To live in Kuwait, an expatriate other than GCC citizens must have a Kuwait residence visa, or iqama. There are three main types of Kuwait residence visa: work visa, domestic, and dependent visa. These three visas require a sponsor. An expatriate may sponsor his own residence, with or without allowing to work, as long as he lived in Kuwait for a long tim
Residence Visa: Family (Dependent Visa)
Upon obtaining residency in Kuwait, an employed man can bring his wife and children to Kuwait to live with him. In order to do that, it is mandatory that he earns at least 450KD monthly (in case of possessing a 17-visa) and at least 650KD monthly (in case of possessing a 18-visa). If both man and wife work in Kuwait, they have the possibility to sponsor their children there but only if their salaries combined exceed 350KD monthly.
There are several limitations for this type of visa:
- A wife can’t sponsor her husband.
- While you can sponsor adult daughters and parents, you can’t sponsor sons of over 21 years old.
- Dependent family members can’t work until they convert to a Kuwaiti work visa.
In order to obtain a dependent visa for a member of your family, you need to go to the “jawazaat” bureau situated in Shuwaikh. You need to fill an application in Arabic, if you don’t master the Arabic language, you can hire a bilingual typist to do it for you. After filling the form, you need to supply the following documents:
- Copy of the dependent’s passport
- Copy of his civil ID
- The sponsor’s salary certificate
- Child birth or marriage certificate that have been authenticated by the sponsor’s embassy in his origin country.
The residence visa for family formalities are similar to those of the work visa. Upon entering the country, the dependent have to undergo medical tests and have his fingerprints taken. The dependent have to provide similar documents to the ones provided by the sponsor except for salary certificate. The last requirement for this procedure is the sponsor’s declaration that he’s going to maintain and support the dependent as long as he stays in kuwait.
The residence visa for family fees are:
Private sector employees:
- 100KD/person: during the first year for wife and the 2 first children
- 200KD/person: remaining children.
Public sector employees:
- 10KD/person: during the first year for wife and the 2 first children
- 100KD/person: remaining children.
- 10KD/person: for children and wife in all cases
- 200KD/person: sponsor’s parents and in-laws
Kuwait Residence Visa: Work
Work visas are iqamas granted for public and private sector employees under articles 17 and 18 of the immigration regulations. An offer employment must first be accepted to obtain Kuwait residence visa on a work visa. A Kuwaiti employer sponsor shall apply for the work permit from the Ministry of Social Affairs & Labour. Requirements for the work permit are employee’s passport and no-objection certificate or NOC from the General Administration of Criminal Investiagation at the Ministry of Interior.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait will send a copy of the work permit to the Kuwaiti Embassy in the country where the employee lives for endorsement. The sponsor or employer must also send a copy of the work permit to the employee to take to the embassy. The employee must apply for an entry visa for Kuwait. Employees for private sector companies require NOCs and a copy of the employer’s authorised signatory as registered for business purposes.
If the employee lives in a country without a Kuwait Embassy, the sponsor will have to submit the work permit and NOC to the Minsitry of the Interior to get an entry visa.
If an employee is on a visit visa in Kuwait when he accepted the employment, he must leave Kuwait and return on the new entry visa.
Most nationalities are required to return to their own country for medical tests and endorsement from the country’s Kuwait Embassy. For westerners, a one day round trip to Bahrain by plane can do.
Residence Visa : Domestic Servants
Domestic servant visa is issued to resident expatriate’s full-time servant sourced from a country outside Kuwait. The resident will be the sponsor for this type of visa. Expatriate families are usually allowed to bring a maid in the country.
Requirements for Domestic Servant Visa
The first requirement is, if you are a male sponsor, you must have a wife living with you if you are going to hire a female servant.
Age limit for the servants is between 20 and 50 years.
Domestic servant visa does not apply to immediate family members or relatives of any degree of consanguinity.
No minimum salary required if the sponsor husband and wife are both working, and if the sponsor family includes children.
