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Converting your foreign Driver's License

Converting your foreign Driver’s License

Converting your foreign Driver’s License

There are different rules and requirements for getting your driver’s license in every prefecture. So if you need more accurate information make sure to check with the licensing centre of the prefecture you live in.

Converting your foreign Driver's License

(picture source: https://www.heisei-car.jp/global/en/guide/traffic-rules.php)

There are generally two different groups that the Foreign license conversion can be divided into in Japan. It is divided into the two different groups depending on the country your license was issued.



Converting your foreign Driver's License

(picture source: http://www.jaf.or.jp/e/translation/switch.htm)

After reading this article, you may want to double check some of the information as there may be new updates with the rules and requirements for converting your foreign license into a Japanese license.

So the first group that we can categorize licenses into is licenses that can be converted directly into a Japanese license. So for people who have a foreign license that can be directly converted it is a much shorter process as you will need to just go through some bureaucratic paperwork that will usually take a few weeks to process. Then you will need to make a visit to the License Centre either once or twice. So now you may be wondering whether your license fits into this group or not. Well if your license was issued in any of the following countries then you fit into this first group:

Austria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Iceland, Greece, Belgium, France, Monaco, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Spain, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Portugal, Slovenia, The Netherlands, Sweden, South Korea, Canada, The United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Taiwan, Washington (from Jan 2017), the USA (but only Maryland from Jan 2016).

If your license was issued in any of the above countries then great! But there are a few other requirement as well. The license must be valid and you have to be able to prove that you lived in the country that it was issued for a minimum of 3 months after it was issued. If you meet these requirements then you will not have to take a written test or road test.

The second group that we an categorize your license into is a license that cannot be converted directly. For people who fit into this group you will have to do both a written test and a road test in order to get a Japanese driver’s license.

If your license was not issued in any of the countries listed above and for those that cannot prove that they lived in the country it was issued in for a minimum of 3 months after it was issued then you will be put into this group.

Converting your foreign Driver's License

(picture source: https://japandriverslicense.com/en/)

Now that you know which group you fit into you will need to know the steps that are required if you fit into the second group. There are a few different things that will need to be done if you will need to do the paper work, write the test and do a driving test so I will go on to explain those steps in my second blog for this topic.

Converting your foreign Driver's License

(picture source: http://www.nic-nagoya.or.jp/en/e/archives/6466)

Some of you may need a driver’s license in Japan because you have kids who you need to take to school or soccer practice or you may need it if you live in the countryside. But if you live in the city it is usually more convenient to take the train because driving in Japan can be a little scary with the small roads and there is also hardly any parking in the city. And if there is any parking it is usually really expensive. The transportation system in the city is made really well so you can make the best out of the transportation system here.

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