How To Get a Visa on Arrival at Kuwait International Airport

the process of getting a VOA at KWI (FYI) isn’t terribly complicated — the problem is you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING. i wasn’t going to write a blog post about this but halfway through the process figured that i should, since it might be helpful for at least one person out there!

can you get a visa on arrival?

check this handy-dandy chart. if you can, then this post is for you!

Getting a visa on arrival at Kuwait International Airport. For a blog post.

note that if you are from South Korea, you need to go to the medical clinic first…eeep!

where to get the visa

on the way out of the terminal, before you head downstairs to passport control and baggage claim, you’ll see a tiny food court. behind the Chili’s and Coffee Bean is the “COUNTER FOR VISA ISSUING” — that’s where you want to go. in fact, RUSH there to beat the crowd.

Getting a visa on arrival at Kuwait International Airport. For a blog post.

step 1 — take a number

unless the line is incredibly short, DO THIS FIRST. don’t even go to the bathroom — you can do that while you wait. find the area to the left that has a bunch of stamp vending machines and a booth. there’s a silver box on a pedestal next to it. press the white button on top to get a number.

Getting a visa on arrival at Kuwait International Airport. For a blog post.

Getting a visa on arrival at Kuwait International Airport. For a blog post.

do you need to pay for your visa?

check the following list. if your country is ON THIS LIST, you do NOT need to pay anything.

Getting a visa on arrival at Kuwait International Airport. For a blog post.

what if you do need to pay?

if your country is NOT on this list (but you qualify for a visa on arrival based on the very first list on the pink paper above), you will need to buy 3 KD worth of stamps from one of the stamp vending machines. there is an ATM to the right of the “COUNTER FOR VISA ISSUING” but i’ve read that it only dispenses a minimum of a shit-ton of money. there’s an actual bank counter next to the ATM where they may be able to break the bills for you, but i’m not sure. in any case, it may help to get small bills at your departure airport (before you leave for Kuwait) to save some time.

get a copy of your passport

bring a copy of your passport with you, or flag down one of the ladies (the night we arrived, it was all ladies) in a gray or red coat behind the booth to make a copy on their machine for you. note that we’re not completely sure if you need one or not, as we think we saw someone go through with an American passport without a copy, but the ladies seemed to think you needed one and were more than happy to xerox ours for us. fwiw i think they’re with a service that you can buy (i saw an invoice while waiting in line, 10 KD, or $33.07, plus the 3 KD visa cost if you need it) to help you get the visa but why bother when you have this useful little guide? 😉

fill out a landing card

there is a stack of landing cards at the booth — take one and fill one out. if you have a long last name, you’re out of luck 😉

Getting a visa on arrival at Kuwait International Airport. For a blog post.

and now you wait

the total time we had to wait was about 45 minutes — there were 29 people ahead of us and 3 counters open.

Getting a visa on arrival at Kuwait International Airport. For a blog post.

getting called to the counter

when your number is called, the first stop is where you hand over everything and they do the data entry. just wait while the guy or gal types your info in. i was asked if it was my first time in Kuwait, but nothing else.

once the data entry is done, he’ll give you back a piece of paper which is your actual visa and direct you to the end of the counter where you have to see someone else to get the visa and your passport stamped.


Getting a visa on arrival at Kuwait International Airport. For a blog post.

Getting a visa on arrival at Kuwait International Airport. For a blog post.

note that if you get a visa on arrival you will not need to stop at the passport control desk downstairs — just walk on through (we were breezed through but one of the guards).


you MUST keep that visa paper with you at all times and treat it like you would a visa that gets stuck in your passport. we were asked for it when getting a SIM card* and when checking into the hotel.

* protip: go with Zain — 4 KD ($13.23) for a SIM card that comes with 4 KD credit, 1 GB data per day for 1 KD — you can basically get 4 GB of data for a week with the credit you have preloaded.

45 Comments on "How To Get a Visa on Arrival at Kuwait International Airport"

  1. Holy crap man!!! That’s a process! Thanks for this. I’m gonna use it for sure!

  2. This is excellent, thank you for taking the time to post this level of details. The pictures also help very much.

    Thank you!

  3. Riyazahamed Habeebullah | December 8, 2015 at 12:31 am | Reply

    Hello brother,

    Nice and well explained details to get on arrival in kuwait Airport. Have one doubt..
    Am an Indian and having Residency permit in qatar for next two years .Am a computer
    Engineer.So can i get on arrival in kuwait airport?
    Note : Within two weeks am going to kuwait from Qatar..

  4. I believe the holders of resident permits of the countries under GCC Qatar is one of them) can get visa on arrival while travelling to other GCC countries ( Kuwait for example) provided their occupation level meets certain grade (such as engineers etc).

    This is applicable irrespective of the nationality the traveler has.

  5. Thanks for this! It will be my first visit and I like to be prepared.

  6. This is excellent…thanks. There’s such conflicting info about this on the Interwebs. Even the Kuwaiti US consulate lists $150 visa cost.

    So did they require sponsorship/invitation after all? Also, did you overhear them hassling anyone over Israeli passport stamps?

    • hey scot — i didn’t need any sort of sponsorship or invitation, just the card to be filled out when you get there. i didn’t hear of any hassles over israeli passport stamps but i don’t remember them really looking for them either. (that said, i don’t have stamps from when i went to israel). overall a pretty painless process!