Domestic Servant Visa Document Requirements
- Salary certificates of sponsor and wife
- Photocopy of house rental agreement
- Photoopy of sponsor’s and wife’s passport
- Proof of ages of children (photocopy of local birth certificates or passport)
- Photocopy of the sponsor’s and wife’s civil ID
- Photoopy of the servant’s passport plus eight passport sized photos
- Photocopy of the servant’s work contract
Approval of the Domestic Servant Visa
The immigration official approves the domestic servant visa. The immigration will look into the sponsor’s house size, monthly income, and the actual need for a maid.
How to Apply for a Domestic Servant Visa
Domestic servant visa may be obtained from the Jawazaat in Shuwaikh.
The application form must be filled out in Arabic. If you do not speak and write in Arabic, you will find bilingual typists in Shuwaikh. They charge 500 fils.
The servant or maid need to go to the Kuwait embassy in his or her home country.
After the flight to Kuwait, the domestic servant visa will require his or her passport photos, and documents (same list as that of a work Visa except for the work permit). The servant has to pay a residence fee of KD200.00 for the first year and KD10.00 for the succeeding years.
This process can go through Kuwait agencies that specializes in obtaining domestic servants or maids for Kuwaitis and expatriates. One must have to be careful though in choosing an agency. Most are reliable agencies, but a few have unfavorable reputations.
Residence Visa : Newborn Child
Expatriates in Kuwait must get an iqama (or visa) when their child is born in the country. It a dependent Kuwait Visa or iqama for the child.
Requirements for New Born Child Kuwait Visa
- The father can sponsor his child’s residence.
- No minimum salary requirement.
- Official birth certificate for the child
How to obtain an Expatriate’s New Born Child certificate?
The hospital where the child was born will advise a written notification of the birth. The hospital will provide the address. It is written in Arabic. If the parents do not speak and write in the language, the child’s name will be written phonetically in Arabic.Other documents required for the birth certificate are:
- Application form
- Photocopies of parents’ passport
- Photocopies of parents’ civil IDs
- Authenticated marriage contract
- Proposed first name of the child
Procedures for the New Born Birth Certificate
- Submit application form and requirements at the registry.
- Pay the fee amounting to 10KD.
- Pick up the birth certificate at the registry after 7 days.
Procedures for the New Born Kuwait Visa, Passport and Residency
To obtain residency for the child, his name must be added to the parent’s passport.
Another way is to obtain a separate passport for the child, which is a more common option. If a child has his own passport, he can travel without his parent if necessary.
A requirement for a child’s passport is a certified translation of the child’s birth certificate, and other non-Arabic embassies require an authenticated certificate by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait.
When the child’s name is added to the parent’s passport, or when he obtains his own passport, a child’s residence can be obtained. There are no special procedures for obtaining a new born child’s residence. The fee for actual residence application is 10KD per year.
Parents on domestic servant visas are not allowed to keep their child in Kuwait. He or she must obtain an exit visa for the child. Parents can apply for an exit visa from the Minsitry of the interior. There is no fee for the exit visa.
Other Requirements for Kuwait Residence Visa
The employee is required to provide a medical certificate issued by an embassy-accredited clinic. For some nationalities, a good conduct certificate (sometimes called police clearance). At Kuwait, another round of local medical tests are required. A fingerprint certificate will be issued to completely process the Kuwait residence visa.
If you’re visiting Kuwait and in a need for a transit visa, then you can obtain it from the port authority in Kuwait or from its consulate aboard. You have 7 days maximum to put that visa in use or else it will expire and you’ll have to get a new one. The fee for obtaining the Kuwait transit visa is 2 Kuwaiti dinars.
In order to obtain the transit visa, you have to possess a valid visa for the next country to visit and a confirmed onward ticket if you don’t work on an airline or a ship. And in case you’re an international truck driver, you will be able to obtain multiple Kuwait transit visa.