How to clear “sensitive” items from Kuwait Customs

Post by Mark

Last week I had a shipment of wireless surveillance cameras get confiscated by Kuwait Customs. For some odd reason they’re cracking down on the import of any kind of surveillance equipment and to get an exception you’ve got to do a small runaround. This post will show you how to get that done quickly.

Aramex passed me my package clearance paperwork on Wednesday and I headed to the Kuwait Airport cargo area the following day. At first I thought clearing the package was a similar process to clearing other packages from customs so I printed a map I had created and instructions I had posted a few years back and started using it as my guide. But I quickly found out that was the wrong process for this case and instead I needed to head to the Aramex office in the cargo area.

[Google Maps]

The Aramex office is located right at the other end of the cargo area and you need to walk there under the sun since there is no shaded pathway. I highly recommend you go there in shorts, a tshirt and a baseball cap. Seriously it’s a miserable walk. Once I got to the small Aramex office the guy there signed the documents and told me I should head to another office back on the other side of the cargo area where they will have my package. So I walked back in the blistering heat and quickly found the second office by asking someone. Once inside I handed my paperwork to an officer who then went to a back room and brought out my shipment. He filled up a bit of paperwork, handed me one of my cameras from the box (I had ordered 3) and told me I should now take the paperwork and the camera and head over to the Kuwait security department near the VIP airport.

[Google Maps]

I walked back to my car and drove around the airport twice until I found the building. It’s located opposite the long term parking lot but to get to it you need go in by car from near the airport arrivals entrance. Once I got to the heavily protected compound (it has high walls topped with barbed wire and security cameras pointing in every direction) I then had trouble finding parking space. They have a tiny parking lot that was fully packed so I was forced to park in a no parking zone right next to a your car will be towed signed. Once inside I headed into the first building but turned out it was the wrong one and needed to go into the second white building that was a short walk away.

I went inside to this second building and headed up to the first floor and then walked all the way down to the end of the corridor and into an office on the left side (before the couch). There were two officers sitting, as soon as they saw me they told me I needed to go into another office two doors down on the left where someone would fill in a request for me. I did that and came back to him and he looked at my box and asked me why I got the camera? I told him I wanted to be able to monitor my apartment in Lebanon while I’m in Kuwait. He was like why didn’t you buy it locally? I told him I couldn’t find this specific model locally and it’s always cheaper online anyway. He was like ok, go next door and photocopy your civil id card and come back. I did and two minutes later I get back only to find the officer gone. The second officer who was sitting on the couch told me he’d be back. 10 minutes later some other officer comes and decides to finish up my paperwork. I had to write a letter stating that I was planning to use the cameras for personal use and then had to sign it and give it to him. He then finalized my paperwork and I had to go back to the Kuwait Airport cargo area back to the office that had my package. I showed them the paperwork there and was then allowed to take my cameras and leave.

While there I noticed a variety of other cameras that were held. One guy I met had ordered a helicopter with a camera built in while I noticed another guy was trying to clear a spy camera. So if you’re planning to order any kind of surveillance camera you should know there is a high probability it will be held right now but clearing it isn’t too difficult. The whole process took me around an hour and a half but should take you less now that you know where to go.

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46 comments, add your own...

  1. Blaise Braganza says:

    Mark could you post some details about the camera you ordered. My friend needed one and i had no idea a all till i saw your post

    • Mark says:

      I’ve got the older version and it’s pretty good. Has night vision, wifi, rotates left right and up and down. It streams video over the internet or your local network.

  2. Ali Sleeq says:

    There are cameras like this in Hawalli Tunis Street. Many shops and cheap prices… no need to buy them online.

  3. lfcq8 says:

    you should note who needs to order cameras should do it in winter :)

  4. Eliasoz says:

    Mark, can you please define “sensitive” items? For example I recently ordered a special edition of a game and it’s an M-rated title, I was worried they might take it (hell let them keep the game itself I can get it in Hawalli, I just want the special edition items).

