Kuwait: The State of Kuwait Residence Permit [KWT104739.FE]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Types of Temporary Residence Permits

According to the website of the Embassy of Kuwait in Canberra, there are different types residence permits (iqama) that are issued, according to the various articles of the immigration regulations (Kuwait n.d.d). The three main types of iqamas are work visas, domestic visas and dependent visas (ibid.). To obtain any of these visas, a person must be sponsored (ibid.). Work visas can be granted under articles 17 (for public sector employees) and 18 (for private sector employees) of the immigration regulations (ibid.). To obtain residence in Kuwait on a work visa, the applicant must first accept an offer of employment (ibid.).

In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, a visa officer at the Embassy of Kuwait in Canada stated that the only way for a person to obtain a temporary residence permit in Kuwait is to get hired by a company for work (ibid. 27 Jan. 2014). The applicant can then obtain a residence permit for employees in the civil sector (ibid.).

When asked the difference between work and domestic work visas, on one hand, and residence permits for employees in the civil sector, the visa officer explained that work visas and domestic work visas are "not really" types of visas; rather, they are part of the residence permit for employees in the civil sector (ibid. 29 Jan. 2014).

The visa officer noted that dependent visas are also known as family visit visas (ibid.). This type of visa makes it possible to unite in Kuwait the family of a residence permit holder for employees in the civil sector (ibid. 27 Jan. 2014).

According to the website of the Embassy of Kuwait in Canberra, "an expatriate may however sponsor his own residence, with or without being permitted to work, provided he has lived in Kuwait for many years and has substantial financial means" (ibid. n.d.d). However, the visa officer stated that she has never heard of this type of situation and that, to her knowledge, this is "not really possible" (ibid. 29 Jan. 2014). The visa officer added that, to live in Kuwait, a sponsor is absolutely required and individuals cannot sponsor themselves (ibid.). She stated that this also applies to Lebanese and Egyptian citizens (ibid.). The visa officer noted that a work permit is required to live in Kuwait (ibid.). As well, according to the Embassy of Kuwait in Canberra, a residence permit is absolutely required to live in Kuwait (ibid. n.d.d). A person discovered without a valid residence permit will be fined and deported (ibid.).

2. First-time Residence Permit for Employees in the Civil Sector

According to the definition on the Government of Kuwait website, the First Time Residence Permit for Employees in the Civil Sector allows "employees in the civil sector to obtain their residence permits for the first time" (Kuwait n.d.b). This type of residence permit is issued pursuant to Article 18 of the Executive Regulations of the Foreigners' Residence Law) (ibid.). The Government of Kuwait notes that the Residence Application Form must be signed by the "sponsor" (ibid.). The visa officer at the Embassy of Kuwait in Canada indicated that the employer acts as a sponsor (ibid. 27 Jan. 2014). The officer stated that the residence permit may be valid for "one or two years", but that the validity period will also depend on the duration of the work contract (ibid.). The visa officer added that if a permit holder leaves Kuwait for more than six months, he cannot return to Kuwait, even if his permit is still valid (ibid.). He will have to apply for a new residence permit, which he will not necessarily be granted (ibid.).

The applicant must provide the following documents to apply for a First Time Residence Permit for Employees in the Civil Sector:

  • work permit issued from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor
  • health insurance certificate
  • disease-free certificate
  • copy of the sponsor's signature authorization
  • two photographs of the applicant
  • entrance visas used by employees in the civil sector to enter the country
  • certificate of police record
  • original passport of the sponsor and copy (ibid. n.d.b).

The procedure for applying for a permit is as follows:

  • Visit the General Department of Immigration in the governorate "you refer to" and submit the required documents
  • Fill the service application form
  • Pay the fees due (ibid.).

The fee is 10 Kuwaiti dinar (KWD) [C$37.18 (XE 24 Jan. 2014a)] (ibid.).

2.1 Renewal

The visa officer noted that, to apply for renewal of the First Time Residence Permit for Employees in the Civil Sector, the applicant must be present in Kuwait (Kuwait 27 Jan. 2014).

To do this, the sponsor must sign the residence application form (Kuwait n.d.c). In addition, the following documents must be submitted:

  • work permit issued from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor
  • health insurance certificate
  • two photographs of the applicant
  • original passport of the sponsor
  • authorization signed by the sponsor and copy (ibid.).

The procedure is as follows:

  • Visit the General Department of Immigration in the governorate "you refer to" and submit the required documents
  • Fill the service application form
  • Pay the fees due (ibid.).

The fee is 10 KWD (ibid.).

2.2 Change of Sponsor

The change of sponsor is performed by following the residence transfer procedure (Kuwait n.d.a). The change of sponsor is also performed pursuant to Article 18 of the Executive Regulations of the Foreigners' Residence Law (ibid.). The applicant must provide the following documents:

  • original civil ID of the previous sponsor and copy
  • original civil ID of the new sponsor and copy
  • original civil ID of the sponsored and copy
  • two photographs of the applicant
  • signed authorization and copy
  • health insurance certificate (ibid.).

The procedure is as follows:

  • Visit the General Department of Immigration in the governorate "you refer to" and submit the required documents
  • Fill the service application form
  • Pay the fees due (ibid.).

The fees for this procedure are payable annually, and the amount depends on the type of residence and the validity period (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Reference

Kuwait. 29 January 2014. Embassy of Kuwait in Canada. Telephone interview with a visa officer.

Kuwait. 27 January 2014. Embassy of Kuwait in Canada. Telephone interview with a visa officer.

Kuwait. N.d.a. Kuwait Government Online. "Applying for Residence Transfer of Civil Sector Employees (Article 18) ." [Accessed 24 Jan. 2014]

Kuwait. N.d.b. Kuwait Government Online. "First Time Residence Permit for Employees in the Civil Sector ." [Accessed 24 Jan. 2014]

Kuwait. N.d.c. Kuwait Government Online. "Renewing Residence Permit for Civil Sector Employees ." [Accessed 24 Jan. 2014]

Kuwait. N.d.d. Embassy of Kuwait in Canberra. "Consulate Section ." [Accessed 28 Jan. 2014]

XE. 24 January 2014. "XE Currency Converter ." [Accessed 24 Jan. 2014]

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites, including: Amnesty International; ecoi.net; Factiva; Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme ; International Crisis Group; Human Rights Watch; Kuwait – embassies of Kuwait in New Delhi and in Washington, DC; United Kingdom – Home Office; United Nations – Integrated Regional Information Networks, Refworld, United Nations Development Program, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; United States – Overseas Security Advisory Council.