Driving abroad with a Japanese license! ~ Let’s get an international license! ! ~
For foreign nationals living in Japan
Did you know that if you get a driver’s license in Japan, you will not only be allowed to drive in Japan, but will
actually be allowed to drive abroad as well?
Collectively, this is called an international license. By obtaining an international license, you can drive in various
Here, I will explain the up-to-date information, which is useful to know when using Japanese driver’s licenses overseas.
This also could be the one of the big reason for foreign nationals to get a license in Japan.
Table of contents
- 1. What is an international license?
- 2. List of countries where the international license is valid: 12 areas and 96 countries
- 3. Usefulness of Japanese driver’s license from the perspective of foreign residents
- 4. Seven areas where you can drive without an international license
- 5. Let’s utilize Japanese driver’s license
1. What is an international license?
The International Driver’s License is a permission that allows you to drive outside the country or region where you have
a driver’s license, based on the Convention on Road Traffic (Geneva1949).
However, the international driver’s license is valid only when you have them with a Japanese driver’s license, so when
driving abroad you need to carry them with a Japanese driver’s license and a passport. Please keep in mind that the
international driver’s license is only a permission to drive oversea and will not be effective on its own.
2. List of countries where the international license is valid: 12 areas and 96 countries
The international license is valid in the Geneva Convention countries.
The main countries are as follows.
USA, Canada, Russia, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Korea, Thailand (see details here)
As of March 2019, the international license is valid in 96 countries and 12 or more special administrative regions
3. Usefulness of Japanese licenses from the perspective of foreign residents
By the way, top 5 countries whose nationals staying in Japan are the following countries.
Actually, even if you get a license in your home country except Korea, you can not switch to an international license.
If you get a driver’s license in Japan, being able to drive in 96 countries is a big advantage!
4. Seven areas where you can drive without an international license
There are some countries and regions where you can drive without the international driver’s license outside of the
In order to pursue convenience between the two countries, if you have a Japanese license and its certified translation,
you will be permitted to drive in following regions. However, in China, Vietnam, etc., there is no treaty on driving
license, so even if you get an international license, you can not drive in those countries.
~ Region ~
5. Let’s utilize Japanese license
This time, we introduced countries and regions where you can drive with a Japanese driver’s license. There are many
areas where you can drive only with a Japanese driver’s license so driving abroad is becoming easier. However, don’t
forget to drive safely following the traffic rules in each countries.
Countries where the International Driver’s License is valid
（List of countries under the Geneva Convention）
Update date: March 11, 2019
|Lao People’s Republic
|United Arab Emirates
|Central African Republic
|Democratic Republic of the Congo
|United States 78
|Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
|Papua New Guinea
|Overseas territories of France (French Polynesia etc.)
|Isle of Man
|Overseas territories of the United States (Guam, Puerto Rico, etc.)