Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Security Clearances to Obtain Kuwait Residency Visas

Residency issues in Kuwait are a pain in the butt.  The new police clearance requirements are the biggest headache.  I got a forwarded e-mail today through the American Business Council from the Consul General at the US Embassy in Kuwait which stated:

"...The Ministry (of Foreign Affairs) requested the meeting in order to inform the U.S. Embassy that the Government of Kuwait will no longer accept police clearances under the sworn statement of the embassy as part of its residency requirements. As some of you may recall, we developed the procedure of affixing the sworn statement to the police clearance in response to a residency requirement change on August 1, 2009.


This recent decision appears to be the result of internal Kuwaiti Government discussions. In place of document that we have been providing to your employees seeking residency permits, the Government of Kuwait will require that residency applicants obtain a police clearance from their U.S. state of residence or from the FBI prior to their arrival to Kuwait. This clearance must be authenticated by the state where the clearance was issued, by the U.S. Secretary of State, and finally, by the Embassy of Kuwait to the United States in Washington, DC. A full description of the procedure is included here: http://kuwait.usembassy.gov/service/police-clearance-requirement.html.    I do not know how quickly the Kuwaitis will implement this change, although I anticipate that it will be swift."

Yes, and it is a major pain - depending on your home State and their timeliness on expediting the process.  And guess what - it is even more of a pain if you are already in Kuwait.  There is a company that will process security clearances for you:

CIBT

4301 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20008-2345
(202) 337-2442
http://www.cibt.com/

Even companies like ours who provide sponsorship services (to companies with contracts in Kuwait) often have to scramble to find out what the most recent rules are (as they change on a whim).
 
The above is obviously for Americans, but people of other nationalities must go through similar procedures. CIBT has offices in other countries as well.
 
Why all these pesky security measures?  I guess it is in order to keep peodophiles from becoming pediatricians in Kuwait (yes, that has happened here before...) and similar circumstances.  You may ask, "OMG, WHAT is next?  Drug testing?"   They should....  They should start with bus and taxi drivers....  Wait, shouldn't there be an IQ test first as a prerequisite?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Being married to a Kuwait We go through those silly Wild Goose Chases every few month. As a matter of fact when a doctor tells us our kid needs a vaccination BUT at a different clinic since the kid will be going to school in the fall I instantly say "Ah yes, it's been 3 months since our last goose chase' so here we go... we go to the clinic and they know nothing about it and they send us to another one which sends us back to the first. We really honestly know what's happening but are unable to resist the ride. One time we had to have our daughters grades authenticated we spent 35 minutes in one building going up and down stairs just to get people to initial and sign papers. At one point we gave the papers to a girl and I swear all she did was straighten them and hand them to a girl next to her and all that girl did was staple them together and hand them back. Fits of giggles ensued. When my husband got his Masters degree they REFUSED to authenticate it until he had his HIGH SCHOOL degree authenticated. Problem is High School degree department don't know anything about it and so it's harder and harder to get people to play along. I could go on and on... GOOD LUCK! Gail

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget to mention that the Kuwaiti embassy in the U.S. is NEVER opened. So when you call to try to find out what you need to do before you come to Kuwait, you are s&$t out of luck and you have to try to find it yourself. There is no one way to get a residency out here it seems like. Everyone has a different story.

Thank you DG for talking about your life out here, but also about be relative to the expats who struggle to follow the rules when they are constantly being changed and there isn't a place/website w/ proper procedures.

Desert Girl said...

Hi Gail! Nice to hear from you, girl. :) I try never to go to anyplace official in Kuwait - too much time and effort for nonsense.

Anonymous 9:35 - I think you're right. Even during the Gulf War when Kuwait had been invaded by Iraq (time of emergency!); the embassy of Kuwait was only open sometimes and after 5:00, forgetaboutit. Getting appointed to a foreign embassy is a shaweeet gig for most of the guys in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The concept of time is different in this part of the world...
emphasis is more “in the here and now” in relation to time seemingly rather than related to definitive time-related goals and deadlines. One of the most common words in the Middle East is, “Inshallah” (God willing). Time and goals are connected to spiritual belief that it will happen by God’s will, with a distinct lack of urgency on when. I have seen many western friends (okay ME) get frustrated by the lack of understanding of this concept when living/working in the Middle East.

There are a lot of ways to get a residency and you are right - it all depends on who you ask and when. If you think WE have it bad, talk to a bedoon person (someone who was born here or had ancestors here for years and who has NO nationality).

Thanks for the compliments. :)

Crazy in Kuwait said...

I think they should have had Americans do background checks from the beginning. When I was a contractor I knew by looking at some of the people that they must be running from something and then they proceeded to rip off every place they could like Al-Ghanim and Al-Mulla and taking loans from the bank and running off. Then there are the drug dealers who ship weed through the APO system. Please don't get me started about the Kuwait embassy in DC. The Egyptian chick who answers the phone is so rude as well as the other non-Kuwaitis who work there. Last year I had to get a travel doc for my daughter and they put my Kuwaiti husband and I through hell.

