Obtaining a driver's license in Korea

There are two types of driver's licenses in Korea--Type l and Type ll--depending on what kind of car will be driven. To pass a written test, you must acquire the requisite level of legal knowledge and display a given level of aptitude for driving, in addition to the basic driving skills. After passing the written test, skills test and road test, you must pass an aptitude test. You may apply for the test at the designated police facility or private facility.
[For more information, please visit the Driver's License Agency website at www.dla.go.kr]

International driver's license

A holder of an international driver's license issued by a foreign country can drive the kind of vehicle stated on the Korean license for up to one year from the date of issuance. One who has failed to pass the aptitude test as required by the local authorities or who has caused a traffic accident either by design or by mistake is prohibited from driving a vehicle, even if he/she is the holder of an international driver's license.

Replacement of a driver's license issued in a foreign country with a Korean license

Those from a country that has signed reciprocal accord with Korea for a driver's license can apply for a Korean driver's license without taking a test. Others shall take a written test to apply for a Korean driver's license.

  • Things to be submitted for application for a Korean driver's license
    • Driver's license issued in a foreign country, foreigner registration card, processing fee (KRW10,000), and three (3*4' sized) photos
    • A notarized translated copy of the driver's license issued in a foreign country (which must include the date of issue and validity), if the license is issued in a language other than English.
    • The passport valid at the time of the issuance of the driver's license of a certificate stating the information about the license holder's entry into and departure from Korea at the time of the issuance of the driver's license

Basic traffic rules

Seat belts:

The driver and the front seat passenger must fasten their safety belts. All motorcycle drivers must wear a safety helmet. On the highway, all those in a car must fasten their seat belts

  • The use of a cellular phone while driving is prohibited: A driver using a cellular phone while driving shall be subject to a fine.
  • Zero tolerance for drunk driving: Drunk drivers shall be subject to temporary suspension or cancellation of their license, a fine or penal punishment, depending on their blood alcohol level.
  • Bus-only lanes: Vehicles shall not enter the bus-only lane marked in blue during designated hours to ensure the facilitation of the flow of intra-city buses during rush hours in metropolises.
    * In the case of a traffic accident, call 112 or the nearest police station.