Fire and rescue services
Call 112 or go to a hospital.
Call 112 or visit the nearest police station
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
Terrorist attacks are possible.
Terrorist groups have called for attacks against Western interests in the Gulf region. These include:
residential and military compounds
Regional extremist groups in the region can carry out trans-national attacks.
Places where Westerners gather are possible targets.
Targets may include:
Western cultural symbols such as restaurants, hotels and shopping centres
tourist areas, including theatres and markets
mosques and other religious sites
outdoor recreation events
When visiting Kuwait:
be alert to threats
report suspicious activity or items to police
consider the level of security at places that are known targets
monitor the media for any new threats
take official warnings seriously
follow the advice of local authorities
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case of secondary attacks.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
The security situation in the region remains unpredictable and could deteriorate with little or no warning.
On January 3, 2020, an Iranian senior commander and Iraqi paramilitary leaders were killed in a US airstrike near Baghdad International Airport. On 8 January, Iran fired missiles against two military bases in Iraq. Iranian authorities have also acknowledged responsibility for the shooting down of a Ukrainian International Airlines flight shortly after take-off from Tehran on 8 January. Be alert and monitor media for the latest update.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Demonstrations sometimes happen. Protesters and security forces have clashed.
The situation is currently stable. However, political events may lead to future protests.
In the past, stateless people known as 'Bidoons' have protested to demand Kuwaiti citizenship.
Protests generally take place on Fridays. They are usually in the Jahra area outside of Kuwait City.
Security forces have used water cannons and tear gas to break up the protests.
Avoid all protests, demonstrations and large public gatherings.
Take extra care during the period around Friday prayers.
Be especially alert in:
During period of unrest:
monitor the media and local sources for new threats
plan your activities to avoid days of national or commemorative significance
follow the advice of local authorities
be prepared to change your travel plans
Contact your airline, travel agent or insurer for help if it disrupts transport.
The crime rate is low but on the rise.
Women have reported being physically and verbally harassed.
Take care if you intend to travel to conservative areas. In Jahra, attackers use firearms in confrontations. There have been robberies in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh.
To protect yourself from crime:
be alert to petty thieves while in crowded places
avoid walking alone at night, especially in isolated areas
carry only what you need — leave other valuables in a secure place
if you're a woman, travel with a companion
Sand and dust storms occur regularly.
It's often extremely hot. In the hottest months, June, July and August, the temperature is often above 50°C.
Flooding can happen, usually between December and January.
secure your passport in a safe location
monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
follow the advice from local authorities
keep in contact with friends and family
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
what activities and care your policy covers
that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
have a basic health check-up
ask if your travel plans may affect your health
plan any vaccinations you need
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Kuwait. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:
what the medicine is
how much you'll take
that it's for personal use
Cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) are reported in:
the United Arab Emirates
Other countries outside the Middle East have also reported new cases from returned travellers.
Avoid contact with camels. Don't consume raw camel milk, undercooked camel meat, or anything contaminated with camel secretions.
Get medical advice if you have a fever, cough, breathing difficulties or diarrhoea.
Air pollution levels in Kuwait can spoke to hazardous levels in the winter months, October to February. It can increase the risk of breathing problems.
Severe pollution can cause:
People who have pre-existing medical conditions, particularly heart and lung conditions, may be especially affected. If you are concerned:
The standard of medical facilities in Kuwait varies. Some offer high-quality services. Others are only suitable for routine procedures.
Some hospitals don't accept foreigners.
Private healthcare facilities generally require payment before treatment. Some treatments may not be available for foreigners.
If you need a complex procedure or become seriously ill, you'll need to be evacuated. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Kuwaiti authorities don't normally notify the Australian Embassy if they detain or arrest Australians.
Ask your family, friend or colleague to inform the Embassy as soon as possible.
Penalties for drug offences, including possession, are severe. They can include the death penalty.
Australian and Kuwaiti laws are very different. This includes laws about:
Some offences that aren't serious in Australia are extremely serious in Kuwait. This includes:
writing a cheque without enough funds in your account
not paying your bills
We can't interfere in commercial and family disputes.
If you're involved in local legal matters:
seek professional advice
understand your rights and what you must do under Kuwaiti law
This is particularly the case for family law matters, including:
Kuwaiti authorities require that documents issued in Australia are both:
authenticated by DFAT before you leave Australia
authenticated by officials at the Australian Embassy in Kuwait
Types of documents you'll need to authenticate include:
a marriage certificate or driver's licence for a residency permit
a driver's licence for other purposes
Always carry ID, such as your passport or a Kuwaiti civil identity card.
Authorities conduct regular checks for illegal workers.
