Citizens of the following countries who have held a valid driver’s license in their home country for more than three months can convert their foreign driver’s license to a Japanese license and are exempt from the practical and written tests that would otherwise apply.
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Netherlands, U.K.
Your foreign license can be converted to a Japanese license at one of the official driver’s license centers. You will need to take the following with you:
- Foreign driver’s license
- Official translation of your foreign license. This can be done at your embassy or at a branch of the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) (a list of branches can be found here and the JAF branch in Tokyo is located here in Mita Ward). This costs ¥3,000 (see here for more information).
- A copy of your residence record (住民票)
- Passport (to prove that you resided in your home country for more than three months after obtaining your license)
- Passport photographs (these can be taken at the center)
Note that the whole process takes 3-4 hours and it is advisable to get there first thing in the morning to avoid further waiting. Citizens from countries other than those listed above who have held a valid driver’s license for more than three months are required to complete additional paperwork and take a short written and practical examination.
Drivers from any country who have not held their license for more than three months cannot convert their license to a Japanese one and must go through the same process as any other Japanese learner to obtain a driver’s license.