Staying Safe in Kuwait - Travel Tips

Kuwait is a safe place for most travellers to the Arabian Gulf but respecting the local laws and culture does help you stay out of trouble.

Rich, safe and just about crime free Kuwait is a great entry point to the Muslim world of souks, mosques and that all important warm Arabian hospitality.

Terrorism risk & civil unrest in Kuwait

It's not all blue skies and sunshine in the Middle East, but it's worth noting that there has been only one incidence of terrorism in Kuwait since 2005.

Foreigners have only been the target of terrorism once going back to an attack carried out on the US Embassy by non-Kuwaitis during the first Gulf War. However, more recently in June 2015, 27 people were killed including non Kuwaitis and 227 injured in a terrorist attack during Friday prayers on a mosque in Kuwait during Ramadan. 

In 2011, there have been protests by various groups, including Bidoons (or stateless persons); expatriate labourers, as well as anti-government demonstrations by young Kuwaitis. International events and political developments (including elections) may also prompt demonstrations in Kuwait. You should take particular care in the areas of Jahra, Sulaibaya and areas near the border with Iraq. 

As you would with any country you travel to, be aware of your surroundings in public places and avoid large gatherings and demonstrations as these can often turn violent.

Crime in Kuwait

Crime levels in Kuwait are very low. The incidence of violent crimes against travelers is negligible. However, you should exercise the same precautions you would at home or in any major city.

Some women travelers have recently been subjected to both physical and verbal harassment. Women should avoid walking alone in isolated areas at night and travel with a companion if possible. Within the past decade, several instances of sexual assault against foreign women in Kuwait City have been reported. Some assaults have reported instigated by a person posing as a police officer.

The Kuwaiti police accept crime reports at the police station with jurisdiction over the area where the crime occurred. If filing a crime report, it is advisable to be accompanied by a person who speaks Arabic or by a local attorney.

Getting around in Kuwait

Wiley vehicle patterns and unconventional driving habits encourage tourists to opt out of renting a car in Kuwait. Hire a driver or get to know a good local taxi driver. While the roads are good in Kuwait, the driving skills and level of respect for road rules may not match those from other countries. However if you do choose to hire a car, it's important you know what insurance is included and what isn't.

Common sights on Kuwaiti roads:

  • Total disregard for any kind of signaling
  • Speeding
  • Aggressive driving including tail-gaiting and lane weaving
  • Disregard for seatbelts and basic safety inside cars
  • Talking and texting on mobile phone while driving
  • Running red lights
  • Pulling into traffic without looking or indicating
  • Driving in emergency lane or on hard shoulder to avoid traffic

If involved in a car accident, do not attempt to move your car until police arrive and have made a report or you will be arrested.

Also, hailing a taxi from the road is not advisable, particularly if you are female. There have been a few incidents of passengers being harassed while doing so. Try to book a taxi in advance and use a reputable taxi company.

Health hazards in Kuwait

Kuwait is developing at such a pace that it can be easy to forget it was part of the Gulf War not all that long ago. However, there are still unexploded munitions, including landmines in many rural areas, at beaches and recreational sites.

People have been injured after picking up metal or plastic objects. Do not stray from well-travelled roads, stay on clearly identifiable tracks, and exercise great care, because there is a danger of unexploded ordnance even if an area has been officially cleared. Do not pick up any strange metal, plastic or other objects lying around or souvenir-hunt for war memorabilia.

In terms of weather and environmental hazards, sand and dust storms occur regularly and flooding is not uncommon. Being a Gulf state Kuwait often experiences extremely high temperatures. During the hottest months of the year, the temperature regularly exceeds 50ºC.

Check with your hotel or local guide before swimming in the sea off Kuwait City. In 2009, one of the main pumping stations in Kuwait City broke down and untreated sewage was released into the sea. While the problem has largely been dealt with, it is still advisable to avoid swimming here if possible. 

Litter in the water is also problematic at some beach locations.

Medical facilities vary in terms of level of care including some facilities not allowing the admission of expatriates and so medical evacuation to another city which has the necessary care and facilities may be required.

Kuwaiti local laws and etiquette

Kuwait is a Muslim country and while not as conservative as many of its Gulf neighbours, you should behave and dress in a respectful way.

Respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

The following are illegal in Kuwait:

  • Homosexual acts
  • Unmarried heterosexual couples to live together
  • Importation and use of alcohol
  • Importation and use of pork products
  • Pornography
  • Drink driving

Further, anyone involved in a commercial or any other dispute with a Kuwaiti company or individual may be prevented from leaving the country or placed in custody, pending resolution of the dispute.

In terms of dress code, Kuwait is fairly relaxed, however, to avoid unnecessary attention women should not wear short skirts, sleeveless shirts or low necklines. Bikinis are fine at the hotel pool, but not on public beaches.

The Emir of Kuwait is venerated. Prison terms of up to seven years can be imposed for challenging the authority of the Emir or insulting him - whether by speech, writing, drawing or any other means of expression.

Taking photographs of or near government buildings or other infrastructure, including oil fields, can lead to detention. It is also forbidden to take photographs at some shopping centres.

Alcohol is totally prohibited in Kuwait. It may not be imported, manufactured or served. Some expat-geared restaurants offer "special" tea, but unlike neighbouring states; Bahrain, Qatar and UAE, alcohol cannot be even served at hotels or by permit holders.

So, apart from the ever present threat of terrorism and "abstract" drivers, Kuwait has to be one of the easiest and safest countries for travel in the Gulf region.

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40 Comments

  • Banerjee said

    I have got an offer to work in Kwait for two years. I am married and accompany my wife with me. There is a rumour that nobody should accompany his wife in Kwait. Will it be adviseable to move to Kwait with my wife? Pl help me?

  • Kayle said

    Hi! You must work in the Military. My dad is in Kuwait right now! What do you mean by the rumors you heard? Not sure I understand.. But if you and your wife will be living there together in Kuwait, then she must ALWAYS wear her wedding rings to show the two of you are married. If she does not wear them the Kuwait people could take that as you are cheating, and you can get in real big trouble. I also would not show public affection... I know in Dubai that PDA is against the law. Not sure if this helps.. but good luck with your job!

  • zidan said

    is kuwati a safe place to work

  • john said

    kuwait is a safe place.

  • Jess said

    Hi, I have just been offered a teaching position in Kuwait, however i am obviously very nervous about the current situation in that area of the world.

    I was wondering if anyone could tell me what it is really like for a single woman to live and work in Kuwait?

    Many people have their opinions on what it is like, but they are clearly just that; opinions

    I've heard awful things for example women are not respected and can be stoned in the street?! Abuse shouted at them as they walk down the street. Which is obviously making me very apprehensive about accepting the position.

  • anthony said

    I have been offered a offshore construction job in kuwait. Is it a safe place to work? I will be working in the water, does anyone know the conditions of the water?

  • Abubakari said

    am glad i found this forum, can i get the right authority to contact, my wife got opportunity to work in Kuwait on getting there and working for over a year she decides she wants to leave and now we are finding out she was bought at a price (slavery) now they demand she pays a sum of money before she leaves, agreeing to pay this money they still don't want her to leave and she is even scared they want to harm her, i need the right authority to contact and whatever money they are demanding we will pay BUT the authority should make sure my wife is safe with them as they have collected her passport and i want to make sure she is in a safer place while whatever funds they are requesting is being paid back to them and they let her leave as they also claim she should get her own flight which was not the what they told us but who cares what's necessary is that she is safe i can get her a flight back to Africa (Ghana). Please anybody who can help should let me know who to contact ASAP. Thank you.

  • Mike said

    kuwait is safe place to live and work , despite the traffic street reckless driver wars

    everything seems fine especially about having your family with you,or even solo

  • Alona said

    I have accepted a teaching job in Kuwait and my fiance will begin working in Kuwait as well. Can we live together until we get married? We both can wear rings if needed.

