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FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

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chonga
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Joined: 05/25/2010
FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea
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***UPDATE: all 50cc scooters must have license plates AND insurance by July 1st.  I initially thought only license plates were required but insurance is now also required.  Again, failure to do so is a 500,000 won fine.

 

Since I'm on my fourth motorcycle now in Korea, I was hoping this topic could help some of you out concerning scooters and/or motorcycles in Korea.  This is up to date as of March/April, 2012.

I am fluent in Korean so all information is accurate and comes from the Korean Department of Motor Vehicles.  I've kind of gotten annoyed of other foreigners telling me what you can and can't do so I thought this thread could help some people.  So whatever you're hearing from other foreigners contrary to this thread, is wrong.

 

Q: I heard that under 50cc/100cc scooters don't require a Korean license?

A: A Korean license is required for ALL two wheeled vehicles exceeding 25km/h which includes 50cc scooters.  So yes, you do need a Korean driver's license to legally operate a 50cc scooter.  Failure to do so is a 1,000,000 fine and a one year suspension of operating a motor vehicle in Korea.

 

Q: Do I need to wear a helmet?

A: Yes, I've been pulled over (that's right, I got pulled over!) for not wearing one once.  He saw whitey spoke no Korean (so he thought) and he let me go.  40,000 won fine for those who don't AND they will check to see if you have a license.

 

Q: I heard that a 50cc scooter doesn't need to be registerd or insurance is not needed.

A: Insurance will be needed!  Starting Jan 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012, all 50cc scooters must be registered at your 구청 (district office).  These 50cc scooters will also require license plates.  All those who fail to do this by July 1 will be fined 500,000 won. 

It will now be easy for police to spot you as ALL scooters will have license plates.  Before it was tough to judge which bikes were over 50cc so they just didn't bother.  Please see the photo attached below for information.

 

Q: Ok.  So I would like to legally ride a scooter/motorcycle in Korea, what steps should I take?

A:

1. You need to get your Korean driver's license.  For Canadians this is as simple as swapping your home license out for a Korean one.  For Americans, you must visit the Embassy post to receive a stamp(apostille) showing your license from home to be valid (50,000 won).  Then take this form to the DMV where you swap this form and your home license for a valid Korean one.  Brits/Aussies/etc. I don't know how it works for you guys, but I'm sure you can find it on google.

2. After obtaining your license, make sure your scooter comes with all appropriate papers to transfer ownership.  50cc and under may not have papers, which is OK.  Anything above 50cc needs papers to register.  If the seller does not provide these, it means the bike is either stolen, was in an accident or could have simply been lost.  Either way, you need the papers.

NOTE:  If you buy a NEW bike or one that was never registered, you must pay 2% tax on the original cost of the bike.  So, although I bought a used bike, it was never registered by the original owner (cuz he was too cheap to pay tax) so I had to pay 2% on the cost (2.8 million).  I lied and said it was only worth 1 million new.  They have no idea about what bike is worth what new so they accepted it and I paid 20,000 for the tax.  Your results may vary.

3.  Get an insurance quote for your bike.  This can be done at any scooter/motorcycle shop. My 125cc 2008 Daelim costs me 294,000 won per year (the days of 100,000 won per year are over as motorcycle accidents/deaths are at an all time high).  This covers medical and auto for whoever I hit as well as myself.  If you do not have this and you hit someone J walking or someone hits you, regardless of if its your fault or not, you will pay.  It's the same back home and it's the same in Korea.  Don't be foolish to think if it's not your fault, you're off free.  Purchase insurance! 

4. After you pick your insurance plan,take your insurance certificate and bike registration papers to your district office.  Here they will ready your documents (3,000 won) and issue you your license plate (4,900 won).  Takes about 45 minutes.

5. Get a bike shop (the one you got the insurance from) to install the license plate and keep your registration papers with you at all times. 

6. Have fun riding.

 

Summary:

Get License > Buy scooter/bike WITH papers > Purchase insurance > Take bike papers and insurance certificate to your district office > Receive license plate and new ownership papers

(for 50cc you don't need the papers, but they're nice to have)

 

Q: I have a friend who has a bike and he never registered it nor has a valid Korean license and he said it's a waste of time and money to get that stuff done.

