Last update 21 September 2023Diplomatic missions
Level 2: Increased attention (please be informed in detail about the current situation in the country)
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Regular passport: visa not required
Diplomatic passport: visa not required
Official passport: visa not required
The State of Kuwait
Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in the State of Kuwait
Address: P.O. Box12090–Shamia 71 651, Kuwait, Jabriya Area 11, Str.1 (H. 272) and Str.107 (H. 31)
Out-of-hours hotline: +965 998 296 14
Working hours: from Sunday to Thursday, 09:00 – 14:30
Opening hours of the Consular Office: from Sunday to Thursday, 09:30 – 12:00
E– mail: [email protected]
Embassy of the State of Kuwait in Sofia, the Republic of Bulgaria
Address: 1700 Sofia, Simeonovsko shose Blvd., Residence No 15
Telephone: +359 2962 5689; +359 2962 5130; +359 2962 5209
Fax:+359 2962 4584
Working hours: 09:00 – 15:00
Working hours: 09:00 – 15:00
E-mail: [email protected]
In view of the security risks in neighbouring regions, in Kuwait there is enhanced border control and inland. Kuwait is a country with a relatively low level of crime. Recently, however, there has been some increase in criminal activity, particularly in areas populated by concentrations of Asian and Arab migrants and stateless persons. Public meetings or processions in open spaces are rare and should be authorised by the authorities. Unsanctioned spontaneous manifestations are also possible, which as a rule proceed peacefully and without violence. However, it is possible that they could lead to a blockage of traffic, which could trigger the intervention of law enforcement forces. Places of mass gatherings should be avoided in view of possible misunderstandings. The participation of foreign nationals in such mass events in Kuwait is unacceptable and could be grounds for extradition.
Dangerous zones: Desert areas and border zones, especially near Iraq, are risky to travel. It is not recommended to cross areas off the clearly marked roads due to the danger of mines and unexploded ordnance.
Increased caution should be exercised in neighbourhoods populated mainly by low-paid foreign workers and stateless persons, such as Jleeb Al Shuwaikh, parts of Fehaheel and Jahra.
In Kuwait, along with Arabic, English is widely spoken. There are popular local daily newspapers and electronic publications in English. They are an appropriate source of information on current developments in the country and in the region for foreigners who do not speak Arabic.
Healthcare is at a very good level. Kuwait is the country with the highest number of hospital beds per capita. Most of the medical facilities are private and the services are very expensive. It is therefore advisable for Bulgarian citizens travelling to Kuwait to take out international medical insurance for the period of their stay in the country. Prior vaccinations are not necessary. Medical insurance for the period of stay in Kuwait is mandatory.
Specifics of the local legislation:
Kuwaiti law is secular with elements of Sharia. The import of narcotics, liquor, pork meat and pork products is prohibited. Publications and printed material that may be classified as pornographic are prohibited. Violation of these prohibitions may result in imprisonment.
Illegal possession of drugs is punishable by lengthy imprisonment and very large monetary fines. There are also proposals to apply the death penalty for drug trafficking, trade and production. The death penalty is imposed for particularly serious crimes in Kuwait. Death sentences shall be carried out after the legal procedures provided for by law have been exhausted. Skimming and misuse of bank cards are punishable by lengthy imprisonment. Strict and intensive measures shall be taken to detect and prevent such crimes.
Kuwait has introduced a dry regime regarding the import and consumption of alcoholic beverages. The use of liquor or appearing in a public place after consuming it is prosecuted by law. The punishment is arrest and fine, but can go as far as prison. After serving the sentence, if the offender is a foreigner, it is possible to extradite him or her. Drink driving is a serious offence and is highly likely to result in an imprisonment.
In view of Muslim norms, polygamy is allowed for Muslims but is not common.
Cohabitation without marriage qualifies as adultery and is prosecuted by law.
