The QiRanger Adventures

Teaching in Korea: Driving

with 10 comments

I have been driving since 1986. That’s more than 20 years and I’ve loved every minute of it! There’s just something special about getting out there on the open road with your friends and family and doing what you want to do rather than relying on public transportation timetables. That being said, I have come to love the mass transit here in Korea, because there is absolutely no need for a car here. You can get anywhere by bus, train, or subway. If you need one, taxis are everywhere, too.

But I do miss driving and haven’t been behind the wheel in almost a year. Before I left the US, I obtained an International Driving Permit (IDP), just in case I wanted to hire a car or travel with a friend and needed to take turns driving. It’s set to expire on June 1, 2010 and I still wanted to keep my driving options open in case I wanted to go off the beaten path with Jo and explore Asia on our own.

Option 1 was to obtain an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) again. They can be obtained from the AAA for $15. While the IDP is valid just about everywhere, it’s only valid for one year. This is great if you’re traveling abroad for a short time or only going to be out of the US for a year. I was researching how to obtain one in Korea when I came across some very cool stuff!

Option 2, and a better one in my option, is to obtain a Korean Driver’s License. It’s easy, cheap, valid for 9 years, and best of all, recognized in 44 countries around the globe – thus negating the need for an IDP. All one needs to do is head down to the US Embassy to get your US License notarized (Embassy Certificate). It costs $30 to do this. You’ll also need 3 passport photos. After that, you’re ready to get your Korean License.

Go to your nearest Driver’s License Testing Agency with the following:
1) Passport
2) Alien Registration Card (ARC)
3) Passport Photos (3)
4) Embassy Certificate
5) US Driver’s License

The cost of the Korean License is W17000 (W12000 for the License and W5000 for the Physical Test aka eye exam). I would recommend studying Korean Law, since if you fail the written test, you’ll have to take it again. However, basic driving laws in Korea are the same as in the US, so you should be able to pass with a 75% with ease even if you don’t study. During this process, you’ll have to surrender your US License. That’s no big deal, since you can request it back if you’re traveling to the US. If that’s the case, you’ll exchange your Korean License for your US one. My recommendation is to contact your local MVD and get a duplicate license.

Just where is the Korean license valid?

Africa: Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cape Verde, Cote d’lvoire, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Republic of South Africa, San Tome and Principle, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Americas: Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Panama, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Uruguay

Asia:  Afghanistan, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Vietnam

Europe: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Moldova, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Romania, San Marino, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Switzerland, Spain, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, the United Kingdom

Middle East: Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen

In the above list, I put into italics the countries on my personal list of places to visit in the next decade. As you can see, there are tons of places in Europe and Asia that accept the Korean License!

Some great links:


10 Responses

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  1. Hi Steve,

    That is freakin’ awesome!


    Lance Furuyama

    May 3, 2010 at 5:22 am

  2. Congrats on the license. I also ended up getting a Japanese one too. Not sure how many countries it’s affective in tho…..


    May 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    • It might be worth checking out. Now you just need to make sure you pick up a IDP when you go back and visit the US!


      May 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm

  3. Your site is awesome, I also love your youtube vids……
    I am traveling to Seoul at the end of may and they have helped me a lot (now I know what places to go visit…haha)

    Keep the good work…thanks


    May 4, 2010 at 12:22 am

    • Very cool. Glad to be able to help you out! Too bad I’ll be away on holiday at the end of the month, it would have been nice to meet up! I really hope you enjoy your time here!


      May 4, 2010 at 7:28 am

  4. Thank you for practical information in your post Teaching in Korea: Driving The QiRanger Adventures.

  5. Hello!
    I totally respect your blog.. Impressive job on the concept of your website.

  6. Great.. Thanks for your opinions on the content Teaching in Korea:
    Driving The QiRanger Adventures, they are very rather effective.
    . I appreciated reading your blog post!

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    October 7, 2012 at 6:11 am

  7. As ever, so insightful as well as helpful article Teaching in Korea:
    Driving The QiRanger Adventures! With thanks…

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    October 9, 2012 at 11:01 am

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