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Kuwait Travel Information

Kuwait Travel InformationAll flights to and from Kuwait are now canceled indefinitely. The airport will only be open for transport flights and flights with Kuwaiti nationals. For more information about coronavirus, see the section Health.

Safety

Traveling in Kuwait is considered relatively safe. There is little violent crime and theft, but travelers should nevertheless follow the usual precautions, including being careful of passports and valuables, and using safes when available.

As a result of recent events in Iraq (January 2020), there is a tense situation throughout the region. Norwegians traveling in Kuwait are vigilant, keeping abreast of developments via media and avoiding public gatherings. All Norwegians are also encouraged to post and update information about their travel and stay in Kuwait on the website (about travel registration) mentioned below.

The authorities take security issues very seriously. Security measures in Kuwait have been strengthened as a result of the regional political situation. As part of the US-led coalition against Isil, Kuwait is a potential terrorist target for Islamist extremism.

Events in the region can affect the mood in the country. Therefore, developments in both local and international media should be monitored and the situation assessed continuously.

Unexploded Gulf War ammunition in the early 1990s remains to be found. Traffic off public roads should therefore be avoided. Be observant of suspicious objects and keep a close eye on smaller children.

  • Countryaah: Kuwait City is the capital of Kuwait. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.

Photography of military buildings and facilities, as well as infrastructure such as oil installations, etc. can in the worst case result in arrest.

Transportation: The road standard in Kuwait is good, but high speed and reckless driving style lead to many accidents. It is recommended to drive defensively and pay attention when traveling in traffic. All accidents must be reported to the police, and the vehicles involved must not be moved on until the police arrive at the scene of the accident.

The taxi industry is considered safe. Make sure the tachometer is turned on or that you have agreed a price in advance.

For desert excursions, several cars with four-wheel drive should run together. It is important to bring the necessary equipment, including water, food, maps, mobile phone and shovel. Travel plans should be shared with family or friends before departure.

See also "Transport" under "Practical information"

Natural disasters: The probability of major natural disasters (earthquake, flood, monsoon) is small.

Sandstorms and fog occur, and can result in greatly reduced visibility and dangerous traffic situations. Poorly developed drainage systems mean that even smaller rainfall can lead to flooding. You should avoid driving in such conditions and exercise great caution if you are still on the roads.

Crises and travel registration: The embassy will encourage Norwegians who are staying or traveling in Kuwait to register with their names and contact information via http://www.reiseregistering.no/. This will give the embassy the opportunity to get information, and get in touch with Norwegians quickly in the event of a crisis.

See "Practical Information" for emergency numbers.

Entry

Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.

Norwegian citizens must have an ordinary passport with at least six months validity when entering Kuwait. A four-week tourist visa is issued in the passport control.

Visas can also be obtained in advance via the E-visa portal or at the Kuwaiti embassy in Stockholm. If you fail to travel from the country before the visa expires or is renewed, you will be fined.

All travelers must ensure that they have a valid, regular passport. Provisional passport (green color), emergency passport (orange color), refugee travel document (green travel document) or travel document for people on humanitarian grounds (blue travel document) are not accepted as entry documents in Kuwait. Also, one cannot stop in Kuwait with emergency passports.

You can be denied entry if you have an Israeli visa or stamp in your passport.

Travelers between Kuwait and Iraq may experience being stopped at the border. This is especially true of Norwegians with Iraqi backgrounds.

For more information on issuing/renewing passports etc. see the police websites.

Norway does not have a local embassy in Kuwait, but covers Kuwait from the embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This results in somewhat longer processing time for consular matters.

Import regulations: Import authorization for animals must be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture. Vaccination certificate against rabies must be submitted. A commercial license must be submitted for the import of fruits and vegetables.

Health

Coronavirus (covid-19): The authorities of Kuwait imposed the following restrictions on March 13: All flights to and from Kuwait are canceled indefinitely. The airport will only be open for transport flights and flights with Kuwaiti nationals. The Iraqi border is closed and only commercial transport can cross the border into Saudi Arabia. The issuance of visas to Kuwait (except for diplomatic visas) ceases indefinitely.

Norwegian citizens should familiarize themselves with local conditions and take the necessary precautions before and during the journey.

Norwegian travelers should keep abreast of the development of the corona virus. Feel free to follow the local authorities' advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation. See, for example, the Ministry of Health's websites.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not create travel advice because of the risk of infection. It is the Public Health Institute that provides health advice. You can find more information and guidance from Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

In the summer months, the climate is characterized by very high temperatures - up to 55 degrees - with low humidity. This can cause health stress. It is important to get plenty of liquid when staying outdoors and protect yourself from direct sunlight. Drinking water is recommended purchased on a bottle.

Foods and eateries usually maintain good hygiene standards.

Doctors and hospitals are considered to have varying, but generally good standards. Prepayment may be required. Valid travel insurance with good coverage is required to guard against expensive hospital stays.

Note that many travel insurance policies do not cover damage that occurs when you are intoxicated.

Prescription medications should be stored in the original packaging and carried in the hand luggage. Prescriptions translated into English and authorized by Norwegian health authorities must be brought along. Further information can be found on the website of the Norwegian Medicines Agency, click on " Medicines on foreign travel ".

