Getting a Learners Permit in Kuwait

Posted by Mark

Today morning I went with Nat and the mandoob from TriStar to get our motorbike learners permit. I don’t know what mandoob is in English, but he is basically the guy who helps out with government paperwork. Todays experience like most government related work was exhausting, and the terrible humid weather didn’t help.

I picked up the mandoob at 9:30 and we headed to the Hawlly Traffic Department located in Jabriya. First place we went to inside was the typing room, there you give some guys your documents and for 1KD they fill out the forms for you on the computer and then print them out. Once we got the forms we headed into another much larger room filled with chairs and numbered booths. We headed to the very far end where we waited inline to get our papers signed by a high ranking police officer. This guy was very nice, he took a look at Nats form and he was like in English “you want to drive bicycle?” she was like yeah I want to ride a motorbike. He then proceeded to explain to her how driving in Kuwait is not easy and that if you are in a car its really dangerous so you can imagine how dangerous riding a bike is. He was like I could sign this paper for you if you want but I wouldn’t recommend it, she told him sign it please and he did. After that he told us we needed to go to Qurtoba to get an eye test so we left the place and headed there.

Once we got to Qurtoba I was worried I would fail the eye test. My vision isn’t perfect, I wear glasses when I am in front of the computer but I should be wearing them the whole time. Nat also has glasses which she wears in front of the computer and TV so she was worried she would fail too. So we go into the building and give in our forms and wait for our turn. 5 minutes later they call Nats name and she goes in for the test. A minute later she comes out telling me she passed although she made a mistake, her score was 24/6 for her left eye and 6/6 for her right. They called my name next and I went in. I don’t think I have seen an older eye test setup before. You sit in an old wooden school chair on one side of a room with a tall white plastic lamp behind you with the letters stuck onto it. You look ahead into a mirror stuck on the wall, cover an eye and read out the letters. It was really easy since they let me read out the big sized letters so I aced it with a score of 6/6 for both eyes. They signed the papers and we headed back to Hawally.

The weather was incredibly hot and humid and traffic was a bitch but we got to the traffic department and went back into the big room again back to the nice high ranking cop. He looked at the papers and told us to go to counter number 1. I get to counter 1 show him my papers only to have them rejected. The guy told me because I got my eye test today I needed to come back tomorrow to get the learners permit. I told him why do I have to do that, can’t I just get the permit done today? He was like come back tomorrow. So we were leaving the place when the high ranking cop asks us if we were done. I told him what the guy at counter 1 told us, he seemed irritated at the guy and took out some stamps from his pocket and stamped and signed out papers. He told us we needed to get a 10KD postage stamp and head over to counter 7. We got the stamps and headed to counter 7 where a guy took all our papers and filled them into the computer. He then told us to go get our pictures taken at the far end of the room.

There was a young woman sitting in a small room with a computer, a scanner and a small Canon digital camera attached to a cheap tripod. She told us to sit on the chair in front of the camera and she took our pictures. She then sent us back to counter 7. We got there and the guy started printing out our learners permit on his HP color laser printer. Although all the equipment they were using were off the shelf consumer electronics it was still cool that they were doing this. Finally the guy sent us to office 20, yes office, thats where the highest ranking official is located, we gave him our freshly printed learners permit and he signed it and we were done.

The whole process took around 2 hours and cost us KD11 per person. I am not sure but I am guessing this is the same process for getting cars learner permit. Below you will find some helpful information like papers needed and google map of the locations.

Papers needed for motorbike learners permit:
- 2 photographs, 3×4
- Work permit copy
- Passport copy (picture and visa page)
- Civil ID copy
- Driving license copy (if you dont have it then I believe you are required to do a medical test)

Location Maps:
- Hawally Traffic Department
- Qurtoba eye test place


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25 comments, add your own...


  1. talisman says:

    i wish i can ride a bike. maybe when i turn 18 i will get one. i hope my father doesnt kill me :O

  2. CyebrRowdy says:

    mandoob is representative.

