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South Korea – Driving Licenses

South Korea is known for its bustling cities and advanced technology. However, before getting behind the wheel in the country, it is important to know the regulations regarding driving licenses for foreign nationals. In this article, we will answer common questions about driving licenses in South Korea.

Using Your License in South Korea

Foreign nationals can only use their own driving license for up to one year in South Korea. After one year, they must obtain a South Korean driving license.

Exchanging Driving Licences in South Korea

South Korea does not have any agreements in place that allow foreign nationals to exchange their license for a South Korean license without taking a driving test.

Exchanging, Obtaining and Renewing a Driving License in South Korea

Obtaining a South Korean Driving License

Foreign nationals who wish to obtain a South Korean driving license must follow these steps:

  1. Pass a written exam on South Korean traffic laws and driving regulations. The exam is available in multiple languages, including English, Chinese, and Japanese.
  2. Pass a practical driving exam that tests the applicant’s driving skills. The practical exam includes basic driving skills and an on-road driving test.
  3. Submit required documents, including a valid passport, alien registration card, and proof of residency in South Korea.
  4. Pay the application fee.

After completing these steps, the applicant will be issued a South Korean driving license.


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Renewing a South Korean Driving License

A South Korean driving license must be renewed every 10 years. The process for renewing a driving license is similar to the process for obtaining a new license.

Relevant Government Departments and Agencies

The Korea Transportation Safety Authority (KTSA) is responsible for managing driving licenses in South Korea. The KTSA website provides detailed information about driving license regulations and procedures in multiple languages, including English, Chinese, and Japanese.

International Driving Permits in South Korea

South Korea recognizes International Driving Permits (IDPs). Foreign nationals who hold an IDP can use it in South Korea for up to one year.

Penalty System for Motoring Offences in South Korea.

Driving offences in South Korea are classified as minor, major, and serious. The penalties for each offence depend on its classification.

Minor offences include violations such as speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, and running a red light. The penalties for minor offences include fines and demerit points.

Major offences include driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving without a license, and reckless driving. The penalties for major offences include fines, license suspension, and imprisonment.

Serious offences include causing death or injury while driving, and can result in significant fines and imprisonment.

In addition to these penalties, demerit points are assigned for each offence. Accumulating too many demerit points can result in license suspension or revocation.

Foreign nationals can only use their own driving license for up to one year in South Korea. After that, they must obtain a South Korean driving license. While there are no agreements in place for license exchange, International Driving Permits are recognized. To obtain or renew a South Korean driving license, foreign nationals must pass a written and practical exam and submit required documents. Driving offences are classified as minor, major, and serious, with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment.


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