By B Izzak
KUWAIT: The interior ministry and the Public Authority for Manpower announced yesterday the resumption of issuance of all types of visas to foreigners, including dependent, business, tourist and work visas. However, no official statement was issued by the interior ministry until the time of going to press on the actual date when visit visas will be issued.
The two authorities insisted that visas will be issued only to people who have been fully vaccinated with vaccines approved by Kuwait – Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. People must produce a vaccination certificate with a QR code to officials before the visas are issued, decrees from the two authorities said. People who have received other types of vaccines should get a third dose of one of the four approved vaccines and produce the certificate to officials to get a visa.
The residency affairs department at the interior ministry said in its circular that dependent visas will only be issued to applicants’ spouses. Children under 16 will be issued either dependent or tourist visas based on conditions set by the department. Residents applying for dependent visas must draw a minimum monthly salary of KD 500.
The department will issue either dependent or tourist visas to children of Kuwaiti women married to foreigners. The circular allows the issuance of all types of business visas for all activities based on the assessment of officials. Electronic visas will be issued to citizens of 53 countries and legal residents of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.
Hotels and companies linked to the special automated system in the ministry are also allowed to issue electronic visas. The issuance of all types of visas had been suspended over a year ago due to restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Kuwait, which has not seen a single death from COVID-19 for seven days in a row, has been reopening to pre-pandemic status.
The Public Authority for Manpower also announced yesterday the resumption of issuance of work permits for foreign workers outside the country after the interior ministry resumed issuing visas. Under the law, the manpower authority first issues work permits, and on the basis of such permits, the interior ministry issues entry visas. PAM added work permits will be issued online, either through its website or through the Ashal app.
Latest figures show that over 250,000 expatriates left the country in the 12 months till June 30 this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kuwait Society for Human Rights said in a report on Sunday. The share of foreign residents among the population dropped to 68.2 percent, down from 70 percent before the pandemic. There are fewer than 3.1 million expats in Kuwait now compared to 3.35 million before the pandemic.