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Four Seasons boosts Egypt presence with new luxury hotel projects

Leading luxury hospitality company Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, in partnership with real estate development corporation Talaat Moustafa Group (TMG), has announced plans for an extensive portfolio expansion in Egypt with the addition of new hotels, residential offerings and significant property enhancements.

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Cairo Capital at Madinaty and Four Seasons Hotel Luxor will be introduced in Egypt through this upcoming phase of strategic growth, further building upon the latest multi-million dollar property enhancements at Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Sharm El Sheikh, which doubled the offerings of the existing property with new accommodations, dining outlets and leisure activities.

Located in the heart of the capital's new evolution, New Cairo Capital is a global destination that stands entirely on its own. Anticipated to open in 2025 and set within the extraordinary Madinaty development on 460 acres of verdant parkland, Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Cairo Capital at Madinaty will be a captivating destination for those who wish to visit the ancient metropolis of Cairo and effortlessly explore the modern extension of the iconic capital city.

Each with world-class amenities and surrounded by lush gardens, the hotel will feature 346 rooms and suites, while the private residences will be comprised of 107 villas and 80 luxury residences.

The villas will range from 721 to 1,847 sq m with six configurations featuring a contemporary design, floor-to-ceiling windows, rooftop gardens, limestone finishings and private pools, all reminiscent of majestic Egyptian palaces, while luxury residences will range from 221 to 670 sq m with five configurations.

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Cairo Capital at Madinaty will bring to life an enchanting culinary experience for guests and residents alike. Gourmet restaurant and bar options will include a waterfront restaurant at the centre of the property with several private dining, al fresco, international and Egyptian-inspired outlets sprinkled throughout the expansive property.

The Hotel and Private Residences will also feature a standalone spa and fitness facility. Across several private treatment rooms, an extensive array of tennis and multi-sport courts, guided group classes, and state-of-the-art fitness equipment, visitors will be treated to an intentional space that has been designed for the art of wellbeing.

Setting the stage for remarkable events, the Hotel's ballroom features striking vaulted ceilings and generous outdoor event lawn space to accommodate occasions big and small among loved ones and colleagues.

Off property, the dynamic destination will offer guests, residents and their families easy access to additional gourmet restaurants, world-class golf courses, exceptional retail outlets, private schools and a full suite of attractions for all to enjoy in New Cairo Capital and Madinaty.

The property is being designed by the legendary Pierre Yves-Rochon, who has also worked on Four Seasons properties in Paris, Megve, Bahrain Bay, Doha and Florence.

Perched on the Nile River in the south of Egypt, Luxor is one of the country's most storied destinations and considered to be one of the world's greatest ancient sites. Best known for its history as the ancient city of Thebes and its breathtaking Karnak and Luxor temple complexes, this impressively historic city acts as an open-air museum with some of Egypt's finest artifacts on grand display throughout.

Set to open in 2025, Four Seasons Hotel Luxor will include 200 guest rooms and suites, each with views of the Nile River, the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. The Hotel will be located just south of the highly acclaimed Luxor Temple, which dates back to 1400 BC.

WATG Architects, who have helped create Four Seasons experiences in Maui, Dubai at Jumeirah Beach, Tianjin and a soon-to-come project in Hanoi will lead the design of the building, with Wimberly Interiors overseeing the interiors, who have worked on Four Seasons projects in Los Angeles and Maui.

"Egypt is an important destination in Four Seasons history, as it marked our brand's entry into the Middle East 22 years ago. Our continued expansion illustrates our ongoing commitment to the region, and all that it has to offer for luxury travellers and homeowners," said Bart Carnahan, President, Global Business Development and Portfolio Management.

"TMG has long been an integral development partner for our projects in Cairo at Nile Plaza, Alexandria at San Stefano and Sharm El Sheikh. We are thrilled to continue our exceptional work together, providing guests and residents in Egypt with unmatched luxury experiences through our collection of new hotel and residential offerings," he added.

Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Sharm El Sheikh has introduced a new era of seaside luxury to what has been one of Egypt's most celebrated resorts since its opening 20 years ago. While the legendary service has remained the same, the property has now doubled in size following an exceptional enhancement project, with new accommodations, restaurants, recreational facilities and meeting spaces for travellers who seek a magical blend of mountains, desert and sea.

The expansion project includes the addition of 69 Private Residences to the existing collection of 77, giving luxury homeowners the very best of seaside living in Egypt. The new residential offerings comprise 25 villas and 44 chalets ranging from 195 to 240 sq m.


