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[Must see! ] A guide to switch a foreign driver’s license to a Japanese license | All procedures, conditions, necessary things to bring etc.


If you have a foreign driver’s license, you can switch it to a Japanese driver’s license at the Driver’s License Center in each prefecture.
In fact, recently the number of foreign drivers using this “”method of foreign-exempt transfer””, (hereinafter referred to as “Gaimen Kirikae””), is increasing in Japan and the license center is very crowded every day.

Here, we will show the procedures, conditions, pre-requisite documents, and costs involved in making the transition. We will explain in more details more than any other similar web sites so
Once you read this section, you will have a clear understanding of each steps of how to transfer the foreign licenses.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Procedures of “Gaimen Kirikae”; switching your license from foreign driver’s license to a Japanese driver’s license
    • 1. Submission of application documents
    • 2. Aptitude test
    • 3. Knowledge confirmation of traffic rules
    • 4. Confirmation of driving skills
    • 5. Acquisition of a Japanese driver’s license
  • 2. Privilege! No test is required for people from 28 countries! !
  • 3. Summary

Those Japanese who have obtained a driver’s license abroad and return to Japan, require switching their foreign driver’s license to a Japanese driver’s license in order to drive on public roads in Japan.
In addition, foreign nationals are licensed in their own country, and if you live in Japan for a long time, you can switch to a Japanese driver’s license.

Generally, to obtain a driver’s license in Japan, it is necessary to go to a driving school and learn about 60 hours (driving skills, academic classes).
There is no doubt that it will be easier to transfer the license, as it takes at least two weeks and costs too.

Let’s start how to transfer the license

1. Procedures to switch from foreign driver’s license

  • 1. Submission of application documents
  • 2. Aptitude test
  • 3. Knowledge confirmation of traffic rules
  • 4. Confirmation of driving skills
  • 5. Acquisition of a Japanese driver’s license

Generally step.1 to 3 are done in 1 day. The step.4 driving test will schedule some other day to take the exam. If you pass the test, you will be issued a driver’s license on the same day.

Let’s look in detail one by one. In particular, you need to be careful because they don’t accept your application even if one is missing.

1. submission of application documents

I. submission of application documents
If you are a Japanese, you need a resident card listed in the permanent address, but if you are a foreigner, please get a resident card that describes your nationality.
It is possible to obtain at the “public office” of the municipality where the resident card is placed.
If you can not go to the office during the reception hours, there is also a way to ask your proxy for acquisition. You can also get it by mail or convenience store.
If you want to get it at a convenience store, you need a My Number card or a Basic Resident Register card. Submit what was created within 6 months before the application date.

If you do not register your resident card, please contact the licensing center and prepare what you need for the submission.

II. Valid foreign driver’s license

A foreign license must be valid. In other words, you can not switch from an expired license.
In addition, if the license issued date is not listed on the license, you will need documents to prove the license issued date.
In addition, depending on the country of acquisition and acquisition status, there are documents to prepare, so please inquire at each driving license center in advance.

III. Proof photo

3 centimeters long × 2.4 centimeters wide (1 sheet)
Color, hatless (except for religious or medical reasons)
The front, upper thirds, no background, what was taken within 6 months before application is submitted. Even a picture of a smile with visible teeth is rejected.

IV. In countries where you obtained a license, you must prepare an evidence that you stay more than three months after obtaining the license.

If you have an old passport, please bring it all. If not, please obtain an entry and exit record certificate.

V. Driver’s license in Japan

If you have received Japanese Driver’s license before, please bring it with you. If you have an international driver’s license, please bring it with you as well.

VI. Glasses, etc.

Car and motorcycle licenses require a vision of at least 0.7 for both eyes and at least 0.3 for single eyes.
For those who have single vision less than 0.3 or those who can not see one eye, the vision of the other eye must be 150 degrees or more on the left and right, and the vision should be 0.7 or more.
If you are not certain, you can receive a vision test for free at a glasses shop etc.

VII. Translation

It is necessary to bring translated document which created by the embassy in Japan of that country (for Taiwan’s license, Taiwan Japan Association) or the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF).
Translations made by individuals or translation agencies are not permitted. JAF prepares Japanese translation for 3,000 yen.

2. aptitude test

The traffic regulation applicable test is formed with an eyesight test (0.7 or more with both eyes, 0.3 or more with one eye) and a color discrimination test (being able to identify red, blue and yellow).
The hearing test is not performed, as long as you follow the instructions of the examiner.

3. Knowledge confirmation

The written exam is to confirm the all the traffic rules in Japan
There is no need to study or prepare in advance.
If you are not sure, you may want to study traffic signs etc. in advance.
The exams are all multiple-choices, with 7 or more out of 10 questions passing the correct answer. It is also available in languages ​​other than Japanese (English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, Persian).

4. Confirmation of driving skills

This driving test is the biggest difficulty in switching from foreign licenses. Skip the details here, but it is not a test to check that driving can be done, it is scored according to the verification criteria, and the result is a pass / fail.

5. Japanese driver’s license acquisition

congratulations! !

2. congratulations! !

※ If you have a driver’s license from the following nationals, the written exams and driving test will not be performed when switching to a Japanese driver’s license.
If you have the necessary documents ready, you can get a Japanese driver’s license.

Iceland, Ireland, United States of America (Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington only), United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Austria, Netherlands, Canada, Korea, Greece,
Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Hungary, Finland, France, Belgium, Portugal, Monaco, Luxembourg, Taiwan

3. Summary

How was it? Although it is a bit complicated, if you complete the above process, you will be able to obtain the world’s best Japanese license.
I hope that the readers will be able to successfully obtain a Japanese driver’s license. Please enjoy Japanese life with safe driving!

Let’s switch the driver’s license to Japanese

Switch to Japanese license

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to ask.

Business hours:
Weekdays 9: 00-20: 00 Saturdays
and Sundays 10: 00-19: 00

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