A: Ok, well I have a friend who did that and hit an adjumma illegally J-walking.  He paid her 2,000,000 won and can now never drive in Korea.  I also had a friend T-Bone an EQUUS of which is was not his fault either.  He paid 8,000,000 in car damages.  So make your own educated decision.

 

Q: I want a motorcycle above 125cc.  Is it the same process?

A: No, anything above 125cc requires a Korean MOTORCYCLE license.  Anything below 125cc just requires a regular driver's license.  Also, to get a motorcycle license in Korea, you must take xx hours of classes as well as pass a written and driving test.  I've heard the course is pretty easy but taking the classes is a pain since it's time consuming and costs a few hundred thousand won. 

 

 

So please, do the right thing.  I'm getting tired of foreigners not taking responsibility for their actions.  The foreigner card is being played out and the locals are getting sick of it.  You see it on the news everyday and you see it at KSU every weekend. Take responsibility and don't be another reason that Koreans despise us.

 

Hope this helps.  Any questions, please feel free to ask.  I will answer the best I can.  Drive safe!

 

 

 

easlocum85
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Joined: 02/17/2012
Re: FAQ for scooters and motorcycles in Korea

What about international driver's permit with a motorcycle stamp on it? Would I still need a Korean motorcycle license?

chonga
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Joined: 05/25/2010
Re: FAQ for scooters and motorcycles in Korea

I've just done some research on the matter and anything over 125cc requires a Korean "heavy motorcycle" license.  Which means your foreign or international endorsement will not work in Korea.

 

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=518932

crudler
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Joined: 04/03/2010
Re: FAQ for scooters and motorcycles in Korea
"I've heard the course is pretty easy but taking the classes is a pain since it's time consuming and costs a few hundred thousand won."

The course isn't difficult (lots of low-speed tight turns and maneuvers) if you're skilled at riding a cruiser-style motorcycle. The riding test is done on a Hyosung 250 Mirage. If you're accustomed to riding a standard or a sport bike, the course is very difficult because the low-speed balance of the bike is completely different than what you're used to. Borrow a friend's cruiser for a few weeks before wasting your time on the test.

DreadEd209
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Joined: 08/08/2009
Re: FAQ for scooters and motorcycles in Korea
Bike aside, any news on places in busan to obtain a first time licence? (if never had one back home) Or driving schools that take foreigners? Thanks
chonga
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Joined: 05/25/2010
Re: FAQ for scooters and motorcycles in Korea

The two license centers in Busan are located in Yongho-dong (near LG metro city apartments) and the other near Deokcheon

 

Check out this link for more info:

http://dl.koroad.or.kr/english/index.jsp

 

Gharris
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Joined: 08/17/2010
Re: FAQ for scooters and motorcycles in Korea

for americans you mentioned going to the embassy post.  i have never needed to go there so i have no idea where that might even be.  and i know busan doesnt have its own US embassy.  can you hint to where the post might be?

chonga
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Joined: 05/25/2010
Re: FAQ for scooters and motorcycles in Korea

Google is your best friend....

It's located in City Hall. 

http://busan.usconsulate.gov/

 

 

stevenea
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Joined: 03/01/2012
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

 

2. After obtaining your license, make sure your scooter comes with all appropriate papers to transfer ownership.  50cc and under may not have papers, which is OK.  Anything above 50cc needs papers to register.  If the seller does not provide these, it means the bike is either stolen, was in an accident or could have simply been lost.  Either way, you need the papers.

Can you be a bit more specific than "all appropriate papers"?

hamesworth
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Joined: 11/28/2011
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

He probably means these:

Get the following paperwork when buying your bike or scooter (not necessary for new bikes or scooters under 50cc). 1. Certificate of Ownership (ingam jeungyeongso), 2. Title Transfer Form (yangdo jeungyeongso) and 3. Release of Ownership Letter (sayong peji jeungyeongso).

