Have you ever heard someone say “You Filipinos are everywhere!”? Thanks to our OFWs, we have established this reputation to be very hard-working. Kayod kabayo ika nga! Yes, you’ll find Filipinos all over the world! I can attest to this-- I’ve been in 100 countries already and I always meet or see my kababayans even in the most unexpected places like the cruise ship in Antarctica (where majority of the crew are Filipinos) and even in Djibouti, Africa (they told me there are also Filipinos working in Somaliland!).
In Kuwait alone, there are roughly 180,000 Filipinos as of 2012-- most of them working as Domestic Helpers or are employed in highly-skilled jobs. Every year since then, Kuwait employs 1,000 Filipinos more. I am proud to say that I am one of those Filipinos. I worked in Kuwait for 4 years and I absolutely enjoyed my time there. I even wrote this article about Things To Do and Places To Go As An Expat In Kuwait haha. Check it out and see my throwback photos and see kung gaano ako kapayat ng mga panahon na yan! Hahaha. :p
The first thing you need to know is that as Filipinos, we need a sponsor to visit Kuwait-- it could be your relative working there with a valid residence permit or a Kuwaiti company.
WHEN AND WHERE TO GET A TOURIST VISA FOR KUWAIT
It takes a minimum of 3 days to get a visa to Kuwait but I suggest you get it at least 2 weeks before your intended flight. A Tourist Visa can only be obtained by a sponsor from Kuwait. All details will be discussed below :)
DIFFERENT TYPES OF VISAS EXPLAINED
Whether you’re there for tourism or for work, here are the different visa types as explained in the Kuwait Immigration Law Articles:
1) KUWAIT VISIT VISA (VISA 14)- This must be sponsored by a Kuwait company or by a relative that is a resident foreigner staying in the country. The applicant may process his visa application on his own through the nearest embassy or a Kuwait sponsor can use a faxed copy of the visitor’s passport to obtain the visit visa in Kuwait. The visa copy can be faxed to the visitor to enable him to travel to Kuwait and they can then meet at the airport with the original visa upon entering the country. There is a special counter for this at the airport. All foreign nationals including Filipinos residing in GCC Countries (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman) may also apply for the Kuwait Visa.
TYPES: Visit visa for business, Tourist visit visa, Visit visa for relatives, Multiple entry visit visa
ALLOWABLE STAY IN KUWAIT: 3 months from the date of entry
2) RESIDENCE VISA/FAMILY (DEPENDENT VISA)- Once an employed man obtains residency in Kuwait, he can bring his wife and children to live with him. However, it is mandatory that he earns at least 450KD monthly (for holders of Visa 17) and at least 650KD monthly (For holders of Visa 18). If both husband and wife work in Kuwait, they can sponsor their children if their salaries combined exceed 350KD monthly.
LIMITATIONS: A wife can’t sponsor her husband; Adult daughters and parents may be sponsored but not sons over 21 years old; Dependent family members can’t work until they convert to a Kuwaiti work visa.
3) RESIDENCE VISA FOR DOMESTIC SERVANTS/ HELPERS (VISA 20)- Expatriate families are allowed to bring their own maid in Kuwait as long as he/she is from a different country.
LIMITATIONS: If you are a male sponsor, you must have a wife living with you if you are going to hire a female helper; The helpers shall be between 20 and 50 years; It does not apply to immediate family members or relatives of any degree of consanguinity; No minimum salary is required if the sponsor husband and wife are both working and if there are children in the sponsor family. The immigration will also take a look at the sponsor’s house size, monthly income, and the actual need for a maid.
4) WORK VISA 17 (PUBLIC SECTOR EMPLOYEES) AND VISA 18 (PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYEES)- An offer employment must first be accepted to obtain Kuwait residence visa on a work visa. A Kuwaiti employer sponsor shall apply for the work permit from the Ministry of Social Affairs & Labour. After getting the NOC from the Minister of Interior and work permit from the employer, employees have to apply for an entry visa and provide documents such as PCC (Police Clearance Certificate), good conduct certificate, medical certificate, passport, education certificates, etc. from the Philippines.
5) TRANSIT VISA- You can get this from the port authority in Kuwait or from its consulate board. All foreign nationals including Filipinos residing in GCC Countries (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman) may also apply for the Kuwait Visa. Be it noted that you have to possess a valid visa for the next country to visit and a confirmed onward ticket if you don’t work on an airline or a ship.
ALLOWABLE STAY IN KUWAIT: 7 days
LIMITATIONS: You must use it within 7 days from issue. Otherwise, it will expire and you have to get a new one.
REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN A TOURIST VISA FOR KUWAIT
One of the most important things to know when applying for a Tourist Visa to Kuwait is you cannot get it without a sponsor who can either be a relative who is a resident in Kuwait, a company, or a hotel.
