Do I need a passport or visa to enter?
Passports and visas are required for U.S. citizens traveling to Kuwait. U.S. citizens can obtain visitor visas at the port of entry in Kuwait, and at this time, U.S. citizens are not charged a fee. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry into Kuwait, otherwise travelers risk being denied entry. The Government of Kuwait has advised that they will not accept limited-validity (emergency) passports and bearers of such passports will not be granted visas at the airport. U.S. citizens with residency in Kuwait must obtain prior approval from Kuwaiti immigration authorities to enter on a temporary passport. Travelers who overstay their visas may be required to pay large fines and/or may be subject to imprisonment before being permitted to depart Kuwait. Travelers who leave Kuwait without completing Kuwaiti exit procedures may also be required to pay large fines and/or be imprisoned upon their return. This includes official travelers and contractors supporting regional U.S. military operations proceeding via Kuwait to and from Iraq and Afghanistan. Please note that employment in Kuwait requires the issuance of a work visa prior to arriving in country. Working without the proper authorization may result in immigration penalties, including deportation or denial of admission to Kuwait. For further information on entry and exit requirements, travelers should contact the Embassy of the State of Kuwait at 2940 Tilden Street NW, Washington, DC 20008, telephone (202) 966-0702, or the Kuwaiti Consulate in New York City, telephone (212) 973-4318. U.S. citizens are urged to remain aware of their visa status while in Kuwait and to strictly follow Kuwaiti immigration laws and regulations.
Effective November 21, 2013, Department of Defense (DoD) contractors terminating in Kuwait or traveling through Kuwait to other final destinations will need to enter Kuwait through the Kuwait City International Airport (KCIA) or, if traveling from within the U.S. Central Command Area of Responsibility via military airlift, should enter Kuwait through the military side of KCIA. DoD contractors arriving for employment contracts in Kuwait must be in possession of a valid U.S. passport and employment visa. Other travelers may obtain an appropriate visa prior to entering Kuwait or upon arriving at KCIA. For departures from Kuwait, DoD contractors may utilize Ali Al Salem (AAS) Air Base once their passport has received an exit stamp from Government of Kuwait immigration officials. However, DoD contractors may not enter Kuwait via AAS Air Base because of the lack of appropriate Kuwaiti government immigration facilities at the Base.
Kuwaiti officials are extremely sensitive about travel to Iraq. There have been instances in which U.S. citizens, especially dual nationals, have been detained for questioning at ports of entry/exit. U.S. citizens seeking to travel to Iraq through Kuwait or enter Kuwait from Iraq have also on occasion been turned around and/or detained.
Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis, including U.S. citizens, who have been charged with criminal offenses, placed under investigation, involved in unresolved financial disputes, or have unpaid debts, are subject to Kuwaiti government travel bans. The U.S. Embassy can provide U.S. citizens with a list of attorneys. However, only Kuwaiti authorities can remove travel bans. These bans, which are rigidly enforced, prevent the individual from leaving Kuwait for any reason until the matter is resolved. Travel bans can also be initiated by private citizens for almost any reason and may remain in place for a substantial period of time while the case is being investigated.
U.S. citizens seeking residency in Kuwait should obtain the necessary documents prior to arriving in Kuwait and follow the proper procedures to have the documents authenticated by the Department of State and attested by the Embassy of the State of Kuwait or Kuwait Consulates. This includes U.S.-issued vital records and police clearances. Government of Kuwait regulations require the verification of the informational content of such documents; the U.S. Embassy cannot provide this service.
The Government of Kuwait has strict regulations regarding certain diseases, including HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis. Medical examinations are required for all individuals seeking residency in Kuwait; any applicants who test positive for these diseases will be asked to leave the country immediately and will be permanently barred from re-entry. Please inquire directly with the Embassy of Kuwait before traveling.