Kuwait City at a Glance
Moving to Kuwait City
About the City
Kuwait City blends the old with the new. Modern buildings housing offices, stylish apartments and luxury hotels combine with old souks and architectural gems, such as the famous Grand Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world. The traditional style of the Grand Mosque belies its relatively recent construction, completed in 1986. Opposite the mosque stands the elegant Al Seif Palace, built in 1904 and famous for its watch tower, which is decorated with blue tiles and has a roof of gold. The Kuwait City skyline has many tall buildings, including the twisted Al Tijaria Tower, the Liberation Tower and the Kuwait Towers.
Kuwait City offers a wide range of air conditioned shopping malls and stores. The city has plenty to offer for families, including the Scientific Center and Aquarium. The Scientific Center also houses an IMAX movie theater. The Aqua Park makes a great day out and a wide range of water sports are available at the coast.
English is widely spoken in the business world as well as in tourist areas. The main religion is Islam, while minorities of Christians, Buddhists and Hindus make up around 15% of the population. Many clubs and societies have been established by and for foreigners, and joining those which interest you can help you to integrate into the expat community.
Most expatriates moving to Kuwait City rent accommodation because of the restrictions on foreigners purchasing property. Until recently it was not permitted at all, and even now there are many limitations such as the size of property, and purchasing is only open to foreign nationals who have lived and worked in Kuwait for several years. An expat who ceases to work in Kuwait is no longer entitled to live and work there, so if your employment ended in Kuwait City you would need to sell your property immediately. If you are permitted to and choose to buy a home in Kuwait City you should get a solicitor to help you through the purchase process.
There is a wide range of property available to rent in Kuwait City. Most rental property is unfurnished. Generally apartments have a services manager who provides some services such as arranging trash removal. If you will be working for a global organization in Kuwait you may well find that they will arrange housing for you. If you do need to find your own accommodation, ask around and check notice boards at your workplace, look for advertisements in newspapers (papers published in English are available in Kuwait), or find a lettings agency who can help you.
The Climate in Kuwait City
With daytime temperatures often over 45°C and in summer sometimes rising over 50°C, Kuwait City is one of the hottest cities in the world. At night temperatures vary more by season. During the summer the temperature can be 30°C or more, whereas in winter they often fall below 10°C. If you are an expat moving to Kuwait City from a cooler climate, it is important that you modify your lifestyle to cope with the extreme heat, particularly in the summer, so that you avoid dehydration or sunstroke.
Sandstorms are infrequent but can be a nuisance, and if you go outside during a storm you should ensure you have adequate face covering to avoid getting sand in your eyes or mouth. They are more likely to occur in summer than in other seasons, but there are occasionally sandstorms in autumn too.