Driving in Kuwait



The roads in Kuwait can be compared to the best in the world and sign posts in English and Arabic make navigating these roads a simple task.

Traffic Police

A large number of uniformed and plain clothes police patrol the streets of Kuwait. The traffic police have the right to detain drivers if they are found guilty of offences like driving without a valid license, reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, running a red light, racing on public roads, causing an accident which has resulted in serious injury or death and attempting to flee thereafter. 

Driving License

Westerners may obtain a Kuwaiti driving license on the strength of their national driving license while other nationalities are obliged to apply for a learner's license and pass a driving test even if they possess their national driving license. 

Applicants must go to the License Section in the main Traffic Department in Shuwaikh or any other area to obtain approval for a learner's license (istimara). Expatriates must (a) be legally resident in Kuwait, (b) have been resident for at least two years, and (c) be earning a salary of not less than KD 400 a month. KD 10 must be paid separately on three occasions: to purchase a stamp, booking a test and on the day of the test. 


Kuwait has a right hand drive and the speed limit generally is 120 kph, except for some motorways where the limit is 100kph. Some other motorways have minimum speeds of 50 or 80kph. Urban areas have speed limits of 45kph while urban dual carriageways and all bridges, flyovers and loop roads have a limit of 60kph. Speed signs are in English as well as Arabic. Motorways and some main roads have radar cameras at traffic lights. 

All passengers must wear seat belts and children under 10 years of age must always be seated in the back seat. Lady drivers are not permitted to wear veils that cover their faces. Instead of just giving way, stop the car fully when entering a roundabout. Do not park against black and yellow blocks painted on pavements and kerbstones. Cooperate with your driving license and "daftar" when asked for by the police. If you fail to do so, you will be taken to the police station, fined and held until someone brings them on your behalf.

Any driver who has been jailed by the traffic court for a major offence may find that he will be barred from renewing his residency and thus effectively deported.


Traffic laws in Kuwait are strictly enforced and the consequences for violating them may be described as severe. Instances of some penalties are: mandatory penalties which may be monetary and non-monetary and imprisonment. Out-of-court settlements are possible and must be made within 30 days of committing the offence or from the date of being informed. If this time limit is exceeded then the offender is required to pay the minimum court fine in settlement, unless of course he decides to go to court. Other common traffic violations that attract strict penalties up to and including fines and/or deportation and jail sentences include: excessive speeding, drinking and driving, driving without a license, failure to wear a seat belt and talking on cellular telephones while driving (other than using hands-free technology). If you are found guilty of a traffic violation and fine, you should cooperate with police officers.

A point system for violation of traffic laws is in place and works as follows:

4 points are recorded in the driver's record for excessive speeding, jumping a red light, exceeding the speed limit, reckless driving or driving the vehicle in the opposite direction of the traffic flow. Similarly other traffic violations attract points ranging from 3 to 1. According to the points accumulated a driver's license is suspended for different lengths of time and may even be revoked on account of constant violation.

In Case of Road Accidents

In case you are involved in a car accident, call the police on 112 and emergency services will respond promptly. In almost all cases all parties involved are required to visit the nearest police station to sort out matters. If the police decide to persecute those involved they will have to remain in custody until the hearing. Expatriates involved in major accidents should ensure the presence of a bilingual person to assist them as the hearings for all major accidents are in Arabic while those in minor accidents are in English.