Local Time in Kuwait : Print

When Should I Travel to Kuwait?

BUSINESS CUSTOMS

Business and account executives should generally have minimal language difficulties with their Kuwaiti counterparts, as English is widely spoken and many Kuwaiti business professionals were educated overseas.

A personal relationship is an important basis for successful business ties in Kuwait. It is essential to allow time for friendly conversation before commencing with a business agenda. Scheduling appointments in advance is critical. With government officials, appointments will often occur between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Official government work hours are from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Some companies work split shifts, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and from 4 p.m. or 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. in the evening. Friday and Saturday are the official weekend in Kuwait as well as for the Gulf except Oman. Friday is especially respected as family time. It is not advisable to attempt weekend meetings, unless your Kuwaiti host suggests or insists on it.

Most senior executives and key decision-makers maintain extensive travel schedules outside of Kuwait. This is particularly evident during summer months when Kuwaitis tend to escape the heat that can often hover at or above 50C/122F. Many decision-makers travel out of Kuwait in July and August. During the holy month of Ramadan, business is very slow and decisions and appointments are often delayed until after the month. (Ramadan, dependent upon sightings of the moon, is expected to begin around May 27, 2017.) The two major holidays in Kuwait are Eid Al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan and Eid Al-Adh’ha at the end of the Hajj or pilgrimage season, which occurs 70 days after Eid Al-Fitr. National Day and Liberation Day (marking the liberation of Kuwait from Iraq), occur on February 25 and 26, and is also a good time to avoid travel to Kuwait. Local holidays generally offer opportunities for many decision-makers to leave the country for a week or more. Travelers should schedule appointments prior to their arrival in Kuwait, but reconfirm a day or two before and on the morning of the appointment. It is always good to have a mobile phone contact number in case of last minute changes.

LOCAL TIME, BUSINESS HOURS, AND HOLIDAYS

Local Time

Time in Kuwait is Universal Time Coordinated/Zulu + 3 hours (Zulu is London UTC/GMT). In comparison, Eastern Standard Time is UTC/Zulu – 5 hours, Central Standard Time is UTC/Zulu – 6 hours and Pacific Standard Time is UTC/Zulu – 8 hours. Kuwait does not observe Daylight Savings Time.

Government Offices: Summer: 07:00-14:00 Sunday-Thursday

Winter: 07:30-14:30 Sunday-Thursday

Ramadan: 10:00-13:00

Private Organizations: 08:30-12:30 and 16:30-20:00 (Friday closed) or

08.00-/17.00 (Friday-Saturday closed)

(Commercial establishments)

09:00-16:00 (Friday-Saturday closed)

(Financial and service companies)

09:00-14:00 and 19:00-00:00 (Ramadan hours)

Banks: 08:00-15:00 (closed Friday and Saturday)

Holidays – The U.S. Embassy workweek is from Sunday to Thursday. If a holiday falls on Monday in the U.S., the embassy will generally celebrate it on Sunday. For more information on 2017 holidays, please contact us.

HOLIDAY

DATE

New Year’s Day

1 January 2017

Kuwait National Day

25 February 2017

Kuwait Liberation Day

26 February 2017

Ascension Day of the Prophet Mohammed

27 April 2017

Eid Al-Fitr (conclusion of Ramadan)

25-27 June 2017 (*)

Eid Al-Adha (conclusion of the Hajj)

4-6 September 2017 (*)

Islamic New Year

21 September 2017

The Prophet’s Birthday

30 November 2017

The United States Embassy in Kuwait also observes the following holidays in country: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday (18 January); President’s Day (15 February); Memorial Day (30 May); Independence Day (4 July); Labor Day (5 September); Columbus Day (10 October); Veteran’s Day (11 November); Thanksgiving (24 November) and Christmas (24 December). The Embassy will be closed on these holidays.

*Subject to the Islamic calendar. Holiday dates subject to change.

TOURISM AND GENERAL TRAVEL

Kuwait’s weather pattern is similar to that of Europe, although the weather here is hotter and drier. Summers (April to October) are hot and humid with very little rain. Winters (November to February) are cool with limited rain, while springs (March to April) are cool and pleasant.

Kuwait is accessible to tourists anytime during the year. However, the best time to spend a fulfilling holiday in Kuwait is during the winter time. The winter months are chilly in the evenings, but with pleasant daytime temperatures. At this time of the year, the weather is pleasant and ideal for sightseeing and enjoying the various activities Kuwait has to offer. You can enjoy the outdoor activities without getting dehydrated or feeling the pangs of heat.

If you happen to visit Kuwait in the summer, there are plenty of air-conditioned amenities to make your summer visit tolerable. During the spring, the desert is laced in a transparent lime green, decorated with petunias, making it an ideal time to visit as well.

For additional information, please visit Chapter 8 of the 2017 Country Commercial Guide


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