A tale of the long wait…..swapping a foreign licence for an Irish one

No more driving the road hoping not to get stopped, I finally have an Irish driving licence! It only took 7 week and a lot of stress but it’s finally here. Here is all you need to know about swapping a foreign licence over to an Irish one.

What do I need to do?

  1. You need to make sure that your country has an agreement with Ireland. You can check on the NDLS wesbite, https://www.ndls.ie/holders-of-foreign-licences.html#holders-of-licences-issued-by-recognised-states
  2. Go to the embassy of that country and get a translation. This cost me 3 euro in the South Korean embassy in Dublin. It was a painless process that just involved showing my Korean license, filling out some forms, presenting my i.d. and I had it within 20 minutes.
  3. Go for an eyesight exam. Print the eye test page from the NDLS website, take it along with you and get your eyes tested. Then get it signed and stamped. As a student, this cost me 20 euro. * Be aware that in some towns, it can take 2 weeks to get an eye test.
  4. Fill out the application form. You can find this on the NDLS website.
  5.  Gather the following documents Passport, Birth certificate, bank statement, Public Services card. This covers the requirements to prove photographic identity, evidence of residency, evidence of address and evidence of PPSN. You can find the acceptable forms of documents here, https://www.ndls.ie/images/Documents/DrivingLicence/driver-licensing-in-ireland-a-guide.pdf
  6. Go to the nearest NDLS centre and hand in these documents. It is advisable to book an appointment online to avoid long delays. The payment fee is 55 euro.
  7. In the case of people swapping a South Korean driving licence you need to decide if you wish to keep the D categories on your licence. If you do, you need to print the medical check forms and complete that. If you don’t, you need to fill out the Surrender forms. You can find this on the NDLS website.

My story:

I applied for my Irish licence on the 4th September. I walked in off the street with everything you could possibly need and sat with the lady. She had never swapped over a South Korean one and was thoroughly confused by the entire thing. She rang everyone and their neighbour and even though I had all the required documents, it took 2 hours to complete the application!!!! I didn’t mind too much as she kept apologising. She warned me that it would probably be sent back as she really didn’t know what to include with the application and she gave me a number to call in three weeks to check up on the progress.

Almost 3 weeks later, I receive an email from NDLS stating that their was an issue and could I possibly send on the original translation from the embassy. Understandable. As it was my only copy, I sent it by registered post which added a cost of 6 euro to the bill. I thought this was the only issue and expected my licence in a week or two.

Two weeks later, I receive another email from NDLS asking if I want to keep the D categories on my licence. If I do, then I need to get a medical check. If I don’t I need to fill out the surrender form. By this stage, I had had enough. It was a vicious cycle of no one knowing anything. So I called them to voice my opinions. It takes about 5 minutes to be connected while they go through every option under the sun. Then I was put through to a lady and I explained the situation. Was it too much to be told of all the issues in the one go? I don’t have the time or money to be filling out and posting additional forms. She was not at all sympathetic so I decided to write a complaint via their website but surprise surprise, I still haven’t received a reply.

I had no choice but to send the surrender form and finally today, after 7 weeks of waiting and 85 euro out of my pocket, I have the licence!!!!!

My tips:

  1. Don’t be in a rush for it because this is a long process.
  2. Don’t expect people to know what their doing, because clearly they don’t.
  3. Be ready to send on additional forms.
  4. Send the original of the embassy form but keep a copy yourself.
  5. Walk in off the street at a random time and you might be lucky enough to find a space. It worked for me even though I had been told that there weren’t spaces for 2 weeks.

Feel free to comment on your experiences or ask any questions!

Selling your car in Korea- all you need to know.

It’s all well and good to find a buyer for your car, but where do you actually go to transfer ownership and so on? That’s what I asked also. After some research, I found that if you live in Goyang (like me), you go to the Goyang Car Registration centre, here.

What this website doesn’t tell you is what you actually need going along with you. First, you need to visit the centre with the person you’re selling to.

The seller needs;

  • Alien Registration Card
  • Registration of the vehicle. You got this with the car.

The buyer needs;

  • Proof of insurance for the car.
  • Alien Registration Card.

In Goyang, there is not one word of English to help you on your way. So, just do your best at the information desk and the lady should present you with these two documents;

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Fill them out ( yes, they’re in Korean). I think one is a sale document and one is transfer of ownership.  Top section is the sellers information and the bottom is buyer’s information. Then there’s a bit about the car information.

Then get 3,000won and walk to the bank and get this;

11720583_10153005068818016_429922831_nTake a number and wait your turn.

When you get seen to, they will check the car for outstanding fines. Unfortunately for me I had a few. You MUST pay them before you can proceed.

When everything is clear, you simply show these documents and the ones listed above and it’s done. The new owner will get a new registration form that has the car in their name.

I recommend you bring a Korean speaker with you in case you have fines to pay. We had to call so many people to find out how much the fines were and the bank account to pay the money into. Nobody at these places spoke English.

I also recommend you get the number the second you walk in the door. We originally had number 75 and they were only on 43 or something like that. Fortunately, some old guy gave us his number because we were foreign.

You need to check where to do this in your area. My coteacher told me it was city hall and when we called them they said that Goyang had its own car centre. Other areas like Seoul may have different places so be sure to get someone to call and find out.

Overall, after the fines were paid, the whole thing was really easy. If you have any questions, just let me know!

The nicest things.

With this being the season of goodwill, I decided to do a blog on the nicest things anyone has done for us since we got to Korea.  We all too often hear the bad stories, the negative things so hopefully this will do a little to help us remember the good people and great experiences we’ve had.

