By Azure Lee
Kuwait, a country tucked away in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Iraq, is home to skyscrapers, contemporary buildings, and a vast coastline that everyone should see at least once. The country has a unique set of laws and customs, including strict alcohol policies that are deeply rooted in the country's cultural and religious beliefs. The majority of the country's population is Muslim, and under Islamic law, alcohol consumption in Kuwait is considered haram or forbidden. As a result, many foreigners may find themselves surprised by Kuwait's alcohol policies when visiting the country.
In this article, we will explain Kuwaiti alcohol control laws and provide advice for foreigners who may be unfamiliar with them.
Facts You Probably Do Not Know About Drinking Alcohol In Kuwait
Like in many other Islamic nations, including those that are Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members, drinking alcohol in Kuwait is severely restricted. Foreign visitors may find Kuwaiti alcohol control laws puzzling, particularly if they are not Gulf natives.
This is especially true for transient tourists who entered the nation on a Kuwait visa for leisure or business. There are also a lot of expatriates; over 70% of Kuwaitis were born in other independent countries. Most people understand that alcohol consumption in Kuwait is strongly discouraged, but there are still ways for non-Muslim tourists to enjoy a drink while visiting this fascinating country.
Explaining Kuwait's alcohol policies: Advice for foreigners
All Information About Kuwaiti Alcohol Restrictions
Alcoholic beverage sales are generally restricted throughout the Gulf and the Middle East as a whole, but personal use is mostly seen as a matter of personal preference. Alcohol is, however, strictly prohibited in Kuwait.
Kuwaiti alcohol import laws and alcohol sale in Kuwait
Alcohol sale in Kuwait is heavily regulated. According to the country's legal Act, those who produce, import, or possess alcoholic beverages for commercial purposes may face up to 10 years in prison.
Alcoholic beverages are not offered at any pubs, eateries, clubs, or hotels, not even those that cater to international visitors. Alternatives include non-alcoholic drinks like virgin cocktails, fruit juices, and wine and beer without alcohol.
Foreign citizens wondering where they may get alcohol in Kuwait should be aware that it is prohibited to sell or buy alcohol there and that anyone found doing so faces legal repercussions.
In addition to the regulations surrounding the purchase or sale of alcohol, Kuwaiti alcohol import laws are also heavily regulated. In Kuwait, bringing, importing, and producing alcoholic and/or intoxicating beverages for trade is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Even if it is for personal consumption, travelers who bring alcohol into Kuwait will have it confiscated at the border. This includes any alcoholic beverages acquired from the duty-free shop in the airport from which they set out on their journey.
In contrast to the neighboring state of Qatar, customs officers in Kuwait confiscate any and all alcohol brought into the nation, and it will not be returned to travelers when they depart for home.
All information about Kuwaiti alcohol restrictions
Notes on drinking alcohol in Kuwait
Alcoholic beverages are not available in Kuwait because it is against the law to import, export, buy, sell, or alcohol distribution in Kuwait. Being openly intoxicated in front of others, especially in clubs or private vehicles, is also regarded as a crime.
Although under the law it is legal to consume alcohol at home without being prosecuted, this is practically impossible to do without breaking the law to purchase the alcohol and transport it there.
An individual who consumes may also be transported to the police station and prosecuted for being drunk in public if they consume alcohol in a private setting and then drive or ride in a cab while inebriated that is stopped by the police for any reason.
First-time offenders may receive a warning but can also be fined, which might be as much as 50 Kuwaiti dinars (KD50; around $160). Repeat offenders risk receiving a KD50 fine in addition to or instead of a jail sentence of up to 6 months.
Kuwait Banned Alcohol For Foreign Travelers
Public alcohol consumption is a serious crime that is considered likely to be prosecuted. Similar to being busted drunk in public, if you take the following actions:
- Possession of alcohol in a public setting or anywhere it could be observed by others
- Bringing alcohol into a public area where others can enjoy it
- Being caught drunk in public
- Alcohol consumption in public or in front of others
It may lead to one or more of the following:
- A KD50 fine or more
- 06 months in prison
- Deportation (for international visitors)
Foreign tourists to Kuwait are strongly warned not to consume alcohol in public or carry it on their person. If they are detained and charged, they may be sentenced to a fine, deportation, or even imprisonment, and this will very likely affect their ability to apply for visas in the future.
Cultural Considerations For Visitors To Kuwait
Cultural considerations for visitors to Kuwait
Visitors to Kuwait, in addition to understanding Kuwaiti alcohol restrictions, should know about cultural and religious beliefs as well as the country's customs and traditions. Here are some of our cultural considerations to keep in mind when visiting Kuwait:
- Respect for Islam: Islam is the predominant religion in Kuwait, and visitors should show respect for the country's Islamic customs and traditions. This includes dressing modestly, particularly when visiting mosques or other religious sites, and being mindful of prayer times.
- Punctuality: Kuwaitis place a high value on punctuality and expect others to be on time for appointments and meetings. Visitors should plan to arrive on time for scheduled events and appointments.
- Alcohol consumption in Kuwait: As previously mentioned, the consumption of alcohol is prohibited for Muslims in Kuwait and heavily regulated for non-Muslims. Visitors should avoid drinking alcohol in public places and use alternative drinks.
- Gender segregation: Kuwait is a conservative society, and gender segregation is common in public spaces. Visitors should be aware of this and should avoid any behavior that may be seen as inappropriate or disrespectful.
- Greetings: Kuwaitis place a high value on personal relationships and greetings are an important part of daily life. Visitors should be prepared to exchange greetings with others and should show respect for local customs, such as using the right hand for handshakes and avoiding physical contact with members of the opposite sex.
While Kuwait's alcohol policies may seem daunting to some visitors, it's important to be mindful of the local culture and traditions. By doing so, visitors can still have an enjoyable time in Kuwait while respecting the country's laws and beliefs. So why not visit Kuwait and explore its rich history and culture? However, it's important to keep in mind that if you are an international visitor considering a trip to Kuwait, you will need to understand Kuwait visa requirements in order to enter the country. With Kuwait Immigration Services, you can apply for a Kuwait eVisa by completing a simple application form online. You can apply from any location using any smart device, such as a smartphone, iPad, or desktop with an internet connection.
Moreover, we highly advise travelers to purchase travel insurance for their trip if they are planning a lengthy vacation. Your chances of receiving a visa are improved by this insurance, which also safeguards your benefits from unanticipated hazards. You'll feel safer knowing that your insurance covers things like Medical Payments Coverage, Travel Delay, Trip Interruption, Lost Baggage, and Protecting Your Benefit from the COVID-19 Epidemic.