Basic Info

The Religion

Article 2 of the Constitution states, "The religion of the State is Islam, and the Islamic Sharia shall be one of the main source of legislation." The vast majority of Kuwaitis are Muslim. Article 35 of the Constitution states that "Freedom of belief is absolute. The State protects the freedom of practicing religion in accordance with established customs, provided that it does not conflict with public policy or morals." The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has the responsibility of maintaining the spiritual and religious aspects and preserve the Islamic heritage.

The Language

Arabic is the official language of the State of Kuwait and all documents and notices are in modern standard Arabic. Most correspondence with government departments must be in Arabic and most official forms must be filled-out in Arabic. In the oil sector however the lingua franca in is English.

Private businesses are generally free to use whatever language they wish in contracts, correspondence and notices. A few types of contracts however, such as regulation posted in a place of work, are required by law to be in Arabic though a translation in another language may be appended. Where a document is in more than one language, the Arabic version is always authoritative.

English is considered the second language of business and many educated Kuwaitis are fluent English speakers. Getting by on English alone can sometimes prove difficult.

Public Holidays

Friday is the official weekly holiday. For Kuwait University, Public and Private schools and some major companies such as Kuwait Oil Company, the official weekend is Thursday, Friday; while Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, most of its affiliated companies and all the banks take Friday and Saturday off.

Public holiday include 1 January (New Year's Day), 25 February (Kuwait National Day) and 26 February (Kuwait Liberation Day). The dates of Islamic religious holidays change according to the Hijra Calendar and include the Prophet's Birthday, The Ascension the Prophet (PBUH) and the Hijra New Year. For Eid Al-Fitr, at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, there is usually a three day holiday. For Eid Al-Adha there is usually a four day holiday.

The four official holiday (Rass Al-Sana Al-Hijria, Mawlid Al-Nabi, Lailat al-Isra` wa al-Mir`aaj, and the New Year), if they happen to fall in the middle of the working week, will be moved to the following Saturday. However, if any of the above mentioned four official holiday fall on a Thursday, this Thursday will be considered the official holiday and will not be compensated.