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.

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

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.
  • You can apply for a Japanese translation on the Japanese Translation of Foreign License site.
    • 1.Applications are accepted 24 hours a day*1 by cashless transaction*2 from anywhere in Japan.
    • 2.Translations can be picked up through an online printing service at convenience stores.

      *1 Payment only accepted by credit card, in advance.
      *2 Excluding system maintenance days.

Sample translation issued by JAF

1) Japanese translation before December 2017.

A Japanese Translation

2) Japanese translation from December 2017 or later
(copy proof paper).

3) Japanese translation from November 2022 or later
(security print).

*As of October 2022, translations for security printing 3) will be issued for pick-up at convenience stores or sent by post on copy proof paper 2) in unavoidable circumstances.

What you need to prepare when applying for a translation

  • [Required Documents]
    • 1.Image data of the front and back of a current valid foreign driver's license.
      *JAF may not be able to translate the following types of driver's licenses.
      • 1)Licenses with handwritten sections that are illegible (e.g. the upper left part of the back side of a German driver's license).
      • 2)Paper driver's licenses in particular, with illegible stamps or stamps overlapping the folds of the license, making them illegible (e.g. French driver's license).
    • 2.Image data of documents required for the country of issuance.
      *Only necessary when specially requested by JAF.
  • [Translation fee/Other]
    Please see Online Application for Japanese Translation.

Application for Japanese Translation

  • In general, applications for Japanese translations of foreign driver's licenses can be submitted online through Application for Japanese Translation.
  • If you have any questions regarding the issuance of translations, please check the FAQ first, before contacting us.

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.

Please refer to the "Driver's License Procedures" section of the National Police Agency's website for information on the procedures for switching to a foreign driver's license and links to the websites of prefectural police departments.

Handling of Personal Information

JAF uses personal information obtained through translation and issuance services only for the purpose of properly carrying out such services and will not disclose the information to a third party without the consent of the individual concerned. However, if there is a request for disclosure of such information from a court of law, police, or other public agency in accordance with laws and regulations, the information may be provided to the authority. Please see JAF's Handling of Personal Information (Privacy) for details.