Renting a car is relatively easy, as there are numerous car rental companies in Korea, including Lotte Rent-a-Car and SK Rent-a-Car. There are many rental company branches throughout Korea and the services are clustered around the major traffic points such as Incheon International Airport, Gimpo International Airport, Jeju International Airport, provincial airports, KTX train stations, major railway stations and express bus terminals. Branch information can be found on each car rental company's website.
Requirements for Renting a Car
1. Driver's license, passport and credit card
In order to rent a car in Korea, you must have a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) or a valid driver's license issued in Korea. An IDP allows citizens of a foreign country with a valid driver's license to drive while in Korea. You must obtain your IDP in the same country that issued your driver's license. Some car rental companies require both the IDP and the local driver's license (i.e., driver's license issued by the country of residence), so it is advised to check the rental requirements of the relevant companies in advance. In Korea, vehicles carrying up to ten passengers require a Type 2 driver’s license, while larger vehicles accommodating eleven to fifteen passengers require Type 1. For IDP holders, the type of vehicle you are permitted to drive will depend on the classification stamped on your IDP.
* An International Driving License will NOT be accepted. Driver must either have a valid International Driving Permit or a license issued in Korea.
* Major categories of IDP: Type A - two-wheeled vehicles / Type B - vehicles with 8 seats or fewer that weigh 3.5 tons or less / Type C - freight trucks that weigh more than 3.5 tons / Type D - vehicles with 9 seats or more
A passport is necessary for identification purposes; a copy of your passport may also be needed to complete your request. Vehicle rental fees must be paid with your own credit card.
- 1. The full name listed on your International Driving Permit (IDP) and your passport must be identical. If the names differ, your driving permit will not be accepted.
- 2. International Driving Permits (IDP) recognized in Korea are only those issued by a member state of the Geneva Convention or the Vienna Convention. Your IDP can be used for up to one year after entering Korea (the IDP itself is valid for one year from the date of issue).
- China is not a member state of the Geneva Convention or the Vienna Convention, but an IDP issued in Hong Kong or Macau is accepted in Korea. IDPs issued anywhere else in China are note accepted in Korea.
- Click here to check the member states of the Geneva Convention (English)
- Click here to check the member states of the Vienna Convention (English)
- Road Traffic Authority: www.safedriving.or.kr (Korean, English)
2. Driver Qualifications
The following are based on SK Rent-a-Car and Lotte Rent-a-Car's rental requirements. However, most Korean car rental companies have more or less similar requirements. The necessary qualifications for large and premium vehicles will vary by company so we recommend contacting the rental companies directly for details.
- Small or medium cars: must be 21 years or older with at least one year of driving experience
- Large or premium cars and mini buses: must be 26 years or older with at least three years of driving experience
- 15-seat buses and larger: must be 30 years or older with at least five years of driving experience
* Payment by debit card accepted only on Jeju Island; for all other rentals, payment must be made by credit card.
* Foreigners can only rent vehicles with 8 seats or fewer with Type B or higher IDP.
- Small or medium cars: +82-1588-1230 (Korean, English) / Press 8 for English service
- Large or premium cars and mini buses: must be 26 years or older with at least one year of driving experience
- 15-seat buses and larger: direct inquiry required
* Official driver record required to rent in the case of holding a motorcycle license.
* Foreigners must provide valid IDP, passport and credit card. For those that have exchanged their original license from their home country for a Korean license, rental is available without the one year driving experience.
3. Additional Driver
One additional driver is allowed to be added to the rental. Both drivers must visit the rental company in person in order to register for insurance purposes. There is no fee for adding an additional driver to the contract.
Baseline rates for car rentals include the basic general insurance. However, the risk of damage to or theft of the car is not included in the coverage. Instead, renters can arrange for this independently or purchase an optional insurance or protection plan from the rental company, including coverage for an additional driver. Any damages to the vehicle will be covered by the insurance policy, but the renter will still be contractually liable to compensate the rental company for the loss of use (unavailability of a rental car and consequent loss of revenue by the rental company due to damage or theft). The per-day loss-of-use charge is calculated as 50% of the car's daily rental fee. For instance, if a damaged vehicle with a daily rental rate of 50,000 won takes three days to repair (50,000 x 3 = 150,000), the renter must pay a 75,000 won (50% of 150,000) loss-of-use fee.
5. Rental Procedure
- 1) Make an inquiry and consultation at the rental car company
- 2) Present driver’s licence to rental company agent for confirmation and car rental agreement
- 3) Inspect the car's condition and the amount of fuel with the agent before signing the car rental agreement (please check carefully for any pre-damage to the car before rental)
- 4) Use the rental car
- 5) Inspect the car's condition and the amount of fuel at the end of your rental period with the agent
Information on Major Car Rental Companies
- Phone inquiries: +82-2-1599-9111 (Korean, English) / Press 7 for English service
- Website: www.skcarrental.com (Korean only)
- Locations: Most major cities in Korea
- Phone inquiries: +82-1588-1230 (Korean, English) / Press 8 for English service
- Website: www.lotterentacar.net (Korean, English)
- Locations: Most major cities in Korea
Jeju-do Car Rental Business Association
- Location: Jeju Island
* International tourists can rent a car after going through certain rental procedures at the designated desk located at Jeju International Airport.
This page was last updated on September 29, 2020, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here.