Kuwait in tough new rules on driving licenses

Expats must now have a university degree and earn at least US$1,400 per month to get a license

Kuwait has introduced tough new rules for expatriates applying for a driving license, including a requirement that they be a legal resident for at least two years, according to state-run media.

Expats must now also have a university degree and earn at least KWD400 (US$1,400) per month.

The new conditions are on top of existing requirements including being at least 18 years old, physically well and having past a driving test.

However, there are some exceptions, including spouses of Kuwaiti nationals and their children, bidoons who carry valid security cards, college students, wives of expatriates who already have a driving license.

Some professions also are excluded, including professional athletes, drivers, anyone who works for a sporting club, such as a sports union or government sports body, technicians in the oil industry and health, nursing and ambulance staff.

The minimum legal residency and salary conditions will not apply for judges, public prosecutors, chief justices, legal experts, doctors, pharmacists, engineers and assistant engineers, accountants, teachers, social workers, scientists, translators, librarians, company directors, journalists, TV presenters, public mosque imams, pilots, marine captains and their assistants.

Drivers or company representatives (mandoobs) also will have their licenses annulled if they lose their residency or change their profession. They will be only be allowed to apply for another license within two years under the new law.

The changes are the latest move against expatriates in Kuwait, who make up about two-thirds of the country’s population of more than 3 million.

Kuwait has announced plans to cut the number of expats by 1m by 2023.

It also has approved segregation of expats and nationals seeking medical care, with expats limited to services in the afternoon except during an emergency.

The government also is considering scrapping water, electricity and gas subsidies for expats.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

NOTE: Comments posted on arabianbusiness.com may be printed in the magazine Arabian Business

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

Posted by: who cares

the last time these guys tired to drive away the expats , they themselves were driven out of their motherland by their own neighbor, now that it is all in the past and forgotten, time to drive out the expats again!

Posted by: ARC


Posted by: LOL

Half of the global slave population live in India.

Millions of Indian kids don't have birth certificates, which means no basic government services when they grow up. A case of "bidoon" worse than any bidoon.

The Asian Center for Human Rights estimated that from 2002 to 2008, over four people per day died while in police custody in India, with "hundreds" of those deaths being due to police use of torture.

Human trafficking of Neapli and Bengladishi women and children for sexual exploitation is rife in the tens of thousands.

The evils of caste which the world is getting aware of by the day.

So shut your stinky mouth.

Posted by: Non-Muslim

I was on business trips to the UAE and Kuwait recently, and I was amazed (replacement word for "terrified") to realise the way locals (traditional clothing) were driving. I was questioning if these people ever passed a driving school, not least a driving test. I was truly terrified by the reckless driving of many of the locals who would, for sure, be a court case for rude and reckless driving in any European country. When in Dubai, I decided to return my rented car early after 2 days - for my own safety.

Posted by: Mark Renton

@straight-talk, in addition to TCG's comments, if you think Europeans drive slowly you clearly haven't been around Jumeirah/Safa park in the early afternoon and witnessed an expat mum in an SUV who is late for school pick-up......

With regard to the "excellent" driver training system, you are confusing petty, irrelevant strictness with a system that produces high-quality results (a very common mistake in this part of the world, particularly in procurement). In reality the driving test is used as a crude traffic-control measure to limit the number of new drivers getting onto the road; when they are eventually allowed to pass the test they often still lack the basic skills and road-sense to be good drivers.

Posted by: Telcoguy

@Straighttalk, do you realize that road accidents are the main cause of death for young Emiratis?

German readers with their no speed limit autobahns may be surprised to read this too. Nah, we have read this so many times by now...

Posted by: Straight-talk

I can't completely agree with you NM. Roads in UAE are much safer compared to any other GCC countries. You may not get the European slo-mo type of driving here. Apart from the Taxis which are the monopoly of paks in UAE, every other driver is passed through excellent driving training system which includes a hard-to-get driving test. If you are a slow mover in your country. Sorry this is no place for you. The minimum speed in freeways are at least 60kmph. In the case of Kuwait, you are 100% right. It's just a bunch of maniacs having their hand on wheels.

Posted by: Sarah

I strongly agree with you, I am a local citizin in Kuwait, and I know people are crazy drivers, even if we have many great and tough traffic rules, people don't have problems with paying the fines and penalties.. this is a serious problem!

Posted by: jim

this big problem is wasta and buying the licence i know 2 people directly who paid up to 400kd to buy thier licence thats the curroption thats there
so fixing this is a kuwaiti issue

Posted by: Mun

This is not a new rule... The same regulations have been in place over 8 years back, needless to say are ways around them

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Everything you need to know about Qatar

Everything you need to know about Qatar

Former British protectorate has been ruled by the Al-Thani family...

The Al Thanis are Qatar's power family

The Al Thanis are Qatar's power family

New research sheds light on the overwhelming influence of the...

Raising the bar: DLA Piper plans fresh growth in the Gulf

Raising the bar: DLA Piper plans fresh growth in the Gulf

Legal firm DLA Piper’s Middle East business recorded 10 percent...

Most Discussed