Getting a Driver’s License in Korea

A lot of foreign people are surprised at public transportation when they come to Korea. If you have a credit or debit card, you can always take subways or buses wherever you are. But the public transportation is located only in big cities so if you want to go travel far from the cities without your own car, it is very tired. Also, public transportation is so massy in the morning rush hours in Seoul so many people try to take their own cars to their workplace. Some foreign students in Korea feel these problems too. It is hard to experience every culture out of big cities like Seoul or Busan, without car. So I am trying to write how to get a driver’s license in Korea for foreign students.

For a short-term use, international or exchange students can use an international driver’s license. You have to bring your regular driver’s license if you want to use an international driver’s license in Korea. However, if you are planning to stay in Korea for a long time and trying to drive a car, you must attain a Korean license. If you are from a country that Korea does not recognize as an international license, you should obtain a Korean license as well. So before you get an international license, you should check it first. So let’s look at the requirements to get a license.




You must be 18 years of age or over first. If your age is over 18, bring your Alien Registration Card, your passport, and 3 photos of yourself (3cm * 4cm) to a Driver’s License Agency (DLA). After you take a 1 hour long safety education, you will take a written test and driving tests, as well as a physical test and safety course. There will be about 40 questions in the written test, which can be taken in your mother tongue. You can choose one language out of 10 languages. The written test costs about 23,000 Won, including the physical test.


After you pass the written test, you can take driving test. In this test, course driving and real driving may be required. Before you test driving test, you should take safety class which takes about 3 hours. It costs 12,000 Won.

Every test will be taken in your mother tongue, if you please. If your mother tongue forms or translation are not available at some sites, you can contact 02-1577-1129 to confirm whether your local DLA office has English or other languages. If that doesn’t work, contact 02-1330 (the Korea Tourism Organization help line and they may be able to identify where there may be English-speaking staff or possibly even provide some basic or limited translation). Information in English about written and driving exams is on the DLA website (


If you finish checking all the information, you should study for the tests. The test questions are ready at the DLA website. Go to the DLA website first, and go to ‘Test Question Bank’ tap. Click that tap and check the language which you want to take with. There will be about 700 questions and answers in the file. You have to study all of them, and the test will be taken from that 700 questions. There will be also some videos for the driving test if you go to the local site where you try to take the driving test. Through those videos, learn the course and check the information before you take the test.

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After you get your driver’s license, you can drive a car. You can lend a car from rental car enterprise. If you are using your international license, you should bring your local driver’s license, international driver’s license, and the passport. If you have a Korean driver’s license, just bring your Korean driver’s license and the passport. The rental car shop will inform you how to use a rental car and how to get the insurance. Car insurance is essential, so do not forget to apply for it.

It will be useful if you lend a car to go travel in Korea. If you take your smartphone as a GPS, there will be no worry to drive. I hope that you can make a good experience by driving to a lot of places in Korea which are very beautiful. Take care of yourself and have a nice trip!


Article by Junhyung from Korea, a Freshman in Business Administration

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