S. Korea issues driver licenses in English for international use

Vicky Tan, Sept. 16, 2019, 9:49 a.m.

Korea has started issuing driver's licenses with vital information in English so they can be used overseas.

The National Police Agency said Sunday that the new licenses available from Monday can be used in 33 countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Guam, Ireland, Switzerland, Turkey and the U.K.

They look identical to the existing ones on the front side, but the rear features the driver's name, birthdate, license number and type of authorized vehicle in English.

Currently Koreans traveling abroad have to have separate international driver's certificate if they plan to rent cars overseas.

The 97 signatories of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties recognize only these international licenses. Some 67 countries including the U.K. signed a separate treaty that recognizes Korean driver's licenses, but they had to be translated into English and notarized. Now, 33 out of them will recognize the new Korean driver's licenses.

An NPA spokesman said, "Some countries frequented by Koreans, such as the U.S., are not included, but we plan to expand the regions of coverage through continued negotiations."

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