Given the high general standard, the fees of lawyers are expensive. A typical cost for a single legal consultation in a civil or criminal case is KWD 40-50, and the minimum fee threshold for undertaking the defence of a case is around KWD 500.
In Kuwait and other countries in the region, our fellow citizens should abide by Islamic norms of conduct, namely:
• Clothing, especially for women, should be in accordance with local notions of decency (thin-strapped T-shirts, shorts and skirts, low-cut necklines, see-through clothing are inappropriate);
• Intimacy with the opposite sex in public is unacceptable;
• During the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims observe a complete fast during daylight hours, it is important not to consume food or drink and not to smoke in public or in front of local citizens. This is perceived as disrespect for the norms of Islam and can provoke strong negative reactions, including complaints to the authorities and sanctions.
Kuwait prohibits the import of explosives, liquor, pork meat (including in the form of sausages), pornography, religious literature, drugs, stimulants and sedatives (valium, diazepam, etc.).
When entering and leaving the country, the amount of money allowed is up to KWD 5,000 (the equivalent of EUR 12,500).
For the import or export of an amount exceeding the equivalent of KWD 5,000(five thousand Kuwaiti dinars), formal notification to the competent authorities shall be required, together with the reason necessitating the carrying of the cash.
Customs requirements for Kuwait can be downloaded from HERE.
The road traffic in Kuwait is in the right side. The country has a developed and modern road network, but traffic in the capital is extremely busy and intense. In Kuwait, powerful and large cars are especially popular, which predispose to high speeds. Maximum speed of 100 or 120 km/h is allowed on some sections of the highways, but on most roads the maximum speed limit is 80 km/h. In residential areas the limit is 45 km/h. Due to the volume of traffic and high speeds, special care is needed when driving on highway thoroughfares. The use of seat belts is mandatory.
The authorities are taking stringent measures to crack down on traffic violations and curb the number of serious auto accidents. Penalties for speeding and red lights running are particularly severe. Exceeding the maximum speed limit by 5 km/h and running red lights almost inevitably attract heavy fines. There are numerous cameras equipped with flashes that capture intruders even in the dark part of the day. Driving licences are revoked for three speeding offences or one red lights running. Details of the Road Traffic Act and the fines and penalties imposed in the country can be found HERE.
Young women or girls travelling alone may not be allowed into the country. This does not apply if they are travelling with a family member. In Kuwait, local laws and norms must be observed. It is recommended that you inform yourself about them in advance and to strictly observe them. Penalties for breaking the law can be more stringent than those in Bulgaria for the same offences.
In case of detention by the local authorities, contact with the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Bulgaria in Kuwait should be required.
You can receive direct financial support from the diplomatic mission in Kuwait only if your relatives or close persons deposit the amount needed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Property Management.
In the event of theft of your identity documents, cash, travel tickets, etc., immediately notify the nearest police office in person and in writing and ask for a copy of the record establishing the event. Contact the diplomatic mission in Kuwait in order to make arrangements for obtaining the necessary documents to continue your trip or return to your home country.
Photographs should not be taken near sites of national importance: the palaces of the ruling family, state institutions, military bases, oil fields and refineries.
Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD). All payments within Kuwait are made in Kuwaiti dinars.
Travel papers and visas
The Bulgarian passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry.
ATTENTION: Since the beginning of July 2023, the Kuwaiti authorities have refused to issue electronic entry visas to foreign nationals travelling to Kuwait, citing the failure to provide a certificate showing that they are not pregnant, regardless of their age.
No official announcement on the matter has been circulated yet. Information about such a requirement is also absent from the e-visa application page of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior website. According to unofficial reports, a scanned copy of a certificate in English about the status of the visa applicant issued by a gynaecologist should be uploaded when submitting the online visa application.
