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
By Courtney Trenwith
Thu 28 Mar 2013 11:25 AM

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.

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