Fining expats with “Invalid” Passports in Kuwait

The expat populace is currently abuzz with the latest woes to befall them; the imposition of a fine for all those with “invalid” passports. (link)

From what I could gather from the screams of the legal department in my company, this rule imposes a fine of a minimum of KD300 and maximum of KD 600 for all those whose documents are deemed “Invalid” meaning, their passports had expired, and been legally extended by their embassies, and their residencies are all a-ok, however the problem is that the passport has “technically” expired, and the residency exceeds the passport. Does this make sense to you?

Excerpts:

Acting Director General of Residency Visa Affairs at the Ministry of Interior Major General Talal Marafie affirmed that the government is not ready to back down on the decision to implement appropriate law by enforcing fines on the expatriates violating law that stipulates update of their passports and transfer of residence from old passports to new passports.

He explained the implementation of law number 121/1959 that stipulates quick update of data by expatriates is the only way to avoid violating Article 24 of the law.

The law stipulates a maximum of three months jail term with a minimum fine of KD 300 and maximum fine of KD600, he added. He affirmed that the ministry has yet to apply any new law, noting it only activated the automation system between various concerned authorities and the Interior Ministry. He reiterated the automation system will automatically discover the violation and disrupt the transactions of the violator, and prevent him from traveling until the fine is paid. 

KD 21,000 has been collected so far from the “violators”, according to unknown sources citing anonymity.

Now, take for example the current status of the People of Syria. If one of their passports “expires” whilst they are abroad, they refer to their embassy, which gives them one of two options:

1) Extend the passport by way of an official stamp on a page within the passport.

2) Apply for a new passport; bearing in mind that the passport has to be issued by the country.

The gist of it is even if the person in question has a valid residency, the fact that their passport expired and has been extended is now causing a problem in Kuwait, and they shall be fined accordingly.

What does this mean for expats in Kuwait, who are already struggling to keep up with the rising costs and the looming increase in petrol prices predicted for 2015?

 

Chaos.

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