How to Get a Kuwait Residence Visa in 2022

Having a Kuwait Residence Visa is one way in which expats can live in the country for an extended period of time. It also gives them the privilege of eventually bringing their families to the country. 

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Kuwait is home to around four million people. It is an attractive country to work in because of its strong currency (the strongest one in the world), tax-free income, and opportunities for career advancement. Apart from that, there are international educational institutions suitable for children. Because of this, moving to Kuwait with a family will not be too much of a challenge. 

When Do I Need to Apply for a Kuwait Residence Visa?

A Kuwait Residence Visa should be applied for by expats who are not GCC nationals but intend to live in Kuwait. It is also called “iqama.” GCC nationals refer to citizens from the countries of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

The Kuwait Residence Visa is further categorized into three types; namely, work visa, domestic worker visa, and dependent visa. Each type of Kuwait Residence Visa is intended for a specific group of people. However, all applicants for a Kuwait Residence Visa, regardless of the type, must have a sponsor. 

Let’s take a look at the requirements and processes for each type of Kuwait Residence Visa.

Kuwait Work Visa

A Kuwait Work Visa is given to expats immigrating to Kuwait for the purpose of conducting work. Both public and private sector employees are required to apply for such a visa. 

Requirements for a Kuwait Work Visa

The following documents are needed when applying for a Kuwait Work Visa:

  • Work permit
  • Health insurance certificate
  • Disease-free certificate
  • A copy of the signature authorization of the sponsor 
  • Two photos
  • Entrance visa 
  • Certificate of police record 
  • Original and a copy of the passport 
  • Residence Application Form, which should be signed by the sponsor 

Application fees cost 10 KWD. 

The Process of Applying for a Kuwait Work Visa

Applying for a Kuwait Work Visa must only be started when the applicant has successfully gained employment from a company based in the country. 

An employee must accept a job offer after receiving it. Once done, the Kuwaiti employer should apply for the employee’s work permit at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. The employer will serve as the employee’s sponsor in this case.

Upon acceptance of a job offer, employers will initiate the application for the employee’s work permit.

When applying for a work permit, the following documents must be prepared by the employer: a copy of the employee’s passport and a no-objection certificate (NOC). The NOC can be obtained from the General Administration of Criminal Investigation at the Ministry of Interior.

If a work permit has been issued, a copy of it will be sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kuwait to the relevant Kuwaiti Embassy where the employee resides. At the same time, the employer must provide a copy of the work permit to the employee. 

After obtaining the NOC and work permit, the employee should undergo medical tests in a clinic accredited by the Kuwait Consulate. This consists of a blood test and an x-ray. A medical certificate will be issued to ensure that the employee is in good health and does not have any diseases. A police clearance certificate is also necessary for some nationalities. 

Then, the employee should initiate the application for an entry visa to Kuwait. Those who will be working in the private sector have an additional document to bring. Specifically, they must submit a copy of the employer’s authorized signatory that was registered for the purpose of business. An entry visa can be applied for at the nearest Kuwait embassy.

When in Kuwait, employees should have their fingerprints recorded for security clearance. The Kuwait work visa will also be received upon their arrival.

Countries with No Kuwait Embassy

However, employees who reside in countries that do not have established Kuwait embassies have to follow a different procedure. Their sponsor, who is the employer, should submit the work permit and NOC to the Ministry of Interior. By doing so, an entry visa for the employee can be issued.

Employees with an Existing Visit Visa

Employees who already have a visit visa and are in Kuwait when the job offer has been accepted should leave the country first. The application process for a new entry visa should be completed in a country outside of Kuwait or in their home country, depending on their situation.

They may find it necessary to return to their home country to undergo medical tests and obtain an endorsement from the Kuwait embassy. Westerners can book a trip to Bahrain so that they can complete the application for an entry visa there. The plane ride is usually around an hour long, and the process can be completed on a day trip.

Dependent Visa

Expats in Kuwait who have obtained residency in the country can be reunited with their families. Their loved ones can apply for a dependent visa, also known as a family visa. The member in Kuwait will serve as the sponsor of the applicants. However, they must prove that they have sufficient income to support their family members. 

What are the Income Requirements for a Sponsor?

  • A minimum monthly income of 450 KWD for sponsors working in the public sector
  • A minimum monthly income of 650 KWD for sponsors working in the private sector

If both parents are working in Kuwait, they can sponsor their children if their combined monthly income is more than 350 KWD. 

What are the Limitations When Applying for a Dependent Visa? 

Not all family members are eligible to apply for a dependent visa. 

Dependents can apply for a Kuwait residence visa
There is an eligibility criteria for dependents applying for a visa.

First, a wife cannot become a sponsor for her husband. This means that a husband cannot apply for a dependent visa if his wife were to sponsor him. He would need to apply for a different type of visa to be able to live in Kuwait.

Second, expats in Kuwait cannot sponsor sons who are beyond 21 years of age. However, this age limit does not apply to daughters and parents. 