Visas for citizens of most EU countries, including Bulgarian citizens, can be issued at the airport upon entry to Kuwait for KWD 3 (about EUR 9). These are visas for tourism purposes, valid for stays of up to 3 months, and for visiting relatives or friends, valid for up to one month. In the case of travel to Kuwait for work purposes, the visa should be obtained in advance from the Kuwaiti Embassy in the country of residence. Kuwaiti visas are printed at the border checkpoint on separate forms and are not placed in the passport. They should be kept until leaving Kuwait as they are required by the border police on exit.
Overstaying the period of stay allowed in the tourist visa will result in administrative penalties, with a fine of KWD 2 (two dinars) for each day overstayed. Attention! When entering the country to visit relatives or relatives, it is
possible to be issued a visitor’s visa, the duration of which is 1 (one) month, and the administrative penalty for overstaying it is KWD 10 (ten dinars) for each day of stay over the permitted period. Administrative sanctions shall be imposed on a mandatory basis. Leaving Kuwait within the validity period of the visa automatically entitles you to apply for and obtain a new visa.
It is also possible to obtain a tourist visa electronically. For this purpose, one has to access the relevant section of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior website (https://evisa.moi.gov.kw/evisa/home_e.do), to register and apply. A decision on the application should be expected within 48 hours. The visa fee of KWD 3 (about EUR 9) should be paid online by a credit card. We recommend Bulgarian citizens to apply for a visa electronically.
A criminal record and a medical certificate stating that the person is free of the AIDS and hepatitis B and C viruses are required to clear long-term residence for work or to join a family member. It is possible to join a family member working in the country with the right of permanent residence if the family member is a parent or spouse. There are restrictions on a husband joining a long-term resident wife for work purposes.
The first condition for a work visa is that the applicant is employed in Kuwait. The employer presents the case to the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior — Directorate of Migration, to authorise the so-called Work Entry Visa. Upon receipt, it shall send a copy to the applicant. The applicant submits the necessary documents to the Embassy of Kuwait in Sofia, including a copy of the Work Entry Visa. After examining the documents, the Embassy confirms the visa. Since 10 March 2019 Kuwaiti authorities do not place a sticker with a resident visa in the passport, it is issued only electronically.
Attention: Recently, the Kuwaiti authorities have taken a course towards stricter enforcement of the legal requirements related to the residence of foreigners in the country. The rule that the validity of the resident visa should not exceed the validity of the foreigner's passport is strictly applied. To extend a resident visa, the validity of the passport is required to be at least 12 months. Authorities warn that they will uncompromisingly sanction non-compliance with the ‘Data Updating’ requirement, where upon the issuance of a new passport or extension of an old one, the residing foreigner is required to inform the Kuwaiti migration office in a timely manner. Bulgarian nationals should note that they must notify the local authorities to obtain a new passport and update the details on their resident visa within 2 months of the expiry of the old passport. The fine is KWD 2 for each day of delay. If you replace your passport during a holiday or vacation in Bulgaria and enter Kuwait with a new passport, the time limit for notifying the Kuwaiti passport authorities of the change and updating the details on the resident visa with the new passport is only 1 month.
For the most up-to-date information on the visa regime in Kuwait, we recommend contacting the Embassy of Kuwait in Sofia.
Attention: Bulgarian citizens applying for a job in Kuwait should bear in mind that a monthly salary of USD 1300—1400 (or about KWD 400), even with the provision of housing at the employer's expense, does not provide a normal standard of living and does not provide opportunities for savings. It is important to carefully examine the terms of a job offer and, even more so, the clauses of an employment contract before signing it.
Issuance of Bulgarian identity documents:
The Embassy of our country in Kuwait has been equipped with the biometric data equipment – fingerprints and digital photo, and accepts applications for the issuance or renewal of Bulgarian identity documents – passports, identity cards and driving licences.
Certifications and legalizations:
The Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in the State of Kuwait performs the following legalizations and certifications:
- Certification of signature;
- Certification of seal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria;
- Certification of seal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait;
- Translation and legalization of documents.