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Visa requirements for Kuwait have relaxed considerably in an effort to encourage more people to visit the country. It is now possible – indeed easy – to obtain a visitor visa at Kuwait International Airport on arrival for nationals of 34 countries including Australia, Canada, the EEC, New Zealand and the USA. A visa costs KD3, except for the citizens of the UK, USA, Italy, Norway and Sweden for whom entry is free. The five-star hotels listed in the sleeping section of this chapter are usually able to sponsor guests not eligible for a visa at the airport, if they intend to stay at the hotel.

Visitor visas are valid for 90 days from the date of issue and allow a maximum stay of 30 days from the date of entry.

Anyone holding a passport containing an Israeli or Iraqi stamp will be refused entry to Kuwait.

Multiple-entry visas are only valid for business requirements. They are valid for 12 months but need to be applied for in advance.

Transit visas

A transit visa can be obtained from any Kuwaiti consulate or from the Kuwait Port Authority if you arrive by sea; it is valid for a maximum of seven days and costs KD2. To be eligible, applicants must have a valid visa for their next destination and a confirmed onward ticket.

Visa extensions

Up to two one-month visa extensions are possible. To do this, an application needs to be made to the Immigration Department (28 Street, off Airport Rd) in Shuwaikh before the existing visa expires. There is a hefty fine (KD10 per day) for overstaying once the visa has expired.