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KUWAIT - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Kuwait. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the threat of terrorism.
Safety and security
Safety and security
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. On June 26, 2015, 26 people were killed in an attack on a mosque in Kuwait City, for which Daesh has claimed responsibility. Be particularly vigilant in or near places of worship.
Targets could also include government buildings, schools, transportation hubs and public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets and hotels, as well as sites frequented by foreigners.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times in public places.
The crime rate is low and violence is rare, including against foreigners. However, you should 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.
Demonstrations may occur and, on occasion, have a potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
Use only official border crossings when crossing from Iraq or Saudi Arabia into Kuwait. Other crossings are considered illegal by Kuwaiti officials. Borders are patrolled by armed guards and there have been exchanges of gunfire in the recent past.
Women have been physically and verbally harassed. Do not travel alone, especially after dark. See Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information for Canadian women.
Accidents are common and due mainly to unsafe driving practices such as reckless driving. Exercise caution when driving after dark.
Off-road driving can be hazardous. Undertake off-road driving in a convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles with an experienced guide only. Leave a travel itinerary with a family member or friend. Be well prepared and equipped with gasoline, water, food and a cellular phone.
Use only officially marked taxis, and pre-negotiate fares.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
Consult the Ministry of Interior of the State of Kuwait for instructions and regulations for sailing in Kuwaiti waters.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report, published by the International Maritime Bureau.
Exercise caution if travelling by sea, including for recreational purposes, in the Persian/Arabian Gulf, particularly around the islands of Abu Mousa and the Tunba(s), as both Iran and the United Arab Emirates have claimed sovereignty over the islands.
General safety information
Leave your passport in a safe place and carry a photocopy for identification purposes at all times.
Unexploded munitions from the 1991 Gulf War pose hazards in rural areas, picnic spots and beaches. Monitor children closely. Do not touch suspicious unfamiliar objects.
Weapons are readily available, and accidental shootings have occurred.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Kuwaiti authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the State of Kuwait for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Kuwait, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Kuwait.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
You can obtain a tourist visa upon arrival. Business and student visas must be obtained an embassy or consulate of Kuwait before arrival. Arriving without a visa could lead to refused entry or a lengthy delay.
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. Certified criminal record checks must be authenticated by Global Affairs Canada and by the Embassy of the State of Kuwait before travelling to, but no more than three months before arriving in, Kuwait.
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).
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
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Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
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.
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.
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.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
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.
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 for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider 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.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
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.
Medical services and facilities
Modern medical care is available through government-run clinics and hospitals. Immediate cash payment is often required.
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
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
The work week runs from Sunday to Thursday.
An International Driving Permit is required.
In the event of an accident, do not attempt to move the vehicle, even though it may impede traffic. Kuwaiti law states that the driver must wait for the police to make an official report. Digital cameras register traffic violations.
Suspects as well as witnesses to incidents may be held for lengthy periods without access to legal counsel or consular officials. 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.
Defamation of the emir, any member of the Royal family or any local authority is prohibited by Kuwaiti law.
Religious proselytizing is not permitted.
Penalties for possession, use and trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. 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.
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. Do not photograph people without their permission.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Kuwait. If local authorities consider you a Kuwaiti citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present a Kuwaiti passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
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.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), refrain from drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2017, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 27.
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.
The laws of Kuwait prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Kuwait.
See Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians abroad for more information.
Family law matters, including child custody and divorce-related decisions, are settled according to Sharia 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.
The Kuwaiti dinar (KWD) is readily convertible to U.S. dollars. Credit cards and U.S. dollars are widely accepted, and automated banking machines are available nationwide.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & 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. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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