Secretary of State, South Korea officials sign mutual driver's license agreement

Move will assist job providers, economic development

LANSING, Mich.--Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and Consul General Chul Huh of the Republic of Korea today signed a mutual driver's license agreement expected to assist students, travelers and business people.

''For the governments we both serve, and the freedom they embrace, such an agreement serves the flow of commerce and economic prosperity while building continued collaboration,'' Johnson said during a signing ceremony at the Michigan Capitol. ''We value the contributions made by South Korean businesses here in Michigan and are very pleased to partner with them to assist our own Michigan business leaders now living and working in that country.''

''Last year, our two countries took yet another historic step toward co-prosperity and strengthening the existing alliance,'' said Consul General Huh. ''With today's agreement, those who hold Korean or Michigan driver's licenses can get their licenses issued conveniently when they are in each other's jurisdiction.''

The agreement grew out of discussions between Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and South Korean leaders. Under the agreement, which goes into effect immediately, South Korean citizens over the age of 18, who are lawfully present in the United States and have established residency in Michigan, will be able to exchange their valid South Korean driver's license for a Michigan driver's license.

The applicant will have to pay the requisite fees and pass a vision test but will not be required to submit to a knowledge or road test. Similarly, Michigan drivers, age 18 or older, who are residing in the Republic of Korea and who possesses a valid Michigan driver's license, will be allowed to exchange their Michigan license for a South Korean driver's license without being required to pass a knowledge or road test.

Johnson said Secretary of State officials and traffic safety experts carefully examined driving skills and qualifications required in South Korea and established they were comparable to the skills and qualifications required in Michigan. Michigan has only one other reciprocity agreement in effect, with Germany, but is currently working with French leaders as well.

South Korea is the United States' seventh largest trading partner and has a strong economic presence in Michigan, which is home to more than 60 South Korean companies and 24,000 Korean-Americans. Michigan companies with business operations in South Korea include Kellogg, General Motors, Lear Corp., Delphi and TRW Automotive Holdings Corp.

Members of the South Korean delegation attending today's ceremony included Deputy Consul General Joonho Cheon and Consul Jong Wook Han. Also in attendance were Dennis Muchmore, Gov. Snyder's chief of staff, and Michael Finney, president and CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.

For more information about the Michigan Secretary of State, visit www.michigan.gov/sos. Sign up for the official Secretary of State Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/MichSOS and Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/MichiganSOS.

Customers also may call the Department of State Information Center to speak to a customer-service representative at 888-SOS-MICH (767-6424).

Published: Mon, Feb 20, 2012

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