My Parents Have Left The Building

Post by Mark

My mum moved to Kuwait back in 1968 to work as a personal trainer at a local gym (yup, she was an OG PT) before joining Kuwait Airways as a flight attendant. My dad on the other hand moved to Kuwait in 1972 and worked as a self employed interior designer. They eventually met, got married, had kids and continued to live here until last week, when my parents moved out of their apartment and left Kuwait for good.

People always ask me if I have any plans on leaving. The thing is, eventually, all expats have to leave Kuwait.

Even though my parents were living in Kuwait for nearly 50 years, they had as much rights and benefits as someone who just moved to Kuwait last week. They still needed a sponsor, they still needed to renew their papers every year and they couldn’t own any property.

I was thinking how depressing that must be, living and working in a country for nearly 50 years and still have to put up with so much bureaucracy. Not only that, but they moved to Kuwait when it was expat friendly, and then watched it over the years turn into a country that dislikes its expat population (not all of you), thats difficult to take in as well. If you can’t get permanent residency or own property after living all your life in a country that doesn’t want you here in the first place, how can you retire in it?

I’ve already been in Kuwait for 38 years and I call it my home, but the reality is, no matter how long I’ll be here for, Kuwait can sadly never be my home and eventually, I’ll have to leave as well.

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166 comments, add your own...

  1. zaydoun says:

    This is so bloody unfair it fills me with sadness… what’s wrong with granting permanent residency after a certain period of time? Since the Kuwaiti nationality is out of the question in the eyes of many people – including many of your followers – permanent residency should be the next best option.

    • Mark says:

      I agree completely, I also found out while talking to a friend about this that children born to Kuwaiti mums but have expat fathers face this issue as well. Imagine that.

      • aaa says:

        Here’s a stupider one:

        A Kuwaiti woman owns a house, her husband is not Kuwaiti so her kids in turn are not Kuwaiti.

        Non-Kuwaitis cannot own houses.

        What happens when it’s time for the non-Kuwaiti kids to inherit?

        • Aisha says:

          Sell it off and move, that’s the only option. :(

        • Tareq says:

          That will be me one day!! Yaaay, still no equal rights for sons or daughter of Kuwaiti women. I was born here, look and have a Kuwaiti dialect. I got to mention at the clinics and hospitals that my mother is Kuwait (every time), so I don’t have to pay the fees. Sometimes they ask me for proof. It’s truly is appalling to see how the government disregards this segment of the expatriates (sons and daughters of Kuwaiti women). Just my little rant.

          • Reem says:

            Same situation as you – have had incidents in clinics where they refused to waive the fee even after showing proof with birth certificate and mother civil ID! Recently got told that even as a child of Kuwaiti mother I couldn’t get a certain dental procedure done because I wasn’t Kuwaiti. So much for kids of Kuwaiti mothers having equal rights.

            Saddest part is when you hear Kuwaiti women agreeing with this, it always amazes me when women are the biggest enemy of equality.

      • Aisha says:

        I’m Kuwaiti expecting a first child with an expat father, my family are like raise your child to know his heritage that he’s Kuwaiti, which is all well and good but they will never really belong here. That hurts my heart so much.

        • Bu_Jassem says:

          ur child will never find a job.

          • Aisha says:

            Bu jassem how do you know what my child will become? Can you predict the future?

            • Bu_Jassem says:

              i don’t know what he will become, can’t predict that.

              I know he won’t get a job, he’ll stay jobless forever.

          • Areej says:

            Hehehe Bu Jassem, in the private sector the child might. If he or she is qualifies for the job :)

            • Bu_Jassem says:

              the guy I know got bachelor still jobless.

              • Sam says:

                What are you on about Bu_Jassem?
                I cant tell if ur being sarcastic or not..
                At m.h.alshaya i was the only kuwaiti in a department of 27 people…

                • Sam says:

                  Also, if its about half kuwaiti, i also have a friend whos norn to a kuwaiti mother and now works as a doctor here.. general statements like are never really accurate

          • Reem says:

            You don’t need to know me or who I ‘claim’ to be – this is a public forum. The topics is so complex. Getting a job as a child of a Kuwaiti mother is difficult, especially since it doesn’t count towards private companies Kuwaitization % requirement.

            To say the child will never get a job is a gross and incorrect generalisation. While I don’t know you, or who you claim to be, I do hope your friend finds a suitable job and that the government recognise kids of Kuwaiti mothers, granting them deserved rights.

          • Bu Abdullah says:

            Remember bu Jazeem riqz is from Allah

        • Areej says:

          Aisha, I’m Kuwaiti married to an expat and we have a 20 month old daughter. I refuse to raise my child as a Kuwaiti because she simply isn’t. She has Kuwaiti blood, yes, but until Kuwait grants her citizenship she is not considered Kuwaiti. I have seen first hand the effects of Children of Kuwaiti mothers being raised Kuwaiti only for them to be treated differently. It damages their psyche. Imagine being told you are Kuwaiti, you speak Kuwaiti and lived all your life in Kuwait only to be told on paper that you aren’t. Very confusing to children who eventually grow up and carry this with them xo

          • Tima says:

            This entire thread fills my heart with so much emotion. It is such a sad reality that my husband and I will eventually have to face (I’m Kuwaiti, he is not.) I’ve wondered how I would tackle the whole “Kuwaiti heritage” issue, and I feel the exact same as the both of you. My national pride dwindles bit by bit every day as it dawns on me that my children will literally have no rights to Kuwait even though they themselves are half Kuwaiti. It blows my mind how people expect Kuwaiti mothers to raise their children to become proud of a country that will not claim them as their own.

            • Kuwaiti100% says:

              Maybe you should have married a Kuwaiti then. Why would you marry outside your own nation, culture, values etc? Your choices become your responsibility.

              • Aisha says:

                الزواج نصيب اخوي and frankly it’s not your marriage so it’s not your business to why. :)

                • Bu_Jassem says:

                  that guy over there will make sure your child won’t get a job, because he consider baby as a sin.

                  that’s how i know, i got a friend half kuwaiti and jobless.

                • Ali says:

                  Actually its his business if you bring the subject in a public forum, we make decisions in life and sooner or later it will come back and bite us in the ass, I
                  know because I married a none Kuwaiti lady and after 12 years the differences started to float, I regret my decision and I,m paying the price of a decision that I made by using emotions and not logic.