Huge thanks to everyone who got involved and shared their stories. I asked them all,

“What’s the nicest thing anyone has done for you since you moved to Korea?’

“My vet let my dog stay in the hospital for free so she could get the proper treatment”

“Strangers who give me lifts home”

“Me and my friends got lost hiking once and this Korean man came up to us and showed us the way down. It took hours. We slowed him down completely and probably ruined his day but he never complained”

“I went to Everland on my birthday with my boyfriend and a Samsung Representative gave us free passes”

” I was in dance class one day and my shoe broke. Not wanting to miss anything, I took of my other shoe to dance in my socks. I was randomly paired with a Korean partner I’d never met before. When he saw me return with just my socks, he went and took his shoes off. I was puzzled at first but concluded that he didn’t want me to feel embarrassed being the only one dressed so unconventionally. Chivalry alive and well”

“Sometimes, older Koreans who are sitting in seats will kindly take my bag and hold it for me while I commute”

“When our group, consisting of 12, missed the last ferry from Udo to Jeju, some Korean locals helped us by calling a fisherman who was willing to bring us to Jeju in his small boat. He had to make two trips to get us all back”

“I asked for directions once and the person walked with me for 30 minutes so I would find my way”

“One rainy day, I didn’t have an umbrella so I was walking in the rain. A Korean woman stops her car, comes after me and gives me hers.”

“An adjumma gave me her corner seat on the train”

“When I fell and got hurt getting off the subway, two Korean teenagers picked me up and helped me to the subway station office”

“A man ran after me as I got off the subway to return my T Money card that had fallen out of my pocket. It wasn’t even his stop so he had to wait until the next train”

” My first year in Korea, I had a tonsillectomy. A friend from my church, who had access to the base, bought me 100$ worth of soft foods as a surprise”

“I left my brand new guitar on the subway. As my friend and I were discussing how to get it back on the platform, a man gets off the train going in the opposite direction to give it to me” He had seen what had happened, gotten off, came back just to give it back to me”

“I came home last week to find the Christmas tree and lights had been put up”

“The friends who I’ve made in Korea who check up on me when I’m sick and bring me things that they know I like without being asked”

“My director doing things for me because I can’t speak Korean”

“I went to school sick and that night my co teacher arrived with enough chicken soup to last a week”

“An adjumma pulled a loose thread from my Mac jacket once”

“Once, I let some weights fall on my head in the gym and my head was bleeding really badly. The gym owner took me to hospital himself, waited while I had all the x rays and got my head stapled. Then he paid for the hospital bill and drove me home”

“My first director used to take us out to try different foods and then pay for it”

“When my grandmother died and I stayed in Korea, my friends all rallied round and made meals and came over to keep me company so I wouldn’t be alone”

“My friends being there for me day and night when I found out my brother had cancer”

“I fell over and sprained my foot once while out with friends. I decided to go to the emergency room but couldn’t walk. Someone I barely knew at the time helped me hobble up the street, found a taxi, found the nearest hospital and wheeled me around the hospital until I got my cast on”

“When I moved in to my first apartment in Korea, one of my neighbours ( a foreigner) that I didn’t know at the time, came over and showed me how everything in the apartment worked”

“Someone I didn’t know walked me from Noksapyeong to Itaewon once, when I got really lost”

“Tourist information services called the post office when I left my ipod there and arranged for someone to look after it until I could collect it.”

“The post office realized I was a foreigner and arranged for a special delivery so I didn’t have to carry my heavy oven back home.”

“I think it was my second week here in Korea, so I had no phone or anything. i went to Ilsan to meet a friend and when it came time to go home i get on the wrong bus, i soon realise after hours of traveling, especially when everyone had gotten off the bus and i was the last person still sitting there while the bus had come to the end of its line. the bus driver came up to me and he managed to communicate with me in his very limited broken english where i wanted to go. i told him where i lived, and he checked on his phone for the closets bus station and bus times. unfortunately at that time there were no more going in that direction. he then called off his own phone the tourist helpline and i managed to speak to a translator to explain where i lived. the bus driver then called to find where the closest taxi stand was, drove me there in the bus and put me safely in a cab. it was the best first time getting lost in Korea and i was never afraid of catching buses again”

” My first year here I was partnered with a public school and I was pretty much alone my first year. The maintenance guy at my school lived right next door to the school and he took me in as a long lost son. I have spent chuseok, his mothers 3 birthdays and his son’s going into the army. I have been there for him when It was his wife’s birthday. He has invited me to church which i had to refuse, and also I’ve gone to the sauna with him and his family. He is really nice, and he continues to be nice to me, and I hope that I always have him as family. He is so familiar with me he smacked me on the hand for not learning Korean fast enough just recently. He feeds me and I have never had the chance to repay him, and sometimes feel really guilty when I visit him because I don’t bring anything, or do anything to help him. Although i remember I helped him farm some of his crops the first year, but that was it.”

” When I was in the U.S embassy applying for my damned f-4 visa I had not reconciled the fact that I needed american money for the fees within the embassy after being given the run around where I was told I wouldn’t actually need the money and I could use an assortment of the other instruments to give them money. However after that not working, I finally go to the front of the line where I needed to pay for this particular document, and after realizing that I did in fact not have the appropriate method of payment and that i would have to go out of the embassy to go to a bank and then would have to reschedule another appointment and then come back like 2 weeks later a very nice chinese woman asked how much i required. i said about 60 dollars u.s and she promptly gave it to me. i asked how I could re-pay that and she said don’t worry. that was super nice.”

If you want to add a story to this list, just leave it as a comment below and I’ll put it in!