Arriving to Kuwait for the first time

Arriving to Kuwait for the first time will be an interesting experience. Especially if you had no previous experience with Middle Eastern countries. Kuwait is a Muslim country, so there will be some things that you will need to know before you get off your plane. If you are moving to Kuwait for work, you cannot just hire international shipping companies in Kuwait, and continue your life as you are used to. Instead, take some time to learn about local customs and culture in advance.

Before arriving to Kuwait for the first time you need to inform yourself about importing rules

Kuwait has very strict rules regarding the items you can and cannot bring into the country. This means that you need to think well before you start packing your stuff. Of course, the list of prohibited items is long and you should consult your customs clearance services Kuwait before you take your trip. Not obeying those rules could even get you in jail. The most common items that you cannot import into Kuwait are pork products, alcoholic beverages, illegal drugs, pornographic materials, and items from Israel. Those are the common items that you might try to carry with you but could b=give you some serious trouble if you do.

Man looking at a laptop
Inform yourself well before arriving to Kuwait for the first time

List of items that you cannot import to Kuwait

  • Arriving to Kuwait for the first time with pork products could give you some serious trouble
  • Alcohol beverages of all kind
  • Equipment for producing Beer or wine
  • Illegal drugs or associated equipment
  • Gambling devices, games of chance, and even playing cards
  • Firearms, ammunition, and explosives without government import permissions
  • Decorative swords, daggers, and similar decorative weaponry
  • Products and items from ivory
  • Artifacts and items associated with a religion other than Islam
  • All materials and products from Israel
  • Political and/or religious materials that are offensive to the Kuwait government or Islamic religion
  • Pornographic material and magazines or those depicting swimsuits or underwear
  • Radio transmitter/communication equipment

Dress code you need to know before arriving to Kuwait for the first time

As you probably already know, Islamic countries have strict rules regarding clothes. And if you think about it, this is one of the most important things that you will have to think about before arriving to Kuwait for the first time. If you are moving to Kuwait and you do not dress properly even before you get on the plane you could have trouble right away. This is especially related to women.

Local men walking
The dress code for expatriates is not the same as for locals

Dress code for expatriate men in Kuwait

Fortunately, there are no strict dress codes that you should obey. You only need to be dressed modestly. Expat men can wear t-shirts. They can also wear short trousers. However, it is not recommended to wear short above knee level.

Dress code for expatriate women in Kuwait

Dress code for expatriate women is a little stricter than for men. This means that you shouldn’t have bare shoulders, show your cleavage, neither should you wear short skirts, especially above knee level. Try not to show too much skin. Instead, wear long and loose dresses or loose linen trousers. You can also wear normal t-shirts, but not too tight. Unlike local women, you do not need to cover your face nor your head.

How to behave on the streets and when you are in the company of your new Kuwaiti friends

After arriving to Kuwait for the first time, it is important to know how to behave. Here are some guidelines to remember:

  • Act politely. This is maybe the most important thing to remember before arriving to Kuwait for the first time. If you are perceived as a polite person, locals will forgive if you sometimes behave improperly.
  • Do not reach to shake a hand or hug a woman when you are meeting.
  • When you are entering a place say Salam Alaikum
  • If your Kuwaiti friends offer you tea or coffee, do not refuse.
  • If there is a single woman or even a few of them in the elevator, do not enter.
  • Avoid talking about pork or alcohol while you are sitting and eating with your Kuwaiti friends.
  • Do not talk about religion, sex, or politics. You can offend a lot of people by doing so.
  • Never ask an Arab man how he’s wife is doing. Instead, talk about work.
  • Respect local customs and never mock or talk against local people or authorities.
A tea cup and pot
If someone offers you a cup of tea, do not refuse

Learn about safety before arriving to Kuwait for the first time

Maybe you are concerned about safety issues. Especially if you are moving to Kuwait with children. First, you need to know that Kuwait is considered a very safe country. There is practically no crime on the streets. So you and your family can be relaxed while strolling through the streets. However, you might also be concerned about possible terrorist attacks. But, you need to know that in Kuwait there is practically no danger. One attack happened in 2015 in Kuwait’s mosque. However, before and after that there were no such incidents. Of course, it is always smart to careful like everywhere else in the world. But you are in the same danger as you would be in most developed western countries. So take the same measures of precaution, as you would do in the US, for example.

Adopt these few guidelines and enjoy

That is all you need to know before arriving to Kuwait for the first time. Remember to dress modestly, act politely and you will fit in and find friends. If you adopt these few simple guidelines, you will quickly start enjoying this beautiful and rich country.