                • Jana says:

                  Bu Jassem, that is only one example of someone who is half Kuwaiti and is jobless. We can’t just assume that is the reality for everyone who is half Kuwaiti

                • Areej says:

                  Ali~ Hi :) I am willing to bet anything if you had married using logic, you would live with a heartache, forever asking “What if…”. My friend, if you ask ANYONE that has been married more than 10 years if they would choose the same person again the answer will most likely be a big fat No :) The grass always looks greener on the other side, my friend. And 99% of the time, it isnt.

                • Bu_Jassem says:

                  all his siblings are jobless, and you can check @CSC_kw twitter you’ll find hundreds of tweets asking when will they open registeration for half kuwaiti, and above that, they won’t get it.

              • Hamany says:

                Why can’t she marry an expat? It is such a stupid reason to marry someone not out of love, but out of arrangement. Kuwait is an extremely closed minded society that can’t accept anyone for who they are. I might marry an expat. So what? 💁🏻 And she can too.’ F*ck it, I might even reassign my citizenship from Kuwaiti to another nation that respects human, woman, and social rights. I want my child to have a future where it is open minded and accepting.

            • Randy says:

              I think it’s time to head for the hills y’all

          • Ipsom says:

            I know it’s not my business, but I just want to commend ur smart decision

          • Aisha says:

            Areej if you don’t mind me asking, is your husband arab? My husband is British and I am so grateful he moved here for me but I wonder how it feels for our spouses always having to rely on their wives?

            Tima, I have friends that think I’m soft for my stance on expats but how can I not be? My child will never truly belong to a country that I love with all my heart, flaws and all.

            I will never be able to give them a permanent home, they will always be second class? And why? Because even though I their mother am a Kuwaiti they are seen as less cause I’m not a man? How fair is that??

            • Areej says:

              Hi Aisha! Ofcourse I don’t. My husband is American. I married him with four eyes open: I knew all the repercussions I would face; therefore, it isn’t such a blow to me. I wouldn’t my child to belong to a country that doesn’t want her. You say your husband relies on you- what do you mean? :)

              Aisha, one more thing: Your children are NOT second class, and will NEVER be second class. Never, ever make them feel that way. Your children have a BRITISH passport…beats the Kuwaiti one hands down ;)

              And yes, it isn’t fair, and it is actually ILLEGAL. The constitution (Distoor) gave Kuwaiti men and women the SAME rights in EVERYTHING. We just need to get together and sue the Ma7kama el Distooriya because our rights are NOT implemented justly. Now, where can we find a lawyer with political aspirations that would take on our case pro-bono? :)

              • Sully says:

                Your children have a US citizenship. Why in the living fuck would you want a Kuwaiti one?

                Not to mention even if the day came that they can get their Kuwaiti citizenship, they’ll have to abandon the US one before doing so, thus settling for a diplomatically lesser passport. I love Kuwait to death but if chances were in my hand and can attain a US/UK/Canadian, I know what I’ll be choosing, no matter how much I love my country.

          • 3azeez says:

            Why does the citizenship matter?

            Is it because of benefits of feeling of belonging?

            Are you and your husband living in Kuwait because you’re so madly in love with the culture and this is the place to call home? or is it simply because it is more convenient to live in this country at the moment?!

        • 7amod says:

          Play it smart and give birth to him in a country that would provide him a better citizenship, USA for example.

      • Randy says:

        And for that reason we are buying our first house stateside and planning an exit strategy for the near future

      • Loay Alshammary says:

        I was born in Kuwait in 74 and my mother is a Kuwaiti citizen. My mom owned a company which we basically used to keep our residencies and generate some income from. Sadly, After the death of both my parents. I couldn’t even keep the company because I’m not a Kuwaiti. And I had to fight ne a sponser. So I decided to leave and now I’m in Germany since one year!

      • Bader says:

        I’m one of those kids.

      • 3azeez says:

        A non-Kuwaiti father married to Kuwaiti was deported. He had to divorce the wife whose madly in love with him just so their kids could stay in the country and be treated as Kuwaitis.

  2. Mr.S. says:

    Sad but it had to happen one day. I wish your parents all the best and good health.

  3. Ahmad says:

    Hi Mark,

    Unfortunately that is reality here. I am 43, born here and my dad had moved here in the 60’s and eventually he had to leave. I continue to live here and as you mentioned with no rights, paying rent all these years, still need a sponsor and treated as if I just came here yesterday. All is say is that people living here for 20,30,40 years should be at least able to have permanent residency, what do you think??

    • Mark says:

      Yeah I agree, its why I posted this. People living in Kuwait like us for so long should be eligible for permanent residency.

      • aaa says:

        Here’s a stupider one:

        A Kuwaiti woman owns a house, her husband is not Kuwaiti so her kids in turn are not Kuwaiti.

        Non-Kuwaitis cannot own houses.

        What happens when it’s time for the non-Kuwaiti kids to inherit?

        • Abulla says:

          A question for faker BUT i think house goes to Kuwaiti woman’s brother or father or mother

        • Loay Alshammary says:

          They need to sell, exactly what happens with me. My mother owned a company and when she passed away I couldn’t keep the business because I’m not a Kuwaiti citizen so I had to sell or to let go.

    • Kuwaiti100% says:

      No, the effects of mass-immigration can be seen now in Europe. It is a complete disaster and mess. Each nation has the right to protect its sovereignty, identity and culture by passing laws as it sees fit. If people dislike it, they are free to relocate.

      • Omar says:

        Mass immigration is like magic for the economy.

        What you’re seeing in Europe is the rise of racism and fascism which has nothing to do with immigration. It’s the downturned economy and the refusal of white Europeans to work hard or have kids. If it wasn’t immigrants it would be Jews they’d want to deport. It wasn’t Jews it would be gypsies, muslims, Africans, the list goes on.

        Look at the US and Canada. Countries literally made from mass immigration and even forced immigration just turned anti immigrant.

        Sovereignty has never been threatened by mass immigration. As for identity and culture, they are meaningless terms used to rouse emotion.

      • Joe says:

        What you’re talking about is mass immigration in a short timeframe. When a country’s economy is already as reliant on expats as kuwaits is right now, its in their best interest to make sure those expats are given appropriate rights and freedoms. When expats are treated like second class citizens you can be damn sure that when the country needs them most as the oil money dries up they’d be the first ones to pack their bags.