 
What happens if you buy a bike and it doesn't come with these?  Is there any way to register it or get new papers?
kimmy pocket
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Joined: 07/26/2010
Re: FAQ for scooters and motorcycles in Korea

http://kimmypocket.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/how-to-get-a-korean-drivers-...

I blogged about getting my driver's license switched to Korean, including how and where to meet at the U.S. Consulate in Busan. Hope this link helps!

kimmy pocket
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Joined: 07/26/2010
Re: FAQ for scooters and motorcycles in Korea

http://kimmypocket.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/how-to-get-a-korean-drivers-...

I blogged about getting my driver's license switched to Korean, including how and where to meet at the U.S. Consulate in Busan. Hope this link helps!

kimmy pocket
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Joined: 07/26/2010
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Maybe this was written already, but I didn't see it. I have a 50cc scooter with no papers. I know that now all scooters need to get a license plate on them, but how do I do that without any papers? Do they just forgo the paperwork now since so many scooters don't have papers, or do I need to go somewhere and get some paperwork made for my vehicle? Please help, someone!

kimmy pocket
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Joined: 07/26/2010
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Maybe this was written already, but I didn't see it. I have a 50cc scooter with no papers. I know that now all scooters need to get a license plate on them, but how do I do that without any papers? Do they just forgo the paperwork now since so many scooters don't have papers, or do I need to go somewhere and get some paperwork made for my vehicle? Please help, someone!

alljokingaside
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Joined: 03/26/2010
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Has anyone gone through getting a Korean driver's licence without trading it in? At first glance (at the US reqs), it seems easier and quicker just getting the Korean DL rather than trading it in

PS since my bike's only 125cc, I'd only need to get a standard DL

chonga
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Joined: 05/25/2010
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Yes, you need the 폐지증 (it shows that the previous owner has cancelled his registration to the bike) which is most important.  The other papers aren't always needed but I found when I purchased a second hand bike that this was the most important document. 

Original ownership document in itself is a different thing because it just shows that the person paid taxes due on the bike.

If you don't have these, it's really difficult to get them again.  Because it could be a stolen bike and your district office doesn't want to be responsible giving you a title if the former owner shows up and says "hey, that's my bike!" and now it's in your possession.

Word of advice. Don't buy one without the papers BUT if you do, have the seller's driver's license and their national ID card photocopied and take that to the district office.  They should have on file who the most recent owner was.

Hope this helps.

Good luck!

chonga
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Joined: 05/25/2010
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Sorry for the late response.... didn't know anyone actually read my thread.

If you don't have papers, don't worry.  Most of these 50cc secondhand scooters around Busan don't.  Just take a Korean friend to your 구청 (district office) and tell them you want to register it but never got papers.  Most likely they'll just give you the license plate (~5,000won) and ask for your insurance certificate which you need to prep beforehand.

Good news is that the insurance on these 50cc bikes should be very cheap.

 

Good luck 

chonga
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Joined: 05/25/2010
Re: FAQ for scooters and motorcycles in Korea

Cool, thanks for posting this.

I wanted to do something similar in more detail but was lazy :(

Anyway, I hope more people can contribute, especially positive or helpful things.

chonga
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Joined: 05/25/2010
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Just kind of a rant. I try to be positive most of the time but.....

The prices that foreigners THINK they should pay for a bike is kind of silly.  I know I know, your buddy has a Hyosung Mirage or a Daelim Daystar or some 125cc scoot that is basically at the end of its life and they paid something like 500,000 - 800,000 so then a lot of foreigners think that if a bike is more than this, it's too much.

Mirages, Delfinos, Beavers and Daystars can be found on passo.co.kr CHEAPER than what other foreigners are selling them for AND they come with papers. 

So when you actually see a good quality scooter or bike and it's selling for over 1 or sometimes 2 million won, it is not because it's overpriced.  You're paying for what you get. So, please, if you're in the market to buy a bike, don't let this whole bit influence your buying decisions.  If you find a clean, low mileage and well maintained 50cc bike and it's more than what you expected to pay (because of what other foreigners said), do your own research.  If you want to only spend 400,000 you're gonna get a bike or scooter whose value is around just that. 

