Manama: Kuwait has introduced tough new rules for expatriates applying for a driving licence, including a minimum salary of 600 dinars (Dh7,571.)

Under a ministerial decision that amended the traffic law on driving licences for non-Kuwaitis, a driving licence’s validity is to be linked to the validity of the holders’ residency visa (iqama).

The new conditions also include age, health fitness, passing driving tests conducted by the traffic department, holding a valid iqama for at least two years prior to application, holding a university degree, the Kuwait News Agency (Kuna) reported.

Non-Kuwaiti wives, widows and divorcees of Kuwaiti men who have Kuwaiti children, husbands of Kuwaiti women, stateless residents (Bidoon) holding valid security ID cards and students registered in a university or a PAAET institute in Kuwait are exempted from the rules, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Shaikh Mohammad Al Khalid Al Sabah said on Monday,

Housewives who have children and whose husbands already hold driving licences, diplomats, professional sport clubs’ players, drivers, general representatives, Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour representatives who already hold valid driving licences from their countries, judges and members of the public prosecution are to be exempted from the residency and salary conditions. Others in the same category are chancellors, experts, university and Public Authority for Applied Education and Training (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.

The decision also exempts private drivers who have been working for a minimum of five years for the same sponsor — provided they change their profession to ‘driver’— , specialist technicians in the oil sector, nurses, physiotherapists, other medical technicians, pilots, captains, their assistants and people who wash the bodies of dead people.

General managers, their assistants, managers and accountants are to be exempted from the residency permit condition, Kuna reported.

Kuwaitis have been pushing for a limit on the number of cars on their roads, arguing that the number of foreign drivers needs to be reduced.