      • mocman says:

        Lol @ ” protect its sovereignty, identity and culture”

        The only thing being protected here is the financial benefits given out to citizens. They dont want their money going to fake citizens.

        Do away with the cradle to grave welfare and then others will be accepted here.

      • Lama says:

        People who lived in Kuwait before you were even born are part of the culture and heritage of this country.

      • Bader says:

        You are probably using an iPhone or Android both of which are the result of immigration. Steve Jobs is the son of a syrian immigrant. Without diversity things become dumb and no invocation happens.

  4. Theresa says:

    It is sad but a reality for this part of the world. But even in the UAE where you can own property, you cannot stay unless you have a work permit or you open your own company. So while the UAE sells all of these properties, you cannot retire there either as an expat or call it home. Maybe better not to have a hope of retiring someplace you lived for 50 years and always have in your plan a retirement place elsewhere.

  5. Sabah says:

    Best wishes to your parents.

    I fully echo your sentiments. My parents made a similar transition a number of years ago after having spent ~35 years here and in their, case can’t even come back as visitors (we are from Pakistan). Not sure when, if ever, this will improve.

  6. Dun says:

    So, do you still think its “we won a gold medal”?

  7. superfailz says:

    Hi Mark

    I totally agree with what you wrote. I have a lebanese half who suffered for working at a government sector until 65. you are automatically sent out for retirement and guess what? no visa to remain!

    I love salmiya because it’s so diverse, I grew up there BUT the expat criticism originates from the shitbags they have been bringing in themselves with the whole visa selling crap. they abuse the fact that ghettos in egypt, banghladish etc are desperate for a better lifestyl and so they are sold visas to kuwait.

    ANywya I could rant forever over this shit. BUT expat families are now leaving or living in sheltered social groups and we’re getting bunch of rapists to replace them. drive through mahboula, jleeb, hawalli etc etc. look at the population aggregation there.

    oh BTW. expats can be quite racist towards Kuwaities too but I guess that’s just a reaction.

  8. Sab says:

    Join the club Mark.. Its so difficult to see our parents pack up and leave from a place they called home for most of their lives.. At least the visit visa rules should be lenient to such residents

  9. aaa says:

    When you go to a place like New York you have a Chinatown, with Chinese immigrants usually gravitating to it but eventually becoming American citizens and moving to other neighborhoods after multiple generations.

    A lot of Kuwaitis and Arab expats don’t know about it but there’s an “India Town” in Salmiya where there are restaurants with all sorts of different Indian cuisines, the businesses are within walking distance and catered to families walking within the area, the supermarkets sell stuff you typically don’t find in a Co-op. When I go there for the restaurants I have to point at stuff at a menu with 0 explanation (I have to use google a lot)

    It’s a little unique corner of Kuwait but one day it will totally disappear because none of it can be permanent

    • Rohit says:

      Every Indian knows about ‘India Town’. Its located in the 10/11th block of Salmiya. People there are quite racist to Kuwaitis. I know Indian families who literally say ‘Never befriend a Kuwaiti or you can’t be friends with a Kuwaiti’ and have no Kuwaiti friend despite living there for life. That being said, Indians living in Jleeb actually dream of moving of there as rents are relatively higher.

      I ponder on whether such Indians should be granted permanent leave to remain in the country.

      I was talking to a Kuwaiti acquaintance of mine who said ‘Ewww… I’ll never go to Salmiya… Too many Indians’.

      Frankly, it’s the poor attitude of both Indians AND Kuwaitis that need to change along with some legal reform.

  10. Bu_Jassem says:

    go to USA Mark!

    your son could end up as a president

    • Alphanso says:

      He has a son?

    • Bibi says:

      Or daughter. Little sexist aren’t we?

      As to my opinion on the discussion thread on marrying an expat as a kuwaiti female. I married an Emarati, consciously knowing that my children will be emarati by passport and nationality..but just because they dont have the same rights as kuwaiti kids with kuwaiti fathers (for now..kuwait is relatively young, so cut it some slack) I will still instill the kuwaiti values and culture in how I raise them..

      Kuwait might still be facing alot of problems around expats; but I do believe that one day those issues will be solved or at least looked into because of how interconnected we are.. come live in the UAE and talk about the relationships between expats and locals.. they live two different worlds. So lets acknowledge that and be proud of Kuwait.

      • alta says:

        kuwaiti values and culture are really not something id WANT to instil my kids with. I mean – racism, sexism, and huge amounts of wastha and bullying. No thanks

  11. Chsfsh says:

    In my honest opinion I think it’s better to leave, even the local people can barely stand their own country, constantly traveling and investing outside their country. Yes it has stability and a dwindling source of money, but anything more than that? It’s super bland, people are bland(both expats and locals) women are harassed on a constant basis, can’t drive can’t go to malls or anything without having the risk of being constantly cat called (yes that exists everywhere, but for some reason women don’t feel comfortable here, the atmosphere is pretty rapey). Other than that you have new members of govt who’s wet dream it is for expats to leave, cuz apparently we are not welcome anymore. So is there any reason to stay? I’m honestly leaving here to go work for possibly quarter my salary in my home country because I see no future or stability here. (I’ll say this is my personal opinion which definitely doesn’t apply to anyone else, I’m just saying what’s on my mind and feel free to criticize what I said but it won’t change my opinion)

  12. SG says:

    Hey Mark,

    I can totally relate to this. My parents left Kuwait for good recently and was here for 42 plus years. I applied for a visit visa for them as i had some issue with getting the flat in my name and their visa application was rejected. I told the officer that my dad was here for these many years and was coming here just for a month to sort out my issue and the officer’s response was “No more visit visa for parents. All bringing parents”.. Felt really bad and dejected.

    Just like you, i was born n raised here too and call Kuwait my home. But i am seeing it change so much and its not the same Kuwait like before.

  13. MarhabaCFK says:

    Echo everything else stated above and that the title of the post is wrong (surprising no one pointed it out – Parents*).

  14. Man says:

    It is very sad to see such state of affairs. I wouldn’t blame the entire thing on Bureaucracy. Local citizens can influence and effect positive changes. Look at how citizens of US, Europe or any other country fight for the rights of expats/immigrants. Here I haven’t seen a single such effort. This perturbs me a lot. Society without conscience will never protect the poor and the downtrodden.

