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I am travelling to USA via Kuwait and the layover is 18 hours.

I am Indian citizen and have valid USA Visa B1/B2 valid for the next 10 years.

Please update me I have to book a flight and need some help.

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You don't need a visa, as airside transit is visa free in Kuwait.

However, I would insist that the airline accommodate you (I assume you are flying Kuwait Airways), because the Kuwait Airport has zero facilities for an overnight stay.

The airport is open 24 hours (one of the few places in Kuwait that is), but there are no facilities for long term transits. There are no showers, quiet areas, relaxed or reclining chairs, etc.

It is a very small terminal (after much government red tape a larger facility is finally under construction, and a temporary terminal just for Kuwait Airways is also being built in tandem).

There are a steady stream of flights - after midnight you have the western-bound flights (KLM, BA, Turkish) and of course the constant shuttle flights from Kuwait to Dubai / Manama / Doha / Abu Dhabi which run about one every hour.

The airport hotel is there, but it is not a first choice if you can help it. Unfortunately as there is no visa-on-arrival for Indian citizens, you are forced to use the airport hotel.

Its spacious, the wifi is good - but that's about it. If you are an aviation geek it is great since it sits right on the airport property and you get an unobstructed view of aircraft ... and some abandoned planes as well.

Your biggest issue will be actually getting there, as it requires transport on a special bus, exiting through security to screen bags, etc. which - as is the nature of the airport and other government run entities in Kuwait - can be a bit of a slow moving process.

Patience and a cool head is must.

Tip: Plan on buying food at the many outlets at the duty free section in the airport. From some colleagues who had to stay there, the food is best avoided.

Oh, I found that there is actually a page on tripadvisor for the hotel; might be worth a visit.


do i have to go there directly after i come or can i stay on airport for 8 hours and then leave to the hotel ? How do you i know where to go ? How all this works? This is very new to me.

So when you land and you are taken to the terminal. Either you'll get there from the jetway, or if unlucky by the bus. This is basically the entire airport right there. This is the transit area, the arrival area, the departure area, the duty free area and also where the lounges are.

Welcome to Kuwait.

Now, you can spend some time here visiting the shops (nothing too exciting here, unless you are a fan of sweets, chocolate or tobacco). Note that officially, smoking is prohibited at the airport unless in designated smoking areas - and there is a stiff penalty (around $300) if you are caught.

So eventually you'll make your way to the various eating areas. These are actually quite good (food is a booming industry in Kuwait; also related: diet centers, but more on that later). So it is best to fill up here.

Once you have had your fill of the airport, head to the transit desk. Don't worry about finding the right one, there is only one =)

Give the person (if anyone is at it) your booking details. They will probably direct you to a seating area. Now you are ready to be processed for getting on the bus.

Don't be alarmed if you are not handed back your passport, they may need this for clearing you through the secure airport terminal.

You will probably be handed a bus ticket, and next, escorted through metal detectors and have your luggage scanned.

Next, you'll probably have to wait for the bus to get there. Estimated waiting time 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on ... well, take your pick, phase of the moon? Current humidity? Who knows, just enjoy it all.

Next after a short trip across the tarmac you should arrive at a building called the Safir Airport Hotel.

Don't be alarmed.

You may or may not be required to go through another set of metal detectors.

You will be given a key to a room. The room and the lobby will be nice, acceptable, but nothing too exciting. Definitely spacious. Make sure you ask for the wifi details.

Your room will probably overlook the airport tarmac .. or the graveyard area for planes.

Either way, you are there to sleep - the beds are good and so are the bathroom facilities.

Next morning - for the adventurous, try heading down to the breakfast buffet area.

Otherwise, the reception will direct you to the bus, which will take you back to the airport and into the warm arms of a cup of coffee at the Starbucks.

Caveat - this is from memory from when a friend went through this experience, I personally haven't had the misfortune of spending transit time at the hotel.

  • Gorgeous. thanks for the response. Made a mistake to book this flight another one was available within few hours of transit. @Burhan are you sure that entering airport hotel will not require any visa ? Its not clear what you mean by "but it is not a first choice if you can help it. " Yes i travel USA frequently but mostly to LA and use Korean air and they have all the comfort in the world to provide at airport. – Pushpa Aug 20 '17 at 6:01
  • Yes 100% sure as it is on the "sterile" part of the airport. Even if it did (with government procedures here you can never tell what the flavor of the day is), the airline will arrange it for you. If you can, try to book a shorter transit or possibly a flight with another carrier. Kuwait Airport is probably the last place you want to transit - well, unless you want to talk about airports in Saudi Arabia.....of which sadly I have a lot of experience having grown up there. – Burhan Khalid Aug 20 '17 at 6:04
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    "but it is not a first choice if you can help it." what I mean here is that 9/10 you want to transit at a different hotel. There are many just a few minutes away from the airport, like the Crowne Plaza where some airlines host their crews. However, to do so you would need a visa to be landed in Kuwait and unfortunately that can only be arranged well in advance by a hotel. – Burhan Khalid Aug 20 '17 at 6:06
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    No, the stay is free. Its the least they can do. – Burhan Khalid Aug 20 '17 at 6:06
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    @Pushpa As the other answer indicates, the database used by Airlines clearly says you can stay at the Hotel without a visa. The Airlines get fined if they get it wrong, so Timatic has to be as accurate as possible – Crazydre Aug 20 '17 at 8:33
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You don't need a visa. However, you may be required to sleep in the airport transit hotel.

A Timatic search on the Emirates site says:

Visa
Visa required.

TWOV (Transit Without Visa):
Holders of onward tickets for a max. transit time of 24 hours. In case of transit connections beyond 8 hours, passengers must remain airside and be accommodated in the airport transit hotel.

As you can see, the airport hotel is a requirement for transit between 8 and 24 hours, which is your case. I don't know if it's required even if you don't spend a night at the terminal (though your 18 hours probably include a night).

  • I'll be spending a night there. What it mean to "be accommodated in the airport transit hotel". Thank you for your help. – Pushpa Aug 20 '17 at 4:28
  • I have read somewhere that its outside airside? have anyone spent a night ? please help. – Pushpa Aug 20 '17 at 5:22

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