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Kuwait announces new visa for sports, cultural activities

Call to ease Schengen visas * 66,584 driving licenses canceled * Checkpoints to be set up

KUWAIT: Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister and Acting Defense Minister Sheikh Talal Al-Khaled Al-Sabah gave orders to issue a new type of visa whose holder can enter Kuwait to practice sports, cultural and social activities. The visa will be issued through an application from sports clubs, as well as cultural and social societies in Kuwait. It is valid for a three-month stay that can be extended for a maximum of one year. Meanwhile, Kuwait on Saturday urged European states to facilitate the granting of Schengen visas to Kuwaiti citizens.

The call was made by Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem Al-Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who received at a luncheon, held upon instructions of HH the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, European ambassadors, heads of diplomatic missions and charge d’affaires serving in Kuwait. The minister, during the luncheon held at the ceremonies diwan at the foreign ministry headquarters, called upon the diplomats to act to ease difficulties facing Kuwaiti nationals seeking Schengen visas, facilitate procedures to apply for the visa, set more dates and speed up paperwork.

Sheikh Salem requested the Schengen visa for Kuwaiti citizens be valid for several years, lauding the missions’ efforts in tackling visa applications during the travel season and facilitating procedures for Kuwaitis traveling to resorts in European countries. He expressed utter respect for these states’ procedures and sovereignty with respect to issuing the visas. Separately, Interior Minister Sheikh Talal gave orders to cancel 66,584 driving licenses of expatriates whose residency visas have expired due to death or staying outside Kuwait for more than six months.

Holders of the canceled visas will have to apply again for a new license should they return to Kuwait, provided they meet the requirements to obtain a driving license, the interior ministry said in a statement Saturday. Also, senior police sources said the interior ministry has agreed to set up permanent security checkpoints in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh to arrest residency violators and not only rely on surprise raids.

Sources said the checkpoints will be at the entrances and exits of the area, as the ministry found from its data that most violators reside in Jleeb, in addition to most violations taking place in this area. Sources said such permanent checkpoints will also be set up in other expat-populated areas residents such as Mahboula, Farwaniya, Hawally, Khaitan and Bneid Al-Gar.

Sources said the interior ministry will seek the help of its civil employees and volunteers to find violations and inform interior ministry operations, particularly vendors who sell goods in front of mosques or in alleys in residential areas. The volunteers will have the right to ask residents for their IDs and confirm their residency status, and immediately coordinate with interior ministry operations to arrest any violator. – Agencies

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