Kuwait travel advice
Latest updates: Removal of COVID-19 information
Last updated: ET
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- Risk level
- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
- Laws and culture
- Natural disasters and climate
- Need help?
Safety and security
FIFA World Cup 2022
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar from November 20 to December 18, 2022. If you’re planning on travelling to Qatar during the tournament, consult the following links for important information, including entry requirements.
- Travel advice for Qatar – Government of Canada
- FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – Government of Canada
- World Cup Qatar 2022 - FIFA
- Hayya Qatar 2022
There is a threat of terrorism. There is an increased risk of attacks in or near places of worship, particularly Shia places of worship, and heightened security measures have been put in place at these sites. Be particularly vigilant in or near places of worship.
Targets also could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Criminal activity occurs but violent crime is rare, including against foreigners.
You should, however, avoid secluded places or non-residential areas after dark. Locals have sometimes followed Westerners home after dark and then vandalized their parked vehicles. If you suspect you are being followed or you witness suspicious loitering, report it to the local police.
Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
Demonstrations may occur.
Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Use only official border crossings when crossing from Iraq or Saudi Arabia into Kuwait. Kuwaiti officials consider other crossings illegal.
Armed guards patrol the borders. There have been recent exchanges of gunfire.
Women have been physically and verbally harassed. Do not travel alone, especially after dark.
Munitions and landmines
Unexploded munitions and landmines from the 1991 Gulf War pose hazards in rural areas, picnic spots, beaches and desert areas. Monitor children closely. Do not touch suspicious unfamiliar objects.
Weapons are readily available, and accidental shootings have occurred.
Use only officially marked taxis, and pre-negotiate fares.
Accidents are common and due mainly to unsafe driving practices such as reckless driving. Exercise caution when driving after dark. Avoid off-road driving due to residual landmines.
Exercise caution if travelling by sea, including for recreational purposes, in the Persian/Arabian Gulf, particularly around the Abu Mousa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb islands, as both Iran and the United Arab Emirates claim sovereignty over the islands.
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Kuwaiti authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Kuwait.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Travel documents with an X in the "sex" field
The Kuwaiti authorities will deny you entry if your passport shows an X in the “sex” field or if it includes an observation to that effect.
Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
You can obtain a tourist visa upon arrival. If you need a business or student visa, you must get it at an embassy or consulate of Kuwait before arrival.
Arriving without a visa could lead to refused entry or a lengthy delay.
Canadians travelling with a regular passport can also get a tourist, business or visit visa online. You must present a copy of this visa for verification on arrival.
Apply for a tourist, business or visit visa - Ministry of interior
Other entry requirements
A round-trip or onward travel ticket is required to obtain a transit visa.
The expiry date of a residence permit cannot exceed that of a passport. In order to ensure the longest possible permit validity period, renew your passport before your residence permit expires.
If you intend to work in Kuwait, you must obtain a certified criminal record check for each individual or dependent family member over the age of 18 who will be residing in the country.
You must have certified criminal record checks authenticated by Global Affairs Canada and by the Embassy of the State of Kuwait before travelling to Kuwait. You must do this no more than 3 months before arriving there.
Canadians who intend to work in Kuwait must also obtain a police clearance from Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior (MOI) upon their arrival. Visit the Embassy of Canada to Kuwait to obtain the letter required to apply for the MOI’s police clearance.
Canadians have been denied entry into Kuwait because their passports bore an Israeli visa or border stamp, or an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel (such a stamp would indicate entry from Israel).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines are right for you.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)
Cases of locally-acquired Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) have been reported in this country.
MERS is a viral respiratory disease caused by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Some people infected with MERS-CoV experience no symptoms, while others may experience mild flu-like or more severe pneumonia-like symptoms. About one-third of reported cases have resulted in death.
Eat and drink safely, and avoid close contact with animals, especially camels. If you must visit a farm or market, make sure you practise good hygiene and wash your hands before and after contact with animals.
There is currently no licensed vaccine to protect against MERS.
Medical services and facilities
Modern medical care is available through government-run clinics and hospitals. Immediate cash payment is often required.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
The work week is from Sunday to Thursday.
You must carry an international driving permit.
In the event of an accident, do not attempt to move the vehicle, even if it impedes traffic. Kuwaiti law states that the driver must wait for the police to make an official report.
Digital cameras register traffic violations.
Authorities may hold suspects as well as witnesses to incidents for lengthy periods without access to legal counsel or consular officials. Even if access is granted, it may be severely limited by Kuwaiti authorities. Authorities may withhold the passport of an individual involved in legal processes, pending resolution of the case. This could result in the delay of a planned departure.
There is a zero-tolerance policy regarding drinking and driving. Consequences include heavy fines, imprisonment or deportation.
Penalties for possession, use and trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines, lengthy jail sentences or even the death penalty. The possession of illegal drugs, even a very small amount, could result in arrest and imprisonment.
Possession and consumption of alcohol is illegal in Kuwait.
Alcohol cannot be legally purchased or imported into Kuwait, and the penalties associated with the possession of alcohol include heavy fines, imprisonment or deportation.
Defamation of the emir, any member of the royal family or any local authority is prohibited.
Religious proselytizing is not permitted.
The import and consumption of pork products is illegal.
It is illegal to possess pornographic material.
Photography of government buildings and military or industrial sites, particularly oil fields, is forbidden. Don't photograph people without their permission.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Kuwait.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Kuwait, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
Fraudulent practices—for example, writing cheques without sufficient funds and non-payment of bills—are regarded as extremely serious offences and may result in imprisonment and fines.
Temporary release pending legal action may be granted in minor cases if the passport of the accused and the passport of the guarantor are surrendered to the authorities.
Dress and behaviour
Exercise common sense and discretion in dress and behaviour. Men and women should dress conservatively. Men must wear pants and a shirt in public.
It is uncommon for Western women to cover their head in Kuwait. Dresses and skirts are permitted, provided they cover the shoulders and knees. Shorts and short skirts are considered inappropriate.
Exercise particular care in your behaviour with others, especially officials, to avoid offending local sensitivities. Verbal insults and obscene gestures may be considered a criminal act and, if found guilty, you could face deportation, fines and/or a prison sentence.
Avoid physical contact, such as holding hands, in public.
In 2023, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around March 22.
In public, between sunrise and sunset, refrain from:
The laws of Kuwait prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Kuwait.
Family law matters, including child custody and divorce-related decisions, are settled according to Kuwait’s Marriage law, based on sharia (Islamic law). If you are involved in custody or other family disputes, consult a lawyer for advice on how religious law in Kuwait may affect your family situation.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Kuwait.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Kuwait by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Kuwait to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
The currency of Kuwait is the Kuwaiti dinar (KWD).
KWD is readily convertible to U.S. dollars.
Credit cards and U.S. dollars are widely accepted, and ATMs are available nationwide.
Natural disasters and climate
The rainy season extends from December to January and often results in flooding.
High levels of humidity and severe heat occur from June to September.
Severe sand and dust storms can occur throughout the year.
Dial 112 for emergency assistance.
Kuwait City - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Kuwait City and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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