  • KUWAITI BLOGER said

    Kuwait safe country for work and living

    This is a fact

    Understand the Tradition and culture and laws of Kuwait will make your life very easy and happy in Kuwait

    Alcohol and drugs and
    prostitution by criminal law

    Kuwaitis are almost a million, and non-Kuwaiti residents who work and send money to their families outside Kuwait nearly two million


    People are generally hospitable and kind and does not hesitate to help if necessary


    Transport is focused on driving a car that most people the option therefore find traffic jam in the streets and the government is developing a road network to resolve the matter

    Buses, a cheaper and cover a good percentage of the areas which is cheaper. The Taxi and must agree on the price before you take the taxi because it is often cheaper than the counter - the counter is not implemented 100%


    Of living compared to New York City or London, the cheapest


    Country's oil hot summer cold winter - air conditioning everywhere in the car in the markets and Mall and buildings often will not feel the summer 🤔

    There is a plan to build a rail network and trains linking Kuwait and neighboring countries


    The Kuwaiti dinar is currently the strongest currency in terms of the exchange rate


    Stay away from the follies lived happy in this country - that did not raise problems will not Iatrdk one - you can walk in all areas of Kuwait 24 hours safely - best advice if you have good friends of our country many things easier for you


    Who says that Kuwait has no security and no safe - completely wrong and not know kuwait

    Emergency numbers - police - ambulance - firefighting is 112

    I know the market places - museums - daily activities There are many activities I ask the people of the country if possible

  • via said

    Is it really safe working in Kuwait? specially for girls.

  • Margarita said

    Very positive comment! It seems like Kuwait is a great place to work and live. What about the civil war at the neighboring countries, does it affect or may affect Kuwait´s safety in some way?

  • Iryn said

    My husband was offered a job in Kuwait. we are traditionally married, is it possible for us to move and live together in Kuwait

  • Dion said

    Just wanted to answer to Anthony because my father works off shore in kuwait and he is European and he had no problems there by now today he is going back there I hope it continoues to be like that only maybe somethig that may scare u is sound of NATO and Russian planes bombing nearby countries since water transmits sound very good but he is cro war veteran so yeh

  • Rohini said

    Kuwait is very safe for girls. Dress code(no legal specification) is quite relaxed, however differs slightly from situation to situation. For example, it's ok to wear a loose skirt that barely hits the knee and a blouse in a mall like Avenues, but in a Traditional soul or in places like the streets of Jleeb, it best to cover your legs and wear half-sleeved tops.
    Bikinis are normally fine in hotels and many sports clubs like Coniche. Some hotels have restrictions (I heard the Regency does). However, in public beaches it could drag attention. I have seen some westerners doing it. However since the "bikini controversy" of 2010-2014, they have reduced dramatically on public beaches.
    Google that for more info. For this reason, don't wear bikini on public beaches. Opt for a modest one piece.

    Most locals really don't care about the way you dress. Some Kuwaiti women wear regular western clothes and expose thier arms and legs(not hip-hugging clothing). So why shouldn't you? The worst that could happen are a few stare.

    Focus on what to do on the weekend. Find a hobby. Because after a month or two you will get bored without a hobby especially if you are a housewife or not working.
    Kuwait is composed of malls, some beaches, promenades and for the winter, one or two good parks. Aside from that thier are a few hard to find communities which you can join. You can also join a gym.

  • Sharnee Bennett said

    Hi There,

    I may be travelling to Kuwait for work for 1 week to present at a seminar.

    My contract includes 5 star hotel, personal driver etc.

    Just wondering how and if I need to take any additional safe guards while going there.

    It is in 2 weeks time so what is the weather like?

    I plan to dress conservatively and cover up.

    I look forward to hearing from you,

    Sharnee

  • Angela said

    Hi, I am invited to give a workshop from the US to Kuwait in March. Half my friends tell me to go and half not to go. My husband thinks I am crazy to consider it because of the political situation. We are both elderly and so not used to certain things. What would you recommend?

    Thanks!
    Angela

  • Dee said

    Kuwait is perfectly safe. I am the wrong side of 50. I work in Kuwait. My husband comes and goes so I have periods alone and feel safer here than in London!

  • Ali said

    Hi, I'm a kuwaiti student studying in the US. Just wanna help you guys out with all the questions. Believe me, Kuwait is NOT dangerous at all. The crime rate is too low and it has a high safety system. Even with everything going on in the middle east you could barely see a terroists attack. I mean it happened twice only in the past 10 years. If you got a chance to go there DO IT. You won't forget the experience. Don't worry about safety. It's one of the safest countries in the world. The best thing about kuwait is food. I'm not talking about kuwaiti food only, I'm talking about the amount of restaurants. The most successful business going on in kuwait is restaurants so if you're an eater you would really enjoy kuwait haha!

