Kuwait has a fairly liberal visa on arrival available for tourists from the United States as well as most European and east Asian and Pacific countries as well. Typically when you read “visa on arrival” many travelers assume it’s paying a simple fee at passport control.
This is certainly the case in Kuwait – mostly – since if you’re a citizen of any of these countries you can get a visa upon arrival at the airport. Except that it’s a cumbersome, but avoidable, process that takes unnecessary time you can save by getting a visa online.
Simple, I Know
Despite this seemingly obvious advice, based on the long lines I encountered at the visa office at the airport, Kuwait’s relatively new but unadvertised e-visa process isn’t widely used. Travelers who show up at Kuwait International Airport without getting an e-visa first must go to the airport’s visa office – which costs both money and time.
A mandatory process you won’t be aware of until you’ve already been in line at passport control for over 15 minutes. Immigration officers will tell you yes, you can get a visa on arrival but first you have to get one from the office upstairs.
Office Experience You Want To Avoid
Once at the visa office (you’ve now gone at least 15 minutes wasted waiting in the passport control line) you let the clerk know you need a visa. In case you’re at this point – before heading to the visa office, get to an ATM as the office only accepts cash for tourist visas. Just having a credit card will mean longer delays and possibly losing your place in line.
They’ll photocopy your passport, then you take a number for your turn. In the office they’re processing all sorts of visas inevitably resulting in long wait times even if you just need the visa on arrival. Not to mention your luggage will be sitting by its lonely self as you scramble to get the right documents – always a risky situation.
Save 30 Minutes
To get around all of this waiting, there is another (hardly advertised) option: get an eVisa.
Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior provides this website where you can enter your travel details. Plus the electronic visa process doesn’t come with the fees obtaining one in person does and only takes up to 3 business days.
Remember to print out your visa once it’s emailed to you and bring it with your passport to show at immigration. You’ve now just saved half an hour at arrival, plus the fees they charge you in person. Generally you’ve got 90 days in the country but double check to be certain not to overstay. For onward travels to Europe, these are the answers to your most common visa questions. For trickier Central Asian nations, this post will help.