It is no problem for a foreigner to drive in Korea with an international driver’s license. But since the validity of the international driver’s license is not

that long enough, many people try to exchange their home countries’ driver’s license to Korean driver’s license. The advantage of getting the Korean driver’s license is that the validity of the license is for 10 years.

The required documents and the process for exchanging to Korean driver’s license are not complicated and difficult at all. The requirements are straight forward and people just need to visit a nearest driver’s license center.

There are health check (eyesight exam) and written examination. However, if you have a driver’s license issued by the Acknowledged Countries, the written examination will be exempted. The acknowledged countries are listed below.

Asia
(25)

New Zealand, Nepal, Taiwan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Brunei, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Australia, India, Japan, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, Cook Islands, Kiribati, Thailand, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Fiji, Philippines, Hong Kong

America
(19)

Guatemala, Nicaragua, Rep. of Dominique, Commonwealth of Dominique, Mexico(Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Tlaxcala), Bahamas, Brazil, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Haiti, Antigua and Barbuda, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Chile, Canada, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, USA(Maryland, Virginia, Washington, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, Oregon, Michigan, Idaho, Alabama, West Virginia, Iowa, Colorado, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Hawaii, Pennsylvania)

※For Oregon and Idaho, you must take a simple written exam.

Europe
(39)

Greece, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Rumania, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Moldova, Malta, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Spain, Slovakia, Ireland, Azerbaijan, Albania, England, Austria, Italy, Georgia, Czech Rep., Croatia, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Portugal, Poland, France, Finland, Hungary

Middle East
(14)

Lebanon, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iraq(Arbil), UAE, Algeria, Afghanistan, Yemen, Oman, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Iran, Israel

Africa
(34)

Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Basau, Namibia, Nigeria, Niger, Liberia, Libya, Rwanda, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mauritius, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Angola, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia, Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Republic of the Congo, Tunisia


Although you have the driver’s license not issued by the acknowledged countries, you can be exempted from the written examination if you hold following visas.

– A-1 (Diplomacy), A-2 (Official), A-3 (Agreement), D-7 (Intra-Company Transfer), D-8 (Company Investment), D-9 (Trade Business), E-1 (Professor), E-3 (Research), E-4 (Technology Instruction), E-7 (Special Occupation), F-4 (Korean with Foreign Nationality)

Let’s look into the required documents then.

  1. Original Foreign Driver’s License

  2. Original Passport

  3. Original Alien Registration Card

  4. Three (3) photos taken within 6 months

  5. Embassy certificate of driver’s license

  6. Certificate of the facts of the entry and exit

  7. Processing fee

The Required Document: Embassy Certificate

Please note that not all of embassies in Korea are issuing the certificate. The US embassy, British embassy and Finish embassy no longer issue the certificate. Those who have the driver’s license from above countries need to get an Apostille regarding their driver’s license.

Taking a Photo at The Driver’s License Center

If you do not have the photos, you can take the photo at a photo machine in the driver’s license center.

Getting the home country’s license back

The driver’s license center will keep your home country driver’s license. But if you bring a flight itinerary leaving Korea for any countries, the home country driver’s license will be returned to you. Please note that the flight should be leaving in a month. It is ok to bring the flight itinerary when you exchange the driver’s license and you can get your home country license back with a Korean driver’s license. After coming back to Korea, you do not need to bring back the home country license. You can just keep both licenses.