How to Get a Korean Driver’s License as a Texan

How to Get a Korean Driver’s License as a Texan

How to Get a Korean Driver’s License as a Texan

I live in a very rural area in Korea.  I have not talked to a single Korean who actually enjoys their time in this town.  (Personally, I really enjoy myself)  Most of the teachers take 2+ hour long bus rides to their hometown every weekend, just so they don’t have to spend more time here.  I even talked to a guy last week who is from a rural town in Jeju that says here is hell for him… He hadn’t even been living here for a month yet.

Being in a rural area, the buses and public transportation aren’t that wonderful.  The buses stop around 8/8:30pm, which isn’t convenient if you are wanting to be out with your friends after dinner.  So, if you want to be really social, you need your own transportation.

I have a couple guy friends who got their motorcycle license here, but I’m not that brave and I’m pretty sure my mother would kill me if I got a motorcycle.  Instead, I got my driver’s license!

Now, this is important…

TEXAS AND KOREA HAVE A RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT
(so do a few other states, so check into that)

That means that while your other friends will have to retake all their written and driving exams, you will NOT!  In fact, your process is much, much simpler.

Step 1: Gather all the paperwork
This can take a while depending on if you are already in Korea, or if you are still in TX.

What you will need:

  • Your original TX license
    • YOU WILL NEED THIS.  You essentially go in a trade your TX license for a Korean one.  So they literally keep your TX license.  Yes, you can get it back if you ever need it.  You really won’t though…  I called the TX DPS to ask a ton of questions before I went and exchanged my license.  If you ever travel in TX, you can use your Korean license to drive legally for up to 90 days.  So, unless you move home you really don’t need it back.  Even then… You can probably just move back and request another one online or in person.  Unless you are sentimental.  In that case, you should know that Korea will only keep your license for 3 years.
  • Passport
    • I feel like I don’t really need to explain this, but whatevs.  Your passport should have all it’s stamps confirming entry and exit.  Just, make sure your visa hasn’t expired 🙂
  • ARC Card
    • If you are reading this BEFORE you get to Korea.. this is your Alien Registration Card or your foreign ID card in Korea.  When you get here, someone should help you get this.
  • 3 ID photos
    • You can have your photos taken at some of the examination offices.  I don’t want to say that ALL of them do, but I know the Pohang location does.  You can always call and ask the office ahead of time.  Otherwise, you can just find a shop around where you live.
  • Apostille of TX license (OR) apostille of driving record confirming your license is valid
    • This was the most complicated part of the whole process..  I’m going to break this down into two sections
      • IF YOU ARE IN TEXAS
        If you are in Texas you can take your driver’s license to get apostilled on your own.  You can either go to the Secretary of State’s office in Austin on your own OR you can get a copy of your license notarized and mail an apostille request to the office by mail.  This will be much faster if you just go on your own.  It takes only minutes (depending on how many people are there).
      • IF YOU ARE NOT IN TEXAS
        If you are not in TX and are in Korea, the process is difficult but not impossible.  You cannot send your license home and have someone else apostille it for you.  According to the SOS office, you yourself have to be there with your license.  I assume that also applies with getting it notarized.  So, what you want to do is get your driving record.  You can request it and print it out online off the TX DPS Government website.  Simple process.  Print it out instantly.  From there, you can mail in your driving record to the SOS office to have that apostilled and sent back to you.
  • Certificate of the Facts/Certificate of Immigration

 

Step 2: Go to a Driver’s License Examination Office
Unfortunately, foreigners have to go to an examination office to trade.  There are smaller DMV locations around Korea, but you will not be able to exchange licenses there 🙁

 

Step 3: Do what they tell you
What you do is walk into the building.  If there are a lot people, pull a number and wait to be called.  Otherwise, just make eye contact with someone and walk up to them and tell them you want your Korean license.  They will have you fill out some paperwork and stare at your documents for a while.  Then they will have you take an eye/hearing exam ( I didn’t take a hearing exam, but my Canadian friend had to so idk).  After that you will be done!

 

 

#blessed

 

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