  3. CyebrRowdy says:

    postage stamp? you mean revenue stamp

  4. irriducibili says:

    Guys…am not sure it’s a Good idea to drive a Bike in kuwait..have fun but becarful , stay away From Al-Khlij road ( lots of Hit and run accidents ) and the 2nd road street . Take care and enjoy :)

  5. Mo Hat says:

    and you didnt think of dropping by my house >(

  6. sinnerorsaint says:

    well the “nice police officer” was right Mark.
    may be Nat shouldnt drive a bike! Kuwaiti roads are very dangerous and every other jackass wants to own the road.May be u should give it a thought..!well its none of my business but just a lil concern from a well wisher buddy ;) cheers :)

  7. asmaa says:

    have fun
    and welcome to Qurtoba :P

  8. Marzouq says:

    Well at least you had a nice guy helping you guys out! The high ranking cop probably shouted at the guy who didnt want to sign your paperwork!

    Two hours aint too bad for government documents! Now you guys got your permits! hehehe!

    Training shall begin! This is going to be cool, and I will give you guys pointers about where to ride and how to ride inshalla!

  9. mocman says:

    kewl…. thanks for the in-depth info M. hopefuly when i get mine things would be the same…

  10. Nat says:

    Yeah well sinnerorsaint thanks for your concern but Mark and I have already had this discussion;)

  11. FUZZ says:

    i dont get bikes and convertibles in kuwait. what the fuck is there to see? sand and dust??? that sux, i just got back from boston (dear God get me back) and the sights there are amazing. i find it really boring riding a bike or convertible in q8.

    by the way, whats the legal age for a learner’s permit?

  12. Alessandro says:

    i fall in love for a bike…and now i got it…i’m still waiting the driving license and after i’ll ask for a bike permit, during my work visa procedure i understood the real meaning of inshallah……see you on the cornice in October(inshallah)

  13. [...] My driving license is expiring in a few days, so on Sunday I passed by the Hawally Traffic Department in Jabriya. Regular readers might remember I had passed by the same place two weeks earlier when getting my motorbike learners permit. So once again I got my papers typed out in the typing room and then headed towards window #1. [...]

  14. Nora says:

    Let me know how did it go Nat?? I tried for the same thing 9 years a go and was very insulted because I was girl how wanted to get on a bike!! Well, I just stuck behind my boyfriend then and we did have a very bad accedent on the Al_Khalij Road! So be carfull!! I’m driving a Kawasaki now in Helsinki!! Had to leave the old minded behind! Best of luck to you!

  15. HusH says:

    Hey Mark n Nat :)
    I’ve been reading for some time now , but this is the first time I’m writing back… First of all WELL DONE guys , ur site rocks …

    I was just googleing “motorcycle license in kuwait” n guess wht ? I got to this post of urs :)

    And I got all the info i needed:) I am goin tomo to the hawalli traffic Dept. with all the papers u mentioned above, Lets hope I m lucky enough to get it done same day like u guys ..
    Cheers ..

  16. Shaks says:

    Hi,can anyone tell what is the procedure to transfer oman driving license to kuwait driving license.
    I have valid Oman driving license(GCC license) and working in a pvt company in kuwait, inspite of trying hard i am not able to tranfer the license.
    or can i drive on Oman license in kuwait.

    Please help

  17. AR says:

    Hey Mark,

    I know this post is like 6 yrs old now, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

    I was planning to get my motorcycle learners permit. I called up tristar and they told me they don’t help with getting the istimaara.

    Do you know anyone else who helps out with the process? I tried going to to the traffic dept myself but no was of real help coz nobody there spoke english and I can’t speak arabic to save my life!

  18. zain says:

    hey guyz.on this april i will be 18 years old,im in colage i wana get a lisence so plz can anyone tell me wht r the requirment for student lisence

  19. Brock says:

    Hi there! Anyone have the number for Tristar? Been trying to look all over online for them, their website is not functioning at the moment.

  20. shan says:

    How i can cancell my istimara? (i know it will cancel after 1 year) but i want to cancel it b4 how?

  21. Kareem says:

    Hey Mark, I know this comment is a billion years late but were you at university at that time. If so, did you have a job. Cuz I’m a uni student and they’re asking for a work permit. Can you please help me?

  22. vivan says:

    hey mark,is this the general procedure to get a bike license here in kuwait..


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