While you are traveling in Kuwait, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. Persons violating Kuwaiti laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Alcohol is illegal; possession of it or driving under the influence will result in your immediate imprisonment. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Kuwait are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, but still illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Kuwait, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going. If arrested abroad, a citizen must go through the foreign legal process for being charged or indicted, prosecuted, possibly convicted and sentenced, and for any appeals process.
Within this framework, U.S. consular officers provide a wide variety of services to U.S. citizens arrested abroad and their families. To learn what the Embassy can and cannot do if you are arrested overseas, please see our information on arrests overseas.
While some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in a foreign country, that might not always be the case. To ensure that the United States is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained overseas.
Individuals arrested for criminal violations in Kuwait are generally taken to the public prosecutor within two business days to determine if there is sufficient evidence for an investigation and may be detained for up to thirty days without a formal filing of charges. Juvenile proceedings are closed to all but court officers.
You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.