Buying a Car in Korea

Category : Surviving in Korea
Nov 28, 2014

Buying a Car in Korea


Required Documents:

First things first: there are a few essential things you’ll need to present upon buying a car (either new or used) in Korea, including:

  • Your alien registration card (ARC)
  • A copy of your passport
  • A certificate of residence in Korea. You can get one of these at a dong sa mu so /동사무소 or a local government office. This is only for used car buyers.


As you can see, the required paperwork to buy a car in Korea is surprisingly minimal. Unlike many other countries, there aren’t many hoops to jump through for this process in Korea. Even if (for whatever reason) you don’t have your ARC, you can still get a Korean friend or co-worker to vouch for you.



If you buy a car in Korea, you’ll need to pay at least 9% in taxes. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • 7%: Registration tax (must be paid within 15 days of purchase)
  • 2%: Acquisition tax
  • You may also need to pay some government bonds, however, this all depends on the size and model of your vehicle. They will be between 4%-20% of your car’s purchase price.

Your auto taxes will need to be paid every three months. You can do this at any bank.


Registering your used vehicle:

You must register your vehicle within 15 days of purchasing it. If you request it, the car dealership will take care of this for you. Some charge a fee while others don’t. The registration fee will be 5% of the vehicle’s price.


Other things you’ll need:

  • Registration application form
  • ARC + passport
  • Inspection sticker
  • Proof of valid vehicle liability insurance
  • Temporary tag number/license plate (lets you drive for 10 days)
  • Vehicle certificate (if you cannot prove ownership with this, then you’ll also need an ownership certificate).


Odds and Ends

Here are some other important things to keep in mind when you buy a car in Korea:


  1. You will need a valid driver’s license to operate a motor vehicle in Korea. Read WorknPlay’s article on Applying for a Korean Driver’s License to learn more.
  2. You will need a vehicle inspection every two years (unless your vehicle is brand new and received an initial inspection at the time of purchase). The fee is 15,000KRW, and you can read more about the procedure itself on the Korea Transportation Safety Authority website.
  3. Like many countries, you cannot modify your vehicle to have things like monster truck wheels or glowing license plates. Safety first, people!
  4. As always, with the exception of Itaewon, most garage or auto repair centers won’t have an English speaker on-hand. However, most can read English, and if your car is a domestic model, even better. If it’s a major issue though, it’s best to take a Korean friend along with you to avoid any possible miscommunications.
  5. With the purchase of your vehicle, you will need to obtain auto insurance. Visit WorknPlay’s article about Auto Insurance for Foreigners in Korea to find out more.


Tags : Car. Transportation.

Gabrielle interned as a Content Creator for Work'n'Play during her exchange trip to Chung-Ang University in 2012-2013. She graduated from Vancouver Island University in May 2014 with her BA in Global Studies. She is now a Master's student at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Ottawa, Canada. The things she misses most about her year in Korea are: going for makgeolli + jeon with friends, exploring Seoul's new and old hidden treasures and getting to practice Korean every day. You can connect with her on Twitter at @MsGabrielle or email her at