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Kuwait Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Middle East
Full Name: State of Kuwait
Capital City: Kuwait
Language Spoken: Arabic (official), English widely spoken

Kuwait Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

29 30 N, 45 45 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m highest point: unnamed location 306 m

Land boundaries

total: 462 km border countries: Iraq 240 km, Saudi Arabia 222 km

Natural hazards

sudden cloudbursts are common from October to April and bring heavy rain, which can damage roads and houses; sandstorms and dust storms occur throughout the year, but are most common between March and August

Natural resources

petroleum, fish, shrimp, natural gas

Land use

arable land: 0.84% permanent crops: 0.17% other: 98.99% (2005)

Environmental current issues

limited natural fresh water resources; some of world's largest and most sophisticated desalination facilities provide much of the water; air and water pollution; desertification

Climate

Kuwait shares European weather patterns but is hotter and drier. Summers (April to October) are hot and humid with very little rain. Winters (November to March) are cool with limited rain. Springs are cool and pleasant.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+3

Population

2,418,393 note: includes 1,291,354 non-nationals (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 26.9% (male 331,768/female 319,895) 15-64 years: 70.3% (male 1,085,721/female 613,746) 65 years and over: 2.8% (male 42,460/female 24,803) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 25.9 years male: 28 years female: 22.3 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

3.52% note: this rate reflects a return to pre-Gulf crisis immigration of expatriates (2006 est.)

Birth rate

21.94 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

2.41 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

15.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.77 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 1.71 male(s)/female total population: 1.52 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.2 years male: 76.13 years female: 78.31 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.91 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Men are expected to wear suits and ties for business and formal social occasions. English is widely spoken in business circles although a few words or phrases of Arabic are always well received. Visiting cards are widely used. Some of the bigger hotels have translation and bilingual secretarial services. During summer, Kuwaiti managers prefer to meet with foreign visitors after 6:00 p.m. Appointments with managers often take place after 9:00 p.m. Business during the very hot summer season, especially July and August, is very slow as most managers leave the country for vacations with their families. Kuwaitis are very hospitable and it is customary for them to invite their foreign guests to their diwaniyas in the evenings, or even to their chalets (beach/vacation cottages) on weekends. Kuwait is a Moslem country, however, nationals of over 120 countries live and work in Kuwait. Private companies work six days a week (Saturday through Thursday). Some companies work from 8:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m; others work from 8:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. On Thursdays, companies work from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Government offices close on Thursdays and Fridays. Banks and insurance companies close on Fridays and Saturdays.

Crime

The crime rate in Kuwait is low. Most crime is directed towards (and by) the members of the labor community from South Asia, Egypt and the Philippines. Crime directed towards western expatriates is very infrequent. Residential theft by domestic employees, and verbal harassment of women, are the most frequent types of crime that an foriegners could expect. Police in Kuwait are generally well-trained, professional and responsive to calls for assistance. Police, fire and ambulance can be reached by calling 777.

Hotels

Hotels range from deluxe to first and second class. Better hotels include the Sheraton Kuwait Hotel, Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Kuwait Hotel, Safir International Hotel, Le Meridien Kuwait Hotel or Radisson SAS Kuwait Hotel. Prices are generally high.

Communications

Full telephone IDD service is available. The country code is 965 and the outgoing international code is 00. Kuwait has a good communications network. It is possible to make calls from Kuwait to any part of the world from apartments (for residents), from offices, and from any hotel. Faxes may be sent from the business centers of leading local hotels, such as the Sheraton Kuwait Hotel, Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Kuwait Hotel, Safir International Hotel, Le Meridien Kuwait Hotel or Radisson SAS Kuwait Hotel. Post office hours are 0700-1400 Saturday to Wednesday; 0700-1200 Thursday.

Electricity

is 240 volts AC, 50Hz; single phase. UK-type flat 3-pin plugs are used. Electricity 240 volts AC, 50Hz; single phase. UK-type flat three-pin plugs are used.

Plug Types

C,G

Food And Dining

There is a good choice of restaurants serving a wide choice of international and Arab cuisine, prices are reasonable. Typical middle-eastern food includes hummus, falafel and foul. Everything is eaten with aish (Arabic flat bread). Alcohol is totally prohibited in Kuwait. Tipping : A service charge of 15 per cent is usually added to bills in hotels, restaurants and clubs. Otherwise 10 per cent is acceptable.
Nightlife
Several cinemas in Kuwait City show recent films. Two theaters often put on very good amateur productions.

Entry departure requirements

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid for at least six months required by all.

Note

Married women and children (except nationals of Iran and Iraq) may travel on the passport of their husband or father.

Visas

Required by all except nationals of Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for an unlimited period.

Types of visa and cost

Business, Visitor and Transit. Transit visas are not required provided passengers hold onward tickets and do not leave the airport. The fee for a visa depends on the applicant?s nationality. For UK nationals the fees are as follows: Single-entry: US$52 (for three months); US$82 (for six months). Multiple-entry: US$113 (for six months); US$129 (for one year); US$165 (for two years); US$232 (for five years).

Validity

Depends on nationality and purpose of visit. Validity of the visa is usually three months from date of issue. Enquire at Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy) for further details.

Application to

Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy); see General Info section for details.

Note

Nationals of Andorra, Australia, Brunei, Canada, China (PR), nationals of the EU (except nationals of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovak Republic and Slovenia), Hong Kong (SAR), Iceland, Japan, Korea (Rep), Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Singapore, Switzerland, USA and the Vatican City can now obtain visas for entry into Kuwait upon arrival at the port of entry.

