The journey to actually move to Kuwait can be quite something at the best of times but add on a pandemic, it can all get a little…chaotic! However don’t panic because we are all going through it, even us ones that aren’t new to Kuwait. Those who moved to Kuwait last year will be going through the exact same process new teachers are now again in England due to all of the restrictions, work visas/residencies were not processed last year. This meant that teachers like me had to return back to England for the summer to start the process/paper work again. For sure it was a hassle but like others who desperately want to get the residency as well as civil ID its worth going through it again despite the inconvenience and stress.
One of the top questions that seem to crop up over and over again is what things do we need to do to get a work visa/residency in Kuwait. So I thought I’ll break it down very simply to help anyone who may be moving or thinking of moving to Kuwait in the near future.
1. Receiving your visa from school
Your school will organise the visa from Kuwait and send it through to you visa post in the summer. Exactly when depends on your school and when they start the process but it should not be left too late. When you receive this visa it doesn’t mean you have residency or a civil ID…this is simply the process to gaining them when arriving in Kuwait (not straight away might I add). This visa through the post will be needed on arrival to Kuwait. You can check my post https://thatpinkpassportgirl.wordpress.com/2021/08/26/47-reading-your-kuwaiti-visa/ for how to read your visa as it will be in Arabic. This is useful to check your information is correct.
2. Degree notarised and sent for legalisation
You will need to get your documents attested with the first step getting them notarised by a solicitor first and then sent off for legalisation at the foreign office. This means any teaching qualifications such as your degree certificate and/or PGCE certificate. This will be needed for the Ministry of Education in Kuwait. If your degree is not in education/teaching like me it still needs to be notarised and legalised.
3. Police Check
This is the ACRO Police Check and NOT a DBS! Here is the link to use to apply for one. https://www.acro.police.uk
If you click on police certificates and apply now it should be straight forward to follow. This can take quite a bit of time to complete so make sure you prepare beforehand to make the process easier and quicker.
Things you will need in advance ready is a 10 year residency list of countries/addresses you have lived at in the past 10 years. Once you have completed this definitely save this somewhere for the future as its a pain to try and rethink all of your addresses again from scratch as you never know when you might need it again.
You will also need a recent passport style photograph to upload ready as well as proof of your current address (I used a bank statement) that had the date on it.
Copies of your passport will also need to be uploaded (the double photo page which has details of your name/address/date of birth/expiry date etc. Of course it goes without saying make sure your passport doesn’t run out of date!
Finally you will need your driving licence and National Insurance number ready.
Make sure the files are also uploaded in either JPG, GIF, TIF or PDF format and are clear to see!
Any issues with the police check may mean your application will be delayed but I think this is rare! As long as you have all the necessary things to upload you will be fine. You have two choices on how to send your police check off, either the standard way costing you £55 which can take up to 12 working days to process or the premium service £95 which takes only up to 4 working days. I chose the premium service just to be on the safe side. Remember that your school should be refunding you this money as long as you keep evidence (email etc) of your payment for the police check. They should still refund you the whole amount even if you select £95
Once you have received the police check back and its all good to go you will then send it off to the foreign office. This can take a couple of weeks before you receive it back so make sure you have left yourself enough time. It’s also important to note that the police check is valid up to 3 months of entering the country (not 45 days).
4. Visa Medicals done
You will need to get your visa medicals done in England before you move to Kuwait. These are things such as a chest X-ray and blood tests as well as urine sample to check you are not pregnant. You will also get some medicals done in Kuwait but you will definitely need this in England in order to get civil ID and residency. I used DoctorCall to book my medicals in which was £403. Mega expensive I know. There is a clinic both in Manchester and in London.
5. Time for the Kuwait Embassy in London!
By far the most exciting part! Having all of your documents ready and visa to go down to the embassy in London is the final stretch to landing you that seat on the plane to Kuwait. The embassy is located next to Hyde Park and next to the French Embassy. The closest station to the embassy is Knightsbridge.
Things you need:
. Medical Letter saying you are fit to work as well as the individual results (chest X-ray and blood tests)
. Degree certificate
. ACRO Police Check
Unless you live in London you will have to go the day before to be able to get to the embassy early in the morning like 9 or 10 to collect it back the same day in the afternoon. Make sure you ask at the embassy when you should come back that day to collect. Also make sure you have your actual passport with you too to get your visa stamped in there. They will also as for copies as well as to pay only in cash! It is £120 for the work permit and £15 for the ACRO police check and £15 for the degree.
On top of that it is a nice excuse to come down to London for a day or two and explore 😀
And that’s it in terms of paper work to come to Kuwait with. Not only having Civil ID and residency in Kuwait being a legal requirement for working in the country but it will also be hugely beneficial in your personal life when it comes to buying or renting a car, registering things on apps (during this pandemic especially), renting apartments, medical insurance and bank accounts.
. Copies of your passport
. Passport style photos
. Bring a file containing – visa letter, copy of your offer letter, anything work has sent you via email that is useful and accommodation address to tell the officers in Kuwait Airport.
In Kuwait it is a legal requirement to always have ID on you. As you are new to Kuwait and won’t have the Civil ID yet you will need to make sure you have a copy of your passport wherever you go! Some may say this isn’t necessary but just before I left Kuwait for the summer I was stopped several times by the police checking for IDs.
Something we perhaps often forget to think about is important contact numbers, especially for an emergency.
. Kuwait Emergency Number for police/ambulance and fire services – 112
. British Embassy in Kuwait – +965 2259 4320 (many will tell you its useless however it is still necessary I think to have the number. You can also ring the Kuwait embassy in London for advice too. From experience also likely to get a quicker response.
. Airport pickup number – whoever is meeting you at the airport
. School contacts – head of school and HR numbers
I hope you found this useful as there is a lack of information on the internet regarding this process with sometimes miscommunication from your school resulting in things not being processed correctly or delayed. Hopefully you will have a smooth process, with many of you will have completed it already and looking forward to your move in the coming days/weeks ahead.
I have also set up a twitter account to document my life in Kuwait which is MissK_inQ8
Look forward to connecting with some of you over there too 🙂