Road Conditions and Safety: Driving in Kuwait is extremely hazardous due to excessive speeding, distracted driving, road rage, lax enforcement of traffic regulations, and a high volume of traffic. All major highways in Kuwait are dangerous due to excessive speeding. Roads have adequate signage. Passersby and emergency personnel react to accidents appropriately. Exercise increased caution when driving at night as some drivers do no use headlights. Drivers should avoid driving after heavy rainstorms or through standing water, be alert for flooded areas, and monitor local media for road closures and weather updates.
- You are required to have your driver?s license with you at all times when operating a vehicle. There are no exceptions.
- Driving while intoxicated can result in fines, imprisonment, deportation, and/or revocation of your Kuwait driving license.
- It is against the law to use cell phones or text while driving.
- Use of seat belts is mandatory.
- Requests for bribes are uncommon.
- In case of emergency or traffic accident, call 112.
- Involvement in an accident, whether or not you are at fault, can lead to arrest and detention. Immediately notify the police and remain at the scene until the police arrive.
- If you are injured in an accident that may result in a legal claim against you or that you wish to file against another party, you must seek medical attention at a public hospital. At the public hospital, an investigator will document your injuries. Failure to do this will limit your ability to seek legal remedy for any injuries you have suffered.
- At-fault accidents can result in arrests, demands for financial restitution, and/or travel bans preventing you from leaving Kuwait. Police at checkpoints may fine motorists arbitrarily.
- Traffic cameras capture stop light and speeding violations.
- Nonpayment of traffic and parking fines can result in seizure of your vehicle and travel bans. This means you cannot leave Kuwait until all fines and penalties are paid. You can pay traffic fines online through the MOI?s online portal.
- Use only marked and licensed taxis. Taxis are available at major hotels and by telephone.
- Do not sit in the front seat of taxis with the driver.
- Do not allow the driver to pick up unknown passengers or enter a taxi occupied by someone in addition to the driver.
- Be aware of the route driven by the taxi driver and ensure that the driver does not take you to an unfamiliar area.
- As with driving personal vehicles, remember to vary routes and times when utilizing taxis.
- Women should exercise increased caution when riding public buses due to sexual harassment.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Kuwait?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Kuwait?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Kuwait should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the NGA broadcast warnings website.
Please visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for information on COVID-19 in Kuwait.
Healthcare is adequate and accessible both in the government-run system and many private institutions. The government facilities provide services for foreigners at reasonable costs, and payment for all services is expected in advance. Government facilities offer more specialty care services, though wait times are often long and difficult to access for non-nationals. Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institutions. Some medical services are below U.S. standards. Most prescription and over-the-counter medicines are readily available at pharmacies. Emergency services are generally very responsive.
For emergency services in Kuwait, dial 112.
We do not pay medical bills: Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers in Kuwait will accept cash or credit card payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor?s prescription. Check with the Embassy of Kuwait in Washington, DC, the Consulate General of Kuwait in Los Angeles, the Consulate General of Kuwait in New York City, or the Kuwait General Administration for Customs (Email : email@example.com. Telephone: (+965) 24955000, Fax: (+965) 24838056) to ensure the medication is legal in Kuwait.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Kuwait Ministry of Health. Please note that Kuwait?s vaccination requirements for residents are different and may require more inoculations than recommended by the CDC.
Further health information:
Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates. Air pollution is a significant problem in Kuwait. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you, and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.
People at the greatest risk from particle pollution exposure include:
- Infants, children, and teens
- People over 65 years of age
- People with lung disease such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema
- People with heart disease or diabetes
- People who work or are active outdoors
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. Individuals who violate local laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits and licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
Alcohol and Drugs:
- Possession of alcohol and/or narcotics is illegal.
- Convictions for possession, use, and trafficking of drugs may include heavy fines, long jail sentences, or the death penalty.
The following actions are illegal and may also lead to prosecution, imprisonment, and immediate deportation:
- Humiliating or insulting any person verbally or through obscene gestures in a public place, including a police officer, public official, or private citizen.
- Taking pictures or video clips of government buildings, military installations, and oil-related infrastructure or of people without the subject?s knowledge or consent.
- Having unpaid debts.
- Driving without a Kuwait driver?s license after obtaining a residence permit.
