Do it yourself Visa

my brother george was visiting the region for business so he passed by kuwait to explore the market - but before exploring the market, he had to explore issuing an entry visa through a guessing game at the airport - this turned out to be such an ordeal, he regretted putting kuwait on his map, and wondered why i did not brief him on the "do it yourself" system!

as a canadian citizen, he arrived at the immigration counter expecting a quick stamp-and-go procedure, but instead he was sent to a special visa desk where he had to wait in line - after standing there for a few minutes guessing what to do, he was given an application and told to go fetch some stamps from the stamp machine, fill-in the application form and get his passport photocopied! can you imagine that! a business traveler has to personally do all this paperwork in order to get an entry visa to kuwait! what a first date turn off!

now to buy the stamps, one needs kuwaiti dinars, and a bank - so he goes to the only bank at the airport, stands in line for 20 minutes to get some change, then heads back to the machine and buys the necessary stamps - but of course, he had to do this exercise twice as he was given the wrong information regarding the number of stamps needed for the canadian passport! after filling in the application form, he heads to the copy machine where no one was there to help, so he takes the initiative to do the copying himself.. after all, the country has set a self-service tone already! as he walks in, an officer fires him out of the copy-room and asks him to wait for the attendant - so he waits for another 10 minutes until the copy-guy shows-up - he finally gets his stuff done and heads back to the visa counter queue to hand his papers in - then he was asked to wait on the side bench.

he waits there for more than 20 minutes but nothing happened, so he inquires about the delay only to discovers that the desk officer was having a "between shifts" cigarette break... the guy actually had the nerve to bluntly tell george “i am on a break!!!” p.s: this is supposed to be a non-smoking facility!

a few minutes later his papers were ready, the new desk officer calls him for a few questions, including the meaning of the word "june" on the passport!! george had to explain that this refers to the 6th month of the year...

after his ordeal was over, he grabs his precious visa and heads to the immigration queuing line to spend yet another 20 minutes - then an officer invites him to skip the line, skip the immigration desk and walk out to the luggage area without passport stamping procedures! flabbergasted, he refuses to comply, but after repeated orders he had to oblige... george is now very worried about his exit, will it be without a problem or an investigation?

from my perspective things were a bit different - i was waiting outside for two freaking hours, with nothing else to ease my pain but cinnabon's center of the roll and a few messages to briefly update me of the status - finally, george manages to walk out at 10:30pm whilst the plane had landed at 8:20pm! thank god he only had a carry-on bag and didn't have to wait for luggage!! oh and by the way, he was coming from qatar where he landed 24 hours ago - the flight from qatar to kuwait took around an hour, whilst getting out of kia took two! time to get an entry visa to qatar? instant stamp-and-go at the immigration desk...

i came across this kuwait visa website where visitors to kuwait can find useful information about visa procedures - i think it will be good to add a "did you know" section aimed at managing visitors' expectations giving them a heads up on the situation upon arrivals - a "do it yourself visa" electronic manual would also be useful, anything to market this website abroad and get people to know of its existence would be a good start - if a better system cannot be put in place, may be raising awareness about the "do it yourself visa" system could actually be a temporary solution.

    40 Responses to “Do it yourself Visa”

    1. arteko says:

      i just want to know if those expat GCC residence like me can go to GCC country visa upon arrival?

    2. 965malls says:

      only if given permission by the officer in charge, they usually do this once all gcc citisens have passed immigration desks – this is how they manage traffic and release bottlenecks

    3. ahmed says:

      One would assume that George never entered the country of Kuwait, correct? Now could he have gotten a visa in Qatar ahead of time, just wondering for everyone else on this list? Maybe a little foot work in Qatar would have saved him time. But the last time I was at this airport (God Help Me!) I saw sub-continent people sitting at the visa desk, but they are not on the list? If there is any department in this airport that could use a little (huge) briefing in the UAE, it would be immigration to assist them in organizing this section. Fancy letting people in a country without acknowledging them in the computer system, what a HUGE security risk for this country! Not saying George is doggy, just looking at the situation in a security point of view, which by the way, is being highlighted in today's AT. Yep, the word is already out in terrorist country that this airport is an easy mark and we are all at risk because they can't even buy quality x-ray machines or improve their security standards.

    4. sarah says:

      Welcome to Kuwait – anywhere you go is a quagmire of disorganization, much like InDia. What caught my eye about this piece was the Jazeera Cashu at the top of the screen, so I went to their website (which could use some upgrading) and there was nothing on this subject, so I googled again and found out there is card where you can put money on to buy tickets much like a telephone card. Interesting? Sold in countries where Jazeera flies, where it is sold, not sure? My suggestion to Jazeera is that they incorporate a loyalty card where people earn points where they can buy future tickets, purchare DUTYFREE on-board or book Jazeera Holidays. Forget this ticket after 20 one-way trips, it is too much trouble to acquire the ticket when you reach that point.

