Washington Easing Driver's License Rules for Koreans

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Washington state will issue driver’s licenses to people holding Korean licenses with a simple eye test, waiving written and driving tests. Korea will do the same for people holding Washington licenses.

Seoul’s National Police Agency said yesterday it signed a deal with the Northwest state’s motor vehicle authority on Tuesday for reciprocal acknowledgement of driver’s licenses.

Washington is the third U.S. state to make such a deal with Korea after Maryland last December and Virginia last March.

The agreement is most practical for people moving from one place to the other, not just visiting.

A Korean license holder merely has to go to a Washington State Department of Licensing bureau and pass an eye test. The NPA said the deal only applies to licenses for passenger vehicles. The police said they’re trying to reach similar agreements with other U.S. states and other countries. “We expect such agreements to help Koreans swiftly settle in the countries they emigrate to,” an official of the NPA said.

Among the 30 major countries with significant Korean populations, 10 do not acknowledge Korean licenses.