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Expat Wife of Kuwaiti Can Acquire Nationality After 18 Years

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KUWAIT CITY, March 18: The Parliamentary Interior and Defense Committee is discussing a draft law that would amend Article 8 of Amiri Decree 15/1959 of the Kuwaiti Nationality Law, which was submitted by the government in the previous parliament. The proposed changes pertain to the naturalization of foreign women who are married to Kuwaiti men.

The draft law replaces the text of Article 8 of Amiri Decree 15/1959 with new provisions. Under the proposed amendments, a foreign woman who marries a Kuwaiti man will not automatically become a Kuwaiti citizen unless she declares her desire to do so to the Minister of Interior and maintains legal residence in Kuwait for a period of eighteen years from the date of marriage. The Minister of Interior may also prevent her from acquiring Kuwaiti nationality if he deems it necessary.

If the woman’s marriage ends due to death or divorce and she has a son or children, she may declare her desire to acquire Kuwaiti nationality, provided that she had maintained her legal and normal residence in Kuwait and taken care of her children until one of them reaches the age of ten. The Minister of Interior may grant her Kuwaiti nationality by decree based on his proposal.

The amendments also stipulate that the Minister of Interior may grant a foreign woman, the wife of a Kuwaiti, the treatment of a Kuwaiti individual after announcing her desire and maintaining the marriage for a period of three years. The widow of a Kuwaiti man may also be granted the treatment of a Kuwaiti individual if she has a declaration of desire and has a son or children.

According to the explanatory memorandum to the draft law, the current article allows foreign women married to Kuwaiti citizens to acquire Kuwaiti nationality after only five years of marriage, without the requirement of having children, reports Al Rai. This has led to many cases of foreign women gaining Kuwaiti nationality and then separating from their Kuwaiti husbands, without having any ties to Kuwait. The proposed amendments aim to address this issue by extending the period to eighteen years and requiring proof of loyalty and integration with Kuwaiti society.

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