Kuwait Guide | ExpatWoman.com

Kuwait Guide

We've put together a guide of living in Kuwait so that you know what to expect once you arrive.

Posted on

28 May 2012

Last updated on 18 June 2017
Kuwait Guide

About Kuwait


First Impressions

Blue sea, cloudless skies, beautiful long walks along the corniche, abundant cafes and restaurants to choose from, play areas for children, endless shopping opportunities and crazy driving! You will also find a great mix of nationalities, friendly people, scorching temperatures and even perhaps some rain, occasionally, in the winter...


Kuwait has a population of 3.6 million, of which around 1 million are Kuwaitis. Arabic is the official language although English is spoken in most places. The religion here is Muslim and the expatriate workforce is mainly from Muslim regions.

The Kuwaiti Dinar (KD) is the local currency and is the highest value currency in the world. The KD is linked to the dollar and at present exchange rates = $3.62 or 2.24 GBP (May 2011).

Kuwait has an elected parliament of 50 members, known as the National Assembly or Majlis Al Umma. The Emir is the Head of State and appoints the government, generally from members of the ruling family.

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Kuwait FAQs




The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Arabian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the Arabic akwāt, the plural of kūt, meaning a fortress built near water. The Emirate covers an area of 17,820 square kilometers and has a population of about 3.6 million.

Historically, the region was the site of Characene, a major Parthian port for trade between Mesopotamia and India. The Bani Utbah tribe were the first permanent Arab settlers in the region, and laid the foundation of the modern emirate. By the 19th century, Kuwait came under the influence of the Ottoman Empire, and after World War I, it emerged as an independent sheikhdom under the protection of the British Empire. Kuwait's large oil fields were discovered in the late 1930s.

After Kuwait gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1961, the state's oil industry saw unprecedented economic growth. In 1990, Kuwait was invaded and annexed by neighboring Iraq. The seven month-long Iraqi occupation came to an end after a direct military intervention by United States-led forces. Around 773 Kuwaiti oil wells were set ablaze by the retreating Iraqi army resulting in a major environmental and economic catastrophe. Kuwait's infrastructure was badly damaged during the war and had to be  rebuilt. 

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