Korean Drivers License

–this my first post written entirely from my iPhone! Technology is incredible!

Yesterday, Tim and I, having recently become car owners, had to get our Korean drivers licenses.


This our new Hyundai Starex, a diesel 4×4 with seats that fold down into a bed. We have owned cars in every country we have lived in. But this is the first time we’ve felt compelled to follow the foreigner license law. Koreans are a bit like Germans in their love for following rules.

Getting one of these puppies was a pain in the ass. We had to take half a day off of school due to inconvenient office hours. We first had to make an appointment with the US embassy to get our affidavit notarized saying that our driving licenses are, in fact, our licenses. This now costs $50. Side note: it now also costs $50 to add extra pages to your passport. This was free when I did it. No longer.

Once we had our stamp, we walked 3 blocks down to the Korean Press building at the City Hall subway stop. We went to the office and began the paper work, but, of course, you have to have two pictures. So we left to go get pictures made–thankfully only a block or so away. We went back to office. But before they can give you your new license, you have to take an eye exam. They sent us back out to the tube and we rode 3 stops up to a clinic to get our exam and about 20 very official stamps. This whole process was very 3rd world. Not like the Korea I’ve come to expect.

We returned to the license office and after much more shuffling of things, they confiscated our Colorado licenses and handed over these colorful things:


After all of the hours of running around, we went over to the Base where I was rewarded with one of my two most favorite beers ever:


And so all was well. The End.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carrie
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 17:33:38

    You had to GIVE UP your U.S. licenses??? And some of your verbs?? (iphone typos 🙂 )


    • erinhenkels
      Feb 10, 2012 @ 00:52:19

      You get your license back when you make plans to go home, or you can just drop by the DMV and get a new license when you’re back at home. And I’m probably an idiot, but I’m not sure what’s wrong with my verbs. A little guidance, Miss IB English, pretty please?


  2. mom
    Feb 09, 2012 @ 18:40:43

    Your photo makes you look very young and I hope you can read what is on your license. Of course, I don’t like that you had to surrender your US driver’s license, but at least your name on the Korean license is in English.


    • erinhenkels
      Feb 10, 2012 @ 00:53:45

      I look young because every time you get an official photo done here, they touch it up like crazy!! I don’t even look like myself and I try to tell them not to photoshop it, but they’re like, yeah, right, and continue to remove ALL wrinkles and blemishes.


  3. Nicole Rogers
    Feb 14, 2012 @ 20:21:15

    Erin, I just wanted to you that I appreciate you and Tim both blogging about your experiences in Korea and at Chadwick International School. My husband is a teacher who is attending the Search fair in San Fransisco later this week. He’s very interested in Chadwick, but we’ve been having a hard time finding out too much about it since it’s a new school. I stumbled upon your blogs helping him do research, and it’s been very helpful for us. I just wanted to say thanks again. It’s good to see that you’re enjoying your experience at the school and in Korea. –Nicole


    • erinhenkels
      Feb 15, 2012 @ 02:05:22

      We are gigantic Chadwick fans, but a big part of that is because we were already familiar with the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes and know the history and mission. It’s certainly a school we believe in. Feel free to email me with questions: erinhenkels at gmail.com


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