    5. sarah says:

      You are approving comments now? I didn't say anything in my head that was dirogatory?????

    6. Poor George says:

      are you gonna visit him in jail?? lool.. start working on a “WASTA” just in case some officer decides to pick on this.. how can he prove he was simply invited in?

    7. 965malls says:

      @Sarah – we never disapprove comments – sometimes wordpress flags comments as spam, we make sure to release them, but since there is no notification system you have to do it manually – we don’t do that on a daily basis which sometimes causes delay in that department! in any case, if your comment doesn’t get through, please email us and we will release it immediately

    8. sarah says:

      What I said was basically that the Jazeera ad caught my eye, by the way, I empasize with poor George, but woops not sure if he really entered the country, I mean no visa stamp, nope, don't think so?? So I googled Jazeera's website and saw nothing about CashU, so I googled CashU and I understand that it is like a phone card, but hey Jazeera, why don't you have a loyalty card where people can spend points earned on future flights, duty free items on board or on Jazeera holiday trips in the future? And of course we can use our cards to book flights on-line with our loyalty card, because it is too hard to go to that airport, find parking and go through all the steps involved to get a free ticket after 20 one-way trips.

    9. Bahaar says:

      My sister also enters with Canadian passport and had to face the same ordeal both time that she visited. Second year she carried Dinar to skip the bank part but still was very frustrated when we met her outside. She complained that no one in the queue had idea what to do or where to go and no one behind the counter was even answering or paying attention to travelers in the line waiting for thier visas.

    10. Bahaar says:

      oh,,, and yes !! the exact same thing happened to her.. she approached an officer/a man behind the visa counter and he was busy smoking and pointed to another man so she goes to him !!

      @ Ahmed: We tried to get a visa for my sister before she arrives to help her skip the drama in the airport after a long flight from Toronto. My mother went to immigration department but since Canada is on the list they ONLY issue the visa upon arrival.

    11. amir says:

      @Bahaar Well in the UAE you must get a visa ahead of time because there is a rift between the Canadian government and the UAE government – maybe you should piss them off? But there must be a way that these 'first' world countries can avoid this dillema, after all in Kuwait, there always is a back door because of the weak authorities and disorganization. Maybe that is why there are very few business men on my flights to Kuwait hmmm…? Message to Kuwait: Why greet future business with such a disorganized impression, because you treat me like this, I wll take my business elsewhere. By the way, who smokes at an immigration desk? Someone organize this airport!

    12. moe85 says:

      i did this many times, dont worry about the leaving, let him bring the original visa (the long paper) to passport control, thats basically his entrance stamp, also, the lazy ass officers already stamped the passport upstairs on that desk thats y he didnt have to wait in line at passport control and just walk out, if you know this process, it should take about 30 mins or more, depending on the crowd

    13. 965malls says:

      thanks for the info moe, he should be on his way back now, awaiting his feedback tonight – the golden truth is "if you know the process" – this should not be a guessing game to people visiting kuwait..

    14. 965malls says:

      jazeera is supposed to be a low fare airline, so loyalty programs and duty free are too costly for their business model, but so is free meals and leather seats… this makes it is a hybrid airline or shall i say a low fare airline +

      as for cashu, strange it doesn't appear on their website, but it seems that this is their pre-paid card..

    15. 965malls says:

      actually this is his second visit, the system was much better when he came a few years back – by the way, he also spent more than 10 minutes arguing with the visa officer about this, the latter was not convinced george entered kuwait before and couldn't find the data on his system – the whole issue was with this guy's literacy, not only "june" was difficult to decipher, but georges with an "s" was as challenging too!!

    16. Fred says:

      The Last time My uncle came from US, and went through this process, he swore to never come to kuwait again.

    17. TKG says:

      I guess I should apply for a job at the airport. That way I can help people and blog about the processes to help people coming to the country win-win :)

    18. 965malls says:

      your blog will be no 1 in no time!

    19. 965malls says:

      what's sad is that the airport is the face of this nation, the first contact, the first impression.. any problem there reflects on the country itself and no one seems to care..

    20. Joe says:

      Blog the airport? There are tons of blog opportunities. Just in the local paper today, they discussed how terrorists have already recognized the poor security and are smuggling explosives in – this complaint coming from a Gulf carrier who is worried about the security at the airport. Seen the xray machines? I could probably walk through it with anything and no one would care and it is so old that it wouldn't detect anything. The second story in today's paper which is once again the Bengadeshi workers who are stealing out of the luggage – 965 covered that story. Half the time they don't even have me put my finger on the cheap thingy pingy devise on the immigration counter – isn't that supposed to be for security?

