Stock Kuwait city skyline
Kuwait city skyline. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The Kuwaiti government has submitted a draft law to amend Article 8 of Amiri Decree 15/1959, which concerns the naturalisation of foreign women married to Kuwaiti men, local media reported.

The proposed changes would require a foreign woman to declare her desire to become a Kuwaiti citizen to the Minister of Interior and maintain legal residence in Kuwait for 18 years from the date of marriage. The Minister of Interior would have the power to prevent her from acquiring Kuwaiti nationality if deemed necessary.

If the woman’s marriage ends due to death or divorce and she has a son or children, she may declare her desire to acquire Kuwaiti nationality, provided that she had maintained her legal and normal residence in Kuwait and taken care of her children until one of them reaches the age of ten. The Minister of Interior may grant her Kuwaiti nationality by decree based on the proposal.

The proposed amendments also include a provision allowing the Minister of Interior to grant a foreign woman, the wife of a Kuwaiti, the treatment of a Kuwaiti individual after announcing her desire and maintaining the marriage for a period of three years. The widow of a Kuwaiti man may also be granted the rights of a Kuwaiti individual if she has a declaration of desire and has a son or children.

The draft law aims to address concerns that the current article allows foreign women married to Kuwaiti citizens to acquire Kuwaiti nationality after only five years of marriage, without the requirement of having children. This has led to cases of foreign women gaining Kuwaiti nationality and then separating from their Kuwaiti husbands, without any ties to Kuwait. The proposed amendments seek to extend the period to 18 years and require proof of loyalty and integration with Kuwaiti society. The Parliamentary Interior and Defence Committee is currently discussing the draft law.