Damac unveils super luxury Skylofts Collection

Damac Properties has announced the launch of its Skylofts Collection, a range of penthouses and super luxury residential units at three of its most upscale developments - Safa One de Grisogono, Safa Two de Grisogono and Cavalli Tower.

The concept represents yet another innovation for Dubai's leading developer of luxury properties. "It is a fresh approach to differentiating our ultra-luxury portfolio for end-users and property investors. The Skylofts Collection is the embodiment of a luxurious lifestyle unlike any other in Dubai, defined by opulent design aesthetics and access to ber premium amenities," said Niall McLoughlin, Senior Vice President of Damac.

The Skylofts Collection features exclusive residential units at Safa One, Damac's exclusive twin-tower development branded by luxury Swiss brand, de Grisogono. Situated on the 40th to 61st floors of the property, residents will have access to the Tropical Garden and a rain forest on the top floor, as well as an artificial beach pool on the podium level.

Another exceptional range of super luxury units that are included in the Skylofts Collection can be found at Safa Two, another collaboration between Damac and de Grisogono. Located on the 73rd to 84th levels of the property, the exclusive residential units provide residents access to the unique fog forest on the 85th floor, in addition to the Observatory and exhilarating adventure experiences through the Edge Walk and Glass Slide amenities along with an exceptional range of dining outlets.

Residents will also have access to the floating pool on the 60th floor in the centre of the Ruby Heart, as well as the artificial beach pool and gym located on the 11th floor.

Completing the Skylofts Collection are the penthouses at Damac's Cavalli Tower, including the most elevated penthouse in the whole of the Palm and its surroundings. Located on the 68th to the 71st floors of the tower, the ultra-opulent lofts offer residents impeccable building amenities on the 59th and 60th floors, such as the infinity pool set in the Sky Garden, the most elevated gardens in all of Dubai, an exclusive gym, an executive lounge with a private dining room and a Cigar Lounge. On top of these privileges, residents will also have access to the tower's amenities such as the Malibu Bay Beach, a paddle tennis court and gym, among many others.

In presenting the Skylofts Collection, Damac Properties has raised the bar for bringing its super luxury lifestyle offers to the market in an unprecedented manner, involving three premium property developments that are co-branded with some of the most prestigious global luxury brands, the company said.


Abu Dhabi's Al Bateen airport reopens after major upgrade

Al Bateen Executive Airport has reopened following the successful completion of a major refurbishment project which will allow the airport to cater to increased operational demand while meeting the highest levels of safety, compliance, and accreditation.

Close cooperation between the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Abu Dhabi Airports (AD Airports) during the project followed all the necessary regulatory frameworks to ensure the highest level of compliance, and all the necessary approvals were received without delay.

Commenting on the development, GCAA Director-General Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi said: "The refurbishment project at Al Bateen Executive Airport embodies the commitment of our aviation partners in the UAE to invest in the safety, modernisation and sustainability of the region's only dedicated executive airport."

"The engagement with Abu Dhabi Airports - from project inception until completion - has ensured the highest level of compliance with the national standards, regulations, guidance material and international best practices outlined by the GCAA," he stated.

The essential work, completed in under 90 days, involved the resurfacing and widening the existing 3.2-kilometre runway to accommodate wide-body aircrafts and a substantial new boundary wall, upgraded ground lighting, enhanced signage and landscape. Another major part of the work completed was upgrading and refurbishing the Airfield Ground Lighting (AGL) at Al Bateen Executive Airport, certifying the airport to operate Code 4D Aircrafts.

Abu Dhabi Airports CEO Shareef Hashim Al Hashmi said: "In line with our strategic objectives, Abu Dhabi Airports continues to invest in developing and maintaining our world-class infrastructure. The upgrades to Al Bateen Executive Airport will result in several tangible benefits such as increased airport capacity to accommodate larger aircrafts, extending the lifetime of the runway, and decreasing maintenance time and cost."

"As part of the refurbishment activities, over 105,000 tons of asphalt was used on varying areas of the runway, shoulder areas of the runway and taxiways, amounting to approximately 240,000 square metres and a combined 23 km of cable were laid down, in addition to 15.5 km of duct and the installation of over 400 new manholes," he added.

Abu Dhabi Airports Chief Operations Officer Frank McCrorie said: "Over 800 dedicated personnel were involved in the successful completion of this project, while ensuring minimal disruption to residents, demonstrating our collaboration and determination to drive development."


