Transfer your country’s license to a Japanese license
Now that the Republic of Estonia has joined the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, it is possible to drive in Japan with a convention approved International Driving Permit. This means that you may no longer drive in Japan with an Estonian driver’s license accompanied by a Japanese Translation. If you plan to drive in Japan, please consider other means such as obtaining an International Driving Permit under the Geneva Convention.
*Click here for information on International Driving Permits
【Handling of Japanese Translation Services for Overseas Driver’s Licenses Due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak】
*In an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, we strongly recommend the application for issuing the Japanese translation for foreign driver's license by mail to protect yourself from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
*As a general rule the instant issuance of translations offered at JAF service counters will be suspended, and the service will instead be offered only by mail.
link to: https://english.jaf.or.jp/contact/international-services
*Please note we do not issue the translations on the same day.
Switching a foreign driver’s license to a Japanese license
- A driver’s license issued by a foreign administrative office can be switched to a Japanese license (hereinafter referred to as “Gaimen Kirikae) by applying to the Driver’s License Center.
- To apply for Gaimen Kirikae, applicants must fulfill the following two conditions:
- 1.The applicant’s foreign driver’s license must be valid (expired licenses cannot be transferred).
- 2.The applicant must be able to prove that he or she stayed in the issuing country for at least three months in total after obtaining the license.
- General Gaimen Kirikae procedure at the Driver’s License Center
- 1.Submission of application documents
- 2.Aptitude test
- 3.Traffic rule knowledge check
- 4.Driving skill check (The applicant is asked to actually drive a vehicle at a course in the Driver’s License Center.)
- 5.Issuance of the Japanese driver’s license
*For information on the documents to be submitted, application fee and tests, please contact the Driver’s License Center that has jurisdiction over the region in which the applicant resides.
About the Japanese Translation of Foreign Driver’s License
- One of the documents required when applying for Gaimen Kirikae is a “Japanese Translation of Foreign Driver’s License”issued by JAF
- Please note that the Japanese Translation does not assure that the license will be switched. For the details of Gaimen Kirikae, please contact the Driver’s License Center that has jurisdiction over the region in which you reside.)
- Please note that JAF is not able to issue the translation of a foreign driver’s license in certain cases. In addition to JAF, some foreign embassies and consular offices in Japan may issue the Japanese Translation of driver’s licenses.
For embassies and other representative offices in the country, please refer to the List of Embassies and Consulates on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website.
Application for Japanese Translation
Japanese translation of a foreign driver’s license can be obtained at JAF Branch Offices
issuing Japanese translation of driver's license located across the country.
Applications via mail are also accepted when the applicant cannot visit the office.
*We strongly recommend the application by mail to protect yourself from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
*Even if you apply in person, the translation will be sent to you by mail.
*For in-person assistance, please be sure to make an appointment before arriving.
Introduction of advance reservation system for branch office visits.
Please have the following required documents ready. If you are unable to apply in person, you may have a representative apply for you. Power of attorney is not necessary for proxy applications.
1. Application form for Japanese Translation of foreign driver’s license:
Be sure to read the guide before downloading and printing the application form for use.
Download Application Form
* The application forms are written in the respective language and Japanese.
- 2. A driver’s license:
Please make clear copies of both the front and back of your driver's license (in color, if possible) so that the information is legible.
*For in-person assistance, please make an appointment in advance and bring your original driver's license with you. We will make a copy and return it to you immediately.
*A Fukuye is only required for license issued by People's Republic of China. A Official Receipt is only required for license issued by Republic of the Philippines.
*For an Israeli driver's license, an English certificate from the local driver's license issuing authority or embassy is required.
- 3. A photocopy of a residence card or a resident record or a passport:
This is only required for the following cases (1) to (3)
(1) Syrian Arab Republic driver's license: Passport
(2) A driver's license issued in certain countries, including the Republic of Korea, the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Union of Myanmar:
Residence Card or Resident Record
(3) A driver's license other than (1) and (2) above, written in Arabic or Russian: Residence Card or Resident Record
4,000 yen per translation.
*Please note that JAF will not refund the translation issuance fee even if the application for Gaimen Kirikae is rejected by the Driver’s License Center. A fee of 4,000 yen is also charged for re-issuance when the license is lost or for other reason.
Days required for issuance
As of now, we do not issue the translations on the same day. The processing time varies depending on the issuing country, condition, content of the driver’s license, and JAF Branch Office. For details, please contact your nearest Branch Office in advance.
Application by mail
Applications via mail are also accepted when the applicant cannot visit the office
- Please send the above required documents 1 to 3 (2: not the original, but clear color copies of both the front and back of your driver's license) together with the issuance fee of 4,000 yen by cash registered mail to the JAF branch mailing address. Return postage is not required.
- JAF will pay for return postage of your translation. However, please note that if it is undeliverable within a certain period of time and the translation needs to be redelivered, you will be expected to pay for the redelivery. If you request express delivery, please contact the JAF branch in advance, as you will be responsible for the charge.
- Applications are only accepted from Japanese addresses, and the return address must be within Japan and match the address submitted on the application.
- It takes approximately one to two weeks from application to delivery (about two to three weeks to obtain translations for the driver’s licenses listed in 3. of "Documents required?".
* Please note that JAF does not accept the application (including the transmission of issuance fee) from overseas and that JAF does not send the Japanese Translation to overseas.
Other important notice
Please note that JAF does not offer translation services for International Driving Permits. The effective period of the Japanese Translation is the same as that of the original driver’s license. When the license is renewed or its inscriptions are changed, such as an address change, a new Japanese Translation must be obtained.
JAF uses the personal information obtained through its translation issuance operation only for the purposes of performing the operation explained above properly, and it never discloses such information to third parties unless the person in question has given his/her explicit consent. Please note, however, that there are cases where JAF entrusts the required personal information to an organization to which JAF consigns issuance of the translation. Moreover, if an official body such as a court or the police requests JAF to disclose or provide such personal information by law or regulation, we may provide the information to the relevant body.Please check here for other personal information handling.