8 Things to Know Before Moving to Kuwait

Kuwait is a small Muslim country located on the Arabian Gulf. Of the 4.5 million people living in Kuwait, nearly 70% are foreign workers. Because it is a wealthy country with no personal income tax, many find it an attractive place to work and live.

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If you’re thinking of moving to Kuwait, there are few things to consider before making the move. Let’s take a look:

1.You’ll Need a Kuwait Visa 

Whether you’re going for a visit or a long-term stay, you’ll need to register for a Kuwait visa in addition to having a valid passport. Luckily, this process can be accomplished online, and registration only takes a few minutes to complete when you apply through the Kuwait Ministry of Interior website.

If you’re traveling from the USA, Canada, Australia, or the EU, you have the option of applying for your visa upon landing in Kuwait.

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2. You’ll Be Safe

People considering a move to Kuwait sometimes worry about their safety, given the country’s proximity to Iraq. In truth, Kuwait enjoys an exceptionally low crime rate, with low instances of pickpocketing and mugging.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t use common sense when out and about in places like Kuwait City. Follow the same safety precautions you would use in any metropolitan area: avoid walking in poorly lit or isolated areas alone at night and stay aware of your surroundings.

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3. Women Can Drive (and Do Lots of Other Things)

Unlike other countries, women in Kuwait can apply for a driver’s license (though learning to navigate the driving culture there can take some getting used to). Women are also free to work and open bank accounts, as well as travel solo around the country.

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4. Regular Clothing is Accepted

You won’t be required to purchase any special clothing or coverings for Kuwait. Most western attire is accepted in the city, though women should take care to cover skin above the knee and arms above the elbows. Men should avoid shorts above the knee and sleeveless tops.

Work attire could be described as somewhat modest for women. Again, wearing long tops that cover most of your arms and pants or skirts that reach below the knee are ideal.

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5. High Cost of Living

There’s a reason Kuwait is so popular amongst ex-pats—the economy is flourishing, there is no personal income tax, and Kuwait’s currency, the Dinar, is the strongest in the world. Unfortunately, the cost of living in this beautiful country is remarkably high. This is due, in large part, to the fact that Kuwait is forced to import most goods. 

While you may have to pay more for name-brand items, take comfort in the knowledge that there are many local brands producing similar products for cheaper prices.

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6. Be Prepared for the Heat

There are no two ways around it—summers in Kuwait can be brutal, with temperatures nearing 115 degrees. Though it may sound absurd, people do become accustomed to the scorching hot temperatures, and many businesses are open into the evenings, offering customers the opportunity to avoid the heat of the day.

Avoid getting out and about during the hottest part of the day, and be sure to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of liquids. Thankfully, the summer months provide the perfect excuse to visit the Arabian Gulf and cool down at one of the public beaches.

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7. Be Prepared to Wait

There is a laid-back attitude in Kuwait—everything seems to happen at a slower pace when compared to the rest of the world. This is particularly true in terms of governmental agencies and any official paperwork. 

If you need to have any sort of forms, documents, or paperwork processed through governmental offices, begin the process well in advance of the due date to ensure everything is completed in time. 

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8. You’ll Need a New Driver’s License

Your current license carries no weight in Kuwait as they do not accept international licenses as valid. Rules for obtaining a driver’s license there vary and can be found by visiting the Visit Kuwait website.

Moving to any new country comes with its own set of unique challenges. The good news is, with a bit of preparation and forethought, you’ll be ready to immerse yourself in all the beauty and culture Kuwait has to offer. Here’s to enjoying a wonderful life in Kuwait!

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