Your guide to the UAE's new visa reforms starting from September

The visa system amendments will simplify procedures for visitors, families, skilled professionals and more and represent the most significant changes to the UAE's visa system in decades.

According to a tweet from the UAE government, these changes will boost competitiveness as the country is actively growing its knowledge economy. Additionally, the country is looking to build on the momentum generated by changes in legal regulations across critical sectors. In fact, according to the World Bank's 2021 annual ratings, the UAE ranked 17 among 190 countries in the ease of doing business. Reports also suggest that the UAE's job market is flourishing with 9 per cent growth in the private sector - and of course, Dubai has long been a top tourism destination.

These measures are intended to relax some restrictions regarding residency and stimulate foreign investment. In addition, they reflect the country's ambition to build an innovative, sustainable future and attract people with the talent and skills required to realise that goal.

Residency in the UAE

Under the new residency visa system, different types of visas are available for working, studying, investing, and living in the UAE. These new visas include:

Golden Visa: To attract skilled professionals and investors, the UAE has expanded the Golden Visa's various categories to welcome more applicants with changes like lowering the real estate minimum investment to Dhs2m, including startup owners, scientists, skilled workers, exceptional talent and students.

Green Visa: This new five-year visa allows skilled workers, the self-employed and freelancers to sponsor their families without a sponsor or employer. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree or the equivalent and a minimum salary of Dhs15,000.

Business Visa: This new category allows investors and entrepreneurs to obtain visas without a sponsor or host.

Temporary Work Visa: Professionals or workers travelling to the UAE for short-term work projects or assignments can apply under this new category. A temporary contract or letter from the employer with proof of fitness is required.

Family Visa: The new regulations allow parents to sponsor their children's visas indefinitely for unmarried females and up to age 25 for males.

Tourist Visa: One of the most anticipated changes is that tourist visas will now be valid for 60 days. Additionally, a new multi-entry will be introduced, granting multiple entries for visitors and the ability to stay in the UAE for up to 90 days. Those 90 days can be extended; however, the visa is limited to 180 days a year. Applicants should have a bank balance of $4,000 (Dhs14,700) or its equivalent in foreign currency six months before applying.

Visas for training/education: Students interested in attending courses, internships or training in the UAE can be sponsored by public or private sector educational institutions; however, a letter of clarification with the program's details and duration is required.

Visa to visit a relative/friend: Foreigners can apply for a visa without a sponsor if their relative or friend is a UAE citizen or resident.

Job Visa: Fresh graduates with a bachelor's degree or equivalent who are looking to build their career in the UAE can apply for this new visa, which doesn't require a host or sponsor.

Industries set to flourish

The UAE government's new visa system will catalyse growth and new opportunities across every sector, especially investment, tourism, and real estate. These significant reforms are flexible and progressive. They will provide more options than ever and are set to boost the economy, ushering in a massive increase in foreign direct investments. After the Coronavirus-19 pandemic, it is increasingly imperative for all countries and industries to adapt to the new ways of the world. In addition, the new visa reforms will further the UAE's mission to remain one of the world's leading destinations.


UAE to issue new generation of Emirati passports from September 1

The Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP), has announced that a new generation of Emirati passports will be issued from September 1.

According to the state news agency, WAM, these passports are issued as part of the new generation of Emirati passports and the national ID card project which was launched in June 2021.

Ali Muhammad Al Shamsi, chairman of the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security, said that the new generation of the UAE passport is part of achieving the UAE government's vision to reinforce the UAE identity using the latest technologies, and to provide distinctive services for the identification of personal identity in accordance with the best international standards.

"This project aims to enhance the flexibility of doing business related to individuals in various institutions of the UAE, in order to improve the quality of life and provide a travel experience that strengthens the leading position of the UAE," he added.

He confirmed that the authority will continue to improve and develop its services in line with the future directions of governments worldwide.

Highlights of the new version

The new version of the Emirati Passport enjoys unprecedented technical characteristics and very complex security specifications to restrict the attempts of forgery or falsification. It is also featured with printing the identification page of its holder using polycarbonate instead of paper, which increases the efficiency of specialised printing supported by photos and security marks characterised by its thickness, to prevent damages.

The passports of the previous generation are considered valid and their holders can use them for travel until the expiry date of the passport approaches. An application for renewal can be submitted to obtain the new generation upon entering within the renewal of crediting period which is designated with six months before the expiry date recorded in the document, demonstrating that the new passport is deemed an extension of the previous one without any change in the prescribed fees or the channels allocated for providing services of issue or renewing the passports through the ICP's website or the UAEICP smart application.

