Registration and licensing requirements
State laws vary when it comes to motor vehicle insurance requirements, licensing and registration. The term vehicle generally includes automobiles, motorcycles, vans, trailers and boats regularly parked or garaged overnight. Service members and their families will want to understand their state’s laws on registration and licensing before moving to a new state. Visit the USA.gov Motor Vehicle Services page for links to state-specific websites.
Motor vehicle laws
State and local laws regulate the operation of motor vehicles, and these laws can vary by location. Many states regulate the following:
- Seatbelt use
- Child safety seats
- Motorcycle operation
- The use of cellphones and other digital devices while driving
Learn more about motor vehicle laws in your state at the Distraction.gov State Laws page.
Installation Specific Information
Motor Vehicles in Korea
U.S. Forces personnel in Korea who wish to drive POVs must have a USFK driver’s license. Active duty military personnel, civilian employees and family members age 18 or older are required to take a written test to receive a USFK driver’s license. Military personnel are issued a USFK driver’s license for two years, while DoD civilians are issued a five-year license. Family members age 16 and older may obtain a learner’s permit. This is good for driving only during daylight hours on military installations while accompanied by a licensed driver.
If you are authorized to ship your vehicle to Korea, upon arrival, contact the USAG-Yongsan Transportation Office in the Community Service Building (S4106) to determine the arrival date of your POV and provide your local contact information. Once your vehicle arrives, you will be notified to pick your vehicle up at the USAG-Yongsan TMP.
The Vehicle Processing Center has undergone Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) inspired change in August 2009. All changes were made with customer satisfaction in mind. At the VPC, you will check for damage, start your vehicle, and sign documentation. If you are not the Military member or sponsor, you must have a Power of Attorney in order to accomplish this. After inspecting your newly arrived vehicle for damage, you must register your POV. In order to do this and to receive your temp vehicle plate, you need assignment orders, a USFK Motor Vehicle Operator Permit, ID Card, Power of Attorney (if not the Military member or sponsor), insurance and $9.00. Camp Kim Pass & ID will issue you temporary plates so that you can inspect your vehicle at either the AAFES auto center or MWR Auto & Crafts Garage. You must have your vehicle inspected and return to Camp Kim (with the vehicle) for permanent plates and stickers. Fees will be charged at vehicle inspection ($20) and at Camp Kim to register your permanent vehicle plates ($7). The entire process from start to finish is easy and efficient. Also, remember that your vehicle will be on “fumes” so don’t forget to go to the AAFES Gas Station by Gate 12 to fill her up.
To Qualify for a POV License
- E-7 and above are entitled to have one Privately Owned Vehicle (POV), and command sponsored families are entitled to ship a POV at government at expense.
- E-6 and below must submit an Exception To Policy packet through their chain-of-command to the USAG Yongsan Commander, ATTN: Directorate of Emergency Services.
- If you are civilian and want to get a POV License, you should bring your (or your sponsor’s) Letter of Employment to the Driver’s Testing Office when you take a test.
- If someone who works at AREA I has Command Sponsored Order and his/her family members live in USAG Yongsan, the USAG-Yongsan area takes care his/her POV License.
- If someone works in another Korean Area of Support and his/her dependents live in USAG-Yongsan, the USAG Yongsan community takes care his/her POV License.
- Military Service members, who need to get a GOV License, must prepare the DA FORM 348 and Memo with Unit Commander’s signature to request for written exam before they take a test at the Driver’s Testing Office.
- Each Unit’s Master Driver prepares the DA FORM 348.
- Study Manual and Testing Time is determined at the Unit level.
- Testing Time is Mon-Thu 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. (US Civ), Fri 8:10 a.m. (KN, KAT). If the written test is passed by the customer, the customer MUST return in the afternoon on the same day for training and issuance of permit.
- Renewal schedule is Mon-Fri afternoon 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Customers requesting a USFK Motor Vehicle Operator Permit must have a current US driver’s license.
