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Being an aviation enthusiast, I love to fly and review different airlines. As I never had the pleasure to fly with Kuwait Airways, I'm considering to book a trip LHR-KWI-LHR for the sole purpose of flying on their aircraft. Being a Swiss citizen, can someone confirm that I do not need a visa for Kuwait, if doing an airside transfer (hence don't enter the country)? Or is a transit without visa (TWOV) only possible when flying to a third country? I would like to book the following itinerary:

KU102 LHR1635 - 0050+1KWI

KU103 KWI0545 - 1000LHR

So my stay at Kuwait airport would be approximately 5 hours before heading back to London. Otherwise it might be an option to obtain a visa upon arrival, which is possible for Swiss citizens according to their homepage. But it might look strange and raise questions for such a short stay.

Regards

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Timatic, the databse which airlines use to verify passenger travel documents, explains what transit without visa means:

Transit Without Visa (TWOV): Passing through an international transit area of the airport in order to board a connecting (or to proceed by the same) flight, without entering the country (i.e. clearing immigration).

Unless stated otherwise, passengers wishing to TWOV must:

  • be en-route to a third country (e.g. itinerary TYO-LON-TYO is not considered TWOV);

It doesn't count as transit without visa if your connecting flight returns to the same country as you departed.

The airline staff will treat your itinerary as though you are entering Kuwait and will apply the visa rules that Timatic gives for Swiss passport holders entering Kuwait.

Visa required, except for Nationals of Switzerland can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 3 months. They can apply to extend their stay.

This means the airline won't deny you boarding, except possibly in some corner cases: For instance, Kuwait requires you to depart by the end of the day before your passport expiry date. Or they might deny boarding if you didn't actually have a return ticket.

  • Thank you for your quick and elaborate answer, Michael. Any ideas whether they will issue such a visa upon arrival for me in regard to my very short stay with no real purpose? Or is this more like: documents valid, return ticket issued, welcome to Kuwait! I have some experience doing silly routings. In January I flew ZRH-CDG-SVO-AMS-ZRH on the same day which is technically a TWOV at Sheremetyevo. During boarding in Paris they only wanted to be sure that my onward flight to Amsterdam departs from the same terminal complex, that's it. Regards – uu974 Jun 12 at 7:16
  • @uu974 I've never been to Kuwait myself, but I gather that it's complicated and will take a bit of time. Not to mention you'll have to pay a fee. For such a journey as you plan, I wouldn't bother. – Michael Hampton Jun 12 at 7:24

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