April 15, 2009
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.