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Life in Kuwait: Hitting the Halfway Mark

February 13, 2017 6 Comments

It’s been a while since I wrote a personal post so I figure that it is time for an update on my life. As of tomorrow, I will have officially hit the halfway mark of my time here in Kuwait (I leave Kuwait in June and don’t ask me where my next destination is- I have no idea yet) so here is what has been going on, now that that I have done blogging about all of my recent travels & experiences.


Something I have noticed during my time here is that despite being a country made up of 80% expats, Kuwait doesn’t seem to want to attract people to or keep its expat population happy.


It takes ages to get simple yet necessary things done in Kuwait, and often involves greasing palms and using influence (wasta). For example, from the time I arrived it has taken:

Residency permit in passport: 4 months

Civil ID: 5 months

Driver’s license: Too much of effort to do mandatory driving lessons and book a test so I can’t be bothered to start the process now. Kuwait is one of the few GCC countries that require expats to redo a driving test even when they already have a valid driver’s license from their home country.

Once I finally received my civil ID card, I could:

– Open a bank account (The one the school opened for me was rubbish)

– Get my own modem (This has made blogging a pleasure again!)

– Visit a doctor (Which in my case, meant starting laser hair removal)

So really, I only had any sort of identity after 5 months of living here and plodding along uncertainly. By the way, I know people who arrived in Kuwait before me and STILL don’t have their ID cards.


In terms of things to do in Kuwait, yes there are some things to see and do but honestly, you could probably exhaust all of those options within a month or two of living here. I know that within my year here, I would’ve done everything that there is to do. Unlike Qatar or the UAE, there is not even a whiff of progress indicating that the country may have more to offer in a few years time. It’s sad because honestly, Kuwait has a lot of potential and I highly doubt that the country lacks for funds but somehow… it lies lifeless in stagnation.


Kuwait is also the first country I have encountered where they seem to actively discourage tourists. Other than a small handful of 1st world countries, most nationalities require a pre-approved visit visa. No problem; I am South African- I am used to applying for visas. But this was the first country where I learnt that only a person living in Kuwait could sponsor your visa- either a hotel or a resident. Not even an airline like what Qatar Airways or Emirates offer their customers. So once I received my civil ID card, I set about finding out how to apply for a visit visa for my husband. And since it is Kuwait… it wasn’t simple at all.




The whole process involves English to Arabic translation of documents, a letter from the embassy, queuing up at immigration at the early hours to deal with surly government workers and heaps and heaps of paperwork in both Arabic and English. It was a nightmare. Eventually I had to hire an agent to assist me, something I have never done for any visa, not even for a work visa… and this visa wasn’t even for me! It cost me a huge chunk of money too but the important thing is that:



Can you imagine how exciting it is to see your spouse after 5 long months in the desert (double entendre intended)?


While Fox is in the Gulf (he lands on Friday), we will be doing a little bit of traveling within the Middle East so stay tuned for news on that! I cannot wait to keep you all updated but don’t miss me too much while I am away enjoying husband & wife time!



P.S. I am not trying do any Kuwait bashing in this post; I just want people to know the realities of living here especially if they’re coming over for the first time and are left in the dark wondering when they will get their life sorted out!

P.P.S. By the way, if you are new to my blog or find yourself missing me during my not-too-long absence, please don’t forget that you find me on Instagram and Snapchat!



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  • hibiscus rosa noor February 18, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Enjoy your time together! I don’t know how you do it, truly admire you both for being able to withstand being apart for so long! The longest hubby and I have been away from each other is a month, throughout our 2 decades of marriage. That was when my late dad was terminally ill. Look forward to your next post!

    • Expat Panda February 28, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks for warm words Rosa… it’s difficult but as hubby says, the separation is only temporary and marriage is forever! I hope we reach two decades of marriage as well 😊

  • Bharti Chopra February 19, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Oh you will be leaving soon, didn’t you just arrive. I will miss your post about Kuwait.
    Though it didn’t take my civil id 5 months to arrive, I remember what a nightmare getting a driving license was for my hubby.
    We thought of going the normal way and applied for it. He was failed twice for unknown reasons, so we had to succumb and pay the wasta.

    Yes Kuwait seems not interested in tourism specially tourist who are not white.
    Do you know there is a restriction of 60+ age ppl to visit Kuwait?
    Isn’t that strange?

    • Expat Panda February 28, 2017 at 7:12 pm

      Honestly I find all of the visa restrictions very strange for non-first world countries as there is absolutely no reason for it. The age restriction is the main reason I want to leave Kuwait because if my husband and I settle here and start a family, I would die without my mum and dad being able to come and visit. Sorry to hear about your husband’s license experience… it’s why I don’t care to get mine and deal with the craziness on the roads! Im just grateful that my husband was able to come and spend some time with me even though it took more money and effort than it should have!

  • Anna Schlaht February 20, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Aw! So glad to hear that Expat Fox can finally come visit you! I can imagine it’s been hard to be away from each other for that long, so enjoy the time you two have together! 🙂 Other than that, yay for being halfway done. Are you excited to move on to a new chapter, or do you think you’ll miss Kuwait when the time comes to leave? June will be here before you know it (I can’t believe it’s already almost March, ahh!!!!).

    I can’t wait to see where your travels take you next, and meanwhile, thanks for keeping us updated on your Kuwait experiences. Appreciate your honesty and outlook, as always. 😀

    • Expat Panda February 28, 2017 at 7:14 pm

      Thanks so much for the feedback! Yes it was AMAZING to have hubby around and I’m sad that he had to leave. I will miss certain things about Kuwait but not the country itself (if that makes sense). I can’t believe how time is flying!!

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