Once an expatriate has obtained his residence
then he must obtain a civil identity (ID) card (bitaqa-almadaniyah),
no matter what type of residence he is on. Civil ID cards are issued
by PACI, the public Authority for civil information. After his
first card has been issued, the holder’s civil ID number
remains the same even if he changes his sponsors or leave Kuwait
and comes back several years later on a different residence visa.
The civil ID card shows the holder’s civil number, full name,
date of birth ( which is also included in the algorithm for the ID
number) local address, blood group, sponsor’s name, type of
visa, etc, and date of expiry of the card. Wherever the card expires
or an expatriate change sponsor, renews his residence or changes
his address, his civil ID card must be amended accordingly. PACI
has several offices, each with different functions.
Photographs ( Top )
Wherever applying for the first time or renewing or replacing civil
ID card, four photographs, showing the face without spectacles,
are always required for those over 11 years of age. Photographs
are not required for elderly Kuwaiti females.
Registration Procedures ( Top )
To register for a civil ID for the first time, the documents required
• Copy of passport pages showing personal details and residence
• Security clearance (Fingerprinting) from those over 16
• Original birth certificate if born in Kuwait
• Blood group certificate those over 5 years
• Proof of house address (eg, rental agreement and rent
• Declaration signed by sponsors
For a first time domestic servant’s civil ID all the above
documents, except the first, are needed. For the first civil ID
for the baby born in Kuwait, just a copy of the baby’s birth
certificate, and a copy of the sponsors passport(showing personal
details, residence stamp and the addition of the baby) or the baby’s
own passport (showing personal details and residence stamp) are
When changing or renewing a civil ID, an expatriate no matter what
type of visa he is on, only needs to submit a copy of his passport
(showing personal details and the residence stamp) and his sponsors
declaration. To have an amended card issued following a change
of address, the current card plus proof of the new address (eg,
rental agreement) must be submitted. To replace lost card, a photocopy
of the lost card and the expatriate’s passport is required.
First time applicants on a work or dependent’s visa must
go in person to the PACI office in Farwaniyah, as must all those
who wish to replace a lost card. Those on a work or dependent’s
visa who are renewing or changing their civil IDs, and first time
applicants for a document’s servant’s civil ID, and
applicants for the first civil ID of a baby born in Kuwait, can
buy the application form and special envelopes from ”Express-Envelope” machines
located in Coop supermarkets (250fils), follow the instructions
and submit their applications in these special machines.
Time Limits & Penalties ( Top )
The charge for civil ID card is KD 2 when it is first issued
and each time it is renewed. The charge is paid when the card
is collected, there is a fee of KD 10 to replace a lost card.
An expatriate must apply for a civil ID card within 30 days of
getting his residency, and must renew his card within 30days of
getting his residency, and in Kuwait, the time limit for first
registration is 60 days from the date of birth. In all cases the
irrespective of the length of the delay, though in practice PACI
only levy a one-off fine of KD 20.
of Civil ID Card ( Top )
Online inquiry go to PACI
It takes about 10 days for a civil ID card to be processed.
Expatriates can ascertain the status of cards under process through
PACI’s computersed telephone answering system by calling 889988 and
keying in their civil ID number (for renewals) or the serial number
on the outside of the envelope in which the application was submitted.
The civil ID card can only be picked up in person at the PACI office
in South of Surrah (sixth ring road) beside ministry of elecrocity
and water from an electronic dispensing machine. The actual machine
to be used is ascertained by dialing the above telephone numbers.
Two dinars plus the old civil ID card (if held) must be fed into
the machine to obtain the new card.
Passport & other
Documents ( Top )
Many sponsors (including ministries) insist on holding their employees
passport, even after residence formalities have been completed.
Expatriates resent this. Though Kuwaiti Law is silent on this matter,
in August 1997 a court ordered a company to return a passport to
a former employee on the grounds that a passport belongs to the
An expatriate should note that a passport is the property of the
issuing government and that the holder is under a duty not to allow
it to pass into the possession of an unauthorised person, and so
allowing his sponsor to hold his passport indefinitely may be contrary
to the law of his own country. And an expatriate whose passport
is held by his sponsor may not be able to travel immediately in
an emergency should his sponsor be out of the country or otherwise
understandable. A majority of expatriate are laborers living in
camps, where important documents can be easily lost or traded.
In addition as exit visas for fiduciary bonds are relatively unknown
in Kuwait, there is always the risk that an expatriate who controls
valuable assets may abscond from the country.
The best tactic for an expatriate whose sponsor refuses to return
his passport is to seek advice from his embassy, and insist that
the advice be given in writing. The expatriate could also write
to the issuing authority in his own country asking for ‘permission ‘ to
allow his employer to hold his passport indefinitely.
The Human Rights Committee at the National assembly claims a special
interest in ensuring that employers return their employees passports
after the completion of immigration formalities.