  15. Haston says:

    “People always ask me if I have any plans on leaving. The thing is, eventually, all expats have to leave to Kuwait.”
    “leave kuwait”*

  16. Mohamed says:

    Hey Mark,

    I’m gonna be in the same situation soon with parents leaving after my dad spending around 40 years here and my mum being born and living here all her life. As much as I empathize with topics like these and the humanitarian aspect of them, but I would like to go against the flow for a bit and think logically.
    The rules for the GCC are well known to everyone who came here and the vast majority of expats who came here in the 50s up to the 80s and even those born here like ourselves know very well that they will never stay here forever. If any one of us had or still has any notion that this place is home then it’s best to let go of that idea and think instead on how to reduce the time we spend here so as not to get emotionally attached.

    The current trend of “kick the expats out” is based on the logic that the expats are overcrowding the country, taking our jobs, taxing the economy, overloading the infrastructure, sending their money outside, committing unspeakable crimes etc. This logic is deeply rooted in the bedouin mentality (Kuwaitis don’t take this as an offense) where if you belong to the family/clan/tribe then you are entitled to the resources (watering hole, grazing > fast forward to modern day > social security, education, healthcare etc.) And if you’re not part of the tribe then you are welcome to our hospitality but only as a visitor and up to a limit. If one of our daughters accepts you as a husband then she and her children become one of your tribe and forfeit their rights as one of ours.

    We (expats) keep saying that we spent our lives here, we don’t have anywhere else, we are not staying for free and we’re doing our part by working for our income and that this suddenly entitles us to at least permanent residence. Let’s look at the analogy of a company, you get hired because you have skills needed in the company, you work there all your life and when you’re done you retire and live off your savings. Now imagine that as a shareholder in that company, the retiring employees come up to you and say listen we’ve spent our lives serving you so now we deserve to keep our offices, medical insurance, paid leaves and benefits and by the way we’re bringing our kids to work in our place. How would you respond?

    We are here to do a job and leave. The government provides a welfare system (which is unsustainable in the long run) based on resources RIGHTFULLY OWNED by the citizens of this country. There are no taxes levied equally on everyone to justify equal rights and the resources are finite so you can’t keep increasing your cost base (population) without generating some form of sustainable income. If you want to compare here to other countries, let’s take Switzerland as a case. Expats there pay taxes and contribute to the economy just like the Swiss and thus get equal rights and treatment like the locals. However, citizenship is very hard to obtain, you can’t vote, and to apply for a job your prospective employer needs to prove that you possess skills that are not available in the Swiss market or in the wider EU.

    So as much as I still empathize with you and everyone who posted here, but we are all looking at this from our view only and fooling ourselves into thinking that because we were born and raised here that this is home. Best wishes for your folks and I hope that you get the chance to see them as much as you would both like and I wish you all the best of health and happiness in the coming stage of your lives.

    • Omar says:

      I am impressed by your use of logic but what does logic have to do with anything. Emotions are emotions, and they are unaffected by logic. I’m sad because my parents are leaving so I should think logically? Really?

      You know what’s logical? Leaving the bacteria on your skin and in your stomach because it’s scientifically proven to be healthy. All I want is for expats to be treated like bacteria; if they’re good, leave them, and if they’re bad, get rid of them.

    • topsider says:

      This is party the answer I was looking for. Thanks for posting it. I think the gist of the matter is that Kuwait is a vastly generous welfare state that can’t afford to increase the cost base. If that is removed then I predict that citizenship will be much easier to grant and also much less in demand. I also predict that welfare will only be eliminated when the resources run out ie. it cannot be maintained. When that happens I suspect the demand for citizenship will commensurately dissipate. What happens after that is destiny’s call.

    • Marcopolo says:

      You summed up the whole thing. Totally agree.

    • Ummrashid says:

      I could not have said it better myself. What people need to consider is Kuwait is a very tiny country , hardly comparable to Europe or the US. Its resources are limited and before you know it there won’t be enough to go around. I do feel sympathy for so many who have posted their stories, but in the end it was a job that brought you here, not the promise of a home. Change is difficult at many points in life, we need to learn to adapt and have fewer expectations. Happiness is in the heart , no one can take that from you. Allah has a plan and wisdom in all things.

  17. Lulu says:

    I remember meeting a women a few years ago with a mentally challenged son. She was so upset she struck up a conversation with me.

    Apparently they found out they had to get a certificate proving he is disabled and needs her care, or else he would be deported because he is an adult and doesn’t have a job.

    It was heartbreaking really. The boy was clearly disabled (to anyone with eyes and half a brain) and needed constant care but the mother was told “that’s the system” and that she should finish the paperwork soon or risk him getting deported. I often wonder what happened to them.

  18. Umair Shaikh says:

    Sad Reality… really

  19. Ali says:

    You all commenting on this issue as if its a Kuwaiti thing, surprise surprise its like this all over the middle east, the gulf, Lebanon, Egypt ….etc

    • Bu_Jassem says:

      you’ll next say they have no loyalty for their own country!

      dude chillax

    • mohamad80s says:

      Actually in Lebanon if you stay for a certain amount of years you get the nationality! so no it’s not the same everywhere.. in Bahrain and UAE if you own a property you get a permanent residency also in Bahrain they do grant Nationality..

      • Proud Kuwaiti says:

        In Bahrain they only grant you the nationality if you are from certain sects because they need to engineer the demographics (political naturalization)

      • BetsyCake says:

        No, you don’t get the nationality if you stay in Lebanon a certain number of years. The only way you can get it is if you are a woman married to a Lebanese man or if you have a Lebanese father. Lebanese women cannot give nationality to their husbands nor their children. Lebanese mothers with non-Lebanese husbands have to renew the residency of their kids every year because they are not Lebanese and it doesn’t matter how long they are in the country.

        • Married_to_Lebanese says:

          BetsyCake: First of all, what kind of nickname is this? Second, I am married to a Lebanese woman, and frankly, I don’t want my children to have Lebanese nationality. I tell my wife, “bring the baklava, keep your nationality.” She tells me “I married you just for your passport.”

          I think it’s a fair deal.

          • BetsyCake says:

            Haha, sorry that you don’t approve of my nickname.

            I’m Lebanese and just correcting the misconception of mohamad80s. Having a Lebanese passport was rated as being one of the worst passports in the world (bottom 10 worst). It’s sad that they are so strict with nationality as if it’s a prestigious country with so many benefits lol

            • Married_to_Lebanese says:

              All your Lebanese wives are the same. Did you marry your husband just for the passport as well? I hope you give some baklava at least.

