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  • chan60067
  • Newgookin

    • 1

    • February 27, 2019, 07:57:18 am
    • Ulsan
Getting a driver's license in Korea
« on: May 22, 2019, 10:37:52 am »
Hey there,

I'm staying in Korea as an EPIK teacher, and I'm trying to get a driver's license in Korea or do an exchange for my American one. However, I have a pretty big issue that may complicate things. I lost my wallet the day of my flight to Korea, so I currently do not have an American Driver's license on me (I do have a picture copy). I lived in Illinois, and it is not possible to get a replacement license without going to the Illinois DMV in person.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to go about this situation, or am I SOL on snagging a license here?

Thanks in advance for all of the advice!

-Chan


  • leaponover
  • Expert Waygook

    • 521

    • March 05, 2012, 12:08:16 pm
    • Iksan, S. Korea
Re: Getting a driver's license in Korea
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2019, 11:19:37 am »
D
Hey there,

I'm staying in Korea as an EPIK teacher, and I'm trying to get a driver's license in Korea or do an exchange for my American one. However, I have a pretty big issue that may complicate things. I lost my wallet the day of my flight to Korea, so I currently do not have an American Driver's license on me (I do have a picture copy). I lived in Illinois, and it is not possible to get a replacement license without going to the Illinois DMV in person.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to go about this situation, or am I SOL on snagging a license here?

Thanks in advance for all of the advice!

-Chan

Yeah, you are definitely SOL.  Not only do you need your actual driver's license, but you need to get it apostilled by your state apostille agency.  Even if you could get it renewed online, you would be out of luck as well because the last issue date of your license has to be from before you were in Korea.

But all is not lost.  If I were you I would just go to the AAA website and pay the $50 for an international driver's license.  You are supposed to use it along with your state license, but you'll probably be alright if you don't.  That's your best bet right now. 

Last resort, you can go through the process of getting your Korean license the way other Koreans do.  That's the most time consuming hassle-full way of doing it.


Re: Getting a driver's license in Korea
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2019, 02:59:40 pm »
It took me two trips to get my Korean license. I took the test in English and did all of the other test in one morning (Sat.), and then made an appointment for the road test for two weeks later. Passed the test and got the license in about 15 minutes. It is a little annoying, but not that bad, if you pass it all on the first go.


Re: Getting a driver's license in Korea
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2019, 03:03:28 pm »
I had the exact same situation - wanted to leverage my South African licence, but physically lost it shortly before coming to Korea. So I did the Korean one from scratch. Yes, it was a bit of a headache (especially failing the technical course on a minor technicality) but now I'm glad to have a licence that's valid for 10 years at a time. Buying a car in Korea is the best thing I ever did. You can read about my experience here:

https://www.waygook.org/index.php?topic=110246.0


Re: Getting a driver's license in Korea
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2019, 03:38:51 pm »
Hey there,

I'm staying in Korea as an EPIK teacher, and I'm trying to get a driver's license in Korea or do an exchange for my American one. However, I have a pretty big issue that may complicate things. I lost my wallet the day of my flight to Korea, so I currently do not have an American Driver's license on me (I do have a picture copy). I lived in Illinois, and it is not possible to get a replacement license without going to the Illinois DMV in person.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to go about this situation, or am I SOL on snagging a license here?

Thanks in advance for all of the advice!

-Chan

When last I checked, Korea had a reciprocal exchange situation with states in the U.S. If they allowed Koreans to exchange their licenses in their state, then you could do it here, too. It was fully dependent on your home state... and when I last checked, Illinois is one of the states that doesn't allow Koreans to switch their licenses in for an IL license anyway... meaning you'll have to go through the whole process of getting a license here anyway. So you shouldn't need your IL license. You'll still have to take all the tests and fill out all the paperwork here just like a Korean person getting a license. I'm from IL too and I've lived here off/on since 2013... and this is exactly why I don't have a license here.