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Updated 17 September 2021

Kuwait offers different types of visas based on the length of their stay and the purpose of their travel. The Residence Visa is one such type of visa available in Kuwait.   

All the benefits of living and working in Kuwait will be available to you once you’ve secured a residence visa. Here we take a look at all the available residence visas of Kuwait along with their validity period, cost, how you may obtain such permits, and their renewal. 

What is Kuwait Residence Visa?

The Kuwait Residence Visa, also referred to as Iqama, is a mandatory visa you need to live in Kuwait as an expatriate. Citizens of GCC (members of the Gulf Cooperation Council), however, are not required to have a Kuwait residence visa.  

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. 

General requirements of the Residence Visa

The Residence Visa Application form has to be signed by the sponsor for a dependent or an employee to be eligible for the residence visa. The employee is also required to provide a medical certificate issued by an embassy-accredited clinic.    

For some nationalities, a good conduct certificate may be required during police clearance. In Kuwait, another round of local medical tests is needed. A fingerprint certificate will be issued to process the Kuwait residence visa completely. 

The different types of Kuwait Residence Visa 

The Kuwait Residence visa is further categorized into three types: the Domestic Visa, the Work Visa, and the Dependent Visa. The three different types of Residence visas require a sponsor.  

As long as they have ample resources and have lived in Kuwait for a long time, expatriates can sponsor their residence, regardless of whether they are allowed to work or not. 

Dependent Visa

The Dependent Visa also referred to as the Family Visa, is a type of Kuwaiti Residence visa that allows an employed person in Kuwait to bring their family to live with them in Kuwait. For instance, after obtaining a Dependent visa in Kuwait, a man can get his wife and children to live with him in Kuwait.

Requirements

  • For Article 17 visa (public sector employees), a person must earn 450KD monthly ($1496) to avail of this visa.  
  • For Article 18 visa (private sector employees), a person must earn 650KD monthly ($2160) to avail of this visa.  
  • The parents can sponsor their children only if both the parents are working and earning in Kuwait, and their combined salaries exceed 350KD monthly ($1163).  
  • Upon entering the country, the dependent has to undergo medical tests and have their fingerprints taken.   
  • The dependent will also be required to provide similar documents to the ones provided by the sponsor except for the salary certificate.  
  • The sponsor’s declaration declaring that they will maintain and support the dependent as long as they stay in Kuwait is also necessary. 
  • A wife is not eligible to sponsor her husband.  
  • Parents cannot fund sons over the age of 21 years.  
  • Family members under the Dependent Visa are not allowed to work until they convert to a Kuwaiti Work Visa. 

How to obtain a Dependent Visa? 

The Dependent visa can be obtained by following specific steps 

  • To obtain a Dependent visa for a family member, you need to go to a “jawazaat” bureau situated in Shuwaikh.  
  • The application form will then have to be filled in Arabic. However, if a person is not well-versed with the Arabic language, they can hire a bilingual typist to do it for them. 

Documents required

Following the fillup of the application form, certain documents have to be provided. These documents are as follows:

  •  Photocopy of the dependent’s passport.  
  • The salary certificate of the sponsor.  
  • Copy of the dependent’s civil ID.  
  • The marriage or childbirth certificate is authenticated by the sponsor’s embassy in their home country.   

Domestic Visa

The Domestic Visa is a type of Residence Visa that can be granted to a resident expatriate’s full-time domestic helper who has been hired or sourced from a country outside Kuwait. The Visa is provided as the expatriates are usually allowed to bring a full-time domestic helper to Kuwait. 

Requirements

  • The age limit of the domestic helper is between 20-50 years.  
  • A male sponsor is required to have a wife to hire a female domestic helper.  
  • There is no minimum salary requirement if both the sponsor husband and wife are working and if the sponsor family includes children.  
  • The Domestic Visa does not apply to immediate family members or relatives of any degree of consanguinity.  
  • Upon arriving in Kuwait, the domestic helper visa will require passport photos and documents.  
  • The helper has to pay a residence fee of KD200.00 for the first year and KD10.00 for the succeeding years. 

How to obtain a Domestic Visa? 

  • To obtain a Domestic visa, you need to go to a “jawazaat” bureau situated in Shuwaikh.  
  • The application form will then have to be filled in Arabic. However, if a person is not well-versed with the Arabic language, they can hire a bilingual typist to do it for them. The Bilingual typists usually charge 500 fils.  
  • The domestic helper for whom the Domestic visa is being issued needs to go to the Kuwait embassy in their home country. 

Documents required

The documents required to obtain the Domestic visa are as follows

  • Salary certificates of both the sponsor and their wife  
  • Photocopy of house rental agreement.  
  • Photocopy of the passport of both sponsor and their wife.  
  • Age-proof of children (photocopy of local birth certificates or passport).  
  • Photocopy of the civil ID of both sponsor and their wife.  
  • Photocopy of the domestic helper’s passport along with eight passport-sized photos.  
  • Photocopy of the domestic helper’s work contract. 

Work Visa

The private or public sector employees are granted a type of Residence visa or Iqama, known as the Work Visa. The Visa is granted under articles 17 and 18 of the immigration regulations. 

Requirements

  • The employment offer of the employee must be accepted first before availing of the Kuwait Residence Visa on a Work Visa.  
  • The passport of the employee.  
  • NOC or No Objection Certificate from the General Administration of Criminal Investigation at the Ministry of Interior.  
  • The issuance of a work permit has to be applied by a Kuwaiti employer sponsor from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour.  
  • Suppose the employee has accepted an employment offer in Kuwait on a Visit Visa. In that case, they are eligible to obtain the Residence visa on a Work visa only when the employee leaves Kuwait and returns on the new entry visa.  
  • Generally, most nationalities are required to return to their own country for medical tests and endorsement from the country’s Kuwait Embassy.

 Documents required

  • The passport of the employee. 
  • NOC or No Objection Certificate from the General Administration of Criminal Investigation at the Ministry of Interior. 

How to apply for a Work Visa? 

  • For endorsement, a copy of the work permit will be sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait to the Kuwaiti Embassy, where the employee lives.   
  • The sponsor or employer is also required to send a copy of the work permit to the employee for taking it to the embassy.    
  •  The employee is required to apply for an entry visa for Kuwait.   
  • The employees for private sector companies require NOCs and a copy of the employer’s authorized signatory as registered for business purposes.  
  • If the employee lives in a country where a Kuwaiti Embassy is not present, the sponsor will have to submit the work permit and NOC to the Ministry of the Interior to get an entry visa. 

How much does the Kuwait Residence Visa Cost? 

The fee for an actual residence application is 10KD per year. However, the price can vary depending on various situations.  

The fee for the residence visa in case of family or dependents are as follows:

  • For private-sector employees, the price is 100KD per person during the first year for their wife and first two children. The fees will, however, be 200KD per person for any more children of the employee.  
  • For Public sector employees, the fee is 10KD per person during the first year for their wife and two children. The fees will, however, be 100 KD per person for any more children.  
  • The fee for a renewal is 10KD per person for wife and children in all cases.  
  • The fee is 200KD per person for the sponsor’s parents and in-laws.  

 

Can the Kuwait Residence Visa be Renewed?  

Yes, the Government on 23rd June 2021 stated that the expatriates stranded outside Kuwait due to the Covid-19 pandemic can now renew their Residence Visa provided their passports are valid for one or more years, and the company they work for does not mind having them back.  

The Visa can be renewed from the Ministry of Home Affairs website. However, the renewal has to be applied online by the sponsor or company representative.