How to work in Kuwait as a Nigerian-trained doctor and potential challenges

Are you a Nigerian-trained doctor? Do you want to work in Kuwait as a Nigerian-trained doctor? This article will shed light on the requirements and how to work in Kuwait as a Nigerian-trained doctor and the potential challenges.

Note: This article also applies to foreign-trained dentists, nurses and allied health workers who intend to practice in the state of Kuwait.

To work in Kuwait as a Nigerian-trained doctor, dentist, nurse, midwife or allied health worker, you will need to obtain the relevant practice licence from the Kuwait Ministry of Health.

Required documents to obtain Kuwait medical practice licence

Nigerian-trained doctors and other non-Kuwait-trained doctors will need the following documents to apply for a Kuwait medical practice licence.

  • Application letter for Kuwait medical practice licence addressed to Kuwait Ministry of Health.
  • Applicant’s curriculum Vitae, which should include the applicant’s qualifications and relevant work history.
  • Applicant’s professional certificates/degrees. This includes Bachelor’s degree (MBBS), Bachelor’s transcript, internship certificate and postgraduate degree.
  • Certificate of experience from the hospitals/institutions the applicant has worked with. This should include the participant’s clinical and non-clinical experience in chronological order post-graduation.
  • Applicant’s medical practice licence from the country where the applicant was working.
  • Certificate of good standing. This is issued either by the last hospital/institution the applicant has worked with or the country medical council in this case Nigeria Medical and Dental Council.
  • Applicant’s international passport with at least two years validity. The two-year passport validity will also apply when you have passed your online interview and your Kuwait visa processing has commenced. Thus, if possible, it is better to have at least 3 years of passport validity before applying. Otherwise, you run the risk of being asked to renew your international passport during the application process, even after passing the online interview.
  • Recommendation letter from three individuals from your previous place of work.
  • Applicant’s passport photograph.
  • EPIC ID. The applicant can start the application process, without the EPIC ID, however, before the process is completed EPIC will verify the applicant’s qualifications.

Work in Kuwait as a Nigerian-trained doctor

To work in Kuwait as a Nigerian-trained doctor, the applicant will need to obtain a medical practice licence from the Ministry of the Health of Kuwait before they can practice medicine in the state of Kuwait.

Non-Kuwait-trained doctors who intend to practice in Kuwait need to obtain the required documents for Kuwait medical practice licensure. After getting the required documents, the Applicant should submit the documents to the Kuwait Ministry of Health via courier or email or to agents residing in Kuwait.

The ministry reviews the submitted documents and the applicant’s qualifications are sent to the Kuwait Ministry of Higher Education for review.

After the review, the applicant’s file is presented to the speciality committee and online examination committee for a personal online interview.

The personal interview is usually online since the applicant is not domiciled in Kuwait. The date of the online examination and related information is usually communicated via email.

Successful applicants will have their files forwarded to the special contracts department for further approval.

Usually, the applicant will receive the contract and offer letter via email from the special contracts unit within three to six months after the online interview.

If the applicant accepts the job offer, then the candidate’s Kuwait work visa and work permit are processed and when ready the candidate travels to Kuwait for documentation and resumption of duty.

In addition, the applicant must pass a medical check-up in Nigeria at a designated medical facility before travelling to Kuwait.

Note: The Kuwait government employs primarily specialists and consultants from Nigeria, however, the Nigerian National and West African fellowships are not recognized in Kuwait, thus Nigerian consultants are employed in Kuwait as registrars, medical officers and senior medical practitioners.

Kuwait Medical Doctor Cadres

Different medical specialities/departments in Kuwait have unique cadres depending on the following:

  • Year of obtaining a primary medical degree (MBBS)
  • Year of obtaining relevant post-graduate qualifications

In Kuwait’s health care system, there are three cadres for Nigerian-trained doctors: registrar/practitioner, senior practitioner B and senior practitioner A.

