|The draft designs of a new driver's license with English information printed on the back / Yonhap|
By Kang Seung-woo
Drivers here will be able to operate vehicles with a Korea-issued driver's license in at least 35 countries as early as September as new licenses will carry English information, the road traffic authority said, Monday.
According to KoRoad, people can get a driver's license with their information such as name, address and gender printed in English on the back of the license if they want.
"We plan to issue such licenses from September to provide convenience for Koreans who drive in countries accepting our local driving permits," a KoRoad official said.
The 35 countries include Britain, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Turkey, Peru and Finland.
Currently, when Koreans plan to drive overseas, they have to get an international driving permit from driver's license test sites across the nation, police stations or the issuing center at Incheon International Airport. The international license is valid for one year from the date of issuance, and costs 8,500 won ($7.20) per application.
In 67 countries, Koreans can still drive without the international driving permit, but in this case, drivers are required to get a notary certificate for their Korean license from embassies of the countries here.
In order to ease such inconvenience, the National Police Agency asked the 67 countries whether they would accept a license with information in English, and as of April 35 nations have said they would, .
According to the road traffic authority, the new driver's license will feature information on what type of vehicles the license holder is allowed to operate. Also, it will be equipped with features preventing forgery. The authority is in the process of finalizing the design.
The new license will cost about 2,500 won more than the Korean language-only one.
"The ordinance regarding the usage of the English-language driver's license is under review by the Ministry of Government Legislation. We are working to put it into force as soon as the revision is proclaimed in September," the KoRoad official said.