Lonely Planet Writer

Kuwait will soon require mandatory DNA test from all travellers entering the country

Travellers entering Kuwait will soon have to submit to a DNA test, as the country becomes the first to require its citizens, residents and any visitors to hand over a sample of their genetic material.

Kuwait City.
Kuwait City. Image by Mohammad Taqi

The country, located between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, passed the controversial law requiring the tests last year, but the process will actually be implemented this year.

The Kuwait Times has reported that the DNA testing law is aimed at creating a security database, but notes that Kuwaiti officials say the requirement won’t infringe on people’s personal freedoms or privacy and will not be used to seek out people’s medical information, lineage or genealogy.

In an interview with the Kuwait Times, a senior official in charge of implementing the program was quoted anonymously, saying that DNA tests have been effective in solving many crimes. The report notes that DNA tests will be taken from individuals “to match their DNA in paternity cases or as suspects in criminal cases”.

Travellers entering the country will have their DNA collected at a special centre in the Kuwait International Airport upon landing. Submitting a sample will be mandatory and the government “will notify relevant authorities about whoever refuses to give a sample so that they could apply the measures stipulated in the law”, reports the Times. Those consequences could include a fine of up to $33,000 or a year in jail, the AFP reported last year when the law was passed. They will also co-ordinate with airlines so people are aware of the consequences of not giving a sample when coming to the country.