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15-year iqama for investors; 10 years for property owners

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: The National Assembly’s interior and defense committee yesterday approved sweeping amendments to the foreigners’ residency law, under which investors would for the first time get residency for 15 years, while owners of real estate and children of Kuwaiti women will get iqamas valid for 10 years. Rapporteur of the panel MP Saadoun Hammad said the committee discussed the government-sponsored amendments and approved them, and will send the report to the National Assembly.

The draft law, which must be approved by the National Assembly and signed by the government to become effective, states that foreigners can get regular residency of up to five years, but they must leave the country if their iqama expires and their request for renewal is denied.

All foreigners who enjoy regular residence in Kuwait must not stay outside the country for more than six months, otherwise the residency will be cancelled. Investors, owners of real estate and children of Kuwaiti women are all exempt from this condition. Domestic helpers however cannot stay outside the country for more than four months, otherwise their residency will become invalid.

The bill stipulates that the Cabinet will set out conditions under which investors can obtain the 15-year residency, including the amount of investment. Under the new law, Kuwaiti women can sponsor their husbands and children, provided they have not obtained citizenship through a previous marriage. Foreign widows or divorcees of Kuwaiti husbands who have children can also sponsor themselves.

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