By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: The interior ministry has launched new online services for citizens and residents amid the exceptional circumstances the country is experiencing over the COVID-19 pandemic. But some expats who tried the new service said even during the pandemic shutdown, they are being required to pay fines for delays in renewing visas that expired during the lockdown.

"My son's visa expired on March 23, during the shutdown because of the coronavirus outbreak. I tried the online renewal service launched recently, but my question is why are we being required to pay penalties," Umm Ali asked.

"I paid because I don't want to have any problems with the authorities here. But I want to know why we are being penalized. They know that it's not our fault we did not renew the visa, so why do we have to pay? I hope the ministry will pay attention to this - they should give some sort of amnesty to us," she said.

The new services, which are now available on the ministry's website (, include transfer of residency from one passport to another for residents, Latin name modification, family residency renewal (article 22) and sponsors' residence (article 24), the ministry said in a statement late Sunday.

However, the residency renewal service will be available on the ministry's website only for those whose residency expired as of early March. Kuwait enforced a country-wide curfew from 5:00 pm to 6:00 am until further notice, and announced a public holiday in the country from March 12 to April 23, with work resuming on April 26.