Life in Kuwait: Residency Issues


One aspect of living in Kuwait that I find amazing is the lackadaisical, everything will work out attitude. The way people drive on the road like there’s a constant emergency you wouldn’t think this is true. In fact, there are times, more times than not, that you will get hit with Inshallah- meaning lord willing or also we will bring Allah in this because it is not my top priority.

Juxtapose with America’s get it done now by any means necessary mentality and you can spend your time being frustrated. When I first got here, my frustration was always simmering underneath, not too far from boiling over. While I may not be a stickler for time I do appreciate that important matters get dealt with immediately. Getting proper documentation usually takes time, but there is allotted time for these things to get done. It also goes without saying that most professionals get the work done in that allotted time. This was not my experience when trying to get my residency.

My residency was my legal documentation allowing me to work here. I had to get a series of medical examines that included getting my blood samples and checking for tuberculosis. I had to do this times two, before I entered the country and when arrived through my job. The whole process was stressful by itself. Add to that the stress of not getting the civil ID card as proof that you are ok to be here.

I’m not going to do is expose how long it actually took but just know that it was forever times 5. My biggest fear was being stopped by the police and being asked to present my ID. I played this scenario in my mind many times. I would be walking to school and the police would stop me because I fit the description for a prostitute. They would command that I present my civil ID. I would show them a copy of my passport*. Then, they would say you are under arrest, lock me up, and take me away. Then, I’d get deported. I didn’t want to end up in that situation.

Besides getting deported, there are things you can not do without a civil ID. You can not get postpaid phone/internet service, I had prepaid which was suppose to get me by for a short time period. You can not go to the doctors, get a bank, or send money back home. These are all the reason why obtaining a civil ID as soon as possible is important. I completed all of my documentation to obtain my ID, but it took way too long for me to receive it. I went back home to the states for winter break and had problems getting back because they were asking for my civil ID. Since I didn’t have, I was asked about a return ticket didn’t have that either. Eventually, they just accepted my visa and that was the end of that.

I did eventually get my civil ID. Then, my worst fear came true. After the summer break, I had to update my civil ID. I didn’t have to do as much as before and only needed to submit my passport and my ID. I was still working at the time. Once in a while, I walked to school and I would run into my coworkers and we would walk together. On this particular day, we were taking our normal route to school and then the police pulled up on us. He commanded that we show our ID’s. Here we go. The time that I am getting my ID updated is when I get asked for it by the police. I was a little nervous. After all that time I spent without a civil ID, I thought this was going to be the time when I got arrested. The only identification I had on me was my work ID so that is what I showed the cop. The cop demanded that I showed my ID. My coworker straight up asked why? I was nervous, but my coworker showed no fear. He told him we are not doing anything, just walking to work. His confidence put me at ease and the officer just left us alone.

There are some things that are out of your control. You can only control the things that you can. The things you can’t all you can do is hope Inshallah that it will be taken care of. Yes I was stressed, frustrated, nervous, but it was nothing I could do, but wait.

*I needed to submit my passport to get my residency
Has there ever been a time when you felt helpless?


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