within minutes.

The road system is a grid system with seven-ring roads. At first, it is challenging, but the best advice is to get out there and face it. The middle lane is generally viewed as a safe place to drive at a moderate speed. Cars will both under and overtake. 

Until very recently, the advantage of the road system was that, with the exception of rush hour, it rarely took more than twenty minutes to get anywhere in the city and a little more than that to get to Ahmadi or Fahaheel, two towns to the south.

To put this in context, the border with Saudi Arabia, or that of Iraq, could be reached within two hours from the center of the city. However, there has been a noticeable change in the number of cars on the roads, and there are serious traffic jams for the first time ever.

The Ministry has reacted by doing major roadworks all over the city, causing more chaos. There are (unconfirmed) estimates that Kuwait has 20,000 extra cars on the road annually.

Culture

Kuwait is proud of its culture, and the government is making efforts to preserve the little that remains from the past. The fishermen still use wooden shows, mainly with engines rather than sail power.

Annually, the Amir sponsors a pearl-diving festival for several weeks.

Young Kuwaiti males are trained in maritime skills over some time, and then they set off to the pearl reefs and dive without oxygen tanks just as their forebears did. There is a grand celebration on their return.

Camel racing takes place in the cooler months. The word ‘races’ is about all this has in common with horse racing back in Europe or America. 

While waiting for the race to begin, foreigners may be offered camel milk and will find many friendly ‘experts’ keen to explain what is going on and to offer you visits to their camel ‘stables’.

The race itself is just a part of this whole, rather sociable, event. You will only know the race has begun when you see dust clouds in the distance, and then, after a while, you can discern figures.

Driving alongside the camels are vans and other vehicles, with owners shouting and cheering on their jockeys. 

There are some excellent museums as well as the state of the art Scientific Centre with a good sized aquarium and an IMAX cinema.

Within Kuwaiti families, many traditions remain, and getting to know about these or participating in an engagement or wedding celebration, for example, is a fascinating experience.

Kuwaiti men often spend their evenings in what are known as “diwaniyas“.

These are usually a good-sized room or basement in a home where the men meet regularly to discuss politics and business and sometimes to play card games. Food and refreshments are also provided.

The women gather in each other’s homes, too, but not on such a regular basis.

Where To Live

Housing comes in many forms, and finding a home can be an exciting experience. In the post-Saddam Hussein era, landlords built fast, and rents rose at excellent rates. 

Negotiation skills are an essential tool in this task, and while some landlords would prefer to leave a property empty than lose face, others, looking at a good prospect, will reduce the rent to a more realistic level.

There are many well-built blocks of flats overlooking the sea with swimming pools and gyms, and further inland, there are villas with three to twenty bedrooms, depending on your budget and needs.

Homes are found through rental agents who charge half of a month’s rent if successful or by word of mouth.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Living In Kuwait?

Advantages

High standard of living.

✅Developed economy.

✅A large number of exchangers.

✅Loyal banking and credit system.

✅High level of wages.

✅Cheap petrol.

Disadvantages

Strict laws.

❎Adherence to social norms.

❎Conservative society.

❎Political censorship

❎ It is tough to get citizenship as a foreigner.

❎Lack of public transportation.

❎Dry climate.

Conditions Of Stay In Kuwait And Types Of Visas, Documents

To enter Kuwait requires one of the possible visas:

  • Work visa.
  • Business visa.
  • Tourist visa.
  • Family reunion.
  • Student visa

For all types of visas, an invitation from a sponsor is required. Ideally, you should have one already at the stage of planning your trip. There are electronic visas for entry into Kuwait, and they have the same legal force as the physical ones.

The only difference is the ease of processing and application. The maximum stay in Kuwait on a visa is 90 days.

Work visas, student visas, and family reunions can be extended. The registration of health insurance is mandatory. You can arrange it on our website.

To apply for a visa in Kuwait, you will need the following documents:

  • Passport.
  • I filled out an English questionnaire.
  • Invitation from a sponsor.
  • Work permit.
  • Documents confirming enrollment in the university.
  • Paid consular fee.

If your passport has a mark of entry into Israel, you will be denied a visa.

And sometimes, there are difficulties for women who travel to the country without a male escort. Before planning a trip or emigration to Kuwait – it is ideal to have legal advice to avoid difficulties and the possibility of successfully solving them.

Permanent Residency And Citizenship In Kuwait

Permanent residency can be obtained due to education, work, and family reunification for a period of 6 months to five years.

Also, Kuwaiti residents are issued identification cards with personal data. When planning a move and considering different ways of obtaining residency, buying a checklist is ideal.

 In the case of getting a job in Kuwait on a long-term basis, you need to change your work visa to a residence visa. The employer can do this. First, he must provide an offer of employment and apply to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.

The timeframe for redoing the documents is usually 2-3 months. This is the most efficient way to obtain residency.

To reunite a foreign resident with his family, after securing himself, a working man can sponsor his wife and child and submit an invitation, provided he earns 450-650 dinars.

To be reunited with the family, one must have the following documents:

  • Verified marriage and childbirth certificates.
  • A copy of the sponsor’s identification document.
  • A certificate proving the sponsor’s income level.
  • Copy of passports

The maximum term of a Permanent Residence Permit granted by the authorities is 5 years. During this period, you have the right to renew your residency and extend the term by five years.

Unfortunately, the immigration policy in Kuwait is rigorous and closed.

This is due to the history of the country, as well as the small population and ample economic resources. According to the principle of a wealthy but small country, the government prioritizes the indigenous population to expand and develop its nation.

Therefore, for residents, there are limited periods of stay and opportunities. Citizenship is possible by naturalization of “special citizenship” through marriage to a Kuwaiti citizen, a man. This option is possible if the wife is Muslim or adopts Islam before marriage.

The government grants citizenship only if the father is a Kuwaiti citizen and a native.

What Is The Validity Period Of The Kuwait Residence Visa?

The Kuwait resident visa is generally valid for ten years. However, this visa requires a sponsor.

Cancellation of residency permit:

As per recent updates, Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior has announced that expatriate workers who stay outside the country for a period of 6 months or more will have their residency permits canceled.

Hence, those who have left Kuwait before 1 May must return to the country before 1 November if they don’t wish their residence to be canceled.

How To Find Your New Home

Finding a suitable temporary home is a challenging task. It is, however, easier in Kuwait than in many other expat destinations. Plenty of good-quality housing is available, and landlords are generally keen to rent to expats.

Major international companies, as well as private schools, usually have housing arrangements for their expatriate employees. Even if this is not the case, your employer or the relevant HR department can help you get started with your search.

Here are some strategies to help you find your dream home in Kuwait:

  • Consult a local real estate agent.
  • Ask work colleagues, friends, and other expats — word of mouth is the most reliable type of recommendation in Kuwait.
  • Look at one of the local English-language newspapers, such as the Kuwait Times or the Arab Times.
  • Check online real estate listings such as the Kuwait Real Estate Directory and Mourjan.
  • Visit compounds or apartment buildings and ask about availability — you might just be lucky and find out that an apartment will soon be vacated.

Conclusion

Congratulations, you’re now equipped with the know-how to tackle Kuwait’s permanent residence requirements like a pro. Now’s the time to make your Gulf dream a reality, all while skipping the bureaucratic headaches.

Journey Well

But wait, there’s more! You might also be interested in the following:

  • Kuwait Citizenship: All You Need to Know
  • Work Employment Visa in Kuwait: Explained
  • Job Seeker Visa for Kuwait: A Simple Guide