Departure to Kuwait City

Customs and import to Kuwait City

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Kuwait International Airport is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is not uncommon to find flights coming into and departing out of Kuwait at all hours of the day and night, flying to all parts of the world. The current airport is up for a major renovation in the coming years.

When you arrive at Kuwait International Airport (KWI), you have two options. For those passengers holding a valid visa, they can proceed directly to Passport Control, located on the lower level.

If you don't have a visa and are eligible to receive a tourist visa upon arrival, you will need to go to the counters marked VISA, located on the upper level. Ensure that you check with the nearest Kuwaiti Embassy or Consulate, for up-to-date information on whether or not you qualify for a visa upon arrival.

For information on visas, refer to our section "Passport, Visa & Permits".

After clearing Passport Control, collect your checked luggage and proceed to Customs Control. Kuwait is an alcohol free country and the importation of alcoholic beverages of any type is strictly PROHIBITED.  All belongings, including hand carried and checked luggage, are subject to and often times are, screened for illegal contraband. 

Below is a general list of free imports, prohibited and restricted items into Kuwait. Check with the nearest Kuwaiti Embassy or Consulate in your home country BEFORE travelling. Though this information is prepared according to current standards, it is in your best interest to double check before you fly. The items listed below can, and often do change, without prior warning.

Free Import

  • 500 cigarettes or
  • 2 pounds of tobacco products
  • Reasonable amount of perfume
  • Essential medicines
  • Industrial farm products from other GCC states


  • A special permit from the Kuwait Ministry of the Interior will be needed in order to legally import any weapons or ammunition into the country.
  • All beef, pigs, pork, pork and pigskin products (such as handbags, wallets and shoes) are banned from entering the country from England and The Republic of Ireland.
  • Jewels, precious stones and metals may only be imported subject to approval by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry
  • Authority must be obtained from the Ministry of Health for drugs and medicines
  • Cats, dogs and other animals being imported into the country will require a Veterinarian health certificate and permission from the General Directorate for Agricultural and Sea Wealth. All species of birds are banned from entry unless originating from Albania, Italy, Jordan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Palestine, Thailand, Ukraine and Zimbabwe. No animals from Iraq are permitted entry into the country.

Prohibited Items

  • Illegal or unlicensed drugs
  • Guns, explosives and ammunition
  • Knives and deadly weapons
  • Alcoholic products
  • Plant and plant products
  • Pork, Meat and meat products
  • Pets – unless authorized to do so
  • Birds – unless from certain countries
  • Unsealed milk products and mineral water
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Food prepared abroad
  • Animals from Iraq
  • All goods from Israel
  • Politically subversive material
  • Counterfeit money and goods
  • Pornographic material

Importing Pets to Kuwait

Doing any kind of official paperwork in Kuwait can often be an exercise in frustration. Depending on your time of arrival into Kuwait International Airport, the amount of time it can take to secure your beloved animal's release from Kuwaiti authorities, ranges from a matter of minutes up to several hours. While there is official paperwork one must complete before travelling, once you arrive, you're basically at the mercy of government officials whose only job is to collect a standard fee and stamp your documents. This "round robin" event can become incredible redundant and time consuming, with a passenger often seeing the same individual two, three or even four times for different stamps. It is important to remember that you must complete the "office shuffle" in an exact order otherwise; your paperwork will be considered incomplete.

Many of the local animal shelters in Kuwait are willing to assist in clearing customs with your animal(s) for a moderate fee. PAWS Kuwait is a very reputable company with years of experience.


If you are travelling into Kuwait with your pet there are no quarantine requirements. However, an import permit must be obtained from PAAAFR (also known as the Animal Health Ministry), before your animal will be permitted to enter Kuwait. Import permits are normally valid for 1 month but can be extended to 3 months. Import/export permits can be arranged by PAWS.


You should begin to organise your pet travel documentation at least a month before you travel. In most cases, it is best to start as early as possible. In order to get your pet import/health certificate you will need to provide copies of the following* documents to whoever is handling your importation (can be sent via email):

  • Photocopy of your pet's vaccinations record; all vaccinations must be at least 1 month old and less than 1 year old on entry into Kuwait
  • Passport Photocopy of the person travelling with the pet
  • Airline, flight details and dates of travel clearly indicating the arrival date into/destination out of Kuwait.

You should also get a health certificate from the animal health authorities in your country, stating that your pet is well and able to travel. You may be asked to show this on departure from your home country, although it is not usually asked for on arrival into Kuwait, the original certificate must be presented on arrival. Usually, whoever is meeting you and your pet will bring this to the airport with your entry visa, although it is recommended that you ask that the permit be sent to you via mail (FedEx or UPS are two methods). You may be asked to show the original health certificate as you leave the airport.

Travelling with your Pet

If your pet is travelling with you, they will be brought into the luggage collection area, but this isn't always the case. Some animals end up being sent directly to cargo holding areas. British Airways is famous for shipping animals as cargo as per their regulations. Check with individual airlines as to their respective shipping methods. It is highly recommended that you NOT ship animals during the summer months, due to the extreme heat. Many airlines won't ship animals during the summer months, so check with your shipping company first.

If you are going to a hotel and wish to bring your pet with you it is important to know that not all hotels in Kuwait will accept pets. Shik Hotel sometimes allows cats (25725050) The Hilton Resort has been known to allow cats and small dogs, (23725500) although only in the chalets and only by advance arrangement.

Travel Crate: Whichever airline you choose, they will require the dimensions of the pet travel crate, (height x length x depth) plus total weight, with the pet inside. Every country and every airline have different regulations on pet crates. Do check before you travel so that you can a carrier which satisfies all requirements.

Useful Contact Numbers

  • Al Dohama Veterinary Hospital Tel: 0096524722002
  • Al Rai Veterinary Clinic: 0096524750966
  • Pet Suppliers: Ace Hardware 0096524769100
  • True Value 0096524833198
  • PAAAFR (Public Authority for Agriculture, Animals and Fish Resources – The Animal Health Ministry 009651885020 or 0096524744196

For more information on pet travel, refer to Easy Expat's article on "Expat Pets".

Custom's Resources

U.S. Citizens: The free pamphlet 'Know Before You Go' at is very helpful. (Click on 'Travel' and then click on 'Know Before You Go! Online Brochure').
You can also contact:
U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)
1300 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20229
Tel. 877/287-8667

Canadian Citizens: 'I Declare', issued by the Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500 ) is helpful.

Australian Citizens: A helpful brochure is available from Australian consulates or Customs offices called 'Know Before You Go'. Call the Australian Customs Service at tel. 1300/363-263, or log on to

Update 26/05/2013


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