    How would I know if it’s being held too long and is there a way around that?

    Good job figuring this out btw!

  5. Eliasoz says:

    Oh and how would you know if it’s being held ._.

  6. Pinot says:

    Happened to me when I ordered Wacom Inkling last year. They thought it was a spy pen recorder with camera.

  7. aaa says:

    Lol too many cases of boys flying their helicam into their neighbor’s window I guess

  8. Paige Turner says:

    If i order comic books or graphic novels,would they be held as well?

  9. mentabolism says:

    I guess skype phones dont make the cut to get cleared here!

  10. google says:

    Ibn Khaldoun FTW lol

  11. Neof P says:

    Forever suspicious of you Mark…

  12. TweeZ says:

    welcome to the USSR?

  13. Homer says:

    Funny… I ordered the exact same cameras from amazon and went through exactly the same process last month. By the way if you need help setting it up let me know. Not much hasstle but could get confusing.

    • Khaled says:

      Guys, i ordered 3 foscam ip camera 2months back through Aramex, i didn’t face any problem at all, and it was cleared from customs by Aramex themselves..

      • Zac says:

        Khaled, can’t say you are lucky. How much you paid for customs & Aramex Handling including their 1KD stamp fee? I just paid KD 3.15 for my cam shipment. It was just 490gms :-)

  14. Q8Elite says:

    lol mark that was you ? the helicopter with spy cam is the new “Ar Drone 2”

    The Ar Drone 1 is already available in kuwait & I guess the second version is coming soon .. being held in customs is just stupid!

    you were right when you told me to just take my package and go because when I had a talk with the office he laughed & told me no one will ever know if you get your helicopter and go!!

    مشكلة الي يحترم القوانين بالكويت يتبهدل!!

    Anyway the positive thing about all of what happen is that I didn’t had to pay for the 1 Kd STAMP! :p

  15. Ralph says:

    My MP5 was once confiscated, dunno why :)

  16. dudu says:

    do actually need to have an account with aramex or dhl to receieve a package in kuwait? cant i just give them my home address?

  17. Mathew says:

    Thanks for the post. I too cleared a Linksys Home monitoring camera. Becasue of this post’s guidelines, the clearence was so easy. Thanks for sharing it.

  18. Basu says:

    I ordered for one Samsung outdated model of Samsung camera NX1100 and a lens through UPS. Now UPS says that the package has been seized by Customs (reasons unknown). :(

    Can anyone please advise as to how I can get my package?

  19. Amir says:

    I ordered electronic cigratte to get rid of smoking … and it is seized … they said it is prohibited in kuwait.
    My friend bought this 2 cigrattes from souq dot com for 13kd but I ordered little good one for 50kd … now I wonder what I do … who can help me … where to go … where to find wasta … or forget it and go to souq.

  20. PADMAJAN says:

    can you please advice me
    since I ordered one uni-t multimeter through ebay from hongkong. they shipped it to me by Singapore post. they don’t have any agent in Kuwait. aug-17 my parcel arrived in Kuwait but after that I don’t have any idea, where it is. I go to Kuwait airways cargo import section and the post office with my track number but they don’t have any idea
    can you please tell me where to go first and the follow up for my parcel

  21. Amir says:

    What about me Mark … what should I do … which office have my electronic cigrattes? and who is responsible person to talk with

  22. Shawn says:

    Hi Mark,

    I would like to know, how this complete process works?

    should i have to pay any customs tax?
    Is there by any chance that the shipment will not be released.

    I actual ordered for a cheap smart watch, but i guess it is held back since it has a camera on the watch, and they suspect that this could be used for spying purpose.

    Can you share your thoughts

  23. Snake says:

    I ordered glasses with camera, but they were confiscated by customs. They are only 10 kd, but I am worried about the other stuff in my package, will I get them?

  24. Kooky says:

    How much you pay for aramex documents

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