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Kuwait

If you’re travelling to Kuwait, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

General advice to avoid non-essential travel and ‘Normal Precautions’ list of exemptions:

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.

Travel to a very limited set of locations is exempted from this advice. Individuals arriving into Ireland from these locations will not be required to restrict their movements upon entry. These locations currently have a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) security status rating. As of 4 August 2020, these locations are:

  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Norway
  • Slovakia

Inclusion on the list is based on the current epidemiological situation and related public health information in each location. The list and related travel advice will be reviewed on a fortnightly basis, based on advice from officials, including public health experts. Any updates or changes will be based on Government decisions. The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list. The above list was updated on 4 August following the latest review.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves.  The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice and we recommend that citizens download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Should you need to travel for essential reasons, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling.  Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities advise anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland and individuals arriving in Ireland from locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days, and this includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible. To ensure that this is being observed all passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory Public Health Passenger Locator Form and to submit it to the relevant authority at their port of entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff. Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.

Where to go for more information:

We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Overview

Security status

Avoid non-essential travel

Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020

Travel Advice

There are ongoing regional tensions and, in the event of any incidents, you should monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.

There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be targeted at Westerners or Western interests. Please be especially vigilant and practice good security awareness.

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The Kuwait authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities. This could include medical screening, with the potential for further follow-up health measures and restrictions. Face masks must be worn in public.

All commercial flights to and from Kuwait were suspended from 13 March and entry to Kuwait was restricted to Kuwaiti citizens.

The Kuwaiti Government announced the partial resumption of commercial flights to and from Kuwait from 1 August 2020. Citizens and residents, with some exceptions, are permitted to enter Kuwait.

The Kuwaiti authorities announced on 29 July that all passengers arriving in Kuwait must produce a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test conducted in the previous 72 hours. Passengers are strongly advised to confirm the requirements for COVID testing with their airline prior to travel. 

https://www.dgca.gov.kw/NewsDetails/Index/112

https://www.kuwaitairport.gov.kw/en/travellers/

The Kuwait authorities advise those travelling to or from Kuwait to register their details with the Kuwait Mosafer service.  

Passengers arriving in Kuwait will be required to go through thermal screening and may be tested for Covid-19. There will be a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days at home. You should follow the directions of the local authorities.

The Kuwaiti Government automatically extended visit and residency visas of those in Kuwait that expired after 1 March to 31 August 2020.

Kuwait Ministry of Health

Kuwait Government COVID-19 updates

World Health Organisation

If you are in Kuwait, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities.

Kuwait News Agency

Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.

Do:

• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands

Don’t:

• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE

HPSC

ECDC

World Health Organisation

Emergency Assistance

There is no Irish Embassy in Kuwait, so we are limited in the help we can provide in the event of an emergency. You can contact the Irish Embassy in UAE if you require assistance or advice. Irish citizens with a genuine emergency can leave a voicemail message on the outside of office hours. Make sure to leave your name, mobile number, current location and the nature of the emergency. An Embassy Duty Officer will return your call.

EU Directive on Consular Protection

Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Social unrest

There have been a number of protests by expatriate labourers in Kuwait over their employment conditions. International events and political developments (including elections) may also prompt demonstrations in Kuwait.

Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser. And avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational.  

If you find yourself in the vicinity of a protest, leave the area immediately and do not take photographs.

Terrorism

Most visits to Kuwait are trouble-free. However, you should be aware of the threat from terrorism generally in the region. Attacks could be indiscriminate, and against Western interests, as they have been elsewhere in the region.

Landmines

Landmines and other hazardous ordnance are still present in Kuwait. When travelling outside Kuwait City, you should keep to tarmac roads. Be careful when using beaches and picnic spots. Even where officially cleared, there’s still a danger from unexploded ordnance.  Don’t pick up any strange metal, plastic or other objects lying around.  Don’t souvenir hunt for war memorabilia.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Kuwait but you should take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways.
  • Don't walk alone at night. If you're female, don't travel alone.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places.