Advice: Don't listen to Joe "I know it all" Smith who has been in Korea for 5 years and doesn't speak a lick of Korean.  Again, I cannot stress this enough do your OWN research. 

/rant ^^

stay positive.

 

 

 

mcgowandiarmuid
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Joined: 11/06/2010
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Hi, Chonga.

Great work on writting this it is very helpful. I am looking to buy a bike at the moment preferably a 125cc, I have my Korean license and I just wanted to make sure that I won't have to get a heavy motorcycle license. 125 cc falls under a normal Korean license,yes? 

Thanks.

chonga
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Joined: 05/25/2010
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Yes, you're good to go with your Korean license.  No heavy motorcycle license necessary.  Good luck riding and be safe.

teachkorea21
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Joined: 05/24/2010
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Yea, I agree with your rant...

But it goes both ways. there is a guy who is advertising a 2008(4 years old)bike for 500,000 won less than a new one. 

So as you said, people do your homework, learn some Korean if you are going to do something like drive or ride a scooter/bike.

 

Good on ya for your info... 

AlexCarolina
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Joined: 12/13/2011
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Hey guys, any suggestions for motorcycle shops that may speak some English?

Anonymous
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

I bought a 400cc bike about three years ago with no papers. I have a Korean drivers license but no bike license. What are my options?? Thanks for any help you can give me.

 

 

ejh357
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Joined: 06/02/2012
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

I can't give up my drivers license as I am constantly in places where my U.S. license is required as well as that it is a requirement to have it for the company I work for.

I am only here for a few months a year but need a scooter/motorcycle. (Which I will transport with me). When I was in Pusan a lot it didn't matter but now I am in Gwangyang, Yeosu & Chinhae a lot & Pusan on the weekends.

Is there anyway that  I can get the Korean Motorcycle licence without turning in a licence from somewhere else that I will have to again get i a couple of months. This seems to be another idiotic, knee jerk reaction to a problem in which the simple solution is either: Honor liceses from some elsewhere's but not others, for the others, require a local test and license or just require alocal license. Of course, since I show up on a ship and leave on a ship, my ship is my address, which gives the Legendary Beauraucrats a fit no matter where I am at. I live on ships year round but can aquire a local address (as I did for Costco).

Suggestions, anyone?

Anonymous
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Your only option seems to be:

A) Take and pass the Korean driver's license/motorcycle exam and receive the license which is separate from the process of handing in your license and swapping it for a Korean one.

B) Pull the foreigner card if you happen to get checked

Joker_32
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Joined: 12/14/2011
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Get a replacement license in your home state and then turn that in when you are here...

Thinking outside of the box just comes naturally for me~

Anonymous
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

You can use your home license plus an International License. I don't really know why Koreans want that as it is not printed in Korean and the average cop on the street can't read English.

Anonymous
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Lot of good info here, but I need a clarification:

1) I have a 49cc Daelim Cordi. I have had insurance since I bought it new last summer.

2) Will I need to take the riders course to register the scooter?

3) Is my stateside license with international drivers license adequate to ride this scooter (I will not be getting a larger bike).

4) Is my US military ID card good in lieu of a resident foreigner card?

Thank you for your time.

You can contact me directly at brenda@jadephoenix.org

Anonymous
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

Question: I have a 125cc scooter that I bought almost 2 years ago from a scooter shop in Pohang. I do not have papers for it. 1. Can I still register and insure it? 2. Is there any possible way to get papers?

chonga
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Joined: 05/25/2010
Re: FAQ for Scooters and Motorcycles in Korea

It's going to be tough to register it without any papers.  First, the district office you go to register it as has no idea if it's a stolen bike or if it belongs to someone other than you, so they'll need some proof.

So the best way to get papers is to contact the previous owner or the shop that you purchased it at.  If that doesn't work, you can take it to your district office to see if they can get any info on it.  

The difficult part is that to become owner of it, you need the 폐지증 which cancels ownership of the previous owner.  Without it, technically, the person on the registry is still the owner.

 

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