- Prostitution and pornography.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Children Born Out of Wedlock: Sexual relations outside of marriage are a criminal offense. Parents may not be able to obtain a Kuwait birth certificate or residence permit for a child born out of wedlock and may be subject to prosecution and/or fines to document the birth of the child.
Customs: Alcohol, pork products, and pornography are prohibited.
Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: Consensual same-sex sexual activity between men is illegal. The law punishes consensual intercourse between men of full age (21 and older)with imprisonment of up of to seven years. Men of full age who engage in consensual intercourse with men under age 21 may be imprisoned up to ten years. No laws criminalize same-sex sexual activity between women. The law imposes a fine and imprisonment for up to one year for persons perceived to be appearing in public as the opposite sex. Transgender individuals have reported harassment, detention, and abuse by security forces. Societal discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity is common.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Accessibility and accommodations in Kuwait are different from those in the United States. The law prohibits discrimination against persons with permanent physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, air travel and other transportation, access to health care, or the provision of other government services. The law also mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities.
Public transportation is generally inaccessible for patrons with disabilities. Accessible parking spaces are marked, but often unavailable. Most medical facilities and public buildings have wheelchair ramps and elevators. Access to sign language interpretation is limited; Americans needing American Sign Language interpretation should plan ahead and have contact information for companies offering distance interpretation services through mobile phone apps, video phones, and other modalities.
Women Travelers: Many public places have dress codes for women requiring shoulders and knees to be covered. Women, especially those traveling alone, should exercise particular caution on public transit, when traveling via taxi, and in conservative or isolated areas. See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack- including knives, firearms, and vehicles ? to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is vulnerable or unprotected targets, such as:
- High profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
- Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
- Places of worship
- Shopping malls and markets
- Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)
Potential for Terrorist Activity: Kuwait continues to face the threat of terrorism. Terrorists may target U.S. citizens and interests in the Arabian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula.
For more information see our Terrorism page.
Crime: Criminal activity is low. Nonetheless, reported incidents include petty theft, car break-ins, and harassment or sexual assault of women traveling alone.
The Embassy recommends that U.S. government personnel exercise increased caution in the Jeleeb Al-Shuyoukh area in Kuwait City due to crime. See the Kuwait Travel Advisory for more information.
Desert Region Near the Border of Iraq: U.S. government personnel are prohibited from personal travel within five kilometers of the Kuwait-Iraq border. See the Kuwait Travel Advisory for more information.
Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Kuwait. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:
- Romance/online dating
- Money transfers
Victims of Crime: U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. Report crimes to the local police at 112 and contact the Embassy at 2259-1001. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- Help you find appropriate medical care
- Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- Provide general information regarding the victim?s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion.
- Provide a list of local attorneys
- Provide our information on victim?s compensation programs in the U.S.
- Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- Replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: Victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is generally regulated according to best practices and safety inspections and rules are regularly enforced. Hazardous areas/activities are identified with appropriate signage and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities. In the event of an injury, adequate medical treatment is available throughout the country. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
No Visas Upon Arrival: Since August 1, 2020, visas are not being issued upon arrival at the airport. Visas are also not available electronically in advance. If you do not have a visa, you will need to obtain a visa or other approval in advance of travel from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Kuwait. Please visit the U.S. Embassy?s COVID-19 webpage for more information on entry/exit requirements related to COVID-19 in Kuwait.
Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Kuwait. Residency permits require an HIV/AIDS test and permits may be denied if applicants test positive. If HIV-related illness becomes known, the resident must leave the country or be deported.
Please see the CDC’s travel page for more travel-related health information.
Residence Permits/Civil IDs: U.S. citizens seeking residency in Kuwait should have all the required legal documents authenticated the Department of State Office of Authentications and attested by the Embassy of Kuwait in Washington, DC or the Consulates General in Los Angeles or New York before arriving in Kuwait. The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait cannot provide this service.
If you are a resident and lose your new Civil ID and/or U.S. passport while outside of Kuwait, you must obtain a No Objection Certificate from the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Kuwait to enter as a resident since losing your U.S. passport invalidates your Civil ID. You may enter using a U.S. emergency passport.
Department of Defense Travelers: The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait strongly advises active members of the U.S. military and military contractors arriving or departing on military air to contact the Theater Gateway office at 2221-6340 to ensure they go through the proper entrance or exit procedures in Kuwait.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Kuwait for information on U.S.-Kuwait relations.