  • ENOCK said

    Hello I'm electrical and electronic engineer from west Africa Ghana to be precise willing to work in Kuwait can somebody link me up in those engineering companies in the country ?

  • Jona said

    Hello,
    I have been offered a job in Kuwait, this is in Aviation Industry, as flight attendant for Kuwait Airways, may anyone tell me please what's you impression on Kuwait Airways and is Kuwait City a safe city to live in?
    Thank You :-)

  • Maja said

    Hello, I would just like to check up what somebody said before - is it OK to wear modest one-piece Western swimming suit on public beaches instead of bikini or should I wear burkini as Westerner? Are there some beaches in Salmiya and can you swim all year round? Are there some night clubs with modern music in Kuwait City?

    It's true I would come to work and focus on it, but as somebody who used to work in UAE and Oman before I am wondering how much is Kuwait different and if you can live there happily as single woman for long-term period. Thanks

  • Fred said

    Hi there,
    I'm interested in working in Kuwait but I have a jewish last name (non-practicing). Is that going to be a problem???
    Thanks:)

  • Cameron Renwick said

    This regards everyone with doubts about Kuwait. My Dad resides there, has done for three years working for a franchising company. I myself was worried when reading things about Kuwait and considered not going over, however I flew unaccompanied at 14 years old out to Kuwait. Kuwait is not as bad as it is said to be on the websites. I was allowed to wear t-shirts and shorts anywhere I went, and also it was perfectly acceptable to normal things as you would in the UK. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there, however obviously as long as you respect the beliefs of Kuwaitis, you are fine.

    I wouldn't worry about Kuwait if I was you; yes it is a culture shock obviously, however as long as you keep to yourself you will enjoy it; in fact there are many Americanised restaurants and shops in Kuwait, it is very international in fact!

    If you do want some more reassurance, just write a response on here and I'll happily respond.

  • Robert said

    I have been approached to apply for a position in Kuwait but being a gay man with a younger partner may seem to be a problem there. I understand homosexuality is illegal but I couldn't leave him behind. Would we be safe?

  • Gina said

    My bf is getting a job (civil-military) in kuwait and hes asked me to visit him this summer (2017) hes american and im european. I was wondering whether its okay to live together or ...? (Ive read its illegal for man &woman to live together there) And if you have any other tips for someone whos never travelled outside europe, it would be much appreciated

  • Vishnu said

    Hi,I'm Vishnu from India .im planning to work in kuwait,plz suggest me a job with which I can afford my monthly expenses .nd is it a matter of concern to work in kuwait being as a hindu?nd plz suggest me best nd safest place to live nd work in . Thanks,Vishnu 🙂

  • Emmanuel said

    Am a student and I desire to migrate to Kuwait.. How can I get to work on that. An if possible how much am I to have at hand while working on my travel.

  • Hussein said

    Am a computer science student and am working as a production clerk in Nigeria at plastic company I wish to work in kwait how much are they paying for there workers....I don't mind if I see a hotel work or data entry job and so on.

  • fatma said

    kuwait is a perfectly safe country. i know a lot of Americans and a few Russians that have lived here for over 10 years and are completely comfortable with their jobs, apartments, salary and health care. if you are married you aren't forced to wear your ring its ur choice. the crime rate in kuwait is very low but that doesnt mean that crimes do not occur. it may be very hot but everywhere u go you'll find airconditioning. kuwait is also well known for their amazing food!

  • Adrianna said

    I kind kind of grew up in kuwait and there is nothing bad about it, crimes there are really really low as well as terrorist attacks are rare and that people in kuwait are more open than most of the middle eastern countries and people are free to wear what they like in fact most of the kuwaiti woman do not wear the hijab or their traditional cloths and most of the restaurants and malls are western like. It true that non married couple cannot live together and that rules and cultural should be respected.

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  • Depen said

    Hi i'm from nepal i have been offered a job in kuwait.i'm married preson and my wife also want tocome and work in kuwait.is it safe for nepali women to word in kuwait.plz help me guys

  • Abdulmalik imran said

    Hello everybody am a welder and I will like to work in Kuwait in case anybody can connect to any construction I will be very happy, thanks in advance

  • Stephanie Bade said

    My daughter is planning on moving to Kuwait in a couple months to stay with a friend from high school for a few years. Her friend is both American and Kuwaiti citizen as his mother is western American and his father Kuwaiti. Her friend moved there after graduating high school to attend college and now that they have rekindled their flame from high school she is planning to live with him there as he finishes college. Should I be concerned about her being a "western" girl and living with him because of their beliefs and culture. What should we be aware of or concerned with? What does she need to know or have in order before moving. Any advice that has fact backing it up would be appreciated.

