Visit-to-work visa transfers allowed, fees unchanged

KUWAIT: Interior Minister Sheikh Khaled Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah yesterday issued new residency by-laws allowing visit visas to be transferred to residency visas in many cases. There were only minor changes to other residency rules and regulations, especially with regards to fees.

Visit visas may be transferred to residency visas for the following categories:

Subject to the residency affairs’ director’s decision, visitors of ministries and public authorities (with government visit visas) holding university degrees; domestic helpers; dependents arriving on family or tourist visit visas; holders of valid residencies who do not exceed six months out of Kuwait and have to enter with a visit visa; those who enter for work and start procedures to get residency, but have to leave for a maximum of one month; cases subject to the residency affairs directorate’s judgment.

Contrary to reports published repeatedly in the local press about plans to sharply raise almost all residency charges, the new rules included no major changes to residency fees, while dependent residency rules and others remain unchanged. The only change was introducing a KD 3 fee for obtaining a visa on arrival, which used to be offered free of charge for some nationalities. Residence and renewal fees remain at KD 10 per person per year.

Dependent residency fees for spouses and children remain at KD 10 per person annually, while the regulations allow the residency department to grant relatives other than the wife and children a dependent visa against a KD 200 charge yearly. This includes parents. The regulations set a minimum of KD 500 in monthly salary for those who can bring their families from abroad on dependent visas, while they give the director of the department to exempt couples already living here from the salary condition. The regulations also exempt a large number of professions from the salary conditions. These include judges, doctors, engineers, teachers, journalists and many others.

The new by-laws introduce a tourist visa allowing tourists to stay in Kuwait for up to three months, and a multiple entry visa valid for one year for just KD 1 for each month. Foreigners whose residence is cancelled and those who resign are given up to three months of temporary residency to leave.

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