Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Driver's Licenses in South Korea: Is this guy cheating?

Here's the question:

I recently failed my driving test and was wondering if I could take a driving test while I'm in South Korea. Is this possible and would I be able to change it and make it valid in the UK in a few years time? I'm not planning on getting a car in Korea either, I just really want to get my driver's licence, so it's out of the way for the future
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Alright, I'm not sure what to think about this one. So, you failed your driving test in the UK and have decided that rather than taking the test again, you would prefer to just come to Korea and get your license? And once you obtain your Korean license, you want to transfer its validity to the UK? Am I right?

I'll do my best to walk you through the rules and regulations, but it looks like there's something else going on here. Either way...

I think it's best that you check out the Driver's Licence Agency (DLA) website first. Since you are still in the UK and have not spent more than 3 years in Korea, you will not be able to apply for an international driver's licence.
International driver's license is an internationally recognized translation of your domestic driver's license. It must be accompanied by your driver license when you travel.

In case of foreigners, only those who have resided for more than 3 years in Korea can get an international driver's license from Korea. However, those whose visa status are D-5, D-6, D-7, D-8, E-1, E-3, E-4, E-7, F-1, F-2, F-3 and F-4 can get an international driver's license from Korea, regardless of the length of their stay in Korea, once they obtain their Korean driver's license.

The first sentence disqualifies you right off the bat. You've got to have your domestic license before applying for the international license. There's also a "Foreigner Driver's License". Again you must have a domestic license though.
1. Foreign driver's license (on exchange, you must surrender your license, which can be returned when you leave Korea if you bring your passport and airline ticket)
2. Embassy certificate
* Embassy certificate is exempted for those who have a license issued from US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Belgium, Poland, or Italy.
3. Translated and notarized copy (the issued date & valid period must be written on the translated copy)
* Translated and notarized copy is exempted for the license written in English
4. Passport
5. Alien registration card
6. Three photos (3cm by 4cm)

Those routes won't work for you, but you do have one other option and that is to simple apply for a Korean drivers license. JoongAng has a write-up on it as well. Requirements:
1. Apply in person at a Driver's License Agency (proxy applications are accepted under certain conditions).
2. You must be 18 years of age or over
3. Bring your Alien Registration Card (ARC). Those people who are legal residents but who are not issued an ARC must bring a record of their entries/exits.
4. Bring your Passport
5. Bring 3 photos (3cm x 4cm)
6. You will have to take a written test and driving tests, as well a physical test and Safety course.
a. Written Test - about 50 or so questions - is available in English, Chinese, French, German, and Japanese. The DLA's have written materials available to help you prepare. The written test costs W23,000 (this includes the cost of the physical)
b. Driving Tests - course driving and real driving - are required.The course test costs W15,000 and the real (road) test costs W21,000.
c. Safety class takes about 3 hours (depends on where you live if there is one available in English or not) and costs W12,000.

So, once you get your Korean license, you would theoretically be able to drive on it in the UK since the United Kingdom recognizes the Korean driver's license, however, once you leave Korea and therefore lose residency on the peninsula, I would imagine you might get some questions about why you don't have a UK license.

Doesn't it seem much easier for you to just take your test again and simply exchange it for a Korean license? Otherwise, you're asking for so much extra work. Take the test again...

1 comment:

Shawn Deny said...

So, you failed your driving test in the UK and have decided that rather than taking the test again, you would prefer to just come to Korea and get your license?
International Driver's License Online