The holders of passports shall verify the validity of their documents for a period of no less than six months before they travel, with the possibility of issuing passports while being abroad through the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation represented by embassies and consulates of the state.


New British school opens in Abu Dhabi's Khalifa City

A new state-of-the-art campus of a British private international academy on a 180,000sqm area has been unveiled in Abu Dhabi's Khalifa City.

Yasmina British Academy will commence operations from the new academic year with intake of students for FS1 (nursery) and FS2. The new purpose-built campus will be an extension of the existing academy in the locality, and will see the transition of students in two phases.

"In a few weeks we will see the new state-of-the-art campus, which is near Al Forsan, buzzing with activities. We are very excited about this new campus," Miller noted.

Officials from the Department of Education and Knowledge - Abu Dhabi (ADEK), Aldar Academies and Aldar Education opened the new campus of Al Yasmina Academy.

"We will continue to provide an outstanding educational experience with new world-class facilities. Students of FS1 and FS2 will relocate to the new location starting this month," Stephen Sharples, executive director (education), Aldar Education, said.

The new campus includes a large auditorium for performances and conferences, a range of swimming pools, 12 specialist science laboratories, state of the art computer suites, an audio, film and TV recording studio, STEM and design and technology facilities, and outstanding indoor and outdoor sport facilities.

Every classroom will feature the latest interactive technology.

"The new multi-building campus will foster a future-focused educational experience while delivering on our environmental commitments to supply sustainable schools to the UAE," Holly Gibbs, primary principal, underlined.

The new multi-building campus incorporates state-of-the-art facilities that will enable our teachers and students to flourish, fostering a future focused educational experience while also delivering on our environmental commitments to supply sustainable schools to the UAE. While Phase 1 for students in FS1 (nursery) and FS2 will start from the academic year on August 29, the rest of the school will be ready as per the Phase 2 expansions.

"As part of phase 2, an impressive Post-16 Centre will be built to retain our prominent position within the very popular and easily accessible Khalifa City area of Abu Dhabi. Once fully constructed, it will be a leading educational facility of its type in Abu Dhabi," Ish Siyani, senior manager (operations), said"The new facility will act as a social, sporting and performance hub for both the local and international communities of the city. The new campus enables us to add even more value to our currently outstanding educational provision, while utilising the reputation of Aldar Academies' brand to positively impact the lives of our learning community in the UAE," Siyani added.


6 categories under which expats can get UAE's expanded Golden Visa scheme

The UAE has announced substantial amendments to its Golden Visa scheme by adding new categories to attract the world's best talent.

The expanded categories of 10-year visas will come in to effect with other visa reforms from next month. The visa holders can sponsor their family members (regardless of their age) and domestic staff without limiting their numbers.

Real estate investors: People investing Dh2 million and above are eligible for the Golden Visa. Under the new rule, investors buying property through a mortgage from a local bank can also apply for the Golden Visa. Investors buying off-plan properties can apply too.

Exceptionally-talented individuals: This category will benefit a large number of talented foreigners who are looking to make UAE their home. Under this category, talented people in the field of art, culture, digital technology sports, innovation, medicine, law and others can apply. Importantly, the 10-year visa is awarded based on talent only. It does not depend on educational qualification, employment status, monthly salary or professional level. However, it requires the recommendation or approval of a federal or local government entity.

Student: Students with exceptional calibre having high scores obtained either in UAE secondary school or universities are eligible for the 10-year visa. Those talented students who studied at the world's 100 best universities are also eligible.

Entrepreneurs: Startup investors can also avail of Golden Visa under the new rules provided their company is registered within the country and it should fall under the small and medium enterprises (SME) category with annual revenues of Dh1 million or above.

Scientists: This visa is granted to scientists and researchers who have a PhD or Master's degree in engineering, technology, life sciences and natural sciences from the world's best universities. He/she should have a recommendation from the Emirates Scientists Council.

Skilled workers: The applicants must hold a valid contract of employment in the UAE while the job must fall under the occupational level one or two as defined by the Ministry of Human Resources Emiratisation. The minimum monthly salary requirement has been reduced to Dh30,000 as compared to 50,000 earlier. The worker must have a bachelor's degree as well.


Online prepayments, appointment booking: SEHA packs new features in visa screening app

A new feature-packed update is now available on SEHA's visa screening app, the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office said on Sunday.

