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Kuwait eases entry ban on six nationalities

Wives, children of public sector employees allowed into the country

Gulf News

Manama: Kuwait has eased a ban on nationals from six countries, partially lifting a blanket restriction on their entry to the northern Arabian Gulf country.

According to the new regulations, nationals from Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan working in the public sector can now invite their wives and children to join them.

Those working in the private sector can bring their sons into the country if they are less than 15 years old and their daughters if they are less than 18. However, the regulations stipulate that the expatriates’ wives are living in Kuwait at the time of the application and that they have valid residence permits.

Under a third breakthrough, business people from the six nations under the temporary ban can enter Kuwait if their companies are categorised as Grade A or as government establishments. An application is submitted to the interior ministry undersecretary to approve the visit.

The partial lifting is expected to be applied this week, local Arabic daily Al Rai reported on Sunday.

Kuwait in 2011 suspended all tourism, visit and trade visas for nationals from the six countries, barring them from entering the country.

Authorities attributed the blanket visa ban to the “difficult security conditions in the six countries” and to “the remarkably increasing tendency of nationals from the six countries to apply for visas to bring into Kuwait relatives who faced or could face arrest by their local authorities.”

Kuwait said that no exception in the visa application would be tolerated, but added that the ban was temporary and would be lifted after the security situation stabilised.

The authorities said that the women from any of the six countries married to nationals from any of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries were exempt from the ban, in line with decisions taken by GCC interior ministers on free movement. The GCC is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Several non-Gulf women married to GCC nationals complained in the early stages of the ban application about not being allowed into Kuwait with or to join their husbands.