              • BetsyCake says:

                Wait a second, are you my husband?

                • Married_to_Lebanese says:

                  No, I don’t believe. Speaking of baklava: avoid Abdul Rahman and brothers in Marina. When I was there, I saw a fly making love to some pistachio-filled baklava. Which is a good metaphor about Lebanese wives. Who marry just for passports. SIGH!

                • BetsyCake says:

                  I’m crying laughing at your comments, Married_to_Lebanese

  20. Jessy says:

    Not just kuwait. UAE resident for 30 years and counting…go back to beirut??? How can i go back when I’ve never ever lived there.

  21. rosy says:

    Fond memories of Kuwait & calling it one’s home appears to be mainly a pre-invasion thing. I have come to this country after liberation & I won’t regret leaving when I do.

  22. mohamad80s says:

    This Eid I went back home even though I have been living in Kuwait for 12 years now, I feel like I have no actual life, it’s all fake, the only thing I own is a car.. so yes I started my plan to move back to my homeland even though my job here is highly requested and almost 6 people in Kuwait can do it.. The reason is that how can I live in a country where I have nothing at all.. no house, can’t open a business and of course there is always this risk of loosing the residency (you know what I mean)..
    Don’t get me wrong, I love Kuwait and met some amazing Kuwaitis.. but nowadays, Taxes being placed, discrimination everywhere, rental increase and many other issues which means if I go back to my country I will be making the same now and enjoying life

  23. Bo Jaij says:

    Heart breaking really. And things keep getting worse for expats, The Kuwaiti parliament keeps pushing for new random laws which are aimed at making living in Kuwait much less attractive for expats, they believe that Kuwait is way too crowded with expats and the solution is to pressure them to leave. There is zero consideration for the hard working and productive expats who had a huge part in building Kuwait and shaping up the society and culture.

    • Areej says:

      Bo Jaij, Kuwait is crowded because Kuwaitis overbreed for the extra KD50 and produce children that come up with these pathetic beliefs that they perceive as reality and we ALL get screwed. The End.

      • J says:

        Areej, Kuwait is not crowded because of Kuwaitis who “overbreed for the extra 50 kd”. Kuwait is approximately made up of 30% Kuwaitis and 70% foreigners. Kuwaitis are a minority in their own country. Double check your facts before you say something so ridiculous.
        By the way, I am all for expats getting permanent residency or at least some form of consideration for their hard work and contributions to this country. It does happen (I know expats who were given nationality for their contributions) – however it is rare.

  24. MB says:

    We love you Mark, never leave!

    (Sincerely, a Kuwaiti who has lived in Kuwait for a grand total of 8 years.)

  25. Jerin says:

    Kuwait wants you to leave. They modify the rules every year so that we can gladly leave back to our home countries. They don’t take in to fact that expats made their country what it is now. There is maybe no humanity at all. The present generation is however, humble. I have met a lot who in fact treat expats so well.

  26. Goldy George says:

    This is why myself and my family left Kuwait for good just a few weeks back. Why should anyone put up with the rude and disrespectful environment prevalent now. Go to any government department and you can get a feel how Kuwait is changing to worse towards expats.

  27. Joseph says:

    Hey Mark,

    Totally agree man, a few years ago I had the same situation but in a deferent scope. I have lived in Kuwait for my entire life and suddenly in 2010 I had to leave Kuwait cause I had a better Job in another GCC country, so I had to cancel my residency and leave. even at the Airport the immigration officer was surprised that I’m canceling my residency and leaving, I had my eyes full of tears, my whole life was in Kuwait, I know no one outside, even in Lebanon. and it took me three years to come back due to some restrictions at the time for Lebanese to get a visa to Kuwait.
    even though we lived here, fought against Iraqis during the occupation, were hunted by the Iraqi troops, and listed on the execution list due to our opposition to the Iraqi troops. we simply are still “Wafideen” and that is the sad truth.

  28. cajie says:

    What a beautiful couple!
    How come you did not inherit your Mom’s beautiful looks? [/joking]

  29. Abdullah says:

    Mark As Far As I’m Concerned Your Kuwaiti Born and Bred, Been reading your blog forever, Much love and respect bro and no one ever wants to see you leave this country not now, not ever. 🎩

    • khaled says:


      adding I know you don’t need to even hear that from anyone, you your family, and all other expats, esp. the ones who were here in the 50 60 70’s and beyond, Kuwait isn’t Kuwait without you, and the lack of control by the local govt and respect towards expats, have permitted the country to reach low standard levels in many fields, esp. many new expats (not all) def. don’t come with the same intentions and loyalty and commitment not only to their work but the country. and the good honest hard working expats and expats in general aren’t being treated with enough dignity, care and respect that they leave.

  30. Joe says:

    I am here on a time bound contract so I know I will get out of here at one point. Knowing that it is for a limited period, are the only two things that keeps me motivated to stay. What I cannot understand, are other expats from developed countries that have made Kuwait their home. What is it that keeps you here? Is it only the money?

  31. Fahad says:

    Sad, your parents should be entitled to stay and would likely contribute to the local society better off than some of uneducated trash that are becoming citizens because they have high ranking wastas.
    And as for the individual that was discussing mass immigration in Europe, there is a clear difference between offering PRs to educated individuals and entrepreneurs who have contributed to the Kuwaiti society and the refugees that poured into Europe in the 90s.

  32. forzaq8 says:

    one correction , a foreigner can own a house / apartment
    its a lot of paperwork & Wasta ( as is all Kuwait )

  33. Infusions KW says:

    I really feel for all the posts here. As an American of 2 nationalities (lebanese/thai parents) it is so sad to see people who dedicate a lifetime here get nothing and cannot build. I passed my American citizenship to my children as a mother …. why Kuwaiti women cannot do the same? They are citizens and mothers of these kids! I have 3 daughters and 1 son and we are raising our kids to marry whomever they want just as their parents did and their grandparents did (husband mixed kuwaiti)! Period. I will not punish my girls by forcing then to choose a kuwaiti just to wait 15 years for some government house so far away that falls apart from poor construction. The world is wide open for them to choose and settle and build wherever they want including the states that was kind enough to give me a citizenship from my immigrant parents hard work and while living outside the country married to a foreigner my own chikdren took citizenship from me the female because last time I checked we were humans too not items for barter!