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) has launched SEHA Visa Screening app with a range of new features. The update includes an appointment booking feature for companies and groups, and secure online prepayment via Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

Moreover, to ensure quick registration, the new update allows users to log in using UAE Pass and is integrated with the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Port Security, allowing automatic loading of personal data by Emirates ID or unified number. The app is available for iOS and Android phones.

In January this year, the app was initially launched for residents to book visa screening appointments to get or renew their visas. According to Ambulatory Healthcare Services' official, the app was "highly utilised" by the community, with more than 60,000 downloads and more than 73,000 appointments booked through it.

"With the new update, companies will be able to book appointments for their employees with a few simple steps, while the online prepayment option will remove the need for using cash," Dr Omar Al Hashmi, chief clinical affairs officer at Ambulatory Healthcare Services, said.

Residents in Abu Dhabi are required to visit Disease Prevention and Screening Centres to undergo a medical check-up prior to getting or renewing their visas. Previously, residents visited the centres on a walk-in basis, but with the new app, they now have the option to select an allotted time that suits them.

The centres provide a full range of medical services for the visa process, including fast track and premium options at selected locations.


Over 70 nationalities can get visa on arrival for up to 180 days

Being the most popular tourist destination in the region, the UAE, especially Dubai, attracts millions of tourists from around the world every year from both developing and developed countries.

Therefore, different visa rules apply to each nationality. Some of them get visa-on-arrival, while others have to apply prior to flying to the UAE. Citizens of approximately 70 countries receive a visa on arrival in the UAE while other nationalities will have to obtain a visa before their departure.

30-day visa

Based on information sourced from Emirates, flydubai and Etihad Airways websites, passport holders of around 20 countries or territories get a 30-day visa on arrival free of charge. They are:

Hong Kong (China)
Macau (China)
New Zealand
San Marino
UK and Northern Ireland
Vatican City
90-day visa
While a 90-day multiple entry visit visa is issued to nationals of over 50 countries or territories. This visa is valid for six months from the date of issue and visa holders can stay in the UAE for 90 days in total. The countries are:
Bahamas Islands
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
El Salvador
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
San Marino
Solomon Islands
South Korea
180-day visa

Travellers holding a Mexican passport are eligible for a multiple entry 180-day visit visa that's valid for six months from the date of issue, and for a stay of 180 days in total.


Roshn launches apartments phase of Sedra community

Roshn, the leading national real estate developer in the Kingdom and powered by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, has announced the launch of the apartments phase at its landmark residential project Sedra, north of Riyadh.

Sedra Residential Apartments is being built within the Sedra community to offer a modern and integrated living experience that is pedestrian-friendly, and where a rich array of amenities supports full, rewarding lifestyles.

Around 45 per cent of each plot within Sedra Residential Apartments is open space, and a 2.8 km green stretch adjacent to a wadi gives the neighbourhood its unique character. Other key features of the new phase include private gardens for some of the ground floor units, private balconies for the upper units, dedicated parking spaces, a semi-private communal majlis in most buildings, and a lively pedestrian spine that allows residents to easily reach nearby amenities on foot.

As with all Roshn developments, Sedra Residential Apartments blends cutting-edge technology in areas such as building methods and irrigation, while respecting the tradition and heritage of the region - in this case, the Salmani architecture inspired by the classic forms of Najd construction. The 88-unit apartment buildings in the new phase have two faade options, 'Classic Salmani' and 'Modern Salmani', while the interiors feature contemporary designs.

Having successfully launched its first development, Sedra, Roshn is expanding its vision across the Kingdom having recently announced Alarous north of Jeddah, while other fully- integrated communities are being developed across four regions: Riyadh, Makkah, the Eastern Province, and Asir.


Children's visit visa can be transferred to Iqama if parents hold regular residency

RIYADH - The General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) announced the possibility of transferring the child's visit visa, who is under 18 years of age, to a Muqeem identity card (Iqama) if the parents hold regular residency.

The Jawazat stated that, the expiry of the resident's Iqama does not preclude the possibility of extending the visitor's visit visa.

The regulations obligate that the extension of the family visit visa must not exceed 180 day, the Jawazat said.

It has also noted that there will be a sum fine if the visit visa has not been extended after 3 days of its expiry.

The Jawazat stressed the necessity to abide by the visa instructions and the departure before it expires, while confirming, "the validity of the visa is a condition for departure".