There are no vaccination requirements for travel to Kuwait. Norwegian health authorities recommend certain vaccines for longer stays, especially outside the cities. For further information see the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Practical information

Kuwait is located on the Arabian Peninsula at the heart of the Persian Gulf. The country has Saudi Arabia as a neighbor to the west and Iraq to the east. Only a small strip of Iraqi country separates Kuwait from Iran. The capital is Kuwait City.

Arabic is the public language, but English, Hindi and Urdu are widely used. There is a wide international presence in Kuwait, and tourist facilities are regularly available.

Emergency telephones -
Police/ambulance/fire: 112
UD's operational center: (+47) 23 95 00 00

The climate is very warm for much of the year. From May to October, temperatures reach 40-50 degrees. The summer months usually have low humidity. From November to April you can expect nice Norwegian summer weather and cool nights. The winter months December-February can have cold temperatures.

Currency unit and credit card: The currency unit is Kuwaiti dinars, and is linked to an international currency basket where the US dollar is the main currency. The exchange rate for the dollar is 1 KD = $ 3,326. One dinar is divided into 1000 fils.

There are many ATMs. Most debit and credit cards are accepted in hotels and larger stores. Some credit cards may have zone restrictions, which means that they will not work without asking your Norwegian bank to lift the zone restriction.

Transportation: In the urban areas around Kuwait City, bus services are widespread, but little used by Westerners. Women in particular can experience unpleasant episodes.

It is recommended to use taxis as a means of transport. There are two types of taxis. The orange ones follow fixed routes and are shared with others, while the private ones can be ordered per. phone, or you can take them from the biggest hotels. It is also possible to flag taxis on the street.

Car hire: International driver's license is a prerequisite for renting a car. Contact NAF before departure to get an issue. The card is valid for one year from the stamped date. For permanent residence, a local driver's license must be obtained.

If you get into a traffic accident it is a requirement that you stay at the car to the police have come and made an investigation. Without this investigation, car repair shops cannot repair the damage.

Those responsible for traffic accidents that result in someone being killed can by law be sentenced to pay blood money. These can be very high sums.

See also "Transport" under "Security".

Opening hours: The working week in Kuwait is Sunday to Thursday. Most shops are also open on weekends.

Stores are normally open from 10am to 9pm, and malls from 10am to 11pm.

During the fasting month of Ramadan (which is shifted approximately twelve days from year to year), stores and shopping malls usually extend opening hours.

Banks and public offices are normally open from 08:00 to 14:30

National Holidays: National Day is February 25th. Muslim holidays are moving from year to year. The weekend is Friday and Saturday.

The power supply is at 220 V voltage. British plug (three plugs). Adapter should be brought.

Good GSM coverage. Norwegian phones can be used.

Time difference to Norway: + 1 hour at summer time in Norway, + 2 hours at winter time.

Customs and rules: Kuwait is a Muslim country and local laws and customs should be respected. Islamic faith, law and practice are reflected in the country's laws and regulations.

Food & beverage: It is forbidden to enjoy alcohol and pork in Kuwait.

Dress code: You can initially dress as you like, but it is appreciated if you dress more conservatively than in the West, and cover shoulders and knees. This is especially true during Ramadan and when traveling outside the major cities.

Public behavior: Some Western behavior may be perceived as offensive to religion or culture. One should understand and respect the local rules of conduct. Cursing and abusive gestures are considered obscene and may result in imprisonment or deportation. This is especially true in the face of police and other government officials.

Showing love or affection in public should be avoided. Married couples can hold hands, but there are examples of arrest for kissing (and more performing activities) in public.

In the face of Kuwaiti women, men should wait to stretch out their hand until the woman does.

Ramadan: During the fasting month of Ramadan, one should pay particular attention to the local rules of conduct. Non-Muslims are expected to show respect for the fasting. It is illegal to eat, drink, chew gum and smoke in public between sunrise and sunset (this does not apply to children). Furthermore, one should be extra careful about wearing decent clothes.

The working hours and opening hours of restaurants and malls change during Ramadan. The entertainment offer is very limited.

In 2017, Ramadan is expected to last from May 26 to June 24, but the date is finally set only in what one sees the new moon. The fasting month comes approx. twelve days earlier each year on the Gregorian calendar.

Homosexuality: Homosexuality and cohabitation are prohibited in Kuwait.

Drugs: Possession, use or smuggling of illegal drugs, even small quantities, can result in severe penalties. This also applies to certain drugs classified as narcotic drugs. If in doubt, one should investigate further. Kuwait's embassy in Stockholm (which is Kuwait's embassy to Norway) can be contacted for more information.

Passports are used as credentials at hotels and checkpoints on various roads in Kuwait. Therefore, take your passport both on shorter and longer trips.

Public censorship exists, and freedom of speech is curtailed following the demonstrations in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011.

Travel bans are a frequently used form of sanction. Kuwaiti and non-Kuwaiti who are under investigation or involved in economic conflicts may be denied leave until the conflict is resolved.

One should always ask about law before photographing private individuals. This is especially true of photography of local women. Photography of military buildings and facilities, as well as infrastructure such as oil installations, etc. can in the worst case result in arrest.

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