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.