- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Natural Disasters and Climate
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation
Avoid non-essential travel
Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020
There are ongoing regional tensions and, in the event of any incidents, you should monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.
There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be targeted at Westerners or Western interests. Please be especially vigilant and practice good security awareness.
The Kuwait authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities. This could include medical screening, with the potential for further follow-up health measures and restrictions. Face masks must be worn in public.
Kuwait announced the reopening of its land, sea and air borders on 2 January 2021 after a temporary closure from 21 December. Citizens and residency visa holders, with some exceptions, are permitted to enter Kuwait. New visit visas are not being issued for Kuwait. Entry to Kuwait is not permitted if, in the preceding 14 days, you have been in any of the countries Kuwait considers high risk for COVID-19, including the UK.
Kuwait announced the suspension of flights to and from the UK from 6 January 2021 until further notice.
Passengers should contact their airline or travel provider for information on cancelled or rescheduled flights. You should be aware of the possibility of flight changes or cancellations, particularly for transit routes, and confirm travel details and transit rules with your airline or travel provider.
All passengers arriving in Kuwait must produce a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test conducted in the previous 72 hours. You should confirm the requirements for COVID-19 testing with your airline prior to travel.
It is mandatory to download the Shlonik contact tracing app before travelling to Kuwait. Passengers arriving in Kuwait will be required to go through thermal screening and may be tested for Covid-19. There will be a mandatory quarantine period of 14 days at home at the address registered on the Shlonik app. You should follow the directions of the local authorities.
The Kuwait authorities advise those travelling to or from Kuwait to register their details on the Kuwait Mosafer app.
Departing passengers should confirm travel requirements with their airline and/or on the Kuwait Civil Aviation website.
The Kuwaiti Government automatically extended visit and residency visas of those in Kuwait that expired after 1 March to 30 November 2020. A small number were subsequently extended for a further three months. This only applies to visa holders already in Kuwait. If you hold valid Kuwaiti residency and are outside Kuwait, your residency is now valid until its expiry date, and does not automatically expire after 6 months outside Kuwait.
If you are in Kuwait, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities.
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:
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.
EU Directive on Consular Protection
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
Our tips for safe travels
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
- 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
Safety and Security
Safety and security
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.
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 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 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.
- Don't walk alone at night. If you're female, don't travel alone.
- 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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. In 2020, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 23 April.
Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms.
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.
Homosexual behaviour is illegal. Any public display of affection between men and women is also illegal. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.
The import and use of narcotics, alcohol, pork products and obscene material are forbidden and can lead to imprisonment.
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 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
Natural Disasters and Climate
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.
For visit visas, your passport should have a minimum validity of 6 months from the date of entry into Kuwait.
For new residency visas, your passport should be valid for a minimum of 2 years.
Emergency Irish travel documents are not accepted for entry into Kuwait but may be accepted for transit. Please contact your travel agent/airline and/or the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Kuwait for further information.
We do not have an Embassy in Kuwait, please contact Embassy of Ireland United Arab Emirates on +971 (0) 2 4958200.
If you require emergency assistance at the weekend or on a public holiday, you will be asked to leave a message on the answering machine. The answering machine is monitored regularly, and the Duty Officer at the Embassy will contact you as soon as possible.
Embassy of Ireland
Al Yasat Street off 6th Street
P.O. Box 61581
United Arab Emirates
Sunday – Thursday 9:00am to 1:00pm
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.