Kuwait has introduced a number of amendments to the issuing of driving licences for expat workers with a view to reducing the traffic jams and cutting the number of cars on the road.
Unless exempted, expats must hold a valid two-year residency before applying for a driving licence, hold a university degree and earn a monthly salary of $2,061 (KD 600). The driving licence will be also be linked to the residency visa (iqamas).
Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs Maj Gen Abdullah Mehanna said the amended traffic law is meant to fix loopholes in the current law, and to control the number of vehicles on the roads.
“The new law tightens the controls over the issuance of driving licenses for expatriates and renewal of vehicle licenses with a view to reducing traffic jams and cutting the number of cars, particularly the dating ones," Mehanna said.
“The Interior Ministry is coordinating with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour to link between the periods of residency and driving licenses in order to prevent foul play by some expats who manipulated some loopholes in the current law," he added.
According Mehanna, the traffic department issued 38,406 driving licenses and registered 152,400 direct violations and 4,000 indirect ones in the last nine months.
The list of those exempted from the new amendments includes non-Kuwaiti wives, widows and divorcees of Kuwaiti men who have Kuwaiti children, husbands of Kuwaiti women, illegal residents (bedoons) holding valid security ID cards and students registered in a university or a PAAET institute in Kuwait.
According to Kuwait Times, those exempted from the residency and salary conditions include: housewives who have children and whose husbands already hold driving licenses, members of diplomatic corps, professional sport clubs’ players, drivers, general representatives (mandoubs), passport and Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour representatives who already hold valid driving licenses from their respective countries, judges, members of the public prosecution, chancellors, experts, university and PAAET teaching staff members, journalists, members of the media, doctors, pharmacists, engineers, teachers, social workers, researchers, translators, librarians, imams working for the government and sports trainers.
Also exempted from the residency visa condition are: private drivers who have been working for a minimum five years for the same sponsor (provided they change their profession to ‘driver’), specialised technicians in the oil sector, nurses, physiotherapists, other medical technicians, pilots, captains, their assistants and washers of dead bodies. In addition the decision exempts general managers, their assistants, managers and accountants.