Application requirements

(a) Valid passport. (b) One completed application form. (c) One passport-size photo. (d) Fax or other confirmation of invitation from sponsor/contact in Kuwait. This should be faxed directly to the Embassy; see General Info section for fax numbers (not required for visa on arrival - see above). (e) Covering letter from employer in home country detailing evidence of position and status within company, purpose of visit, length of stay. (f) Registered, self-addressed envelope if applying by post. (g) Fee.

Working days required

10.

Temporary residence

Enquire at Embassy. Note that UK nationals who wish to take up employment will eventually require a Residence Permit. This must be obtained before arrival in Kuwait as it is not possible to transfer status from ?visitor? to ?temporary resident? without first leaving Kuwait.

HIV entry requirements

Test required for anyone applying for work or residency permit

Departure tax

KD2; transit passengers not leaving the airport transit area and children under 12 are exempt.

Embassies

Embassy of the State of Kuwait in the UK

2 Albert Gate, London SW1X 7JU, UK
Tel: (020) 7590 3400.
Website: www.kuwaitinfo.org.uk
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1230 and 1400-1600 (visa collection only).

Embassy of the State of Kuwait in the USA

2940 Tilden Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 966 0702. Fax: (202) 966 0517.

Travel Warnings

There is a high threat from terrorism. Al Qaeda continues to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region. These include references to attacks on Western interests, including residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests.

In early 2005, Kuwaiti security forces mounted operations against suspected militants and their safe houses, during which several suspected militants were killed or arrested. The security forces discovered bomb-making equipment and material linked with planned kidnaps. It is believed that individuals associated with these incidents are still at large and remain a threat to Western interests.

Travelers should review their security arrangements carefully. They should continue to exercise caution, particularly in public places and maintain a high level of security awareness.
Latest travel advice contacts:
British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Website: www.fco.gov.uk

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html

Currency

Kuwait Dinar (KWD) = 1000 fils. Notes are in denominations of KWD20, 10, 5 and 1, and 500 and 250 fils. Coins are in denominations of 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 fils.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local and foreign currency is not restricted.

Banking hours

Sun-Thurs 0800-1200.

Currency exchange

 

Credit cards

American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Travellers cheques

Widely accepted. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Abdalli470+ 4 digits
Ahmadi398+ 4 digits
Ahmadi & Umm-Alhaiman328+ 4 digits
Ardhiyah489+ 4 digits
Fahaheel392+ 4 digits
Farwaniah476+ 4 digits
Free Trade Zone461+ 4 digits
Funtas390+ 4 digits
Hawalli266+ 4 digits
Jaber Al-Ali384+ 4 digits
Jabriyah534+ 4 digits
Jahra478+ 4 digits
Jahra-B458+ 4 digits
Jabriyah534+ 4 digits
Jaleeb Al-Shuyoukh434+ 4 digits
Manqaf & Shuiba376+ 4 digits
Mushrif538+ 4 digits
Nuzha259+ 4 digits
Qurain544+ 4 digits
Ras Salmiyah575+ 4 digits
Rekka396+ 4 digits
Sabah Salem552+ 4 digits
Safat249+ 4 digits
Salmiyah565+ 4 digits
Shuwaikh484+ 4 digits
South Subahiyah362+ 4 digits
Sulaibikhat487+ 4 digits
Sulaibiyah467+ 4 digits
Wafra381+ 4 digits
Zoor395+ 4 digits
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Reasonable dental care can be found in the larger towns and cities

Medication Availability

Supplies of international medications are generally available in Kuwait

Blood supplies

Blood supplies are considered safe and screened to international standards

Medical facilities

The health care delivery system continues to develop, with many medical facilities, both government and private, available in Kuwait. Medical care at government-run clinics and hospitals is generally provided at low cost to residents of Kuwait, although laws regarding local health insurance are being revised. Private physicians and hospitals charge fees for services, and some do not accept local health insurance. Many hospital and clinic services do not compare to Western standards, and staffs often have no U.S. experience or training. Laws and procedures governing health care can be complex.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

Colds, flu, and respiratory, sinus and external ear infections are typical medical problems due to dust and dust borne germs. March through September is extremely hot and dry and precaution should be taken against heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Those staying for long periods should pay attention to hydration to prevent urinary tract stone formation.

Immunization

Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne diseases: these do not generally pose widespread hazards to the traveler. Leishmaniasis (cutaneous) - occurs Leishmaniasis (visceral) - occurs Tick-borne relapsing fever - occurs Typhus (including murine and tick-borne) - occurs Food-borne and water-borne illness: pose a major hazard in most areas. Brucellosis - prevalent Cholera - occurs Dracunculiasis - occurs Echinococcosis (hydatid disease) - occurs Hepatitis (viral) - common Taeniasis - occurs Typhoid fever - common Other hazards: High levels of immunization coverage have reduced the incidence of diseases such as measles and diphtheria. Polio is still considered a possible risk, although no cases have been reported in recent years. Influenza risk extends from November to April. Trachoma may be a problem.

Entry requirements

AIDS: According to the Department of State, testing is required for persons planning to obtain residence permits. Foreign test results are not accepted. Contact Kuwait's embassy for details.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Al-Rashid HospitalP.O. Box 8999 Amman Street Salmiya
Al-Salam HospitalAl-Shariff Al-Radi Street Bneid Al-Gar Dasma 35151
Hadi ClinicP.O. Box 44630 Jabriya Junction Fahahel Expressway/5th Ring Road Hawally
International ClinicSalmiya Kuwait City 22077
New Mowasat HospitalPO Box 6661 Block 2, Yousif Bin Homoud Street Salmiya 22077

Media

Press: The English-language newspapers are the Arab Times and the Kuwait Times. Although remaining loyal to the ruling family, the press enjoys a fair degree of freedom.
Radio: BBC World Service (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America (website: www.voa.gov) can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

 

Need help?

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Sat 8:30am - 4pm.
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Contact details can be found in your policy documentation

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