Kuwait Risk Report

Security travel advice for Kuwait

Security information

Threat level: Medium-high
There is a heightened threat of terrorism in Kuwait; it neighbours Iraq and therefore is vulnerable to being caught up in terrorism and violence. Terrorist attacks can be indiscriminate and may involve tourist dominated areas. There continues to be statements released by terrorists with threats of attacks on the Gulf region, sometimes specifying western tourists in their statements.

The country has the sixth largest reserves of oil, with the oil industry dominating the Kuwait’s economy. Providing tourists follow safety warnings and stay aware of their surroundings, visits to Kuwait will be hassle-free. Visitors can enjoy trekking across the desert planes or relaxing on one of the fine beaches whilst enjoying the authentic, local feel of the country.

Recent Security Risk Events
In July 2016, authorities reported that they had intervened in 3 attacks that had been thought to have been linked to Islamic State, one target being a Shia mosque. This was a successful operation and is thought to have prevented mass fatalities and devastation.

In 2015, an attack on a mosque in the Al Sawabir area of Kuwait City resulted in multiple casualties. Further attacks on places of worship are possible so travellers are advised not to visit such areas and remain vigilant at all times. There is an increased risk of attack during Ramadan, however authorities tend to put measures in place to increase security.

Security Risks
Although violent crime in Kuwait is not common, you should take extra care when visiting certain areas where some incidents involved firearms such as Jahra. Demonstrations and riots can sometimes break out, particularly if there are protests regarding issues such as working conditions. For the most part these are peaceful but can escalate with little warning.

You should also avoid secluded and non-residential places particularly at night time as this can increase your vulnerability to being mugged. Be wary if you are walking home late as there have been a small number of reports in which locals have followed tourists back to their accommodation and vandalised their vehicles.

International Relations
Kuwait enjoys strong diplomatic relations with many countries in the world such as Turkey, particularly with its neighbouring Arab countries including Jordan. The country has rich supplies of oil and as such it has a prominent voice in global economic forums.

The country has a number of shaky relations including with Syria following the Syrian civil war and Israel after a number of boycotts against the country.

Travel considerations
Providing you have a valid entry visa, you should be able to rent a car in Kuwait using your national driving licence. To drive vehicles other than rented cars you must have a Kuwait drivers licence. All drivers must take out valid vehicle insurance before driving.

Driving can be dangerous as the roads can become congested with drivers that have little regard for traffic regulation. Accidents are common and can be due to excessive speeding, use of mobile phones and road rage. Visitors are advised to drive defensively and with extreme attention.

You should book all taxis in advance rather than hailing them down in the street. Use only reputable companies which can be recommended by tour operators or hotel staff.

General information

Capital: Kuwait City
Official languages: Arabic
Religion: Islam
Currency: Kuwaiti dinar
Time now in Kuwait City:

Visa requirements
Most foreign nationals will require a visa before entering Kuwait which can be issued upon arrival. Tourist visas are usually 30 days long. You should be aware that some travellers have faced difficulty or even been refused entry to Kuwait if they have stamps from other countries including Israel or Jordan.

If you are arriving to the country via land or sea, you should obtain a visa in advanced from your local Kuwaiti Embassy.

Immunisations
It is advised that visitors to Kuwait are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers also get a Tetanus vaccinations. You may also want to consider getting a Hepatitis A vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.

Other health risks
In general, the medical facilities in Kuwait are a good standard with state run services, clinics and local hospitals providing care when necessary. Medical fees can be expensive and doctors will often expect immediate cash payment before treatment can occur. You should ensure that your travel insurance will cover you for any medical treatment abroad including medical evacuation.

Consular information

U.S. Embassy Kuwait
Bayan, Block 13,
Masjed Al-Aqsa Street,
Kuwait City
Kuwait
Telephone: +965 225 910 01
Emergency telephone: +965 225 910 01
Email: kuwaitACS@state.gov

British Embassy Kuwait
Arabian Gulf Street
Dasman
Kuwait City
Kuwait
Telephone: +965 2259 4320
Email: consularenquirieskuwait@fco.gov.uk (Consular Services not Visa or Passport related issues).

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