Desert Girl said...

Crazy -

I'm with you - I think that regardless of what country you are moving to, that country should make sure that they are not welcoming criminals. I was really surprised when I came here and no one asked me for a credit report/credit check.

There have been SO MANY Americans involved in criminal activity in Kuwait over the past few years tht it is embarrassing for the rest of us who are law abiding citizens (NOT the Russel Crowe movie style either). I've heard of all kinds of stuff from rape to drugs to prostitution/pandering. And many of these criminals have been sent back to the US without having to ever face any charges! Just because they are Americans! That's deplorable.

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend went to the the immigration office today to get her residency (spouse sponsored) with wasta and thy said they are not putting through any residencies...I'll learn more tonight and get back with you, but have your heard of this as in recently?

We knew about the background checks and had them done & verified, along w/ our marriage license, translations, photos, husbands work sponsorships etc. I'm just worried now - boo

As for the background check (which was news to us) I agree, it should be required! I know so many expats w/ questionable backgrounds that work w/ my husband. Background checks = a must!

Anonymous said...

I told my husband about this post and he is very surprised they are doing it to Americans. And that embassy in DC What a joke! If there is 3 day weekend they have to take off thursday and Friday the week before to practice for Monday and then use Tuesday and Wednesday to recover. And if it just looks like snow will fly forget it! During the Gulf war my husbands cousin was the attache, that was the only way I got anywhere with them. And the girl who records the answering machine saying they are closed has the littlest tiniest mousiest voice.
Gail

DuneBus said...

Oh the joys of residency.

I began my wife's residency on a Wednesday morning. I had to convert the Tourist Visa to a Family Visa. As I had already certified, stamped, translated, baptized every document, including the Marriage, Birth and Background from the State Department and Kuwaiti Embassy in the US, I figured it was going to be easy!
I've been here long enough and yet I still make those silly assumptions.
The "Officer" told me to get the US embassy to certify them and then the M of Foreign Affairs and then come back. (So is this the new procedure or old procedure????)
70 dollars and 15KD later, I'm back on a Sunday to start again.
Went to 2 different people only to find out..."Sorry, we don't do that anymore" In 4 days, they had changed the procedure for Americans. Not even 4 working days.
Had to send the family back to the US and they have been stting for over a month waiting for all the documents to be processed again!
New Procedure:
-Apply for Family Visa in Kuwait (Family has to be in country of residency)
-Send them the Visa
-Ask Kuwaiti Embassy in Wash. for information packet and application
-Get medical and background check done(Background has to be certified and dated after the Family Visa)
-Once all documents are gathered, send off to Kuwaiti Embassy along with passports and money, money, money and within a week (inshallah) you will have your documents needed to be granted access to this Wonderland.

Then, repeat all the crap in Kuwait.

Anonymous said...

Hello All !!!

In reading all your blogs, it sounds like the whole “authentication,” “attestation,” “legalization” (that’s what this company in Washington DC called it) process is a pain. I moved here, and didn’t know how much paperwork had to be involved (they should tell you beforehand). I had to get a police report from USA, my university degree, my Marriage/Birth certificate all stamped by the Kuwaiti Embassy in DC for visa purposes. Did I mention that I was already in Kuwait? Well, I had to do my research and was told by other fellow Americans here in Kuwait about this company located in DC that specialized with these types of documents. Each document had to go through a separate process in order for them to be stamped by Kuwait Embassy. To cut the story short Roca Services, a firm located in DC helped me with ALL my documents. It’s a long process about 3 to 4 weeks wait, but in the end they were all accepted here in Kuwait. Must I say, thanks to this company I had no worries, they emailed me constantly letting me know the completed status of each document. I hope this blog helps others who are in need of having their documents stamped by the Kuwaiti Embassy and are not able to do it themselves. The website of this helpful firm is www.rocadc.com.

Best of luck to all.

amatullaahummismael said...

Thank so much for this comment! it really helped me a lot and now i am on my way to getting things done. i am also here in kuwait and trying to avoid going allllll the way back to america just to get papers stamped. pretty ridiculous.

Desert Girl said...

amatullaahummismael -

Thanks for the compliments. :)

Contact either ROCAD (www.rocadc.com or rocad@gmail.com) or CIBT (www.cibt.com). Both can do the paperwork without you having to be there.

Carlos Villamizar said...

Hello Desert Girl,

I am a Representative for Roca Services and I wanted to mention a correction for your viewers to contact us at Roca Services.

website www.rocadc.com
email rocadc@gmail.com
1701 Pennsylvania Ave Suite 300 Washington, DC 2006
Tel: 571-312-7158