Naturalizing wives of Kuwaiti citizens or non-Kuwaiti children of female citizens have been put on hold by the government. The government said that the freeze for the time being was "in order to allow for the process to be restudied so that the it can be put more in accordance with the country's policy and demographic structure".


This announcement was made by the interior ministry's undersecretary assistant for citizenships and passports affairs, Maj. Gen. Abdulhameed Al-Awadhi, who indicated that the aim behind this step is "to avoid problems that took place previously during the process of naturalizing people with similar social status".


In the meantime, Al-Awadhi announced that there are plans currently under studying as well, to provide spouses of Kuwaiti men with social rights that are similar to those of Kuwaiti citizens, instead of granting them with citizenships.


October 30, 2010



Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk


This has been an ongoing social problem in Kuwait, that has plagued the country for decades. Kuwaiti men marrying non-Kuwaiti women cannot have their children or wives naturalized and those regularly find difficulties in enjoying the social and economic priviledges enjoyed by Kuwaitis. This has led to an ever-increasing social pressure on mixed Kuwaiti families.


Traditionalist Kuwaitis feared that naturalizing non-Kuwaiti wives would lead to more Kuwaiti men marrying non-Kuwaiti wives, leading to what they see as a dilution of traditional values. In addition, the statement by the interior ministry indirectly reflects a fear that the country’s Shiite minority would be encouraged to marry non-Kuwaiti Shiite women from neighbouring countries, including Iraq and Iran.


The decision to freeze the naturalization will undoubtedly lead to a great deal of unhappiness in Kuwait, rising socio-economic tensions and is seen as a set-back in the country’s efforts to modernize itself, including immigration laws.


The figure below shows the approximate make-up of the Kuwaiti population: