Update: Check out the comments below to see how the registration process has changed

Want to drive in Korea? Let’s rephrase that: drive legally in Korea? If so, you’re going to need to get a Korean Driver’s license. Don’t know how to get one? Don’t worry! That’s why you came here! Follow this guide, and you’ll be driving on the maddening streets of Korea in no time, where illegal maneuvers are the norm, and red lights are suggestions rather than the law. To get your license, you’re going to need a few things. The first two are obvious:

1) Your Alien Registration Card.

2) Your passport.

3) Your driver’s license from your home country. If you don’t have one, then you need to take a different approach. For this how-to guide, we’re only dealing with people who have a driver’s license from their home country.

4) 3 headshots that are 3×4 centimeters. You can get these done at Emart, for example, for a few thousand won.

5) 11,000 won in cash. The first five will be spent on your physical exam, and the last six will be spent on buying stamps. We’re not sure what these stamps are for, but we had to buy them anyway.

Once you’ve got all of this, then you’re ready to roll! Take everything your closest Department of Motor Vehicles, sign some papers, pass your physical exam, buy some stamps, and – voila! You can legally drive in Korea. Be warned, though; going this route means that you have to trade in your home country’s driver’s license for a Korean one. You can get your license back at any time if you trade back your Korean one. You’re essentially doing a swap. We don’t really understand the reasoning behind the swap, so if any of you know why this is done please tell us!

If you don’t know where your closest DMV is, then watch our video! At the end of it, we have a list of all the different locations, along with their phone numbers. Hopefully, if your co-teacher is nice (or your Korean skills are rocking) then you can call the DMV in your area up and ask how to get there. We went to the one in Incheon, and explain how to get there in the video as well. So click on the picture above for our video on How to Get Your Korean Driver’s License, or check out the sidebar for different formats.

  1. Be advised folks. As of 1 January 2013 the American Embassy will no longer certify or affirm your state driver license. You will need to get an (Apostlle), fancy word for notarized or certified from your State Revenue Office, (Commissions) and find out what it is that you will need. I am in the process of doing that today here in Waynesville, Mo. I will have to travel some 87 miles in order to complete this task. Don’t forget to ask for a (Raised Seal) on the Apostlle document. This is what the Driver License Office told me had to be done in Yoang Ju which is basically Uijeong Bu. Have fun!

  2. how do you get an alen registration card?

  3. Any advice on insurance and getting plates on a car?

  4. How old do you have to be to get your license in Korea

  5. Exchanging your license works on reciprocity – not all countries can exchange their license for a Korean one.  You need to go to your embassy to see if your country/state participates in the program (you have to go to your embassy anyways for a form stating your license is legitimate).

  6. the squat test is interesting.  I don’t think I could pass that on account of my disability.  do you know if they have provisions in Korea for people with disabilities to be able to obtain a license?  are hand controls available over there, etc.?

  7. GREAT INFORMATION!! I’ve been searching for a week now on how to get a Driver’s license here in BUSAN…I found 1 place at saha police station offering a free service for foreigners, unfortunately it was finished already last march…I am hoping maybe someone out there can give me helpful infos,I believe I have to undergo all those tests before getting a license since this is my first time to study driving….I can’t wait to hit the road and go travel……please help….

  8. Good! video infomation!
    but, if you going to stay couple a week, don’t be bother yourself. just use driver sevice. cokodrive.com

  9. Now, at least for E2 holders you need to take a written test. Also the government website requires a certificate from your embassy before exchanging your license for a Korean one.

    Check out the site: http://www.dla.go.kr/english/index.jsp

    So you may want to update or take off this how to video. It is a good video, but they seemed to change the policy.

  10. Does anyone know if it works the same for South Africans? Can we just swop our licence for the korean one? Just do the tests and pay and thats it?

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