Driving in South Korea

Updated 2017-10-05 14:05

If you are visiting South Korea for short-term, you are allowed to rent a car if you hold an international driving licence recognised by the South Korean authorities. To apply for an international driving licence, you have to contact the local authorities of the region you are staying in.

Supporting documents to be submitted at the time of application are usually:

  • Your identity card
  • Your valid passport or resident permit
  • Your national driver's licence
  • Two passport-sized photographs

The fees and duration of an international driving licence depend on your home country.

If you are moving to South Korea for a few months only, it is better to exchange your driving licence. The list of countries where citizens can exchange their driving licences is available on the Korean Driver's License Agency website.


You are allowed to use an international driving licence for only one year in South Korea. After that, you will have to get a local South Korean driving licence.

Exchanging your driving licence

To exchange your national driving licence with a South Korean licence, you must visit the local driver's licence examination office with the following documents:

  • Your passport
  • Your ARC card (Alien Registration Card)
  • Your national driver's licence accompanied by an official translation and certification from your embassy in South Korea
  • 3 passport-sized identity photos
  • A certificate from your embassy (unless you are from Belgium, Canada, the United States, Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain, France or Japan)
  • Sight and hearing tests; fees of around 11,000 won will be charged.

Be sure to make an appointment with your embassy before visiting the local driver's licence examination office. Once you have requested the necessary translated and certified paperwork from your embassy, it will take up to two weeks to receive the document via mail.

If your current licence has been issued in a country other than your home country, you must provide proof that you have lived in this third country for more than 90 days and request a certificate from the issuing authority.

If your driver's licence is not recognised in South Korea, you can still exchange it. However, additional fees will apply for theoretical tests at the local driver's licence examination office.

A South Korean driving licence is valid for ten years and is usually issued on the day of application.


During the exchange, your national driver's licence will be retained by the DLA. You can pick up your national driving licence before returning to your home country with your valid flight information and passport as proof. After that, you are allowed to keep both your national and South Korean driving licences.

Taking a driving test in South Korea

Should you not have a driving licence, you can take lessons at your local driver's licence examination office in South Korea. Foreign nationals are allowed to take their theoretical test in their native language.

Useful links:

Korean Driver's License Agency

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