The Interior Ministry’s assistant undersecretary for citizenship and residency affairs Maj General Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah said that a special committee had been formed to study increasing family, commercial and tourist visit visa fees to KD 100, as well as increasing residency fees. The Interior Ministry is also firm on collecting fines from expats who failed to update their passport data, as various embassies are trying to reach compromises to delay the procedure for a while.
High-ranking security sources said the special committee will review the residency law and fix it by activating all resolutions that had been previously ignored. “The committee will directly report to Sheikh Mazen,” stressed the sources. The sources highlighted that the bill under study would review all regulations concerning residency, labor and dependant visas, as well as the fees had not been amended in over 40 years and “do not reflect with the present”, taking into consideration setting some ‘humanitarian’ exceptions that will be currently needed.
The sources explained that according to the new bill, fees would be increased by 30-50 percent, “which is fair” as they put it, noting that some proposals would be made concerning expats who do not meet the dependant visa salary conditions but have children while residing in Kuwait, and will be referred to the security leadership for approval.
Commenting on the fines being imposed on expats who fail to update their passport information as per a decision linking residency to passport validity, the sources stressed that the decision was final and that there would be no laxity in “collecting state funds from violators”. They added that according to law number 17/1959, expats will not get residency in Kuwait unless they hold valid passports and their passport information is documented in the interior ministry’s database.
“Making excuses that the law was not put into practice previously is useless, and it was only delayed because all relevant bodies were not linked in a system in the past,” the sources stressed, pointing out that tens of thousands of dinars had so far been collected from expats and that collecting the KD 2 fine per day would continue for those who exceed the grace period of two months. However, taking into consideration the difficult situation Syrians in Kuwait are going through, the sources said the ministry is considering exempting them from the new procedure. However, a source later said there were no instructions to exempt any nationality from the fines.
Meanwhile, Egyptian Ambassador to Kuwait Abdul Kareem Suleiman said that the embassy has been contacting Kuwait’s foreign and interior ministries and hoped a way out would be sorted out soon, especially since a special committee from the Egyptian foreign ministry would be arriving soon to discuss the issue with the Kuwaiti side. Lebanese Ambassador Khodor Halawi said that along with other concerned embassies, diplomats were in constant contact with Kuwaiti official bodies to solve the problem.