It's illegal to:
use social media to criticise regional political matters and figures, including the Emir
challenge or insult the Emir in any way, including in speech, writing or drawing
import alcohol, pork products or pornography
drive without a valid licence
drink and drive
It's also illegal to take photos of:
or near government buildings or other infrastructure, including military sites and oil fields
people, particularly local women, without permission
If you're part of a couple, it's illegal to stay in a hotel room unless you're married. If you stay at a hotel together, hotel staff will ask you for a marriage certificate.
Public displays of affection are illegal.
Same-sex relationships are also illegal.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Dual nationality isn't recognised by Kuwait.
If you're a dual citizen, this limits the consular services we can give if you're arrested or detained.
Kuwaiti authorities have confiscated the Australian passports of dual citizens. This doesn't deprive you of your Australian citizenship.
If this happens, contact the Australian Embassy. See Local contacts
Dress and behave modestly in public.
Women wearing shorts or tight-fitting clothing may attract unwanted attention. Take care in conservative areas like Jahra and Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh.
The Islamic holiday month of Ramadan will be from late April to late May in 2020. Respect religious and cultural customs and laws at this time.
Avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in front of people who are fasting
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can't help you.
You'll need a visa to enter Kuwait.
You can get a visitor visa on arrival. It will be valid for 3 months from the date of entry. Pay for your visa in cash using Kuwaiti dinars.
Get tourist, business and work visas online through the Kuwait e-Visa website. You'll need to pay in cash when you arrive at Kuwait International Airport.
For employment or residency visas, contact an embassy of Kuwait.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact an embassy of Kuwait for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
If you overstay your visa, you'll face a large fine or travel ban. Check the expiry date on your visa.
Authorities could issue you with a travel ban if:
you have unpaid debts or fines, including traffic or parking fines
you're in a financial dispute
you're charged with a criminal offence or are under investigation
Authorities strongly enforce travel bans. They may take months to resolve.
If you're applying for an employment or residency visa, you'll need to get supporting documents verified before you arrive. See Local laws
Customs officials use strict screening procedures to detect illegal imports. See Local laws
You may have trouble entering Kuwait if your passport has evidence of travel to Israel. This includes entry or exit stamps.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
In Australia, contact the Australian Passport Information Service.
If you're overseas, contact the nearest Australian embassy or consulate.
Kuwait won't issue entry, transit or other visas in Australian emergency passports.
The local currency is the Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD).
Declare all local and foreign currency equivalent over KWD3000 when you arrive. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
Kuwait has plenty of ATMs. Credit cards are widely accepted.
Some banks and shops won't accept foreign cards. Ask your bank if your cards will work in Kuwait.
Kuwait has unexploded remnants of war, including landmines, in desert areas and on some beaches.
People have been injured after picking up strange metal or plastic objects.
Don't stray from well-travelled roads.
It's illegal and dangerous to travel near the borders with Iraq and Saudi Arabia without authorisation.
Armed guards patrol border areas.
All travel to Iraq is dangerous. Don't go there.
If you travel to Iraq despite our advice, make sure you have correct documents authorising your movements.
Only use authorised road border crossing points into Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Kuwait has strict requirements for driver's licences.
If you drive without a valid licence, you could be jailed or deported.
If you're a visitor, you can use a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) instead of a local driver's licence.
Get your IDP before leaving Australia.
If you're a resident in Kuwait, you need to apply for a Kuwaiti licence.
If you plan to drive, get advice from an embassy or consulate-general of Kuwait.
Driving is dangerous.
You're 3 times more likely to die in a car accident in Kuwait than in Australia.
Road conditions vary.
Most drivers pay little attention to other road users. Drivers generally ignore road safety rules.
It's illegal to leave the scene of an accident before police arrive. If you have an accident:
stay with the vehicle and don't move it
call the police on 112
If you don't pay traffic or parking fines on time, authorities may:
seize your vehicle
impose a travel ban that prevents you from leaving Kuwait
Pay any traffic or parking fines as soon as possible.
If you must drive in Kuwait:
check you have adequate insurance
find out about local traffic laws and practices
Check if your travel insurance covers you when using a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
Only use official taxis and limousines. Book transport from a reliable company.
Some taxis don't use meters, which can result in disputes over the fare.
Agree on the fare before setting off.
Kuwait has a good network of public and private buses.
These routes cover residential areas rather than tourist destinations.
Many sea areas in the Gulf region are under territorial dispute.
There are reports of vessel inspections, detentions and arrest.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Kuwait's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
family and friends
Call 112 or go to a hospital.
Call 112 or visit the nearest police station
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Few police officers speak English. If you don't speak Arabic, you may need to find an Arabic speaker to help.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about a tourist service or product.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular help, contact the Australian Embassy in Kuwait City.
Dar Al-Awadi Building (12th floor)
Ahmed Al-Jaber Street,
Phone: (+965) 2232 2422
Fax: (+965) 2232 2430
Facebook: Australian Embassy, Kuwait
The working week is from Sunday to Thursday.
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 in Australia
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.