Requirements for a Dependent Visa

The following documents should be submitted when applying for a dependent visa:

  • Completed application form
  • A copy of the dependent’s passport
  • A copy of the dependent’s civil ID
  • The salary certificate of the sponsor
  • Birth or marriage certificate

The birth and marriage certificates should be authenticated by the embassy of the sponsor’s home country. 

The Process of Applying for a Dependent Visa

The sponsor should fill out an application form in Arabic. Expats not fluent in the language can hire a bilingual typist for this purpose. When completed, the application form should be submitted together with the aforementioned documents to the Jawazat office.  

Applicants would have to wait for the status of their application. If approved, family members can come to Kuwait.

Upon arriving in the country, dependents are required to undergo medical tests and have their biometrics (fingerprints) recorded. They must bring with them their passport, ID, and birth or marriage certificates. The sponsor should also declare that he will financially support the dependents for the whole duration of their stay in Kuwait. 

Individuals under the dependent visa cannot work in Kuwait. If employment is desired, a Kuwait work visa should be applied for.

Kuwait Newborn Child Visa

When husbands and wives have been successfully reunited in Kuwait, bearing children in the country becomes a high possibility. If this is the case, expats shouldn’t have to worry about the status of their newborn child because they can similarly be granted a visa. 

Conditions When Applying for a Newborn Child Visa

The father can serve as the sponsor of the newborn child. There are no minimum requirements regarding the monthly income of the sponsor. However, parents should be prepared with the official birth certificate of their child prior to initiating the application process.

Furthermore, the father or paternal grandfather should be physically present when applying for a birth certificate.

Children born in Kuwait can obtain residency in the country.

Individuals in Kuwait on a domestic worker visa should apply for an exit visa for their children born in the country. This is because their children will not be allowed to obtain a newborn child visa. 

Requirements for a Birth Certificate 

The following documents must be completed:

  • Original and copies of the parents’ passports
  • Copies of the parents’ civil IDs
  • Original and a copy of the marriage certificate

For marriage certificates not issued in Kuwait, they must be authenticated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the state embassy where they were issued.

The Process of Applying for a Birth Certificate

A written statement of the child’s birth will be issued by the hospital where the delivery took place. The institution will be responsible for writing down the address and the name of the child. This will all be done in Arabic.

Then, parents should bring the aforementioned requirements to the Central Record for Birth and Death Department of the Ministry of Health. Alternatively, they can go to any of the centers of the institution. 

Applying for a birth certificate in Kuwait comes at no cost.

The Process of Applying for Kuwait Residency for the Newborn Child

The name of the newborn child can be included in the passport of the father. This provides the newborn child with residency in Kuwait.

But parents who prefer to obtain a separate passport for their children can still do so. When undergoing the application process for a passport, the birth certificate of the child should be submitted. It is advantageous for children to have a separate passport since they will be able to travel on their own.  

Having a passport will be enough for the newborn child to obtain residence in Kuwait. There are no other steps that need to be taken. 

Domestic Worker Visa

Expats who are residents of Kuwait can also bring their househelp to the country. This can be done by applying for a domestic worker visa. 

Conditions to Apply for a Domestic Worker Visa

This type of visa comes with certain conditions for both the sponsor and the applicant. 

A male sponsor for a female domestic worker should be living with his wife in the same house.

Domestic workers should be between 20 and 50 years of age. At the same time, immediate family members or relatives can not apply for this type of visa.

The minimum monthly income requirement does not apply if both the husband and wife sponsoring the domestic worker are employed and there are children in the household. 

Family members of the sponsor cannot apply for a Domestic Worker Visa.

Requirements for a Domestic Worker Visa 

The following documents from the sponsor and his wife should be submitted when applying for a domestic worker visa:

  • Salary certificates 
  • A copy of their passports
  • A copy of their civil IDs

Additionally, these documents about the household should be included in the application:

  • A copy of the house rental agreement of the sponsor
  • A copy of the birth certificate or passport of the children in the household to ascertain their ages

For the applicants themselves, they have to prepare the following documents:

  • Original and valid passport
  • Two personal photographs
  • A copy of the work contract between the domestic worker and employer 

Process of Applying for a Domestic Worker Visa

The application form for a domestic worker visa must be completed in Arabic. If unable to do so, one can hire a bilingual translator to help answer the form. When done, it should be submitted, together with the aforementioned documents, to the Jawazat office.

Approval of the domestic worker visa would be based on different factors. The house size, monthly income, and need for a domestic servant will all be taken into consideration. When approved, the domestic servant can travel to Kuwait.

Expats also have the option of availing services from manpower agencies in Kuwait. This may be suitable for those who do not have househelp back in their home country or are unable to bring them to Kuwait. 

How Long is the Kuwait Residence Visa Valid?

The Kuwait residence visa is valid for 10 years. It can be renewed thereafter for a fee of 10 KWD.

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