If you're planning to live and work in South Korea, one thing you'll need to consider is getting a driver's license. In this blog post, we'll provide a step-by-step guide on how to get a driver's license in South Korea as a foreigner.
First, let's talk about why having a driver's license is important. South Korea is a highly urbanized country, and public transportation is generally excellent. However, there may be times when you need a car to get around, especially if you're living in a more rural area or need to transport heavy items. Additionally, having a driver's license is essential when it comes to driving a car, moped, and even electric scooters.
Getting a driver's license in South Korea can be a bit complicated, but we're here to guide you through the process.
Foreigners who are living in Korea and already have a valid driver's license from their home country can exchange it for a Korean driver's license. Here is a list of documents required for the exchange:
Additionally, a processing fee of 7,500 won (and an additional 6,000 won for the health check) must be paid.
You may exchange your foreign driver's license for a Korean one without taking a test if your license is from any of the following countries:
Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam
Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Saint Kitts-Nevis, The United States (Maryland, Virginia, Washington, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Alabama, West Virginia, lowa, Colorado, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Oregon**, Idaho**)
Albania, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Rep, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Turkmenistan
Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq (Arbil), Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen
Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
In South Korea, Class 1 and Class 2 driver's licenses are available for different types of vehicles. A Class 2 license allows you to operate vehicles with 9 seats or less and 125cc motorcycles. This means that if you want to drive a regular car or a small van, you only need a Class 2 license.
On the other hand, a Class 1 license is required to drive a vehicle with 15 seats or less. This means that if you want to drive a bus or a larger van, you will need to obtain a Class 1 license. It is important to note that some other types of vehicles, such as trucks or heavy machinery, require special licenses beyond Class 1 and Class 2.
It is also worth mentioning that the application process for a Class 1 license is more difficult than that for a Class 2 license. For example, the written test for a Class 1 license is more difficult and the practical driving test is longer and more complex. Class 2 licenses are also necessary for driving stick-shift vehicles in South Korea. However, both Class 1 and Class 2 licenses require mandatory driving training and a written test.
There are different types of driver's licenses available in South Korea, including a standard driver's license, a motorcycle license, and a commercial driver's license. Make sure you know which type of license you have in your home country before you begin the application process.
Before you can apply for a driver's license, you'll need to gather some documents and materials. Here's what you'll need:
The written test consists of 40 multiple-choice questions and is available in English, Chinese, and Vietnamese. The test covers traffic laws, signs, and safe driving practices. You must score at least 60% to pass the test.
The course test instructions can be given in Chinese, English, or Vietnamese.
The road test is conducted with an instructor. If a bilingual instructor is not available, you may still take the test, but basic Korean knowledge is beneficial.
Korean-English driver's licenses are recognized in 54 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most of Europe. However, it's essential to check with the embassy or consulate of the country you plan to visit to ensure that your license is valid.
If you're planning to get a driver's license in South Korea, you will need to go through the application process with KOROAD (Korea Road Traffic Authority). Here's what you need to know:
1. Traffic Safety Education
2. Health Check
3. Written Exam
4. Driving Course Test
5. Obtain Temporary Driver’s License
6. On-Road Driving Exam
7. Get Your License
Note: The KOROAD driver's license application process is subject to change, so it's a good idea to check the KOROAD website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information.
Getting a driver's license in South Korea as a foreigner can seem daunting, but it's definitely doable with a bit of preparation and patience. Remember to gather all the required documents and materials, complete the mandatory driving training and written test, and practice as much as you can. Good luck!