    21. Traveller says:

      I have a Canadian passport too and have entered Kuwait at least 15 times in the past 5 years to visit my parents.
      I have never faced a problem at immigration.
      It is extremely simple. When you arrive, go to the Visa on Arrival counter. Take a token number from the machine. If you have Kuwaiti Dinars, then go to the stamp machine and take stamps worth KD 3. If you don't have Kuwaiti dinars, go to the Commercial Bank counter located at the food court and ask them to change your currency into Kuwaiti dinars. Fill the form located on the counters. Wait for your number to be called. Once your number is called, give the immigration fellow your form & stamps. He will ask you a couple of questions and then ask you to wait. A few minutes later your name will be called and your visa is handed to you. Go downstairs to immigration. You don't have to wait in line. Just go to any free counter and show them your visa and walk to your luggage carousel.

    22. Joe says:

      cont. ALOT of blogs in this airport! Cover the 'Red Carpet' of Kuwait at Arrivals – is that a joke or what. Anyone with common sense could organize this airport without any job experience, it is that bad, but again the government doesn't care. And the third story in the paper was that Kuwait was rated the poorest economy in the GCC, well if they welcome me with a visit visa process like this as a foreigner, I don't want to do business with you because is you can't welcome me like this, doing business with you will be a nightmare for my company. But they MUST get a handle on this ridiculous low level of security – some heads need to fly.

    23. Pinkish says:

      You call this simple? you just wrote an essay!!this is easy for you because you've done it 15 times and you're now used to bureaucracy!! simple is when you pass the immigration desk and they stamp your passport with a visa, that's it.

    24. 965malls says:

      heads need to fly? let the responsible people resume duty first… i've been told today that a group of senior staff have been on vacation for almost 11 weeks!!!

    25. Bahaar says:

      @Traveler , have you ever entered turkey? thats what I called simple. for some of us (including my passport ) we even dont pay a visa fee.

    26. Passport says:

      Ok what I don’t understand is how someone who’s never been to this country before is supposed to know all the procedures and the right places to go to, like bank, stamps, copies etc… HELLOOOO…. Foreigner= not familiar with the place= lost!! How difficult is it to have everything in one room and just stamp the passport? It’ll be a lot easier for everyone and much faster

    27. George says:

      So i arrive at the airport (Leaving ordeal) check-in at the counter which is located totally on the opposite way of what you are supposed to be seeing walking in to an airport, and by this i mean that the officer counter is facing the inside of the airport and there's no way for you to see it unless you fall on someone who had already been through it all and helps you. So i get my boarding pass and look at the gate number, it shows gate 28. That was at 8:15PM and boarding time is scheduled at 8:30.

      I think to myself that's not so bad, it took like 20 minutes to get a boarding pass but that's forgettable. So now i am walking down to the gate, stop at the passport check-in line with all the other sheep doing the cobra walk, get my passport and luggage checked and walk out towards the gates. Locating gate 28 was simple, although it was at the end of the airport but that's just my luck.

      So i arrive there, another full luggage check and walk in to the gate, find a place and sit down. Slowly, the entire gate area is getting packed with half terrorist looking bunch of people and i am thinking, this can't be heading to Beirut, i've been travelling in and out of Lebanon for many years and never seen such an audience getting on the plane. So i walk towards an airport officer and ask him if the gate had changed, he answers no it hasn't, it is written on your boarding pass gate 28, you should wait with the rest. So i comply, but not convinced. Boarding time passes and more and more half-ladens pack the area and i am almost about to miss my flight, and just by chance i look up the stairs and see a Lebanese looking couple rushing upstairs towards the other gates, so i decided to follow them, and it paid off! It turned out that the gate number had changed from 28 to 21. So i run towards gate 21, completely to the other end of the airport and make it just on time for boarding.

      This gate change was never announced. and by that time i was praying for Scotty to beam me out of this shitty airport and country, i am honestly hoping that i'll never have to come back for any reason, this has been such a terrible experience all together and it pisses me off to have to deal with these officials, and their crappy system.

      It literary took me 5 minutes in Doha to get a visa, i had free wifi access throughout the airport (Not available in Q8), airport employees were very helpful and always smiling not like these bastards at the Kuwaiti airport.

      And that's just the airport, the entire city is full of disorder, cars parking on walkways, on the side of the roads, people crossing the road on foot wile the red light is on, and what's with all these crapy looking bearded turbans in the city, it is full of them and they smell.

      I could go on forever, sorry but i hated Q8 and i wish i never to come back, at all, in my life, not for another day!


    28. couldn't agree more says:

      Thank you George! Couldn't agree more. Someone should elaborate on a blog site called I wonder sometimes if the Kuwait people understand how they have been totally screwed by their government. Sure they throw pay raises at them when the fragile scenerio crashes like their failing Kuwait Airways, but this airport? This airport could be improved with basic management changes. You should encourage your brother to make the move to Qatar, his life would be much easier because the organizational structure is much better. Dubai is heaven compared to this place.

