All you need to know before moving to Kuwait



Moving to Kuwait, especially moving goods to this country, may be extended and unnecessary depending on the length of your expatriation. It usually takes 17 days to export your products to Kuwait, though sometimes much longer. Compare moving services and quotes with ExpatFinder before you take off.

Kuwait is a jewel in the Arab continent. A sovereign Arab emirate located in the northeast of the Arabian Peninsula in the Middle East, Kuwait lies on the northwestern shore of the Persian Gulf.

The name Kuwait is derived from akwat, an Arabic word which means a fortress near water. The Emirates have a population of about 3.9 million and cover approximately 20,000 square kilometers. The government of Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy that follows a parliamentary model, with Kuwait City serving as the country's political and economic capital.

The country has the world's fifth largest oil reserves and is the eleventh richest country in the world per capita. Petroleum and petroleum products now account for nearly 95% of export revenues, and 80% of government income. Kuwait is esteemed as one of the best economically performing countries in the Arab continent and is a major ally outside NATO. Kuwaitis are naturally hospitable people. Guests in their homes are treated with great warmth and respect. Hosts exhibit polished manners and expect the same in return from their guests.

A traditional greeting is made through the shaking of hands and kissing of cheeks. Men and women, however, may only shake hands as a sign of respect if they are related. It is also customary for people greeting each other to ask a long series of questions concerning one's health, that of their relatives, their jobs, and other ways of initiating a sense of intimacy. Elders are usually greeted by everyone else as a sign of reverence. It is surprising, however, that less than 50% of residents are native Kuwaitis. The majority comprises foreign workers and expatriates. However, Kuwait's heritage is evident in the continuing existence of the Bidun tribes, composed of nomads.

Muslims dominate the religious landscape of Kuwait, but the government imposes no restrictions in the practice of other faiths such as Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Arabic remains the national language of Kuwait, although a mix of various languages has become a way of life due to the increasing number of expatriates in the country. English, of course, is crucial to the Kuwaitis and is included in the educational system. As fun-loving people, the people of Kuwait celebrate different types of festivals which are an integral part of their culture. They celebrate colorful festivals of music, art, and literature that all play a big part in day-to-day life.

Different Arabic customs and practices are also observed. However, the present population consists of more expatriates than locals, but many foreigners have become a part of the population and significantly influence the local lifestyle, making Kuwait pleasantly diverse and colorful in nature.

Essential relocation information



As a Muslim country, Kuwaiti government prohibits importing of alcohol or any materials used for making alcoholic beverages, materials with pornography and pork meat or pork products.

Importing household and personal effects are duty-free in Kuwait. Obtain a list of removal companies prior to the move to Kuwait, so you can check your options to make the relocation trouble-free. 

Perfume and tobacco may be imported without duty. For some items, the duty of 5% may be applied. All medicines need to be in their original packaging, and one must carry a copy of the prescription in case customs official enquire about the imported medicines. 

In summer, Kuwait's weather can be blistering hot. Hence, a pair of sunglasses is your shield against the rays of the sun along with a sun block lotion. To protect one's feet from dust and sands, bring comfortable sandals and shoes or boots. A good insect repellent can come in handy during camping trips. 

Pack lightweight, comfortable clothing. However, it is best to leave behind revealing clothes such as backless tops, shorts, mini skirt, tight-fitting clothing and bikini tops and bottoms to avoid unwanted attention. Ladies can still bring skirts that are at or below the knees. Men, on the other hand, should not forget lightweight, good quality conservative suits for formal meetings.  

Winter season in Kuwait is from November to May, so don't forget clothing that will keep you warm such as coats, jacket or windbreakers. At times, winter can be wet and cold so it might be handy to bring along warm boots or waterproof footwear.

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How to live like a local



The State of Kuwait is a famous Arab country that continues to lure expats from all parts of the world. It possesses one of the six largest oil reserves on earth and is considered as one of the richest countries because of its success in the exportation of petroleum products and oil. Life in this Middle-eastern country means a successful career and a fruitful life amidst a massive international community.

