Message for U.S. Citizens —  Information for U.S. citizens during the Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan

The beginning and end of the month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, are based on actual sightings of the new moon, likely from about May 27 to June 24. The official start and end of the month will be announced by newspaper, television and radio.

During Ramadan, the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait will continue to offer routine services for U.S. citizens and visa applicants. Services are by appointment through our website. Appointments for U.S. citizen services are available between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday. Visa applicants should review our instructions and schedule interviews via our visa website. When visiting the embassy, please bring two forms of government-issued identification with photographs, as you will need to leave one with our security guards while inside our building.

Kuwaiti government ministries and institutions will follow a reduced schedule, officially opening for business at 0930 hours and closing at 1400 hours. Some government offices and retail businesses may not provide full staffing. Ramadan is a time of abstinence from food, drink (including water), and physical pleasure (including smoking) during daylight hours. Expectations of conservative public behavior and dress are heightened during Ramadan. The fast is generally held to be obligatory for Muslims, unless they are old, very young, infirm, traveling, or pregnant. The strictures are observed between dawn and sunset (roughly 0430-1850 hours).

With meals taken only at night, sleep is limited. Be extra alert while driving, especially in the late afternoon when many people are returning home to break their fast.

Non-Muslims are not expected to fast, but it is against Kuwaiti law for anyone to eat, drink, or smoke in public between sunrise and sunset. Even children should be instructed not to eat or drink in public, which includes while in a vehicle on, or visible from, the street. Eating, drinking or smoking in public are grounds for arrest.

Restaurants, including cafés and fast food shops, will close during the day and reopen after sunset. Supermarkets and cooperative markets will remain open on Ramadan schedules unique to each but usually including shorter daytime hours. Retail non-food businesses will generally remain open for the entire period on reduced schedules.

Some hotels will keep one dining room open during the day (usually screened from public view) to provide meal and beverage service to non-Muslim guests. Other hotels may require non-Muslims to receive their meals in their hotel rooms during fasting hours.

If you plan to travel via Kuwait International Airport, be aware that food and drink service will remain available during the day at the Dasman and Pearl Lounges, located after immigration control in the departure area. Access to these lounges is restricted and is granted for a fee.

For further information:

• See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Kuwait Country Specific Information.

• Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

• Contact the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. The U.S. Embassy is located at Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa Street, Block 6, Plot 14, Bayan, Kuwait. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of emergency assistance in Kuwait, you may reach the U.S. Embassy by calling +965-2259- 1001 and requesting the duty officer.

• Call 1-888- 407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202- 501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

• Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. This message may be accessed on the Embassy website, Please note that the Consular Section is closed for U.S. and most local holidays. The current holiday schedule for 2015 is posted on