Required Trade Documents

Importers must obtain an annual import license form the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and must be registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Licenses are valid for one year and allow for multiple shipments.

Import licenses for industrial machinery and spares are also required. Licenses are issued by the Industrial Development Commission of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. Specific licenses are also issued from various ministries and agencies for products including firearms, explosives, drugs/pharmaceuticals, and wild/exotic animals.

Kuwait documentation procedures require a commercial invoice, a certificate of origin, a packing list and a bill of lading or airway bill to accompany all commercial shipments. Additional licenses or certificates may be required for various products.

Commercial Invoice: One original and two copies are required. The invoice must contain an accurate description of the goods, marks and numbers, net and gross weights in metric measure, quantity, units, total value, country of origin, port and shipping information (name of vessel and transportation means).

Certificate of Origin: One original and two copies are required.

Packing List: The packing list must provide detailed information on each item contained in any package and must be stamped with the company seal or stamp of the exporter or freight forwarder.

Bill of Lading: Three copies of the bill of lading are required and there is no stipulation as to form. The Bill of Lading must show the name of the shipper, the name and address of the consignee, port of final destination, description of the goods, listing of freight and other charges, the number of bills of lading in the complete set, and the acknowledgement signature that the carrier has confirmed receipt on board of the goods to be shipped.

Given Kuwait’s import license regime, the importer license holder’s name must appear on the bill of lading. The importer must be a Kuwaiti national.

For questions pertaining to procedures for document authentication, please consult with your importer and freight forwarder/customs broker.

Special Documents
Veterinary Health Certificate: A health certificate is required for the import of animal products. The certificate should state that the products were free from any contagious disease occurring within a radius of thirty miles for six months prior to export. Each shipment of meat or poultry must be accompanies by a statement that slaughtering has been conducted in conformity with Islamic law: the statement must be certified by the local Arab Chamber of Commerce and legalized/ authorization by a Kuwaiti Consulate or Embassy.

Exporters should also consult with importers and the appropriate ministry of the Kuwait Government for additional information.

Sanitary/ Phytosanitary Certificate: required for plants and plant products.

Certificate of Wholesomeness: fresh and frozen meat and poultry products require a certificate of wholesomeness.

Certificate of Disinfection: a certificate of disinfection or sterilization must accompany shipments of used clothing intended for sale.

Foodstuffs Certificate: The producing company must provide certification in triplicate that the imported foodstuffs do not contain any form of harmful food additive compounds. Certificates are to be delivered to the Ministry of Health. Dairy products require a declaration that the product is free from harmful bacteria and other pathogens.

Certificate of Free Sale: Cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and foodstuffs may require a certificate of free sale stating that the commodities in question are in free circulation in the country of export.

Exporters should consult with their Departments of Health or State Departments of Commerce to determine whether the respective state or municipality may also issue Certificates of Free Sale.

Certificate of Free Sale-Beauty and Health Products: Imports of cosmetics, beauty and health products require a certificate proving that the manufacturer is licensed by an appropriate authority to produce the product, show that the product and ingredients is safe for use, that the company complies with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) of the country of origin, and evidence that the product is scientifically safe when used as directed. 

Temporary Entry
Samples and Advertising Material

Advertising material and samples may be admitted duty free if they are contained in packages describing the advertising nature of the contents and identifying the sender. Materials considered to be in excess of reasonable requirements may be subject to normal customs duty. Tools of the trade and exhibition material likewise are duty free.

Temporary Entry
Goods entered temporarily into Kuwait can be done so under a customs bond with the bond being remitted to the importer upon export of the product or goods in question. The Kuwait Free Trade Zone is located at Shuwaikh Port. The trade zone allows for full trade, service and industrial activities.