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Reopening of visas brings joy and relief, sparks optimism
Some expats voice concerns over complications

KUWAIT: The recent decision by Kuwait to reopen visit visas for expatriates has brought a wave of joy and relief and has sparked optimism and happiness among residents, where this move signifies a positive step towards reuniting families. Kuwait Times spoke with residents applying for visas at the residency affairs department to gain insight into the application process.

Muhammad Adel highlighted the imposition of new requirements in the visa application process, emphasizing the additional documentation now necessary. “We are now required to provide a birth certificate obtained from the embassy, which adds considerable time to the completion of the application,” he explained. Additionally, he noted that one of the prerequisites is evidence proving the familial relationship, specifically requiring verification of maternal lineage from the embassy.

Adel commended the efficiency of the application process, noting the exceptional organization within the building for receiving applications. He expressed appreciation for the seamless flow, which facilitated a smoother experience for applicants. “I will bring my mother for a visit. My mother was born in Kuwait, but due to some circumstances, she lost her residency three years ago. I am happy that visit visas have been opened at this time, especially before Ramadan, so that we can be reunited with the whole family. I believe that the timing of this decision is good not only for expatriates but also for the country, as its economy will improve after the number of upcoming visitors, as every person is obligated to spend financial sums on their family and relatives who will visit the country,” he added.

Samira Hussein voiced concerns regarding the complications arising from submitting applications for a visit visa, citing a recent change where the duration of visits has been reduced to just one month, down from the previous three. She highlighted the challenge posed by the requirement to authenticate the birth certificate through both the embassy and foreign ministry, further exacerbating the difficulties in completing the application procedures. On the other hand, Hussein expressed joy about the reopening of visit visas, saying her children who studied in Egypt have not visited Kuwait since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Iman Hamoudi expressed her elation over the reopening of visit visas for families, particularly because she has been separated from her 70-year-old mother for over a year now. Sharing her personal experience, she recounted applying for a visa for her mother, during which a residency affairs department employee assured her that flight reservations would be accepted only if booked with Kuwait Airways or Jazeera Airways.

Despite facing initial setbacks when attempting to apply last Thursday due to gender restrictions, she persisted and revisited the department, where officials confirmed the acceptance of her request after ensuring compliance with the updated requirements and laws. Meanwhile, Alia Khail called for equality in the right of women to sponsor their children like men. “We were all happy with the visa reopening decision, but I was surprised to know that a working woman in Kuwait who meets all the conditions including the salary is deprived from bringing her children to Kuwait on a family visa due to the husband’s lack of residency in Kuwait,” she pointed out.

“After rejecting the family visa reunion, my hope was on visit visas, but again we were surprised today that women are not allowed to apply for visit visas for their children younger than 4 years old. I hope His Excellency the minister lifts the injustice against women residing in Kuwait without their husbands. We deserve the company of our children. We demand equality,” she pointed out.

Regarding the procedures, Khaled Sabry said: “My experience of applying for a visit visa was smooth. The birth or marriage certificate of the visiting person must be authenticated by the foreign ministry of the applicant’s country, then Kuwait’s, then the embassy. All visas are for only one month. We must attach a copy of a roundtrip ticket on Kuwait Airways or Jazeera Airways and it must be for after 10 days of applying, according to one of the employees. Lastly, you will have to sign a pledge.”

Sabry remarked on the organized scheduling of submissions, which minimizes crowding within the premises, though typists may encounter some congestion. He concluded the pledge people sign asks the applicant to comply with several terms and conditions, like issuing roundtrip tickets, not converting the visit into any residency and committing to the visit period, while the visitor’s medical treatment shall only be at private hospitals and clinics.

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