The following are the requirements when a Company or Hotel acts as your sponsor:
Kuwait visit visa application and security form which is filled out by the sponsor
A copy of the visitor's passport
A copy of the sponsor's signature as registered for business purposes
A copy of the sponsor's letter of invitation to the business, stating the purpose of the visit.
If a hotel is acting as your sponsor, you must send them your travel itinerary and passport details by fax/email a few weeks before your stay. Wait for their confirmation so that they can send you a copy of the visa and leave the original at the airport in Kuwait.
The following are the requirements if your relative/immediate family member is going to be your sponsor:
Proof of relationship or kinship (This could be your birth certificate as well as the sponsor’s birth certificate if you’re not immediate relatives)
Copy of the visitor's valid passport
Copy of the Civil ID of the sponsor/family who resides in Kuwait
Recent salary certificate of the sponsor from the Ministry of Interior
STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE IN APPLYING FOR TOURIST VISA IN KUWAIT
If you have a sponsor as stated above, then all the process will be done by your sponsor in Kuwait.
STEP 1: Find a sponsor as stated above.
STEP 2: Send him/her a copy of your valid passport.
STEP 3: Wait for a copy of your visa sent by your sponsor.
STEP 4: Use your visa copy to travel to Kuwait.
STEP 5: Once you enter Kuwait, meet your sponsor at the Arrival Hall in the airport. There is a special counter located there where your sponsor can deposit the original documents.
STEP 6: Use the original documents for your entry at the immigration.
That’s it! Kuwait isn’t really a touristy country but here are 7 Awesome Things To Do In Kuwait and Awesome Things To Do During The Liberation Holiday to help you plan your itinerary. Have fun! :)
FAQS ABOUT APPLYING FOR TOURIST VISA IN KUWAIT
1) Can change my visa from a Domestic Servant Visa (20) to Private Sector Visa (18)?
It is possible if you are working with the same sponsor. For example, you are working as a Domestic Servant for someone who owns a company. He then sees your potential and transfers you to his company. Note that it is very crucial that it should be the same sponsor.
2) Is it possible to change my Visit Visa to a Residence Visa?
If you are on a visit visa in Kuwait when you accepted employment, you must leave Kuwait and return on a new entry visa.
3) I am a resident of Kuwait. Can I change my child’s Visit Visa to a Dependent Visa when he visits?
Yes. Provided that the dependent is 2 years old and below when he enters Kuwait.
4) Is it true that I can only apply for a Visit Visa twice a year?
Yes, it is possible. As a rule, When a visit Visa is applied for and used, you can only enter Kuwait with another visit visa after the expiry of six months from the last departure date.
5) Can I transfer from a Government Project to a Private Sector Visa?
Yes, you can do it as long as the project is complete, there is no objection on your sponsor, and you are transferring to another Government Project even though it is a different sponsor/private company.
6) What is the “Ban on Recruitment of Expats Below 30 Years of Age?”
This means that no expats holding a diploma or higher certificate and are below 30 years of age may be recruited. Note that this is merely a proposal and is not a law yet.
7) Is Visit Visa the same as Tourist Visa?
No. Visit visas are issued to those people who are sponsored by their relatives or some firms who come to Kuwait to visit such relatives or for business. Tourist visas are issued for those people who are coming to Kuwait for touristic purposes which are arranged by tour operators or hotels.
8) Do I need to stay at the hotel who will be sponsoring me?
Yes. This hotel is responsible for you throughout your stay in the country.
9) Will this hotel charge me for sponsorship?
Yes but only for a minimal amount. Contact your hotel directly to find out.
10) Can they obtain extensions for my visa in case I want to stay longer?
Yes provided that you have a detailed itinerary that you will surely follow and is only for a short while.
11) I am a Filipino living in a GCC Country. Do I need to find a sponsor as well?
No. All foreign nationals including Filipinos residing in GCC Countries (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman) may apply for the Kuwait Visa. It’s so much easier for you! :)
12) I am applying for an employment/family visa, where should I apply in the Philippines?
You may apply at the following Consular Services Centers:
MANILA- Kuwait Visa Application Centre, Office 2001, 20th Floor, SM Aura Tower, Mckinley Parkway Brgy. Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. (Submission of Applications: 09:00-14:30. Passport Collection: 15:30-17:00 Call Center: 09:00 to 14:30).
CEBU CITY- 5th Floor Unit 503 Keppel Center Samar Loop Corner Cardinal Rosales Ave., Cebu Business Park (Submission: 7:00–12:30. Collection: 13:00–15:00)
DAVAO CITY- Times Building Unit No. 9 Chimes Specialty Store Governor Sales Street Davao City (Submission: 7:00–12:30. Collection: 13:00–15:00)