Ahhh, the long-asked question: How to get a driver’s license in Korea. Well, South Korea I feel is fairly simple when it comes to exchanging a driver’s license, however, it’s proven to be quite difficult and requires a bit of money to obtain a driver’s license if you don’t have one to exchange. I will go over both options on how to obtain a driver’s license in South Korea.
How to get a driver’s license in Korea
So one of the first reasons you may be thinking about how to get a driver’s license in Korea is because well you want to rent a car or you want to own a car and be able to drive and explore the beautiful country. There are a lot of things that become super accessible when getting a driver’s license in Korea from popular cities to destinations off the beaten path.
I got my driver’s license in Korea back in 2020 and have been driving in South Korea for over 2 years now and owned my own car after 6 months of getting my Korean driving license.
The Korean driving license age is 20.
How to exchange a Foreign License in Korea
I find that this is the best and most efficient way of doing things. I exchanged my driver’s license in Korea.
Korean Driving License Valid Countries List
First, you have to see if your driver’s license is incompatible to be exchanged for a driver’s license in Korea. This varies based on your visa and the country/state your driver’s license is from.
To get a valid list you can check out the Korean road test website here.
Additionally, if your country is not on the list, don’t worry. Just give a call to Seoul Global Center and they can also provide more information at 02-2075-4180. My state was not listed, but I was able to exchange it pretty easily.
What you need to exchange a Foreign License in Korea
If you plan on taking the easy route of exchanging your driver’s license for a Korean driving license, there are a few things you will need before exchanging your foreign license in Korea.
- Your original driver’s license from whichever country you plan to exchange it from. Don’t worry about this as you can easily get it back if you need it again.
- Apostille for your driver’s license. You can send a scanned copy or photocopy to this company ([email protected]) and pay either through Paypal or a Korean Bank transfer. They were pretty quick and able to send the documents fast and efficiently.
- Original Passport
- Certificate of Facts – Exit and Entry Requirement (Korean Name) – You can easily grab this from your 주민센터 for about 1,000 won.
- Alien Registration Card (ARC)
- 3 Color Passport Photos
- Health Check ~ KRW 6,000 and typically is just an eye exam
- License Processing Fee ~ KRW 7,500
How to get international driver’s license in Korea
If you don’t have a valid driver’s license from another country, well then the next step is to take the Korean Driver’s Course.
Taking a Korean Driver’s Course
There are 3 parts to the test that you will need to take.
The 3 major components for the classes.
- Drivers License in Korea: Korean Driving License Written Test
- Drivers License in Korea: On Course Driving and Test
- Drivers License in Korea: On-Road Test
If you plan to take the test in English, Anyang driving school is the only one available for an English class to get a driver’s license in Korea. Anyang driving school is the only driving school that has English Driving Test System in Korea and is approved by the government. They have English-speaking instructors and guarantee the easiest and shortest way to get Korean Driver’s License.
The average cost for all classes is about 649,000 KRW (3-month credit card Install payment is possible) + a Government fee (Test fee: 150,000 KRW) is not included.
Korean Driving License Written Test
Now from what I have heard from other foreigners, the test is fairly easy and comparable to other countries especially if you already have driving experience and have had a driver’s license in another country before. However, if you don’t have any driving experience at all, then you will definitely have to study and I also suggest that you take the course prior to taking the test.
If you are looking for where to get an English Driver’s License Textbook, you can easily pay for one at the Anyang driving school and also pay to take the course as well.
Once you have completed the written course, you can take the exam at any of the local Korean driver’s license examination offices. You can find all of the offices within Korea here.
On Course Driving and Test
Next is the on-course driving practice and test. You will take a couple of times to do the driving course with an instructor who will show you how to pass the exam. This is actually one of the most difficult parts with foreigners because it’s a timed and computerized test in the car. It requires a lot of listening on when to do certain commands within the car. Most of these are in Korea and it can be quite frustrating and intimidating.
I highly recommend taking the course in order to pass this. I had a friend of mine who had been driving for over 20 years who failed to do this over and over again. Once she took the course, she realized there is no way that someone with common sense would be able to pass the test. It honestly required her to take the course in order to pass it.
You can take the course and test all at Anyang Driving School. It takes about 2 days for 4 hours per day to complete. You’ll have to make a reservation for an English teacher since they are usually booked up quite quickly.
You’ll need to book this at the nearest Korean driver’s license examination office. You can find all of the offices within Korea here.
The on-road test can be quite intimidating which is why I recommend you take it in Ansan. This driving license area is one of the easiest and to prepare for the test I highly recommend you watch the routes on YouTube. There are 4 different routes that you need to take and it will show you the paths of each.
Ansan Driving Examination Center
Address: 경기 안산시 단원구 순환로 352
It’s a fairly quiet and small town that makes it a better place to take your on-road driving exam.
YouTube Driving Videos for Ansan Driving Examination Center
After you have passed your on-road exam, you can wait in line and pay for your driver’s license at the office. That’s it, you’ve completed all the tests and have finally received your driver’s license in Korea.
Car Rental Companies for new Korean Driver’s License
Once you have your driver’s license in Korea, most rental companies require at least a year on your license including SoCar. However, there are some car rental companies that will allow you to rent with them. The ones I rented with when I first got my license were through AVIS and Lotte Rental Car Company.
Purchasing a Car in South Korea
If you are looking to stay awhile but unsure about making a huge investment in an expensive new vehicle, used cars are fairly affordable and cheap. You can find several places that sell them to foreigners and the most popular location is to visit Robert’s Used Cars.
Getting Car Insurance in South Korea
There are a lot of options out there for getting car insurance in South Korea, however, there are a few tips I’d love to give to help reduce the costs for you. Car Insurance in South Korea is usually paid yearly and on average is around 1 million won a year, however, if you have been driving for a long time in your home country, then you can obtain records of your car insurance back home (assuming you haven’t had any prior accidents) and forward it to your car insurance company.
I use Samsung Fire as my car insurance because they provide English support which is something I knew I needed. They have an English line that’s available during business hours and also the insurance agent that I used speaks English as well. I used Jane from Samsung Fire, you can reach out to her at 010-3347-0294.
Regarding using Samsung Insurance Road Service, you can contact the English business line at 02-2119-2911 during business hours. For after-hours, unfortunately, it’s in Korean and can be reached out 24/7 at 1588-5114.
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