  34. Harley Quinn says:

    well… we are only gonna stay on earth for 100 years max… so i wouldn’t worry about the stupid law’s this world implies.. i would rather worry more about what will happen in our afterlife O.O

  35. Firas says:

    That’s exactly my case except my dad is so stubborn that he doesn’t wanna leave the country at least for now! I’m pretty sure that’s because I’m still here but I’m leaving Kuwait next year after spending 36 years of my life here! Born and raised!
    My dad came to Kuwait in 1959 and my mom in 1969!
    I’m American though which makes it easier for me to leave and go live there or anywhere else but there are a lot of people that don’t know anywhere but here! I keep wondering what on earth they’ll be doing once this country doesn’t want them anymore?! The answer remains unclear but I wish every expat who’s in the same boat all the best of luck..

  36. Firas says:

    I forgot to add that even though they have nationalities but the only country try they know is Kuwait!

  37. James says:

    I feel for you, Mark. Also its going to tough for your family when they get back. But in the end, its all for the better.

    I don’t understand why you would miss a place that
    1) does not want expats (and until a week back their families) here.
    2) where the weather is beyond redemption (dust and 50C+ temperatures) most of the year
    3) where the nationals have no respect for you or any other culture.
    4) where you meet the worst of each nationality (of course because anyone worth their salt would look at another country with better work situations to be in)

    We all lived there when the time was good. Now its gone to the dogs. They’ve consistently (as you’ve indicated before) been rated as the worst country to live in. God’s given you one life, move your ass and see the world and settle in a place that’ll keep you happy. This place (atleast from 2009) isn’t that for anyone – including Kuwaitis.

    • Sani says:

      I used the exact same thought process and will soon be moving out of Kuwait with my family after 9 years. Let the beureucrats bully someone else. Not me.

    • Areej says:

      I fully, whole-heartedly, 100% agree with you James…and I’m 100% Kuwaiti.

    • AJ says:

      Damn did you hit the nail on the head. Especially point 4. Born and raised in Kuwait, got the hell out 4 years ago. Slightly less money, infinitely more happy.

  38. Ahmed says:

    I really feel sad for many of those who have posted above and I can empathize with them as I’m in a similar situation myself.
    And thank you, Mark, for bringing this topic up which is close to my heart too, just as it is to you and some others in here.

    Though I wasn’t born here but I came here when I was 6months old.. and lived here pretty much all my life.

    Earlier, the people in general here were much nicer than most of the current generation, as evident by the often new laws passed to make living even tougher for the expats and the anti expat sentiment prevalent lately.

    Not just that, but also the rising racism against expats in general and the rude behavior against them is what makes me not want to stay in this country more.
    Yes there are good people here too, but the majority sadly aren’t IMHO.

    We as expats have no problem paying normal taxes (like in EU n US) and contributing to the economy in that way too if asked to do so.. but I honestly believe that just granting permanent residency to those who have stayed here for a long time and have no criminal record, would be fair to grant.

    We don’t want any voting rights or even rights to own a property either more than just the right to stay here without needing a sponsor. But that too seems too much to ask here.

    My father has been here since the mid 1960s. Had he been to US for example, I’d be born a US citizen now with full rights there.

    There is definitely a few advantages too of living in a country like Kuwait,KSA,etc as a muslim personally, which I don’t want to mention in details here but aside from that, mostly its disadvantageous considering the reasons altogether.

    We are currently in the process of winding up our small business and leaving the country for good, our sponsor has been great n very kind to us ,may Allah bless him n his family.

    My own home country, whenever I visit there, I feel like a foreigner there because of the 90% of my 36yrs spent living in this country.

    Even though I don’t like majority of the Kuwaiti ppl due to their attitudes towards us expats.. I still love this country and will always pray for it and its people’s well being, for the time of my life spent here and all that I and my family have got from here until now. Be it financial or otherwise simply just a decent good life in general for the most part.
    May Allah always bless this country n keep it safe n peaceful and its people happy.

  39. Omar says:

    I’m glad the country still sticks to these laws. Kuwait never was and never will be your family’s home. It belongs to families who have been here for at least a century most of which span way before that. We built this country and we can keep it standing. While the expats do play a role in the country’s economy in the end they are leeching from a country that doesn’t beling to them. At a certain point expats overstay their welcome and believe they are entitled to more. Kuwait started being built by kuwaitis and i’m glad that the governmemt has confidence in future generations of kuwaitis. Generations that would rely less on expats than they do now. I hope you’re next Mark because Kuwait was a great country before you showed up and hopefully will remain as such after you leave.

    • alta says:

      LOL@we built this country.

    • khaled says:


    • Banana Bread says:

      Are you a 5 year old kid? Have you ever held a real job (i.e in the private sector)? Do you have any idea how things work in Kuwait?

      If you did you would know that Kuwait and its racist laws will bring this country to ruin.

      In addition, do you have any idea how much corruption and money is lost due to government bribes? Kuwait is one of the worst places for businesses to operate due to the suffocating bureaucracy and corruption. Public officials – both low and high ranking – are making a killing collecting bribes at the expense of the country’s development.

      Iqamas to bring in workers from Bangladesh and India sell from anywhere between 500 kwd upto 2000 kwd. That money gets split between the sponsors and officials that are bribed to prepare the Iqamas. This is not just the fault of so called visa traders but the racist sponsorship (kefala) system or modern indentured slavery system as some like to call it.

      The sad truth is that most Kuwaitis in a fair system would not be qualified to work in most of the posts they hold today.

      There was a time when Kuwaitis were hard working but that was before oil and before the generous welfare system has corrupted them.

      Now the welfare system as it currently exists is no longer sustainable. Long term outlook for oil prices is dismal due to the rise of shale oil. At some point Kuwait will be forced to change or exhaust all their foreign reserves while they finance the salaries of Kuwaiti government workers who spend their days having coffee at Starbucks.

      Maybe if you’re lucky one day you’ll have the privilege of sweeping the streets in 50 degree heat. I am confident you will do that job with a big smile on your face since you won’t have any expat competing with you for it.

