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Kuwait

If you’re travelling to Kuwait, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise Irish citizens in Kuwait to Exercise a High Degree of Caution.

Latest Travel Alert

There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be targeted at Westerners or Western interests. Please be especially vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Emergency Assistance

There is no Irish Embassy in Kuwait, so we are limited in the help we can provide in the event of an emergency. You can contact the Irish Embassy in UAE if you require assistance or advice. Irish citizens with a genuine emergency can leave a voicemail message on the outside of office hours. Make sure to leave your name, mobile number, current location and the nature of the emergency. An Embassy Duty Officer will return your call.

Other EU Embassies

You can also contact the Embassies or Consulates of other EU countries for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and security

Social unrest

There have been a number of protests by expatriate labourers in Kuwait over their employment conditions. International events and political developments (including elections) may also prompt demonstrations in Kuwait.

Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser. And avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational.  

If you find yourself in the vicinity of a protest, leave the area immediately and do not take photographs.

Terrorism

Most visits to Kuwait are trouble-free. However, you should be aware of the threat from terrorism generally in the region. Attacks could be indiscriminate, and against Western interests, as they have been elsewhere in the region.

Landmines

Landmines and other hazardous ordnance are still present in Kuwait. When travelling outside Kuwait City, you should keep to tarmac roads. Be careful when using beaches and picnic spots. Even where officially cleared, there’s still a danger from unexploded ordnance.  Don’t pick up any strange metal, plastic or other objects lying around.  Don’t souvenir hunt for war memorabilia.

Crime

Crime remains relatively low in Kuwait but you should take sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places.

Violent crime against foreigners is rare. However, you should take care if you intend to travel in conservative areas like Jahra, where there have been incidents involving firearms, and Jleeb Al Shuyoukh where there have been riots by migrant workers protesting about their conditions.

Taxis

We advise against hailing a taxi from the road in Kuwait, particularly if you’re female. There have been a few incidents of passengers being harassed while doing so. We recommend that you book a taxi in advance by telephone from a known and reputable taxi company.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Kuwait, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Kuwait, you should be extremely careful. Driving can be hazardous because many drivers exceed speed limits and switch lanes without warning. They frequently ignore traffic lights and speak on their mobile phones while driving with scant attention to other road users. Constant vigilance is essential. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law and you risk being detained, fined or banned from driving if caught
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights

Crossing the border

Only use authorised road border crossing points into Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Any other unauthorised movement in the vicinity of borders is illegal and dangerous: armed guards patrol the border area. If you’re planning to cross the border from Kuwait into Iraq, you should make sure that you have the correct paperwork.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local laws and customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Muslim culture

Kuwait is a Muslim state and Islamic customs are strictly observed. Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions. Dress conservatively - women who wear shorts or tight-fitting clothes, in particular in downtown areas, are likely to attract unwelcome attention. Be aware of your actions and take care not to offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or other religious festivals, or if you intend to visit religious areas.

During Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. To avoid offence, you should not eat, drink or smoke in public during this time.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. 

Alcohol

Drunken behaviour in public or driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable by a fine or imprisonment and/or deportation and the withdrawal of your driving licence.

Sexual behaviour

Homosexual behaviour is illegal. Any public display of affection between men and women is also illegal. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.

Forbidden products

The import and use of narcotics, alcohol, pork products and obscene material are forbidden and can lead to imprisonment.

Business/commercial activities

Anyone involved in a commercial or any other dispute with a Kuwaiti company or individual may be prevented from leaving the country or placed in custody, pending resolution of the dispute. Bouncing cheques is illegal in Kuwait and can result in imprisonment and/or a fine.  The law doesn’t provide for offenders to be released from custody on bail. 'Post dated' cheques can be banked immediately.

Co-habiting

Co-habiting in Kuwait is illegal. If you wish to live with your partner in the same house, you need to be married.

Natural disasters and climate

Climate

The climate in Kuwait is hot and dry most of the year.

Sandstorms

There are occasional sandstorms but although they may restrict visibility, they are not usually severe enough to affect daily life.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you are unsure of the entry requirements for Kuwait, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Kuwait.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Kuwait.