South Korea and Wisconsin sign driver license reciprocity agreement

Date sent: Feb. 16, 2017

Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) officials signed a reciprocity agreement with the Republic of Korea which allows drivers holding a South Korean driver license to exchange it for a Wisconsin driver license without having to take the knowledge, sign and road tests. Wisconsin drivers staying longer than one year in South Korea will have the same courtesy to obtain a South Korean driver license.

DMV Administrator Kristina Boardman and Jong-Kook Lee, Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chicago, signed the agreement today at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation headquarters in Madison.

“Wisconsin welcomes many South Korean students and businesspeople who come here to study or work with Wisconsin-based companies. We’re pleased to be able to grant a Wisconsin driver license for those with an extended stay,” said Kristina Boardman. “Being able to exchange licenses with minimal testing requirements will also benefit Wisconsin citizens who temporarily or permanently reside in South Korea.”

Drivers holding a South Korean driver license will be able to exchange it for a Wisconsin driver license if they are at least 21 years old, their paperwork shows they will be in Wisconsin for at least one year and have at least six months remaining. DMV will work with the consulate in Chicago to verify the driving status of applicants.

Wisconsin has similar reciprocity agreements with Germany and France. Such agreements recognize driving experience from countries with standards as stringent as Wisconsin’s.

The authority for allowing licensed drivers to drive in other countries is based upon numerous international agreements. Foreign tourists staying up to one year may drive in Wisconsin using their foreign driver license if they are from countries who signed the Geneva Convention and the Regulation of Inter-American Motor Vehicle Traffic, currently 183 licenses. After one year, to obtain a Wisconsin driver license, foreign drivers from countries without a reciprocity agreement must take the knowledge, sign and road tests.

As more individuals travel and live abroad, Wisconsin DMV is on the forefront of working with other states and national organizations to explore standardized driver license documents, practices and procedures.

For more information, visit the Foreign driver license reciprocity page on the DMV website or contact:
Corey Kleist, Wisconsin DMV program chief
(608) 266-0054, corey.kleist@dot.wi.gov