How I Got My Kuwait Driving License..!

Gasper Crasto, gaspersworld, Goan stories

Humor by Gasper Crasto...08.10.2021

Last month, I came across a news item in Arab Times saying Kuwait was the 6th most difficult country in the world to acquire a driving license.

It is indeed a difficult country. Expatriates applying for licenses should meet the strict criteria unless you come on a driver’s visa:

§  Possess a university degree certificate

§  Should draw a minimum salary of KD600 (approx. Rs1.4 lakhs) per month as per the Oct 2021 inflation.

§  Should be a resident in Kuwait for at least 2 years, prior to applying the license.

Back in the days when I first arrived in Kuwait at the turn of the millennium, everyone that I knew had cars except me. 

One of my village dudes drove fancy cars every weekend, I wondered how he could afford that; later I learnt he owned a garage and the cars he drove were actually on repairs.

In Kuwait, petrol is the cheapest compared to the other world, but not the license. I had no license even after 6 months of arrival. So, I depended on friends, company transport and the taxi or bus.

Travelling by bus is like going on a tour of Kuwait. One will pass many useless streets and areas, and a trip that is supposed to take a few minutes will take you a couple of hours; I was sick of it.

Then one fine day, my company deputed me on a project at Kuwait’s Naval Base which is like 75 kms from the main Kuwait City.

I was chosen to head a team of workers for installation & maintenance of mechanical equipment like motors, valves & pumps; my academics helped, certainly not the football that I was popular for.

Kuwait’s Naval Base being huge, the supervisor had to move around. However, I was still not able to sit behind the wheel for lack of a license – a captain without a captain’s band.

Luckily, I was given a car but only to drive inside the base while there was a mini to drive us back & forth from the city.

Kuwait rules being strict, I did not dare drive beyond the limits of the naval base walls. Any expatriate caught driving without a license was deported from the country, the rule applies till today.


Eventually, my company gave me an authorization letter to get the license, but my salary did not meet the criteria slab to apply.

Nevertheless, I went ahead with the required eye-test and applied for a Learner’s License. Fortunately, the company letter took precedence over my salary and helped me through.

I had passed Step # 1, but unlike India one cannot drive in Kuwait with a Learning License; the license is only meant to learn driving which I did not need, and it was not mandatory those days.

So next, the major hurdle was passing the Driving Test.

I had to wait my turn for the test date which was in 2 months’ time. During this period, I guess I learnt all the World traffic signals including the ‘Ghosts Ahead’ Indian signs applying them for the camels of Kuwait.

If that was not enough, I got my friend Anthrax to drive me through the city and test me on all that was displayed on the streets.

“It is nothing re, just chill...” he said. He was more interested in KFC and McDonald signboards, and the sharp bends & curves of pretty girls walking on the sidewalk, than orienting me.


Traffic departments for test drivers worked till 01:00 pm noon. I was stuck up at work and could reach the traffic cell only at around 12.45 pm. It was almost time to close.

Previous day of the test I had shared with my mother in Goa how important they treated the Driving Exam and so had asked her to pray her magical ‘pass zalear puro’ prayer.

My mother had advised me to wear my best shirt for the test and put on the ‘feast tie’ that she had gifted me. I remember telling her I was not going for some ‘soirik’.

Nevertheless, I did dress as she said, and looked at my smartest; if I had pinned a flower to my chest, I am sure I would look more festive than a Goan at Old Goa feast.


There was a giant ‘starred’ officer seated behind a huge wooden desk as I stepped in with my file. ‘Stars’ were hanging all over his shoulders, and medals from his pocket.

I wondered where he got all the stars. The only ‘star’ that I knew in Kuwait those days was Goan Konkani stage ‘star’ Jose Rod.

About half a dozen Kuwaiti men and some other officials were seated around in the office drinking tea, smoking and chatting.

While everybody who passed across bowed or saluted the ‘starred’ officer, I gave my bestest smile which I was used to giving our respected ‘star’ Jose Rod whenever we met.

That seemed to work. The ‘starry’ officer was on the phone like all Kuwaitis but nodded all the same and waved me to take a seat. Probably he found my smartness more influential than any ‘wasta’ recommendation.

I took the nearest seat -- next to the door; just in case.

Right then, a Bangladeshi teaboy lazed into the room with a tray of 'chai'. I don’t know what triggered him. While he served the Kuwaitis a round of Arabic ‘istikana’, he picked up a saucer and handed it over to me as well.

