Foreigners make up nearly 3.5 million of Kuwait’s overall population of around 4.6 million. Image Credit: Supplied

Cairo: Kuwait plans to cancel an exceptional renewal of residency permits (iqamas) for expatriates staying abroad as part of reinstatement of pre-coronavirus measures, according to a local newspaper.

For nearly two years and due to travel restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kuwait has halted the implementation of a rule that makes it mandatory for expatriates to return to the country within a maximum period of six months and allowed online renewal of residency permits for foreigners stuck abroad.

But the exceptions are likely to be reversed in an imminent official announcement, Al Anba newspaper reported, quoting a security source at the Interior Ministry.

“The ministry will grant an appropriate grace period running for months before applying the new measures,” the source said.

“A related official statement will be issued, specifying the end of this absence permission and renewal of iqamas for expatriates while they are outside the country,” the source added.

With the new measures in place, expatriates, who have been staying abroad for six months or more, will have to return to Kuwait or have their iqamas cancelled automatically.

“Renewal of iqamas will not be allowed for those staying abroad, thus reinstating related procedures including the necessity of not overstaying abroad for more than six months as was the situation before the coronavirus,” said the source. “Medical and education exceptions will be taken into account.”

The source added that expatriate students are expected to be given a grace period coinciding with the end-of-year holiday.

“Such decisions are linked to health indicators and the Health Ministry’s assurance about possibility of full openness without negatively affecting the health situation inside the country,” the source explained.

Foreigners make up nearly 3.5 million of Kuwait’s overall population of around 4.6 million.