    29. Ahmed says:

      Because of the mere fact that someone more than likely will read this blog, let me outline some basic points on how to improve this airport.
      1. Close the back parking lot and rebuild additional parking for this airport immediately. Your 2KD fee per day is ridiculous anyway, so let these people have their drivers drop them off for their flights until the construction is complete.
      2. Close all the upper level floor to retail space and install additional check-in desks and move the immigration forward installing an EGATE system. As you move immigration forward, you can restructure retail space after immigration. You will now have room also for office space for a customs office (preferably downstairs), NAS office, and airline desks, MOI desks/offices that are more visable to the public.
      3. Improve the security in this airport by purchasing more up-to-date xray equipment, luggage belts and most importantly, you will be updating the luggage system at the back of the airport and hire a foreign consultation team to train your staff in security measures. They will more likely tell you that some xray machines are too redundant and need to be removed throughout the passenger process, like George has highlighted above.

    30. Ahmed says:

      4. I'M GOING TO CAPITALIZE THIS: YOU ARE GOING TO UTILIZE SHEIKH SAAD TERMINAL FOR BUSINESS CLASS/FIRST CLASS PASSENGERS FOR PARTICIPATING AIRLINES. IT WILL NO LONGER REMAIN STAGNATE. Kuwait Airways will be the sole owner of one of the business class lounges in the airport at present and will have their own emigration desk for their business class/first class passengers directly from the check desk. YOU ARE GOING TO PRIVATISE THIS CARRIER.
      5. You will hire a specially designated staff that speaks the various languages of this huge labour force from the sub-continent in this country to organize the masses. In addition, gates will be opened eariler so that the masses stuck in the hallways can be minimized – this airport can no longer handle the passenger levels.

    31. Ahmed says:

      6. You are going to restructure immigration by adding a new visa line and most importantly the staff mentioned above will be in this area to assist incoming sub-continent workers. I suggest that you build a separate in-processing area for housemaids for in-processing with people to assist them since they are the largest labour force in Kuwait. With an EGATE system, established residents will be able to enter the country in a quicker more efficient manner. Also, restucture the visit visa desk, read George's comments above.
      7. You are to bring a consultation team to make sure that your air traffic control department is compliant with international standards.
      8. In conclusion, McDonalds will regain a position beyond immigration..
      9. You are going to minimize the porter staff, and they are to have a manager with them controlling their movements, this particular staff is running the airport for monetary gains and need to be structured.
      This is only a few points, but with few changes, it will change the entire airport movement. Anything else, Kuwait? Elect me to Parliament!

    32. YesWeCan says:

      You have my vote Ahmed!!!! I am having a standing ovation here!!! Kuwait please read and apply!!! It’s so simple and yet no one moves a finger to make things better!!! You have all the money you need to build a good airport people!!! Hire a good stafff and rebuild an international airport with good standards!!! Instead of having your old x-rays check for stupid things like alcohol get serious security for terrorism!!! You were told that terrorists are planning to introduce explosives.. What did u do about this??? So please spend some Dinars to make it acceptable for travelers. Those lanes in front of the gates are so lame! As soon as passengers land in KIA they have to step between/on sleeping people blocking the way waiting for their gates to open doors!!! Besides all you feel as a passenger here is humiliation as if you did something wrong! Why? Because It just happened that They’re not Kuwaiti and landed here?? Well I’m not happy to be here either! Life made me! So live with it and ask your parents to teach you some respect coz if we’re not here you’ll rot in ur own poop!!!

    33. 965malls says:

      first, hamdella 3al salemeh bro – agree on most of your points but you can't complain about city disorder while living in beirut! i do hate this airport, but i still like kuwait over qatar or dubai, but that' totally personal.

      see you soon, and hope you change your mind and come back for another visit, now you know the system – you've been baptized :)

    34. 965malls says:

      wow, that sounds like a serious plan ahmed – you even thought of bringing mcdonald's in :) so thoughtful, you're awesome!!

    35. TKG says:

      Ahmed great work. You've just stated the best way to resolve the problem at the airport and that's all basically customer feedback put into action (after all we the consumers are the people using the airport and we know what we want) :) There is only one problem with what you stated in the three posts above and that is ……

      you will need to explain it in person to the people working at the airport as they don't understand the meaning of 99.99999% of what you've said *They no get da Anglash* :)) Have a great day

    36. Sheila says:

      I too have done this exact same procedure every three months or so over the last five years. It is not rocket science. You just follow the procedure noted above. Easy peasy.

    37. Woops says:

      Comments to this post do not show up

    38. nard says:

      or you can visit this site to lessen the hussle…..

    39. 965malls says:

      thanks for that nard

    40. adelakun yinka says:

      how can i apply for kuwait working visa from united arab emirate

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