Currently only Muslims are granted citizenships in Kuwait
26 November 2018| Last updated on 26 November 2018
A proposed amendment is in talks in Kuwait
Several proposal were submitted to Kuwait urging the government to amend an old law pertaining to the right to receive a citizenship in the country.
Previously, only Muslims are allowed to receive citizenships under the 1959 citizenship law.
However, these proposals hope to change this.
In Kuwait, non-Muslims may not get a Kuwaiti citizenship due to nature of item 5 of Article 4 of the Kuwaiti nationality requirements, which says:
- Any persons who is an original Muslim by birth, or that he has converted to Islam according to prescribed rules and procedures (for at least 5 years)
Only under that one rule may a person receive a Kuwait citizenship.
Quote on quote, the law says:
“Nationality thus acquired is ipso facto lost and the Decree of naturalisation rendered void ab initio if the naturalised person expressly renounces Islam or if he behaves in such a manner as clearly indicates his intention to abandon Islam."
"In any such case, the nationality of any dependent of the apostate who had acquired it upon the naturalisation of the apostate is also rendered void.”
Other requirements needed by the citizenship
Apart from the applicant’s religion, there are 4 other requirements that pertain to obtaining a citizenship in Kuwait.
- 1. Must have resided in Kuwait for at least 20 consecutive years (non-Arab)
- 2. Must have resided in Kuwait for at least 15 consecutive years (Arab)
- 3. Must be of good character and has not been convicted of any crime
- 4. Must have knowledge of the Arabic language
Christians in Kuwait
Currently there are 250 Kuwaiti Christians in the country who were granted the citizenship before the restriction of religion to the law.
These Christians hail from Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine and have been granted the citizenship after staying in Kuwait for more than two decades and prior to the restriction of citizenship law.
This religious restriction was introduced by MPs Ahmad Al Saadoon, Mohammad Al Marshad and Mohammad Al Rasheed back in 1981.
The three men wanted to seek an amendment to the citizenship law of Kuwait to include only Muslims, saying:
“I wanted to avoid any form of embarrassment to the lawmakers and to keep away from differences in viewpoints in the parliament,” Gulf News reported.
However, ever since 2014, many MPs have suggested the eradication of this condition to the citizenship law as it does not line up with the spirit of the Kuwaiti constitution.