Personal Vehicle

Good to Know

Red Lights - Use extra caution when driving in Korea, because while most rules are similar to U.S. rules, Koreas drivers follw their own norms. In this regard, some drivers do not respect red lights. Amber lights are like a hiccup between green and red lights, meaning they last a couple of seconds only. The light is green, then there is a flash of amber before it goes to green.

Passing on the Right - Passing on the right is common in Korea. If you are getting in or out of a taxi or bus, take extra precaution.

Turns (Left or U) - Unprotected left turns are not allowed at most intersections. If a left turn is allowed, it cannot be made on a green light, only on a green turn light.

Stopping/Parking in the Right Lane - Stopping with hazard lights or parking in the right lane is normal behavior here in Busan so be ready to stop or avoid cars on the right side of the road.

Toll booths - Tolls are paid on most major highways and bridges and generally cost only a few thousand won. Payments may be made with Korean won, T-card (transportation or metro card) or Hi-pass (similar to the US EZ-Pass). T-cards may be purchased at most convenience stores and the Hi-pass may be purchased at highway transportation offices.

Driver's License

Red Lights - Use extra caution when driving in Korea, because while most rules are similar to U.S. rules, Koreas drivers follw their own norms. In this regard, some drivers do not respect red lights. Amber lights are like a hiccup between green and red lights, meaning they last a couple of seconds only. The light is green, then there is a flash of amber before it goes to green.

Passing on the Right - Passing on the right is common in Korea. If you are getting in or out of a taxi or bus, take extra precaution.

Turns (Left or U) - Unprotected left turns are not allowed at most intersections. If a left turn is allowed, it cannot be made on a green light, only on a green turn light.

Stopping/Parking in the Right Lane - Stopping with hazard lights or parking in the right lane is normal behavior here in Busan so be ready to stop or avoid cars on the right side of the road.

Toll booths - Tolls are paid on most major highways and bridges and generally cost only a few thousand won. Payments may be made with Korean won, T-card (transportation or metro card) or Hi-pass (similar to the US EZ-Pass). T-cards may be purchased at most convenience stores and the Hi-pass may be purchased at highway transportation offices.

Active-duty military personnel and family members (age 18 or older) who are planning to drive a Privately Owned Vehicle (POV) must get a USFK driver’s license.

However, you may use your stateside driver’s license to legally drive in the Republic of Korea for the first 30 days after your arrival. Your U.S. driver’s license should be current for your entire tour in the Republic of Korea.

To receive a USFK driver’s license, drivers must pass a written test on local traffic rules. You must call ahead to schedule an appointment at either: Driver’s Test Office on the Busan Storage Center (BSC), Bldg T-1335, DSN: 315-763-7779. You will need to bring your valid U.S. driver’s license to the office at the time of the test.

Motorcycle and moped owners must complete a military Motorcycle Safety Course to receive a USFK Motorcycle or Moped License. It is recommended that you consider taking this course and get documentation before you arrive due to the limited availability of the course in the Republic of Korea.

Vehicle Registration

All E-7 and above service members are authorized to register a POV. Service members E-6 and below must receive approval from the CNFK Chief of Staff through an exception to policy letter. Only one POV and one motorcycle/moped are authorized per family for command sponsored personnel unless an exception to policy is approved.

Service members can ship one POV from their current duty station or purchase a vehicle from the local economy upon arrival in the Republic of Korea. All vehicles must pass an inspection, must be insured for Korea, and must be registered at the Vehicle Registration Office at the Busan Storgae Center(BSC)Vehicle Registration Office, Bldg 1311 (DSN: 315-763-7742).

The first step to registering a vehicle is to get temporary registration, documents and plates from the BSC once you receive notification that your POV has arrived in Korea. If you are shipping your POV from the U.S., it will go to the Vehicle Processing Center on Camp Henry in USAG Daegu (DSN 315-768-8381). You must take your temporary registration with you to pick up your vehicle. More information about shipping your POV is available at https://www.pcsmypov.com/

After pickup, you must obtain a vehicle safety inspection from either the Car Care Center at Camp Henry (DSN: 315-768-8164) in Daegu or the BSC in Busan. Once completed, take the inspection form, vehicle registration, and original customs forms to the Vehicle Registration Office at the BSC to order your license plates.

License plates can take up to one week to process and must be installed at the BSC Vehicle Registration Office. Vehicle registration must be completed at the BSC to comply with Korean legal policy requiring all vehicles operated in the host nation to be registered at the local district agency.

For more information on Vehicle Registration, please see the USFK Reg 190-1 Motor Vehicle Traffic Supervision at https://goo.gl/XpZC6W.

Buying a Car in Korea

Vehicles are available for purchase from PCSing Sailors and Soldiers throughout the year. Most of the cars that come on the market are older Korean models such as Hyundai Excel or Sonata.

Check the bulletin boards in Busan HQ or at the post Exchange on USAG Daegu and Fleet & Family Town Center on CFAC or online at one of the many Facebook group pages for personal ads. All vehicles must be registered and follow the same procedure and guidelines as a shipped POV.

Gasoline

The Busan Storage Center has a government fueling station for government vehicles and POVs. They offer diesel and standard grade gasoline. Payment must be made in U.S. dollars and the nearest ATM for U.S. dollars is at Pier 8.

There is a fueling station for government vehicles and POVs on CFAC in Chinhae. They offer diesel and standard grade gasoline at the set government rate for government vehicles and POVs. Payment may be made with your credit card.

You can purchase fuel in town on the economy, but make sure you get the proper grade for your vehicle. Korean gas is measured and priced in liters and is more expensive.

Driving in Korea/Travel Apps

The US Navy nor any part of the US Federal Government officially endorses the below Companies and their products or services.

  • Waze: The world's largest community based navigation app includes traffic information and local gas station prices.
  • Daum: Works very well in Korea and includes bus, metro, walking and driving navigation maps.
  • Naver Maps: Also works very well in Korea.
  • Google Maps: Does not have the same functionality as it does stateside (Naver and Daum may work better). It does, however, show you local bus routes (if you click on the transportation icon) and allow you to refer to the "blue dot" as you orient yourself in Busan.
  • Travel highlights via Subway: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_EN_3_6.jsp?cid=1984913
  • Busan City Metro: Shows all subway routes-allows you to save routes. http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/ATR/SI_EN_3_6.jsp?cid=1984913

The US Navy nor any part of the US Federal Government officially endorses the below Companies and their products or services.