If you’ve been to Seoul then you know there’s nothing dainty about driving. The pace is fast and furious and you can expect to be bullied, cut off, rear ended or side swiped at any moment unless you have the reflexes and skill to keep up with the pack. If you think you do then Aiden has graciously written a post to guide you through the process of getting a Korean Driver’s License. Read on if you dare!
Getting a Korean Driver’s License
Take the following to a Korean Driver’s License Center:
1. Original Foreign Driver License
2. Original Passport
3. Alien Registration Card
4. 3 Color Passport sized photos
5. Apostille Document from your home state that verifies the validity of your license*
6. Processing Fee: KRW 16,000
*The U.S. Embassy no longer provides notary certifications for U.S. issued drivers licenses. You must contact the Department of State for your home state and follow the directions for submitting for an Apostille document for your license. Every state is different. This will take time.
This process is long and time consuming. Total cost will be between 60~80,000 won depending on where you go and how you get there. It cannot be done in one full day but over a couple days. I went to the Gangnam License Center and did almost everything in one building. A week later, I went to Yesan, which was closer for me and better for the driving part. Country driving course versus city driving course . . . you decide!
1. Traffic Safety Education: This is a 1-hr, mandatory video in Korea. Read a book. Play a game on your phone. Take a nap. Knit. Just be prepared to sit there for a while.
2. Health Check: A simple, old-fashioned eye test. It takes less than 5 minutes. (4,000 won)
3. Apply & Take written Exam: Computerized, multiple choice test available in English. Minimum passing score is 60. (6,000 won)
4. Take the Driving Course: A test in the operations of a non-moving vehicle (lights, turn signals, wipers, gears, etc). Minimum passing score is 80. *There is a 30 minute instructional speech in Korean that you have to sit through. They do have an English instructional screen in the car during the test. (15,000 won)
If you pass for Level 1, 2 (regular) types, you will be issued a temporary license (3,000 won). If you pass for all other types, you immediately get your driver’s license.
5. Apply for On-Road Driving Exam: Exam course is 5 km. The following will be evaluated: driving attitude & behavior, turns, lane changes, parallel parking, etc. *There is a 30 minute instructional speech in Korean that you have to sit through. They do have an English instructional screen in the car during the test. There will also be one or two instructors in the car. Depending on where you go there will be 1-4 course options. Yours will be chosen at random by the computer. Minimum passing score is 70. (21,000 won)
6. Driver’s License Issued: 6,000 won