Renewing your Driving Licence in Kuwait

What was meant to breeze turned out to be a task worthy of Herculean efforts.

Let us journey back to 5 years ago, when our tale first began.

Upon completing the arduous requirements to become eligible for a driver’s licence, which included, but was not limited to,  4 different tests over a 6 month period, with one being at the driving school (i.e. an extra 60KD) that all resulted in the same conclusion: failure.

After having crossed that hurdle, the task at hand was the eye examination. Being one who enjoys other people’s counsel, I foolishly heeded the words of a friend who told me not to wear my glasses to the eye exam, and that I would pass without any incident and be issued a licence for 10 years. Back then my eye sight was as it is now, average.

On the day of the eye examination, I must have gotten the “other” Doctor, the strict one, who did not give me a 6/6 (6 what exactly, I never did find out) and instead opted that I retake the test after 5 years. That word lingered in the back of my mind all throughout my driving experience.

Fast forward to nowadays, and my licence was up for renewal. I had hoped that some glitch in the system would forsake me from having to redo the eye exam, however, I was not so lucky.

It all started at 4pm with a trip to the DMV in Jabriya. Fresh from work and feeling hungry, it was my second trip there. As after the first, I realized two things – a) I did not have 10KD cash for the stamp required and b) my fines were still outstanding (80KD). So I remedied both situations and visited the DMV the very next day.

I stood in line inside for 5 minutes only to be told I required a form from the copying area, located outside. A short stand in line later, and one picture (preferably blue background), I had my form and went in to the same queue, with a 10KD stamp in hand and ready to be affixed wherever he so chooses.

The employee must have judged me to be trustworthy, as after I submitted my papers (last in the group placed at the bottom of the pile) he asked me to deliver said stack to a different window. Naturally, I sought to move my paper to the top of the pile, then thought the employee at the other window might think it strange I was there, so I opted for being second (the picture was attached resembled me very slightly as it was over 6 months old).

And now we play the waiting game. I thought I had beat the system with my quick-wit. As it would turn out, the joke was on me.

I refused to plug into the world of music to pass the time, for fear of missing my name as it was called out. At this point I was sure the eye-exam retake was out of the question. I had contemplated leaving the place and coming back later to receive my renewed licence as I had just seen a fellow do, but then decided against it. It was afterall, like a band-aid, best to rip it off at one go.

Minutes turned to an hour, and then I heard my name being called. I went to that window only to find, much to my chagrin, that the mistake I made 5 years ago was haunting me to this day. I was required to retake the eye exam. However, it would not be that simple. I had to get a form once more. Given that it was now 5, the copy are was jam-packed with people, and, like a diligent fool, I stood in line with the rest of the people.

Woe is me

Fate decided to mock me, as no sooner was I close to the single, lone person handling ALL requests, a man came up from behind me to request the very same paper I was in line for. Apparently, one did not need to stand in line for this paper. Even the employee asked quizzically why I was in line, I said I was a fool, and upon receiving the paper, went back inside (30 minutes later) hoping that the eye exam, a very routine procedure, would be done then and there.

No dice. You had to go all the way to the Qortuba Clinic. (the clinic operates till 8:30pm, had I known this then, I would have immediately gone there, however I did not and no body mentioned it).

What I failed to understand was that I was wearing glasses as I was performing these tasks, the licence has a table on the back which indicates whether or not you wear glasses (or lenses etc), was it so out of the question to merely indicate that yes, I do wear glasses and spare me the hassle of having to wait a whole extra other day?

I visited the clinic the very next day with high hopes. The employee who took my forms was very cheerful, making me optimistic it would be a breeze. However, upon entering the doctors office, a strange sense of foreboding came across me as I realized this must be the same doctor from 5 years ago! True to his nature, after signing off that I do wear glasses, he insisted I go and take a photograph (with glasses) before going to the DMV.

At first I found his request laughable. It already states on the licence that I wear glasses, do I really need a picture with glasses as well?!

The answer was Yes. However, the DMV have a camera ready, and that day, after going back to the DMV, submitting my papers, waiting patiently and being told to retake the picture, I received my licence a short while after, all bedecked in my nifty specks.

To think, all this could have been easily averted had I worn glasses to my eye exam 5 years ago.

Lesson? Do not try to beat the system.

The house ALWAYS wins.

August 2011 ( View complete archive page )

September 2011 ( View complete archive page )

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