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Residency Visas linked to passports validity from 1st Jan 2016

The Director, Residency Directorate – Ministry of Information, Maj Gen Talal Ibrahim Maarafi, emphasized that beginning 1st January 2016, Residency Visas given to expatriates would be linked to the validity of their passports, which is in line with Article 12 and Article 15 of the Residency Law.

He explained that the validity of renewed residency visa would not exceed the validity of the passports’ and the residency would be cancelled the moment the passports expire. The holders are not permitted to obtain a new residency until the passports are renewed.

Maarafi further said that in cases where the expats are found with new passports or extending the validity of their old ones without notifying the immigration, or registering their new passports’ information, violators would be fined.

According to Maarafi, the grace period granted before implementing the new condition is sufficient for all to check the expiry date of their passports’ and legalize their status before going to immigration department to renew residency visas.

Last year, the Interior Ministry began implementing a 50 year old law, linking validity of Residency Iqamas to passports. Those who renewed their passports, but had not transferred the residency stamp to new ones, were fined KD2 per day, and more than 107,000 people in Kuwait were fined.

The Article 12 of Residency Law states that Iqama is valid only if the passport is valid.

"Some people renewed passports without registering at Immigration Department / Residency Affairs Department, which led to expiry of their Iqamas, and fines accumulation. Every expat should register at the Immigration Department in their governorate, as their files are there," said Col Khalid al-Kandari, Head of Legal Department for Residency at Interior Ministry.

According to Kandari, as passport expires, the Iqama expires too. Some people get new passport abroad and come back to Kuwait, show the Iqama on the old one, but, do not transfer it to the new one within a month. Those who renew their passports within Kuwait are given a two months period to transfer their data.

Some expatriates do not change the expired passports and just put up a renewal sticker in their passports which extends validity, but, in all cases, registration is a must, Kandari said.

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