  7. hi, i was wondering, do you know how late they are open? is it 24/7? our flight gets into kuwait city at 10:05pm. i hope we can get them still that late at night! thanks

    • Hi Karly! As I recall our flight got in around that time as well — they were most definitely open!

      Ahh I checked yeah our flight got in at 9:30 and it took at least until 10 to get the visas and stuff and they were still going strong. I don’t think you should have any trouble.

      Have a great trip!

  8. is the visa obtain at the airport good for 90 days stay in Kuwait?


    • Research shows it’s good for 3 months, but I’m not sure if that means 90 days or 3 months which may be more or less than 90 days depending on the days in the month.

  9. I just landed in Kuwait (March 2016) and your posting saved me a tremendous amount of time. Thank you very very much! I have two points to add that might help others. I can confirm that you need the photocopy. That nice thing is that just next to the “take a number” machine is what seems to be a public copier. What I mean is, everyone simply made their own copy. You do have to elbow your way in there a bit, but it moves fast. Another point is that if you are taken by bus from the plane, you will be dropped off on the ground floor and have to walk up one flight of stairs to get to the visa area. As you suggest, move there as fast as you can! Finally, once you have that precious visa, and you turn head to the passport line, the layout makes it seem like you have to wait in the queue. This is not so. You will see people, every so often simply walk up the middle between queues and walk past the “stampers”. This is perfectly fine and ok for you to do, as there is man standing just beyond who is the only one you need to show your visa to.

  10. Hey,
    Is the time constraint too risky if I have a 4 hour layover? I need to get an onboard visa, collect my bags and then go through immigration again before reconnecting with my flight back to Canada.

    • Hey Dan! When I was there IIRC the process took about an hour including waiting so I would assume everything should be ok as long as your flight is not delayed? Good luck!!! (Hopefully other times not so crowded as well.)

  11. Hi wanderlusty, great post and thank you for sharing .. do you ask you for a return ticket at the counter ?? I do have an onward ticket leaving from Kuwait. Appreciate if you can let me know.

    • Hi! I don’t remember if they asked to see anything but we had an onward ticket as well, not a return ticket so if they did we had no problem. Have a good trip!

  12. AWESOME Post! I was breaking my head on the procedure. Thank you so much for the detailed steps. How long did it take to complete this process? 45 minutes?

  13. hi Wanderlusty,

    i m indian passport holder can i get visa on arrival kuwait airport
    any one help me out to see kuwait my father working in kuwait i would like to surprised my father..


  15. Does anyone know when DNA testing starts on arrival?

  16. hi all,

    another question to ask, can I make the payment through credit card?

  17. hi Wanderlusty,
    i have got entry visa from kuwait i am indian passport holder do i need any other formalities there.

  18. Do you know how many times one may obtain a Visa 14? Is there a limit within a timeframe? If I leave and comeback 5 days later how many times may I do so?

  19. This is exceptionally helpful for us PA’s, I will post this on my PA website. I have personally been through this process, your blog is spot on. Most PA’s send their boss, cross their fingers and hope for the best – this is perfect to give them a printed step-by-step guide.

    One thing you didn’t mention – there are new rules if you have an Israeli stamp on your passport – best to check with the embassy before travel if you do.

    Please let me know if you have any other blogs I can post 🙂

  20. Excellent information, and very useful. I am not sure about the not having to go through the passports control after your visa. I have been to Kuwait a few times, and I have had to stand in line and wait for the visa stamping, but this process has changed for sure because when I used to go there, there was no “VISA ISSUING COUNTER” so it is probably more streamlined now. I am leaving tomorrow, I will update this comment upon my return. Thanks again!

  21. Thank you so much for the information! Very very helpful

  22. Might sound weird, but what’s the process if you didn’t get the visa initially after you landed in Kuwait? I showed the lady my military ID and she wrote down a lil number on a scratch piece of paper and gave it to me. After that, I proceeded to get my bags and leave the airport. I wasn’t informed at all beforehand about needing to go through a visa line. Are there any repercussions for this..?? It’s been about 2 weeks since this happened. Also, is there anyway to fix this..?? A response would be greatly appreciated.

    • huh good question! i assume if you didn’t need one to exit the airport you don’t need one? i’m definitely no expert but i’d assume they’d prevent you from entering if you weren’t allowed to with whatever documentation you had? 🙁 good luck and i hope you don’t have any trouble on the way out! (let us know!)

  23. Thanks for sharing. I will spend very little time in Kuwait, so this will come in handy.

  24. Thanks for taking the trouble to write this. I’m due to be following in your footsteps in a few days and I have heard nightmare stories about a five hour process. Fingers crossed that my experience will be as straight

  25. Hi Jon, i just used today, thank you, it is perfect! Just small updates from february 2017 – 1. You have not to change money in bank or to withdraw tons of dinars fron ATM: you can buy in duty free coca cola for 0,200 dinars, you give them 20 us dollars and they give you back 5,7 dinars, so you have three for visa 2. to find a stamp machine and visa office is absolutely easy, just follow the signs Visa Issuing just from your terminal, it is still next to sign arrivals, you can not miss it.

  26. Jon. I had some updates related to this post. Can I refer to your post?

  27. Does anyone know if getting a Kuwait e-Visa (link below) ahead is exactly same to above procedure but help skip the lines, saving time on arrival?

    Also does getting eVisa exempt US citizens from the 3KD fee (per the post) or you need to pay fee per the eVisa site — it says you may need to pay not sure if it refers only to certain other countries or even the exempt ones as it is a evisa charge? Looking to visit in Apr will share my experience.


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