KUWAIT: Interior Ministry Assistant Undersecretary Maj Gen Abdulfattah Al-Ali has ordered a halt on the issuance of new driving licenses to all expatriates until further notice. The only exceptions will be for household drivers on Article 20 visas.

The freeze will be in place until changes are made to current regulations for expats to obtain new driving licenses, Ali added.   Since his appointment a few months ago, Ali has led a campaign in which hundreds of expatriates have been deported without a court order for committing “grave” traffic offences such as driving without a license and jumping red lights.

Kuwaiti citizens who commit similar traffic offences can have their vehicles impounded, but only under a court order. The Interior Ministry is also revoking driving licenses of foreign students who have graduated and working housewives, tightening already strict rules for expats.  Ali has stressed that all traffic violation-related deportations are in accordance with the law. “We have filed over 70,000 traffic citations including 43,000 serious ones such as running red lights, driving under the influence of alcohol, driving on the wrong side of the road and many others,” he told reporters earlier this month.

Ali also warned last week that travel bans may be slapped against violators to force them to pay their traffic fines, especially since the amount of all fines has reached KD 24 million.

For nearly a decade, Kuwait has imposed strict conditions on the eligibility of its 2.6 million expats to drive. Most foreigners are required to hold a university degree, earn KD 400 a month and have lived legally in the country for at least two years before being able to drive legally.

 

 By Hanan Al-Saadoun

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