Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior is considering the introduction of ‘Article 22 visas’ (family or dependent visas) starting early 2024.
The initiative would be limited to specific categories of expatriates, including doctors, university and applied education professors and counsellors, according to well-informed sources.
The criteria for eligibility will be determined based on various factors, although the sources did not provide specific details.
The ministry is expected to establish a committee tasked with setting the conditions and criteria for expatriate categories allowed to bring their families to Kuwait.
This move aligns with the demographic strategy being implemented under the leadership and oversight of First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Talal Al Khaled.
The sources also said that the unified Gulf visa mechanism within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries incorporates a fine of KD100 per day (Dh1,192) for any visitor who fails to leave the country after the expiration of their visa.
Additionally, the mechanism includes requirements for health insurance coverage and hotel reservations for the duration of the visitor’s stay.
In August, the Ministry of Interior unveiled a policy allowing medical staff in the Health Ministry to obtain family visas under specific conditions.
It marked a cautious reopening for expatriates, focusing initially on particular groups and progressing in stages.
Sheikh Talal had approved Health Minister Dr. Ahmad Al Awadi’s request to permit the immediate family members of expatriate medical staff to enter Kuwait.
The provision is applicable provided that male children are under 15 years and females under 18 years of age.
New mechanism for all types of entry visas?
The decision is seen as a measure to stabilise the medical workforce and retain vital expertise, particularly among medical staff, consultants, and those with rare specialisations.
Amidst rumours on social media about family visas, the sources clarified that the ministry has not yet announced any decision regarding the issuance or resumption of these visas — thus, they remain suspended currently.
The ministry is also reportedly examining a new mechanism for issuing all types of entry visas. The process also considers the demographic balance and the humanitarian aspect of reuniting expatriates with their families.
Part of the new regulations under study by the ministry’s legal department includes raising the salary requirement for obtaining a family visa from KD500 to KD800 for expatriates in both public and private sectors.