      • Areej says:

        Hehehe love me some Banana bread. I don’t bother replying to posts like these. The ignorance scares me…

    • Amna says:

      You’re right. Kuwaitis started building this country… which is why Kuwaitis lived in tents till we came and developed it LOL

    • Omar is am Ignoramus says:

      Correction, Omar. Many “Kuwaiti’s” are leeching from a country that doesn’t belong to them. Tell me, Omar, did your family stay or did they run?

      IMO, America should have kept Kuwait and allowed only the citizens that fought to stay citizens. The ones that ran should be applying for residency permits in the country they fled to.

      You would do well to remove the veil of ignorance from your eyes and always mind the fact that your “country” was defined and built by the British and remains “standing” because of American military might. Be ever mindful that most Americans belive that Kuwait wasnt worth saving and you can be sure that these Americans will not repeat the mistake.

      If the ignorance you display is indicative of your generation of Kuwaiti’s, Kuwait as a country will cease to exist.

  40. vampire says:

    Good morning

  41. jm says:

    i feel for them my father came here in 1958 and passed away 2 yrs ago in Kuwait and buried here with no permanent residency.
    best regards to your beautiful family and readers xx.

  42. James says:

    It is what it is, folks. At least Kuwait and GCC states have adopted a clear and consistent stance, whether right or wrong. I arrived here with a very clear understanding of the rules and consider myself a resident ‘visitor’. Always have that clarity and you won’t be disappointed when you have to leave. Half Kuwaitis and children of expats born here however, are a different story and I have a lot of sympathy for them – their situation is not of their making.

  43. Bu Hussain says:

    “Cause, baby, I could build a castle
    Out of all the bricks, they threw at me”

  44. Rashad says:

    My mother has been married to a Kuwaiti for 15 years and was born here and she has not been granted citizenship or even permanent residence.

    In fact she has the exact same legal rights as a laborer who arrived here last night.

    • Ummrashid says:

      Having been the wife of a Kuwaiti for 29 years I can say , you are not treated the same as a
      Labourer . Being a mother of a Kuwaiti child will give you the right to residency for life.
      Your Kuwaiti children get a free education. Your medical needs are free as well , including being
      Sent overseas for care. Hardly the same as a labourer. As far as citizenship goes being a wife
      Does not automatically entitle you to citizenship. You may given it after meeting certain criteria .
      Why should one care if you married for love. I have friends married longer than your mother that
      Haven’t received it. People shouldn’t expect to be easily given the rights of natural born citizens.
      If Kuwait choses to give her , then consider it a gift.

    • khaled says:

      if you father is alive and they have been married for more than 5 years and she still doesn’t have the citizenship, then the issue is that your dad most likely didn’t apply for her.

      • Rashad says:

        He’s not my dad. He’s my stepdad. I said that. She doesn’t have kids with him because they were both above their child bearing years when they got married (40s-50s)

        And he did apply for her, repeatedly.

  45. JanduRam says:

    My parents will approach the same situation in the next couple of years after 38 years.

    I think Kuwait is such a unique place in the world. Even today, electricity , high end medicines are cheap if not free. With this in mind the social contract that each expats sign when they enter Kuwait ie. do good work, obey the laws and you’ll be rewarded monetarily and make some life long friendships along the way is bluntly put what each expat signs up for.

    I honestly think since the laws has been consistent for expats it’s easier to move back to your ‘home’ country. Children of Kuwaiti mothers, that’s such an unfortunate rule which is worth fighting for.

    Now, if the govt introduces VAT and other taxes without elevating rights and correcting imbalances of expats and nationals , the Kuwait relocation trade for expats that has worked so well for the last 30 years will see a rapid decline.

  46. HV says:

    Hi Marc,

    I just wanted to say your story is touching and similar to mine.

    When I saw your parents in the 1st picture I thought someone posted a picture of my mom and dad.

    My parents also moved to Q8 in the 70’s, my dad worked for Kuwait Airways as well for 17 years.

    At some point he got fired & we’ve struggled for years with both parents not working and the difficulties to find a sponsor for our visa.

    We all left Kuwait in 2008, after 33 years, Kuwait was our home.
    And I’m part of those who loved the country including Kuwaities :)

    Best wishes in your futur projects.


  47. Salah says:

    Honestly this might be the saddest post I ever read on your blog. You and your parents (and everyone else who respects this land) do not deserve that. What sickens me the most is that the country is actually being friendlier to those who hurts it the most and rewarding them with privileges most of us can’t even dream about it. Most expats would think this is BS, but believe me even Kuwaitis are suffering in different aspects as well. Just check the medical sector and how disgustingly corrupted it is.

    As a Kuwaiti all I can say to every expat who deserve better: we’re truly sorry.

  48. Shanto Mathew says:

    Better than being born in somalia or Syria…GBall

  49. anonz says:

    it is sad and im sorry for this country, maybe there is more for you out there. goodluck

  50. Bader says:

    The sad truth that many expats forget is that being in Kuwait is liking being in a job at a company. It will never be home. Ever. It’s sad because the country would have so much more potential if people could call this home if people could invest but unfortunately after the Gulf war things became crap and there was a line in the sand between Kuwaiti and non kuwaiti

  51. باختصار يا مارك المشكلة في ثقافة الشعب و التفكير الرجعي من هذا المجتمع المنافق… ردا على نقطة أحد المعلقين، اذا ورثت بيت و انت غير كويتي فما تقدر تحطه اب اسمك لكن تقدر تخليه ان يكون في اسم ورثة فلانه و لك الحق في استعماله،… و أتفق معاك إن لازم يكون في إقامة دائمة لمن أمضى حياته في خدمة هذا البلد… الواقع يقول أن لا يمكن تطوير هذا البلد من دون أجانب و مقيمين من غير المواطنين و لكن واقع الشعب يكره المقيم لأنه يحسب أن المقيم بدأ يزاحم الكويتي على الوطائف و المستشفيات و غيره لكن كل هذا بسبب سوء إدارة و تنظيم البلد من الحكومة و هذا مو غلط المقيم

    This culture needs time for to understand that living your whole life in one country makes you feel that you belong to it, and it’s not just a feeling it’s the truth. I have lots of friends that face the same problem/issue and I feel you; I can relate to what you’re saying. I honestly hope that people start lobbying for this issue to fix it for them and for their loved ones.

  52. Abdullah Ali says:

    They were discussing your post yesterday during the daily radio show on Marina FM 90.4! It’s really disappointing situation.

