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Kuwait confirms no extension for visa violation grace period

Egyptian citizens queue at Kuwait International Airport before boarding a repatriation flight to Cairo, in Kuwait City on 5 May 2020. [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images]
Passengers queue at Kuwait International Airport in Kuwait City on 5 May 2020 [YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images]

Kuwait's Ministry of the Interior has confirmed that the deadline for people whose residence visas have expired has not been extended, even those stranded in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic but were unable to leave.

A senior official at the ministry, Brigadier Tawheed Al-Kandari, confirmed this yesterday, and called on such visitors to leave Kuwait before the deadline expires today. Al-Kandari pointed out that a large number of expatriates entered Kuwait with commercial and family visit visas but were unable to leave, which prompted the ministry to grant them temporary three-month residency permits on three successive occasions.

The general situation has improved, he added, and airports, flights and ports have been reopened, making it possible for such individuals to leave the country within the fixed deadline. According to sources within the General Department of Residency at the Ministry of the Interior, 73,000 expatriates and immigrants of all nationalities who applied to regulate their residency status and were granted temporary residency permits were asked to leave Kuwait within two weeks of being given a grace period.

The department has informed all those who applied to update their residency status of the need to leave the country as no permits will be granted again. They will be allowed to return if they have work, business or family visit visas, provided that they pay the any fines required before leaving. Anyone who does not pay will be banned from entering Kuwait again.

However, compounding the problem, Kuwait's Council of Ministers decided last Thursday to suspend flights to and from Kuwait International Airport and close all land and sea border crossings until 2 January. This means that those who are violating the terms of their visas will be unable to leave the country within the deadline granted by the Ministry of the Interior.

The sources believe that this Council has confused many expats who wanted to leave and regulate their residency status.

READ: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman to close borders over new COVID strain

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