Violent crime against foreigners is rare. However, you should take care if you intend to travel in conservative areas like Jahra, where there have been incidents involving firearms, and Jleeb Al Shuyoukh where there have been riots by migrant workers protesting about their conditions.

Taxis

We advise against hailing a taxi from the road in Kuwait, particularly if you’re female. There have been a few incidents of passengers being harassed while doing so. We recommend that you book a taxi in advance by telephone from a known and reputable taxi company.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Kuwait, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Kuwait, you should be extremely careful. Driving can be hazardous because many drivers exceed speed limits and switch lanes without warning. They frequently ignore traffic lights and speak on their mobile phones while driving with scant attention to other road users. Constant vigilance is essential. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Crossing the border

Only use authorised road border crossing points into Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Any other unauthorised movement in the vicinity of borders is illegal and dangerous: armed guards patrol the border area. If you’re planning to cross the border from Kuwait into Iraq, you should make sure that you have the correct paperwork.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Muslim culture

Kuwait is a Muslim state and Islamic customs are strictly observed. Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions. Dress conservatively - women who wear shorts or tight-fitting clothes, in particular in downtown areas, are likely to attract unwelcome attention. Be aware of your actions and take care not to offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or other religious festivals, or if you intend to visit religious areas.

During Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. To avoid offence, you should not eat, drink or smoke in public during this time. In 2020, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 23 April.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. 

Alcohol

Drunken behaviour in public or driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable by a fine or imprisonment and/or deportation and the withdrawal of your driving licence.

Sexual behaviour

Homosexual behaviour is illegal. Any public display of affection between men and women is also illegal. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.

Forbidden products

The import and use of narcotics, alcohol, pork products and obscene material are forbidden and can lead to imprisonment.

Business/commercial activities

Anyone involved in a commercial or any other dispute with a Kuwaiti company or individual may be prevented from leaving the country or placed in custody, pending resolution of the dispute. Bouncing cheques is illegal in Kuwait and can result in imprisonment and/or a fine.  The law doesn’t provide for offenders to be released from custody on bail. 'Post dated' cheques can be banked immediately.

Co-habiting

Co-habiting in Kuwait is illegal. If you wish to live with your partner in the same house, you need to be married.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Climate

The climate in Kuwait is hot and dry most of the year.

Sandstorms

There are occasional sandstorms but although they may restrict visibility, they are not usually severe enough to affect daily life.

Additional Information

Additional information

Health

Novel Coronavirus

A number of cases of COVID-19 coronavirus have been reported in the region, including in Kuwait.

The Kuwait authorities have introduced restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. You should comply with any additional screening or requirements put in place by the local authorities.

Some flights to and from Kuwait have been suspended. Non-Kuwaiti citizens who have recently visited certain countries may be refused entry to Kuwait, even with a valid Kuwaiti residency visa. You should check with your airline before travelling.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Please be wary of these symptoms and seek immediate medical attention should such symptoms occur.

International travellers: practice usual precautions

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is below.
Do:
• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
Don’t:
• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Kuwait.
Additional information on the Coronavirus can be found via the following links:

Kuwait Ministry of Health

World Health Organisation

ECDC

HPSC

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you are unsure of the entry requirements for Kuwait, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Kuwait.

For visit visas, your passport should have a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of entry into Kuwait. 

For new residency visas, your passport should be valid for a minimum of 2 years.

Emergency Irish travel documents are not accepted for entry into Kuwait but may be accepted for transit. Please contact your travel agent/airline and/or the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Kuwait for further information. 

 

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

We do not have an Embassy in Kuwait, please contact Embassy of Ireland United Arab Emirates on +971 (0) 2 4958200.

If you require emergency assistance at the weekend or on a public holiday, you will be asked to leave a message on the answering machine. The answering machine is monitored regularly, and the Duty Officer at the Embassy will contact you as soon as possible.

Embassy of Ireland
Al Yasat Street off 6th Street
Al Bateen
P.O. Box 61581
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Tel: +971 (0)2 4958200
Fax: +971 (0)2 6819233

Sunday – Thursday 9:00am to 1:00pm

Contact us