Nigerian-trained doctors who do not have any postgraduate medical training and whose Mbbs is less than 17 years will be employed as medical officers/registrars, while Nigerian-trained doctors with Mbbs older than 17 years or West African College of Physicians Membership and fellowship(national or west Africa) older than 6 and 4 years respectively are employed as senior practitioner b.

Challenges of working in Kuwait as a Nigerian-trained doctor

The practice of medicine in Kuwait for a Nigerian-trained doctor has its challenges depending on the doctor’s speciality, the languages the doctor can understand and the doctor’s degree of buoyancy.

The following are the common challenges a Nigerian-trained doctor working in Kuwait will likely encounter:

  1. Communication issues

Doctors from Arabic-speaking countries, usually have fewer problems understanding the Kuwaiti Arabic language. However, Nigerian-trained doctors who have little or no experience with the Arabic language will find communicating with patients to be a big challenge.

Communication problems also differ depending on the doctor’s speciality. Family physicians and internists will have more language challenges than anaesthetists and radiologists who interact more with colleagues in the course of their practice.

2. Cultural differences

This should not be a major challenge but is worth mentioning. Kuwait like other Arab nations starts its week on Sunday and ends the week on Thursday. Thus the normal working hours are from Sunday to Thursday.

Also, most Kuwaiti females cover their faces in public spaces and are not expected to have any physical contact with adult males.

The foods in Kuwait are also very different from what is obtainable in Nigeria, however, Nigerian-trained doctors will surely find food similar to what is obtainable in Nigeria in big malls.

Please note: Alcoholic drinks are strongly prohibited in Kuwait and offenders are liable to face heavy penalties including deportation.

3. High Cost of Living

The standard of living in Kuwait is quite high and the Kuwait Dinar is the strongest currency in the world. Thus most doctors coming to work in Kuwait will need to change a lot of Naria to Kuwait dinars which will only amount to a few Kuwait dinars due to the high exchange rate.

Accommodation is also, very expensive in Kuwait and the tenancy fee is paid monthly. Newly employed male doctors will be quartered in the hostel for a week while female doctors will be accommodated in the hostel for about two weeks after which they are expected to look for alternative accommodation.

In addition to the above, transportation via taxi is also expensive in Kuwait, the alternative is to follow the bus route which consumes time but is by far more pocket-friendly.

School fees are also very expensive in Kuwait, thus making it not very friendly for Nigerian-trained doctors who are married. As a result, most Nigerian-trained doctors opt to leave their spouses and children in Nigeria.

The cost of fuel in Kuwait is very affordable, thus, new employees should acquire a vehicle as soon as they start earning a salary for ease of transportation.

4. Delay in Salary Payment

Newly employed doctors in Kuwait usually have to wait for 6 to 8 months before they start receiving their salary. This is because the medicals in Kuwait and other documentation take time to complete. However, during this period one can access soft loans from the Kuwaiti government and colleagues.

5. Medically unfit to work in Kuwait

On entering Kuwait, all expatriates including doctors are expected to repeat medical fitness examinations. In rare instances, doctors who passed their medical fitness examination in Nigeria are found medically unfit to work in Kuwait.

The Nigerian-trained doctor should ensure they retreat themselves for malaria before presenting for medical fitness in Kuwait. Similarly, Nigerian-trained doctors should ensure they have a normal chest X-ray and a CT scan before travelling to Kuwait.

Please note: if you have had any chest infection then it is better to get a CT scan to rule out any residual lung lesion because any post-infective changes on the chest imaging will lead to being declared medically unfit according to Kuwait Ministry of Interior laws.

This article has explained how a Nigerian-trained doctor can work in Kuwait and also explored the common potential challenges.


To work in Kuwait as a Nigerian-trained doctor is achievable once all the required documents are obtained and submitted. Please read through the potential challenges a Nigerian-trained doctor will face while working in Kuwait. Good luck.

For comments/ clarifications on how to work in Kuwait as a Nigerian-trained doctor, please use the comment section.

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