Am sure he thought my ‘feast’ style was as important as any filmstar. I hesitated before taking the cup which rattled in my hands with all the tension surrounding me.


Just then a policeman stepped inside the office, he had no stars. I immediately got up, thrusting my documents towards him as the cup rattled all the more in my hands spilling some tea.

He took the papers and said, ‘Khalaas...alwaqt qad antahaa alyawm...Taa-al bukra..’ (which I figured out later: ‘Finished, the time is over now, come tomorrow). He looked at the starred officer to second him.

Before the ‘superstar’ said anything, I smiled again at him. He just waved his hands meaning ‘go, go’ while continuing to talk on the phone.

What he meant could have been anything – ‘get up and go, go give your test, or get lost.’

Without hesitating, I said, “Thank you Sir, thank you.”

That confused the policeman on my side. He suddenly became very alert and courteous. He again said, ‘yalla surra, finish your tea… taa-al surra.. .. come.. ..go...come..”

He gestured to follow him as he rushed out with my papers. I took a quick sip, and almost burned my tongue. Then I kept the cup down on the ‘tawilat’ and doubled up on the cop’s heels.

“Wherz your car,” the policeman asked.

I pointed out to the car park.

“Yalla, get in the car,” he said.

I was very polite with my behavior and tried to give him an impression of a ‘very decent Indian driver’ which was hypothetical, to say the least. I took my time to take the seat and start the car.

“Yalla, surra, drive…” the policeman said impatiently. He seemed to be in a rush which made me nervous to no ends.


I shifted into ‘drive’ but the car wouldn’t move. The policeman grumbled something and lowered the handbrake which was still pulled ‘up’.

“Oh God, this can deduct my test points,” I was annoyed with myself for being so silly.

Then, I was more careful and drove as cautiously as I could. Otherwise, I could drive blindfolded having driven on the hills and ghats ever since I’d possessed my license in India – with experiences being trips to Belgaum, Bangalore, and Vailankanni to Kanyakumari.

“Yalla,,, yalla… yalla..” the policeman was pushing me. He seemed to be in a terrible hurry.

“Sir… slow…” I pointed out to the school signboard, “Sir… slow…” again I pointed to the speed-breakers”

“Maku muskil… yalla ro-ro-ro yalla… surra.. fast… more fast..” he made me race the circuit.

I was prepared to go reverse on the trial-bridge and show him my Formula-1 driving skills.

But no sooner we reached the parking-lot, the guy pulled my handbrake up for me, got out of the car, slammed the door, and rushed to the office. The trial was done in 1 minute?

“I guess he’s rejected me for the handbrake thing?” I said to myself as I tiptoed behind.


Inside the office, I saw the policeman scribble something on my documents and put them on the officer’s table.

Again I wondered where the officer got all his stars and medals from. He couldn’t have won them for driving out Saddam during the invasion, we all know the US, and not the Kuwaitis, did that. But then, he couldn’t have won all the junk only for approving licenses.🙂

Before I could give the superstar another sparkling smile, he too scribbled something all over  my papers - very roughly, slammed a stamp couple of times and threw them in a tray.

I was doomed. I came out of the office and asked the Bangladeshi idling there, “Abhi kya karneka bhaiya?”

“Sabar karo.. Pass ya fail, tumko paper dega…”

“Aur fail hoga tho?” I asked.

 “Tho do maine bad dubara ‘text’ deneka..”

“Aur phir fail hua tho?” I asked gingerly.

“Trrai and Trrai until you Sucksexful,” the Bangali said in his typical accent.

I waited with bated breath among other expatriates of different nationalities.

Just after 1:00 pm, the same policeman came and distributed the documents, calling out each name of the ‘trialists’.

“Castro,” he said after a while. It didn’t strike me it was me, I was looking around for someone of Cuban revolionary Fidel Castro’s personality. Then he shouted again, “Jazbar Castro”

I jumped across and rushed to pick up the papers.

“Yalla…” the policeman looked at me, “shuno hada… always late...” he shoved the papers in my hand.

I could not understand a thing that was written in Arabic and stamped multiple times all over. I asked the Bangladeshi hovering around, “Kya likha hai bhaiya?”

The Bengali gave me one unbelievable look - up and down, and said, “…Wal’la… You Sexceed… Mabrrook!” 

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