  • En said

    Stephanie Bade.... your daughter should be completely fine in Kuwait - especially Westerners, they're generally treated really well and in high regard.

    She should be aware that drugs are illegal - and penalty is extreme for it, she should best avoid them completely. Alcohol is illegal but if done in strictly private settings then generally it's fine. But she should NOT try to bring in Alcohol to Kuwait.

    The only concern I see from what you've mention is that she is living with him. If he is a student in Kuwait he is almost certainly living with his parents. If she is going to be living at his parents house then it's absolutely fine. If she isn't, then it's illegal (non-married couples cannot live together) - but realistically speaking (I'm a local born,raised, and living in Kuwait) I doubt it'll be an issue. It's not like the police are waiting in front of residential buildings checking marriage certificates. As long as she doesn't get into trouble with the law she should be fine. I'm married but both my husband and I don't wear wedding rings and we never had a problem (and authorities are much stricter with locals than expats when it comes to relationships). If a couple look decent and are respectful they are generally left alone. Issues with non-married couples with authorities are usually those that quiet flamboyant or answer back to authorities when questioned. In generally if you're nice and respectful to the cops they let a lot of things slide.

    Crime is VERY low in Kuwait - so there's not concern in that department.

    The people, especially the young (30s and under) are very Westernized in every sense of the word (clothes, food, outlooks, etc.) But avoid short shorts & mini skirts. Sleeveless tops are fine. But for traditional places like souk, etc, it's best to wear pants and a t-shirt to avoid uncomfortable stares. Also avoid PDA in general (limited to hand holding)

    If she wants to get around tell her to download the application Careem (it's a car booking app like Uber and Lyft). I would ask her to use that rather than taxi's that can scam foreigners in price. And the quality level of the cars, drivers and service is largely lacking. Careem is much more professional and much safer. Or call a private car booking company - these are good as well.

    We love to eat and love food. Almost all of our social life revolves around food. We have really good food as well - so she might be gaining some weight - especially since we hardly move :)

    If she is coming during the summer - she should know it's HOT! Daily summer average temperatures are over 50 degrees Celsius. If she has a choice I'd recommend anytime between September/October - April.

    Just to be safe - as in any other place. She shouldn't be TOO friendly with stranger men. If he is a stranger best not go anywhere with him (if he says he'll drop her off, etc.). Also - no hitchhiking! She should absolutely avoid that.

    Even though everything I'm saying sounds great - I'm sure she will experience some culture shock. As much as Kuwait is Westernized, in some issues it is quiet traditional. Also, some views might be disturbing to her. The disparity between white collar and blue collar workers is HUGE. Blue collar workers don't have a decent standard of living, and you can clearly see that in everything everywhere (the way people dress, treatment by both people and the authorities, etc.)

    I tried thinking of everything a Westerner might find different or weird - and I think that's pretty much it.

    I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you would like to know anything else :)

  • Bryant said

    Kuwait is one place i will always like to comeback for my vacation. The locals are welcoming and very friendly and i can assure you there are no evident threads of suicide bombings. Despite the strict laws but in place i was able to get some good MJ from this guy.( Telegram Id @Francbud). i thought my info may be help for anybody trying to score.

  • Mike said

    What about the guy half way up here who mentioned that his wife was being held as a slave and had been "purchased".

    Everyone seemed to just keep talking about how safe Kuwait is and ignore this comment, did anyone try to help this man?

    Also soon to travel to Kuwait, I hope I don't have to send a message in a bottle on to this forum for help.

  • Kiggundu Steven said

    I gotten a dream, where i found my self working in Kuwait and ever since that dream i have been making a study about Kuwait over the internet.

    So now I have got a great interest to be in Kuwait.

    But where should I start from?

    Am an electrical / electronics technician out from one of the tertiary institutes in Uganda and am now 12 years in my career.

    How do I start and who exactly to contact if am to travel to Kuwait? I will be glad if answered.

  • Serubwa Daniel said

    It's a very fast response

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