Fifteen Things To Know Before Moving To Kuwait

Are you planning to move to Kuwait? This tiny Gulf country has a culture all of its own, and you'll need to be clued up before you decide on making the jump. To help you, here are ten things you should really know before moving to Kuwait, from the currency to how to legalise a document to help you get a work visa.

ONE – The Currency

The Kuwaiti Dinar, the official currency of Kuwait, is the highest-valued currency in the world. One dinar is worth £2.68 GBP, or $3.27 US (as of 13/03/2017) Kuwaiti currency is split into Dinars and fils. One Dinar equals 1,000 fils. The currency is available in both coins and notes in different denominations.

TWO – The History

The country has had quite a tumultuous history. Kuwait was a tiny, unnamed Gulf coastal locality prior to 1716, when several clans of the Aniza tribe migrated from the interior of the Arabian Desert. The land was later called Kuwait – a diminutive of the word kut, meaning “fort.” Pirates raided the area from sea and land for many years,which caused decline of the region’s economic condition, until the British took over piracy in the region, bringing prosperity in the form of developing trade and shipbuilding opportunities. The country first gained independence on June 19th 1961, but celebrates its National Day on February 25th, to avoid the hot summer weather.

THREE – The Heat

Just like other Gulf countries, it gets seriously hot in the summer. Expect temperatures of up to 50C. Fortunately, most indoor locations are air-conditioned, so even if you have to go out during the day, you should be able to avoid the heat!

FOUR – The People

There are more than 2.9 million non nationals living in the country, citing better trade and job opportunities. The majority of this population migrated to the coastal region after the discovery of oil. As of 2016, its total population consisted of 70% expats.

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FIVE – Business

Kuwait’s economy is primarily petroleum-based. The biggest exports are oil and fertilizer, so if you’re looking for a well-paying job in the country, you’d do well to get into one of these fields! Kuwait exports more than 60% of its oil to Asian countries. Kuwait has 10% of all the oil reserves in the world. Cost of oil production in Kuwait is the lowest in the world due to the fact that the oil lies close to the surface of earth, making it easy and economical to lift to the top.

SIX – Legalising a Document for use in Kuwait

Legalising a document for Kuwait is similar to legalising a document for any other country, though with a few specific caveats. For example, when legalising an educational document for Kuwait, you’ll need to provide your highest attained certificate. Other countries allow you to legalise any educational document regardless of level.

The majority of the sequence for legalising a document for Kuwait is the same however. Your document will first need to be seen by the relevant foreign affairs department in your country, before being sent to the nearest Kuwait Embassy for legalisation. Once the document has been returned to you, it will then have to be seen by MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) in Kuwait City to complete the legalisation process. If you need to legalise a document, feel free to get in touch. 

SEVEN – Driving Licenses

The other key factor to keep in mind is that international driving licenses are not accepted in Kuwait as is. These will also need to be legalised if you intend on driving in the country.

EIGHT – The Food and Water

Because of difficult climatic conditions in the country, farming is not possible. Instead, Kuwait imports the majority of its food from other countries, and catches fish on its own shores. Subsequently, food prices can be quite high in the country, but that is mostly offset by the strength of the currency. Moreover, Kuwait is devoid of permanent rivers and lakes, which means that it has no fresh-water sources above the ground. It uses wells and performs desalination of sea water for drinking and sewerage purposes.

NINE – The Housing

There has been a construction boom in Kuwait over the last 10 years, providing many different apartments and villas for expats to choose from. Almost all of the apartment buildings have a haris or manager on the building premises who will arrange for your trash to be taken out and your car washed for a small monthly fee. However, most buildings have limited parking spaces and amenities, so most renters are left to try to find a space wherever they can. Don’t be shocked when you come out to find someone blocking your car!

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TEN – The Life

The pace of life in Kuwait is quite slow, and things will get done at a slower pace than you’re used to, especially if it’s regarding bureaucracy or paperwork. If you have a deadline for anything – a paper that needs a stamp or a visit visa about to expire, rest assured it will NOT come through on time. Try to get things done well in advance so you’re not left wanting.

ELEVEN – Evolution

Like many countries in the Middle East, Kuwait is keen on development of its infrastructure and cities. There always seems to be building work going on! It’s biggest project currently in progress is the world’s tallest skyscraper, which will be 1,001m (3,284ft) tall. The ultra modern Burj Mubarak al-Kabir is expected to be completed in 2030.

TWELVE – The Flag

The Kuwaiti flag, known as “Alam Baladii, Derti”, was adopted in 1961 and is horizontally striped green-white-red with a black truncated triangle. The colours are associated with a poem written in the 13th century by Ṣafī ad-Dīn al-Ḥilli. He spoke of the green fields of the Arabs, the black battles they face, the white purity of their deeds and the red blood on their swords.

THIRTEEN – The Sport

Kuwait is a great lover of sport, particularly racing in many forms. The racing it is most famously and uniquely known for is its camel races, due to the fact that the jockeys are in fact robotic. Since 2005, when children were banned from taking part, small robots have “rode” the camels in the races to prevent injuries in the sport.

FOURTEEN – Safety

Kuwait is hailed as having the third lowest death rate in the world, behind it’s neighbours Qatar and the UAE. It is a very safe place to live and has excellent healthcare!

FIFTEEN – Travel

Driving is the most common form of transport in Kuwait, which can be a sport in itself! The only options for public transport is using a bus, as there is no railway system, subway or trams at all in Kuwait.

If you’re planning a move to Kuwait and you need help with yrou documentation, Vital Consular can help. Give us a call on 0330 088 1142, chat with our team on our live chat system, send us a text message via WhatsApp or request a personalised quotation and we will aim to get back to you within 1 working hour.

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Ashraf Vachhiat
Ashraf is the Marketing Technologist at Vital Consular, which means he handles all the technicalities involved in bringing this blog to life! He also enjoys creating in-depth articles around current affairs which impact the travel and relocation industry. In his free time, Ashraf relishes travelling as much as possible, and is always looking for quirky spots to take some great photos.
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