While in Kuwait, a U.S. citizen is subject to Kuwait’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States, and may not afford the same protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Persons violating the law in Kuwait, even unknowingly, may be deported, fined, arrested, or imprisoned. If arrested in Kuwait, a citizen must go through Kuwait’s legal process for being charged or indicted, prosecuted, and possibly convicted and sentenced.
The U.S. Embassy cannot effect the release of U.S. citizens imprisoned in Kuwaiti jails. However, a U.S. consular officer will insist on prompt access to an arrested U.S. citizen, provide a list of attorneys, offer to contact the arrested citizen’s family or friends, visit on a regular basis, protest mistreatment, monitor jail conditions, and keep the Department of State informed.
U.S. citizens who have been charged with criminal offenses, placed under investigation, involved in unresolved financial disputes, or have unpaid debts, are subject to Kuwaiti government travel bans. The U.S. Embassy can provide U.S. citizens with a list of attorneys. However, only Kuwaiti authorities can remove travel bans. These bans, which are rigidly enforced, prevent the individual from leaving Kuwait for any reason until the matter is resolved. Travel bans can also be initiated by private citizens for almost any reason and may remain in place for a substantial period of time while the case is being investigated.
The Office of Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) at the Department of State in Washington, D.C., is the point of contact for family members in the United States who are concerned about a U.S. citizen family member who has been arrested abroad. You can reach OCS by calling 1-888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444. Family members may also contact the ACS Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait at (965) 2259-1001 or via e-mail: KuwaitACS@state.gov. Please note that Privacy Act protections prohibit the release of information about U.S. citizens without their express consent.