When relocating to Kuwait, new arrivals will have to consider the cost of living in a foreign currency. The exchange rate may also be a shock for many, since the Kuwaiti dinar (KWD or KD) is the strongest currency in the world.

Living expenses in Kuwait may differ greatly for expats, depending on their salary and any additional benefits they receive, as well as their lifestyle and what they choose to spend their money on.

Unfortunately, securing a job and receiving lucrative employment packages in this Gulf state is no longer guaranteed, with the national push for Kuwaitisation. That said, expats offered a job here can often negotiate for extra benefits. This is especially important for expat parents who have to keep the high tuition costs of international schools in mind.

Thankfully, with a generous salary, prices may be less of a burden on the wallet than expats expect from this high-income country. According to Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2021, the capital, Kuwait City, placed 115th out of 209 countries, making it more affordable than many major cities, including Barcelona, Toronto and Doha.


Cost of accommodation in Kuwait

Many expats move to Kuwait with accommodation provided by their employer. Employers own or lease apartments for their expat staff to reside in, and these lucky expats won't need to worry about rent, utilities or furniture costs.

That said, expats who are responsible for their own rent should expect over a third of their income to go towards accommodation expenses. We recommend checking whether utilities are included in the rental contract, as air-conditioning is necessary for summer, and could contribute to a high electricity bill.


Cost of shopping in Kuwait

A significant proportion of groceries in Kuwait have to be imported. So, buying typical food items that may have been more accessible at home could come at a higher price. Expats on specific diets may find that certain foodstuffs are excessively expensive or hard to find in some cases.

New arrivals may find it helpful to draw up a grocery list and note the cost of each item as they go shopping.


Cost of healthcare in Kuwait

Expats can access both public and private healthcare in Kuwait. That said, most expats prefer private medical facilities, which offer a high standard of care and short waiting times. Unfortunately, private hospitals are usually rather expensive.

Health insurance is essential and expats must typically pay an amount towards public healthcare, whether they will use it or not.

Nonetheless, we recommend getting comprehensive private medical cover for stays in Kuwait, ensuring complete coverage for any situation.


Cost of transport in Kuwait

Buses, cars and taxis are the main forms of public transport. Buses are cheap but not frequently used by expats who can afford to get around in Kuwait by car. Expats are happy to buy first- or second-hand vehicles or rent a car, as petrol is cheap in Kuwait. Driving can be much more affordable here than in many Western countries, but bear in mind additional expenses, such as car insurance.

Taxis are also relatively affordable, but it’s advised to agree on a price before setting off.


Cost of living in Kuwait chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Kuwait City in May 2021.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in the city centre

 KWD 530

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

 KWD 410

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

 KWD 270

One-bedroom apartment outside the city centre

 KWD 210

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

 KWD 0.55

Milk (1 litre)

 KWD 0.40

Rice (1kg)

 KWD 0.60

Loaf of white bread

 KWD 0.25

Chicken breasts (1kg)

 KWD 1.30

Pack of cigarettes

 KWD 0.90

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

 KWD 2

Coca-Cola (330ml)

 KWD 0.17

Cappuccino 

 KWD 1.40

Bottle of local non-alcoholic beer

 KWD 1

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

 KWD  13

Household

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

 KWD 0.04

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

 KWD 8.70

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

 KWD 10.95

Transport

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

 KWD 1

Bus fare in the city centre

 KWD 0.30

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

 KWD 0.10

Expat Health Insurance

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