By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: All expats holding a valid residency permit and passport can enter the country after following health protocols, while those holding absence permits who have valid residency can remain abroad as long as their residency is valid without being obliged to return to Kuwait before the end of December. The absence permits are renewed automatically without the need to refer to residency departments.

This was confirmed to Kuwait Times by Brig Gen Tawheed Al-Kandari, head of the interior ministry's general administration of public relations and security media. Kandari added all those who entered Kuwait before the pandemic on any kind of visa, and those whose residencies expired during the pandemic and who didn't amend their status should leave the country by Nov 30, 2020.

"They received several extensions for their visas and residencies, which reached a year or more, so now they have to leave, especially since the airport is open. Those who don't leave or amend their status will face financial penalties, in addition to deportation," stressed Kandari.

Meanwhile, an informed source at the general directorate of residency affairs told Al-Anbaa daily that all expats holding a valid residency permit can enter the country regardless of age, but health protocols must be followed, especially for those arriving from 34 designated countries who should quarantine in a third country.

He added there is no ban on elderly dependent visa holders from entering the country, but due to the current situation, it is preferable for the elderly not to travel for their safety. The source said residencies of all types, especially article 22 (dependent) visas, can be renewed online, assuring parents of university students that there is no fear of their children's residencies being cancelled for being abroad for more than six months.

As for a timeframe of when issuance of visit visas will resume, the source said there have been no instructions so far from the Cabinet, pointing out that the only entity authorized to allow entry to those who do not have residency permits is the ministerial committee and not the interior ministry.

The source said residencies are being cancelled daily according to the law if they expire and are not renewed. Holders of expired residency permits should undergo new procedures when life returns to normal, which means a new entry visa must be obtained. The source added 186,176 visas were issued online from July 21, 2016 till March 10, 2020.