Even as practicing lawyers in Kuwait, we are well aware of the confusion that may arise because of the continuously changing visa regulations, even more so for women who are accompanying their spouses to Kuwait. Many women come to Kuwait to support their working husbands and therefore have no access to information that their husbands may otherwise have access to at their work. I have answered some questions regarding visas for dependents.
Q: I am a non-Kuwaiti working in the private sector – I want to know the legalities of sponsoring my wife and children and bringing them to Kuwait?
Fajer: I thought I will start with this general question as it seems that it is simpler for a man to sponsor his wife. Ministerial decree no. 3384/2016 provides specific requirements for this purpose – the salary needs to be a minimum of KD 450 for a non-Kuwaiti man to bring his family to Kuwait. This applies to both public and private sector expats.
Q: I am a female expat working in Kuwait – can I sponsor my husband?
Fajer: Unfortunately, a female expat cannot sponsor her husband or her children above 21 years of age. Only parents and children under 21 can be sponsored by a female expat. This is surprising to me, as ministerial decree no. 640/1987 does not mention that only a male can sponsor his wife, but instead is general, stating that spouses can sponsor – unfortunately, this is not applicable in Kuwait.
Dependent visa holder
Q: I am a dependent visa holder as my husband is my sponsor – does this permit me to work in Kuwait?
Fajer: As a dependent visa holder, you need to transfer your residency from ‘dependent’ to ‘work.’ To apply for the new residency, you need to submit the following documents:
1. Application form for residency transfer (to be signed by the former and the new sponsors).
2. Two personal photos (light blue background – 6×4).
3. Original civil ID.
4. A certificate of health insurance.
5. A certificate of criminal status.
6. Work permit (to be issued by the Public Authority for Manpower).
7. Original signature approval of the new sponsor.
8. A form of personal photo.
9. Prescribed fees.
10. Original passport.
If you ever have confusion about the requirements and the documents that you need, I would suggest that you visit the shuoon (Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor) office closest to you and inquire about the administrative side of things. I want to also make it clear that even though unlike other countries there are no clear laws on visas and whether married women can volunteer, start a business or work part-time in Kuwait, I see no complications with such women volunteering or working with their artistic skills, as in taking/selling photos or having an exhibition of artworks, writing poetry etc. I hope the above was clear.
Should you have any questions or concerns, or you require a consultation, please email me at [email protected]
By Fajer Ahmed