Over 130,000 English driver’s licenses issued
Over 130,000 people have received new driver’s licenses with their personal information written in English on the back in just a month since the service was launched, the road traffic authority said Friday.
According to the Korea Road Traffic Authority (KoRoad), 136,755 English-language licenses were issued between Sept. 16 and Oct. 14, accounting for 41 percent of all licenses issued. During the period, 196,755 Korean-language only licenses were issued.
Not only people who renewed or newly obtained their license but those whose Korean-language license had not expired changed to the new ones, KoRoad said.
The new license carries the driver’s name, address and gender printed in Korean on the front and in English on the back. As a substitute for an international driver’s license, it can be used in 35 countries including Australia, Singapore and Canada. Types of vehicles that can be operated by the license holder are also displayed.
Before the new service, Koreans who wanted to drive abroad had to get an international driving permit from license test sites, police stations or the issuing center at Incheon International Airport. The international license is valid for a year and costs 8,500 won ($7.20).
In 67 countries, Koreans were not allowed to drive without the international license when they only possessed the Korean language one. They had to get a notarized translation of the license at the Korean Embassy in the country they were traveling in.
The English-language driver’s license is issued at 27 test sites nationwide and police stations, and can also be applied for at the KoRoad official website.