- Customers must show proof of insurance and orders assigning them to Korea.
If you would like to study for the exam, please go online and search for USFK pamphlet 385-2 (Guide to Safe Driving in Korea).
Other Transportation Options
There are many convenient methods of transportation on and off post. USAG-Yongsan has on-post shuttle buses and contracted Korean Myung-Jin buses connecting the many military installations in Korea. Seoul offers Korean commercial buses for in city travel and travel between Korean towns and cities as well as one of the most convenient, efficient and cost effective subway systems in the world. There is an on-post free shuttle bus that runs approximately every 30 minutes connecting Main Post, South Post and Camp Coiner and shuttles that run between USAG-Yongsan and K-16. A post shuttle schedule can be picked up at the Army Community Service Information and Referral Desk, building S4106 on South Post. The Seoul Subway system is a safe, convenient, clean, inexpensive, and quick means of traveling in and around the city. Subway maps can be picked up at ACS in the Community Services Building S4106 on South Post. Korea has many trains connecting the towns and cities. Seoul Station is a well-known landmark, and can be easily reached by taxi or subway from Yongsan. There are commuter and express trains to all parts of Korea. And finally, there are AAFES taxis as well as Korean taxis that can take you to any part of Seoul and the Army Garrison.
Buying a used car in Korea
As on any military base overseas, you can purchase a used car from departing service members at a reasonable price. Consider this option before you decide to bring your car to Korea. Large gas-guzzlers are not the best way to get around in Korea, especially if you prefer to drive in the city rather than using public transportation. Except for the expressway and large streets of the big cities, Korean roads and streets are narrow and crowded, with three of four cars trying to fit in two lanes. Parking is at a premium. If you decide to purchase a used car from a departing service member, remember you must first be authorized to register a privately owned automobile and obtain a driving permit. The car must be inspected, and you and the seller must present a bill of sale as well as other needed documents to the local provost marshal’s office, and the car must be properly registered.
If you purchase a car from off post through a Korean national, the same procedures must be followed. In addition the seller must show proof that all previous taxes have been paid, and the automobile has been de-registered through the Korean government.
IAW Post Policy, DODI 6055.4 and AR 355-85, all motorcyclists who enter USAG-Yongsan installations will be required to wear (at a minimum) the following personal protective equipment (PPE):
- DOT approved helmet
- ANSI approved Eye Protection (goggles or attached face shield)
- Long Pants
- Long Sleeved Shirt or Jacket
- Full Fingered Gloves
- Leather Boots or Over-the-Ankle Shoes
- Brightly Colored Reflective Vest (Click thumbnail to see enlarged view)
For regulations and procedures about shipping you POV, contact your transportation office well in advance of your move to Korea. They can also advise you on shipment of a POV at your own expense.
Driving in Korea without a USFK Issued License
There are basically three options for driving in Korea:
1) As of August 1, 2007, Americans who have long-term visas can exchange their U.S. driver’s license for a Korean driver’s license at the Korean Drivers License Agency website(in English). Documents required to exchange a U.S. license for a Korean license:
- U.S. Passport
- U.S. driver’s license
- Alien Registration Card (ARC) (If not available, Entry/Exit records in passport are acceptable.)
- Three photos (3 cm by 4 cm)
- Fee: 17,000 Won
Your driver’s license will be returned to you before you depart Korea if you visit the DLA office with your fixed flight departure schedule.
2) Obtain a Korean driver’s license. If you do not want to turn in your driver’s license to the DLA, you must apply for a local Korean license and:
- Pass a written test (in English)
- Pass a driving test
- Attend a safety class
3) Short-term visitors can drive with their international driver’s license in Korea. The US Embassy in Seoul recommends you drive with your international driver’s license issued from the US. The following are U.S. organizations issuing international licenses:
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- The American Automobile Association (AAA)
- The National Auto Club
- The 21st Century Insurance Company 800-622-5292