South Korea: Exchanging Your Driver’s License

Required Documents:

  • Original driver’s license
  • Passport
  • ARC
  • Apostille of original driver’s license
  • 출입국사실증명서 Certificate of the Facts Concerning the Entry & Exit
  • 3 color photos
  • 외국인등록사실증명서* (if your current registered address does not match your ARC address)
  • 6,000 won for the eye exam and 7,500 won for the license

Find the complete list of documents and acknowledged countries here. Depending on your country and state, you may need to take a written exam. I have a Georgia U.S. license and did not need to take a written exam.

Where to Get Documents

The U.S. Embassy no longer apostilles driver’s licenses, so if you’re American you will need to plan ahead. I used Monument Visa which did not require me to present my license but rather simply attach a photograph of the front and back of my license. Monument Visa has international shipping; I happened to be in the US at the time and received it while there.

The Certificate of the Facts Concerning the Entry & Exit can be obtained from your local gu office or community center. It costs 2,000 won. This document lists all your entries to and exits from Korea. While there, make sure you ask for the dates to cover from your birth year to the current date.

I like zzixx for photos; upload a selfie and the company will mail your photos in the next two days. You can also find a photo booth at larger subway stations.

At The Center

Head to your local regional driver’s license examination office (search for 운전면허시험장). Go to the window 외국 군 국제면허. Present all your documents and fill out the paperwork provided by the staff.

The staff will point you to an area to do your health check which is just an eye exam. The eye exam costs 6,000 won. Return to the desk with your eye exam results.

If you want your license to be in English as well as Korean, plan to pay 10,000 won rather than 7,500 won. I went with this option just in case. I paid in cash; I don’t know if they accept card.

The worker helping me gathered all my documents and handed them off. She indicated to sit and wait for my new license to be printed on site. I was told to wait 30 minutes but it took less than ten before the other worker motioned me forward to pick up my hot-off-the-press license. Asia time!

Potential Snags

If your current address does not match the address on your ID, which happens if you update your address via HiKorea rather than going in person, your hard ARC will not reflect your actual address. In this case, you will also need to bring proof of your address by obtaining 외국인등록사실증명서. As with the Certificate of the Facts, this document can be obtained at your local gu office.

Happy driving!

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