Driving in South Korea

Validity of foreign driver’s licenses

Unfortunately, foreign driver's licenses are not valid in Korea. However, you can obtain an International Driving License prior to arriving in Korea which may be used for up to a period of 1 year.

International Driving Licenses are not issued in South Korea for foreigners and therefore must be applied for and obtained prior to leaving your country of residence.

For those who wish to surrender their current driver's license and would rather convert it, you may do so once upon arrival in Korea. You will need your passport, current driver's license (translated and notarized), and 4 passport-style photos. Then complete the following steps:

  • visit one of 24 driver's license issuance centers
  • obtain an application
  • undergo a physical examination

If you simply wish to obtain a Korean driving license without converting your existing license, you may do so. This option is ideal for those planning on staying in Korea for a minimum of 6 months. You will also need your passport and 4 passport-style photos. Once you have the required documents prepared, you must follow these steps:

  • visit one of 24 driver's license issuance centers
  • obtain an application
  • undergo a physical examination
  • attend a driver's safety class
  • pass a written test
  • pass a driving test

How long can I drive with my old license?

A Korean driver's license is valid from 3 up to 7 years, depending on the type of license. To renew your driving license, you will need your current license, a passport-style photo, and pay the necessary fees. You can renew your license up to 3 months prior to expiration.

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