  53. reema Chadha says:

    We all sailing the same boats, my dad’s been here over 50 years already and my mom came here as soon as she got married to eldest sister is like 47 so – yeah i feel u .. but all in all this can never be home to us – even though we feel otherwise and lets not even talk about rights and privileges etc. nothing is going to change – Accept and move on.. we all need too.. its like a relationship has gone sour…Good luck to all in kwi incld me.

  54. sonofkuwaitimom says:

    Im 22 born and raised in kuwait with a kuwaiti mother and expat father. Throughout my life i was brought up as “kuwaiti” only to be taunted by classmates saying im trying to lie about who i am. As a result, by the time i was in middle school i just felt so much pressure about who i was and got depressed thinking about how id deal with it everyday. whenever anyone brought up nationality i was nervous cause im kuwaiti at heart but a paper said i wasnt. to this day i face these problem, even endured “racism” from my family (whole other issue) about not being “kuwaiti”. I dont understand how such laws cannot be fixed? why do so many children of kuwaiti mothers who never left kuwait and are in essence kuwaiti feel so segregated into being second class citizens? To those who say travel somewhere else, my whole life is kuwait, my whole family is kuwait, why do so many kids need to suffer? dont know where i am going with this, but i just hope people will see that something needs to be done in the case of premnant residency of all expats and the rights of kuwaiti womens children.

  55. Tinderbox says:

    Give it another 50 years or so and even Kuwaitis will probably start looking to permanently relocate elswhere. Kuwait is only the backwards and isolationist way it is because it can financially afford to be this way.
    When the money starts to seriously run out many things will change including the push to attract foreign investment through any means necessary (including even allowing alcohol again lol).

  56. H says:

    We’re Lebanese born in Kuwait and my mom was born in Kuwait as well in 1962, however, we feel the same as still being treated the same just like the ones who have just arrived Kuwait last week. We’re not asking for any extra rights except for a permanent residency which is the least you can provide for someone who lived on this country for +40 or +50 years as we feel like it’s our home country.

  57. Hashmi says:

    Hi, Brother Mark I totally agree with you its always a sad moment when this happens my family is here from past 70 years its our fourth generation now in Kuwait but still we are treated as we landed yesterday I am 39 born and bought up in Kuwait and consider Kuwait my home but at the end we will be kicked out our all love and sincerity for this lovely country will be ignored but still we love this country it have give us a lot. May Allah keep this country safe Ameen.

  58. Husain says:

    Yes might agree with some of your points, but you have showcased the negative part only and haven’t considered alot of factors and positive points:

    First of all, please list a country that does not apply taxes (income tax, VAT etc) and grants their expats a long life stay. A kuwaiti citzenship is an asset (you get a house, free marriage, etc, while all other (including developed countries) its a liability, you pay VAT, income tax,etc)

    You havent mentioned the saved amounts of money that yourself and your parents have saved without paying income tax for over 60 years.
    Free Medical Treatment & medicine (until they added 2 kd fee, thats $ 6)
    No City Tax
    NO Road Tax on all cars you and your family have bought & VAT
    SUBSIDIZED electricity
    SUBSIDIZED Gasoline
    Rubbish/waste fees not available

    and the list continues!

    Moreover, if you follow the rules, no one in the country has the right to “kick” any expat out as the comments above claim.

    Taking the positive side, yourself and your family have contributed to Kuwait for the past 60 years, and as a Kuwaiti I would like to THANK YOU, but you have to admit that the savings (well deserved from your effort and time) you all made from Kuwait and the friendly-tax-free environment exceeds all benefits you might get in any other country in this world


  59. ABDULRAHMAN says:

    This is what happens in all gulf region, because not only government but also the people are not respectful and racist

  60. Al says:

    To where they are going? Canada ?

  61. 3azeez says:

    If it makes you feel better, even Kuwaitis feel they’re unwelcomed in their own country.

  62. Spartan Green says:

    Hey, guys. Just thought I’d throw my hat into the ring. I’m a son of a Kuwaiti mother, like many others out there. I was born and raised and have lived here in Kuwait since 1990. At 28, I have a longing to settle in the only place I’ve really known as home all these years. I find it odd and extremely sad that my mother and aunt are not provided the same rights as their brother. What this means is that sooner or later, my cousins, my brother and I will be separated from my uncle’s kids and, probably, each other, merely because of the gender of our parents. Not to mention the inheritance issues with property.

    Also, now with the National and Liberation Days upon us, how does anyone expect such half-Kuwaitis to be involved in the festivities and celebrations wholeheartedly and without prejudice? Either we would try to, but not feel like a part of the people, or just refrain, but with people questioning our patriotism. It almost feels like trying to integrate with a society that’s just looking for the smallest of reasons to reject you.

    So while I can’t speak for the thousands of expats who’ve lived here for decades, I do imagine we’re all pretty much in the same boat. If the Kuwait government were to introduce a streamlined procedure to obtain nationality for different categories or demographics, I hope it would at the very least begin with permanent residency.

    Just two weeks ago, a Kuwaiti guy committed a traffic violation in front of me and had an argument with another guy who just rode away. But the Kuwaiti, obviously still in a bad mood, pulled over with his window down and told me with obviously misdirected anger, “**** you. You people come to our country and drive on our roads thinking you own them.” He drove away after a few more harsh words and actions.

    Such incidents really leave us questioning whether it’s all worth it, trying to be good, honest, hard-working citizens and struggling to make a home in a country whose people can be so racist to anyone who isn’t a 100% copy of them (I look Kuwaiti enough and my Kuwaiti dialect is passable). Makes you wonder if you’d turn out like them if you got citizenship. Is that the toxic culture you’d want to raise children in? Still, I have faith that, inshaaAllah, it’ll all work out for the best, either through all the ‘rotten apples’ being weeded out (yes, we shouldn’t generalize / stereotype Kuwaitis – there are good ones) or with no rights being granted to us ever, resulting in us taking our families to our spouses’ home countries.

    As for Mohamed’s and Bader’s comments about the system being like joining a company, that may have been one of the most illogical analogies ever. They’re on such different levels that a comparison of that sort is just wrong. A good attempt at trying to create an analogy, but ultimately incorrect nonetheless, the reason being that you would still contribute to the country even after retirement / resignation from the company. ‘Work’ is a single aspect of ‘country’.

    Thanks, Mark, for this post.
    Is there any petition or lobbying going on that we can be a part of and get together for?

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