Living in Korea>Driving in Korea

by K4E Team, 13/10/2007

Buying/Registering a Car: It is possible for foreign residents to buy either new or used cars. Since foreign models are generally extremely expensive in Korea, a domestic model may be your most affordable option. When deciding what kind of car to get, you might want to take a look at how people park and how often they misjudge distance both in parking and sometimes even, driving. (Note: as Koreans gain more driving experience, this problem is gradually decreasing).

Registering a used vehicle:
Tips for buying a used car

  1. Check the original automobile registration at the appropriate TrafficAdministration section of the gu office to confirm that any car loan has been fully paid off.
  2. Check with the Car Registration Section of the gu-office to make sure that there are no outstanding installment payments and/or taxes due on the vehicle.
  3. Check the vehicle carefully and test drive it.
  4. Get as much information as possible about the car’s history – ask a lot of questions – just as you would in your home country.
  5. Clarify the closing date as well as the expected delivery date in the sales agreement/contract.
Registering the car (must be done within 15 days of purchase):
  1. Obtain the car registration certificate from the previous (the car inspection certificate), the certificate of transfer and the certificate of the owner’s registered seal impression to register the transfer of ownership. Failure to register the car within 15 days of purchase, will result in a fine (W500,000).
  2. Required documents:
    a.Car registration certificate
    b.Used car transfer contract (the legal form for the certificate of transfer) and alien registration card (or a certificate of alien registration). For those who have not yet acquired an alien registration card, two Korean sponsors and a certificate of entry will be acceptable in lieu.
    c.Certificate proving you have purchased a liability insurance policy and public bonds.
  3. Registering a new vehicle:The car dealership will register your new purchase if you wish – the law prohibits the dealership for charging for this service; should the dealership violate this rule, it will be liable for a fine of up to W100,000.
    Required documents
    a. Application for registration
    b. A temporary tag number that allows you to drive the vehicle for about 10 days – you must apply for the registration no later than 10 after the temporary period begins. (Note: There is a fine of up to W100,000 for diving past the specified temporary period).
    vehicle certificate or import documentation
    inspection sticker
    certified copy of both your alien registration card and your passport
    proof of valid vehicle liability insurance
    registration fee receipt
        - ownership certificate if you cannot prove ownership with the vehicle certificate.
  4. Registering an imported vehicle:
    Documents required:
    a. Imported vehicle certificate (Note: if you cannot prove ownership 
       with the imported vehicle certificate, you must show proof of ownership)
    b. Certified copy of both alien registration card and passport
    c. Permit for temporary driving and temporary tag number
    d. Receipt showing payment of registration fee and government securities
    e. Noise and pollution inspection certificate
  5. Change of Address must be reported to the gu-office. To do so you’ll need to bring your car registration certificate and driver’s license with you. Note: A move to another city requires turning in your license plates and obtaining new ones. Failure to register an address change within 10 days can result in a W30,000 fine. 

    For more information on Disposing of a car as well as Inspections/Maintenance responsibilities  scroll down further at 
    For more on Driving in Korea, got to and scroll down to the other headings options.

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