Buying a New or Used Car in South Korea

Information on buying a new or used car and the taxes that must be paid in South Korea...

Foreign residents can buy a new or used car in South Korea without any special restrictions. For all buyers, regardless of their nationality, registration of the car must be completed within 15 days of purchase. The costs of registration vary depending on the model of car.

Foreign cars are very expensive to buy compared with domestic models. South Korea has a very strong car industry. It is the fifth largest producer and sixth largest exporter of cars in the world. Most of the cars manufactured in the country are sold overseas. The industry, which is growing and is very important to the country's economy, leads in technology, design and vehicle performance. The biggest South Korean vehicle manufacturer is the Hyundai Kia Automotive Group.

  • Encar lists cars for sale in South Korea

For any foreigners wishing to buy a new car in South Korea, it is highly recommended to visit a range of car dealerships to compare prices and ranges available. Prices vary between different dealers. For a used car, checking dealerships, car magazines or websites can help to find a reliable car with a full service history. Most dealerships can assist with the paperwork for registration or transferring of ownership. Car dealerships can take care of the registration of new vehicles and insurance. In some cases, the buyer can drive the car away on the day it is bought.

Note: When buying a used car, buyers should check the original registration and any outstanding balance for taxes. This can be done at the district office (gu) where the car is registered to confirm that any car loan has been fully paid off. The buyers can check all this information on the Ecar website (in Korean)

Documents needed when buying a new or used car:

  • Foreigner registration card (if the buyer has one); without this, the buyer must have two Korean sponsors
  • Copy of passport
  • For used cars only, certificate of residence in Korea (issued by local office, Dong Sa Mu So or Gu)

Car Taxes

There are a number of taxes to be paid when buying a car in South Korea

  • Registration tax (7 percent), to be paid within 15 days of purchase
  • Acquisition tax (2 percent of the price paid for the vehicle)
  • Government bonds - the cost varies depending on the size and model of the vehicle

Selling a Car

A used car can be sold privately or through an agency in South Korea. For private sales, the seller can use advertisements in car magazines, in newspapers or on websites.

Documents needed when selling a car:

  • Foreigner registration card
  • Copy of passport
  • Certificate of residence in Korea (issued by local office, Gu or Dong Sa Mu So)
  • Certificate of vehicle registration
  • Certificate of vehicle tax payment for the last six months (issued by the district office or from the Ecar website (in Korean)