Situated on the north-eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula is Kuwait. It has a total land area of 17,800 square kilometres and an estimated population of a little over four million. The number of expatriates in Kuwait makes up for about 70% of the total population and the largest expat communities are comprised of Asians, Indians and Egyptians. Aside from providing prosperous job opportunities, Kuwait is also one of the Gulf Cooperation Council member countries that ranked high when it comes to Quality of Life whereas its people benefit from extensive housing, social welfare and health care services.

Fun in Kuwait

Kuwait is a family-oriented country, and children can find a myriad of activities whether they are in the nearest play centres, inside the comfort of their international school grounds or while beating the heat in the beaches along the Gulf Street. Children will no doubt enjoy engaging in outdoor activities such as diving, snorkelling, fishing, and camping. If the outdoors gets too hot, parents can take children to the zoo and museums suited for children. Two of the most famous museums in Kuwait are the Bait Al-Othman Museum and the Maritime Museum where expats can see the preserved maritime history of the country.

Another popular one-stop family oriented destination is the Entertainment City which is located on the northern side of Kuwait Bay near Doha.  It is considered as the best amusement park in the country which offers a plethora of themes such as ‘International’, ‘Arab’ and ‘Future World’. Another delightful summer activity is to enjoy an illuminated show of fountains with music. Kuwait is home to the fourth largest fountain in the world called Musical Fountain. There are also numerous after school activities that offer music courses such as clarinet, classical piano, guitar, keyboard, recorder, saxophone and violin. Kids who like to dance can enrol in lessons like jazz, classical and modern dances.

A Shopper’s Paradise

Kuwait houses The Avenues which is the largest shopping mall in the Middle East. Expats who love to shop will be exhilarated to know that this massive establishment features the best VIP theatres in Kuwait as well as IKEA and Carrefour. Another popular shopping destination in this country is the Al Mohalab Mall also known as the Titanic Mall because it resembles the deck of the infamous sunken ship. The Al Mohalab Mall considers itself as a health-oriented mall because it has a family health centre, dental clinic, massage parlour and nutrition and diet centre.

Though Kuwait has its fair share or posh and air-conditioned shopping malls, the local markets are still the best places to be. Navigating though the traditional outdoor markets is one way for expats to understand and get a feel of the local culture. For example, the souk (Arab open-market) area in Central Kuwait City preserved its labyrinth of colourful covered streets where passageways are lined with stalls and shops. The Al-Hareem souk, on the other hand, is where expats can find sellers, particularly women who still sit on raised pedestals. Other famous markets are in Fahaheel and Jahra. There are also several Friday markets in Al-Rai where you can buy almost anything from second-hand furniture, livestock, clothes and carpets to frozen and fresh foods.

The Culture of Kuwait

Kuwait is a conservative country with a culture that is rooted in Islamic and Arab traditions. Kuwaitis visit mosques within the city daily as Muslims are obligated to pray five times a day. There is a local newspapers that list the time of the prayer each day from dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and evening. Friday is a holy day for all Muslims when most establishments are closed.

Compared to other Gulf countries, women in Kuwait play a major role in the society. Although women seldom socialise, they have made their impact in the labour force. Today, it common to see Kuwaiti women dressed in western clothes such as jeans, skirts or any latest designer clothes. However, traditional costumes are still worn to preserve national identity. Foreigners are also expected to dress accordingly.

Kuwaitis are hospitable people, so be careful when turning down any food or drinks as it will mean rejecting the person. During dinner, food and drinks offered should be taken with the right hand. With disparities in religion, culture and traditions, it is expected to get a bit of culture shock when living in Kuwaiti. But despite the differences, and diminutive land size, Kuwait is a country big in opportunities with a big, welcoming heart for expats.


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