trafficKUWAIT: Obtaining a driving license has become increasingly difficult in Kuwait and now with the start of the new school year, the situation is hitting expatriate housewives especially hard. Before expatriate housewives with schoolage children were eligible to obtain driving licenses provided their husbands were eligible. But now, housewives cannot hold a Kuwaiti driving license unless their husbands have the required job title on their work permit.

The Traffic Department has set new regulations that limit who can be granted a driving license and even women who meet all the requirements are not always granted a license. Colonel Nawaf Al-Hayyan, head of public relations and awareness at the general traffic department noted that housewives cannot hold a Kuwaiti driving license if their husbands does not have the required job title on their work permit.

The required job titles are as follows:
–   Members of diplomatic corps
–   Professiona-   sports club players
–   Drivers and genera-   representatives (mandoubs)
–   Passport and Ministry of Socia-   Affairs and Labor representatives who already hold valid driving licenses from their respective countries
–   Judges and members of the public prosecution
–   Chancellors, experts, university and PAAET teaching staff members
–   Journalists and members of the media
–   Doctors and pharmacists
–   Engineers
–   Teachers
–   Socia-   workers
–   Researchers, translators and librarians
–   Imams working for the government
–   Sports trainers

A husband must hold one of these job titles to allow a housewife seeking drivers licenses to be exempt from the other residency and salary conditions necessary for obtaining a driving license.

Layan Nouaymeh said that two months prior to being disapproved, she went to Hawally Traffic Department and they accepted her, but they told her that she has to go to the Traffic Department in Capital Governorate to check the final approval. “But when I went there, the employee, even before seeing my papers, said I am not allowed to have a driving license because my husband is a marketing manager not a general manager. Then he threw my papers.”

Still not granted Even meeting all the requirements of salary, job title and residency, some expat women are still unable to get their driving license. “At first, they approved and my papers were all in order,” explained Ghada Salah, “They set me a reservation for the driving test. I went and I passed. That was way back in January 2015. But now, they refuse to give me my driving license, because as the officer told me, I am no longer allowed to have one due to the new law,” she said.

Rania Al-Hagry went through the same experience where she was at first granted approval to receive a driving license, but after passing the driving test, was rejected and told to re-apply. The same goes for Marwa Salem. Last month, her husband went to the traffic department but they refused to give her a driving license because of the new law. “I have four children in school. Their father goes to work early and no one can get them to school but me. I already have a driving license from Egypt, but I cannot drive here unless I have a Kuwaiti driving license,” she told Kuwait Times.

By Faten Omar