It is worth mentioning that the Jawazat noted that it has nothing to do in the regard of issuing and approving visit visa, and those who wish to issue a visit visa must contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Kuwait's Health Minister opens new Farwaniya Hospital

KUWAIT: Kuwait's Minister of Health Dr Khaled Al-Saeed launched on Wednesday the first operating phase of the New Farwaniya Hospital building, which is a huge contribution to the health sector, the national development plan and the New Kuwait 2035 vision. Speaking to reporters following the opening ceremony, Dr Saeed stated that he is proud of this medical milestone which reflects the huge steps the health system is taking in order to provide the best health services to citizens, under the directives of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. He pointed out that the project, which is considered a highly valuable addition to serve citizens in Farwaniya Governorate, covers an area of 423,000 square meters and includes five main buildings. Meanwhile, the Health Ministry's spokesperson Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad stated that the hospital's main building and outpatients clinics include four main towers that consist of nine floors. Dr Sanad said that the hospital includes 314 general clinics, the emergency department includes 71 clinics, adding that the hospital includes 31 operating rooms for various uses, with a capacity of 233 intensive care beds. He also pointed out that the hospital includes a building for dental care and a main power generator, together with six sub-generators, which can cover the hospital's needs. Dr Sanad praised and thanked everyone for their great efforts that contributed to the new hospital.


Kuwait MoI stops issuing family reunion visas

KUWAIT: Kuwait's interior ministry has stopped issuing all kinds of family and tourist visas, including family reunion visas, until further notice, informed sources said. The sources explained the decision comes as work is underway to amend the mechanism for issuing visas, with new procedures and conditions to be approved. The sources said all residency affairs departments in the six governorates received verbal instructions on Monday to stop all types of entry visas for expatriates until new instructions are issued. The sources added certain categories of expats such as doctors are excluded from this decision, while family reunion visas that have already been issued are still valid.


Expatriates allowed to stay abroad for over 6 months

KUWAIT: Expats with student visas and those on dependency visas are now allowed to stay abroad for over six months as it applies to those with work permit. "The initiative is to make life for expats in Kuwait easier, with consideration to foreign students as the world battles COVID-19," sources told Kuwait Times. The only exception is for domestic workers. If they stay abroad for more than six months, their residency permit will be cancelled unless their sponsors sign an agreement.

A government decision allowing expatriates with iqama to remain outside the country for more than six months is still in force. Until now, the decree has not been cancelled," the sources said. However, the sources said only domestic workers are not permitted to remain outside Kuwait for more than six months unless their sponsor applies for an exception on their behalf.

Expatriates are also allowed to renew their residency permits while they are outside Kuwait. "The decree allowing the expatriates to renew their iqamas online while abroad is still in effect," the sources added. Residency of expatriates who stay outside Kuwait for more than six months won't be canceled, except for domestic workers.

This decision to continue with the exemption will be valid until further announcement. Kuwait's Interior Ministry had made this exemption for expatriates during the COVID pandemic as expatriate arrivals into Kuwait were suspended for fear of spread of coronavirus. Kuwait has slowly returned back to normalcy with all government and private sector offices functioning to pre-pandemic levels. The government recently cancelled all online work without exceptions.

Regarding the opening of visit visas, the Ministry of Interior has decided to extend its decision to halt the issuance of family visit visas until the end of this current year. According to sources, the Ministry said that security of the state and the parliamentary elections are of vital importance to the Ministry.

The Ministry will deploy its personnel and will increase its presence in strategic areas during electoral gatherings, election-day and campaigns. The new elections will be held at the beginning of October. Files related to security need adequate time to be studied, especially the ones related to issuing family visas.


Kuwait rethinks expats' open stay abroad

Cairo: Kuwaiti authorities said residency permits of private sector expatriates, staying abroad for more than six months, will be automatically cancelled, a Kuwaiti newspaper has said.

The Interior Ministry said the duration of those expatriates' stay outside Kuwait would be calculated as of May 1 until October 31 and overstayers will have their iqamas cancelled, Al Rai added.

Such expatriates, known as the Article 18-compliant iqamat holders, are not allowed to stay outside Kuwait for more than six months, the ministry added.

Likewise, according to Al Rai, expatriates holding dependent residency permits are likely to be no longer allowed to stay outside Kuwait for more than six months, ending an earlier open-ended stay system.

The new rule will take effect before the end of this year and is likely also to apply to holders of the so-called Article 24 iqama expats, i.e. self-employed foreigners, the paper added, citing security sources.

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