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‘Likely raise in visa fees not meant to chase away expats’
November 27, 2015, 8:15 am

The proposed increment for visa or residence permit fees is reasonable and it is not aimed at oppressing or chasing away expatriates, reports Al-Anba daily quoting Director General of Immigration and Passports Department Major General Talal Marafei. In a press statement, Marafei denied the allegation that increasing the family visa fee will transform Kuwait into a society which caters only to unmarried expatriates.

He stressed, “This is not true considering the current fees were imposed 50 years ago. The actual cost is way above the current fees so the State is at the losing end, whereas the whole process is an optional organizational structure for those who want to bring their families to the country”.

He pointed out this system of bringing families is applied worldwide, reiterating the increase in visa fees is very minimal. He asserted, “The family visit visa application is open for all, as long as the conditions are met like the salary cap among others; while the period of stay for first degree relatives will be one month only.” He added, “Linking the validity of residence permits with that of the passports will take effect on Jan 1, 2016. This law was enacted in 1959 but it has not been implemented due to technological challenges and lack of advanced devices to perform the task.”

“We have been advising expatriates and their sponsors to renew passports whose validity is less than a year. Starting from Jan 1, 2016; all transactions related to the residency permit will be suspended once the passport expires as the civil ID will also expire. If this happens, many procedures will be affected like treatment and renewal of driving license, in addition to the possibility that the bearer will be banned from traveling.

“We have asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address accredited embassies in Kuwait to inform and remind their citizens to renew their passports, especially those with less than a year validity, in order to avoid legal repercussions in case the passport expires”, Marafei said. The Ministry of Interior has been conducting awareness campaigns in the past six months to inform the concerned public about the new passport and residency regulations that will be implemented staring from Jan 1, 2016.

Source: Arab Times

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