Manama: A decision by Kuwait’s interior ministry to allow Kuwaiti embassies and consulates to issue all types of visit visas will not include the six nationalities that have been barred from entering the country.

The ministry on Tuesday said in a press statement that the embassies and consulates were given full authority to issue the visas based on procedures stipulated by the law and its regulations.

The minister, Shaikh Muhammad Al Khalid, had issued instructions to the Citizenship and Travel Documents and the Immigration departments “to work in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and the hotels sector which can also engage in the process of issuing all kinds of visas to Kuwait — commercial, tourist or family.”

However, security sources told local daily Al Rai that the new rules do not extend to nationals from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan who have been barred from entering Kuwait.

The ban, since 2011, was attributed to the "difficult security conditions in the six countries" and to "the remarkably increasing tendency of Kuwait-based nationals from these countries to apply for visas to bring into Kuwait relatives who faced or could face serious challenges in their home countries."

According to the sources, the decision to allow embassies to issue visas will now be followed by a series of meetings to agree on specific measures for the process and to ensure that applicants wanted in terrorism-related cases or suspected of plotting to undermine the country’s security and stability are not given the visa.

Kuwait is home to around 2.2 million expatriates, making up two thirds of the total population.

The interior ministry has regularly issued visit visas to their relatives who fulfill the requirements.