Drive with a foreign license (For individuals with driver’s licenses issued in Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco and Taiwan)

【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.

Driving in japan with a foreign drive's license

  • The Road Traffic Law stipulates that individuals with driver’s licenses issued in the above countries/regions are allowed to drive vehicles complying with Japanese laws and regulations only when they carry both the original license issued in the above countries/regions and a Japanese Translation of such issued by JAF, or foreign embassies or consular offices in Japan.
  • Those who drive vehicles in Japan must carry the Japanese Translation of the license with them at all times, together with the original driver’s license issued in the countries/region above.
  • The effective period of the Japanese Translation is one year from the date of entry into Japan. (For re-entry after leaving Japan, the effective period is one year from the date of re-entry.) However, conditions vary for those who registers as a resident or as a foreign national in Japan, leaves and reenters this country within three months. For details, please contact the Driver’s License Center that has jurisdiction over the region where you reside.
  • When you are driving, police may request that you present your passport to check the days elapsed from your entry into Japan.
  • You are not allowed to drive vehicles in Japan beyond one year from your entry into Japan, even if the Japanese Translation is attached to your license.
  • Those who intend to stay in Japan for a long period and drive are recommended to obtain a Japanese driver’s license. You can apply to switch your current license to a Japanese driver’s license if you have the aforementioned Japanese Translation. For details, please contact the Driver’s License Center that has jurisdiction over the region where you reside.

Japanese translation sample

A Japanese Translation (the type of Before December 2017)

A Japanese Translation

A Japanese Translation (the type of since December 2017)
*Copy Protection Paper

About the Japanese Translation of Foreign Driver’s License

  • JAF and all its branch offices around the country are designated by the National Public Safety Commission to provide the Japanese translation attached to driver’s licenses issued in Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium, Monaco and Taiwan.
  • The term of validity of the translation is the same as that of the driver’s license, which means the translation can be used until the expiration date of your driver’s license. However, you need to obtain the translation again upon renewal of your driver’s license or when an item indicated on the license is changed, for instance by change of address.
  • Please note that JAF is not able to issue the translation of a foreign driver’s license in certain cases. Some embassies and consulates in Japan provide the translation, so please inquire the respective institution.

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.

Documents required

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 Instructions

    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.

Issuance fee

4,000 yen per translation.
*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

  • Please send the above required documents 1 and 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.

* 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.

Privacy Policy

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 Personal Information Handling for other personal information handling.

Before you driving in japan

Japan Automobile Federation introduces Japan's fundamental rules of road on English webpage.
Take as look and have a safe, informed drive!