Switching from Foreign Driver's License to Japanese Driver's License
If you hold a valid foreign driver's license and meet certain requirements you may be eligible to obtain a Japanese driver's license with partial exemption from the usual license examination procedures.
Firstly your application forms will be screened.
After the application screening, you need to pass written examination and driving test before finally obtaining Japanese drivers license.
- Application on reservation basis
- Application for transfer of foreign driver's license is accepted on phone reservation basis.
- Please call us in advance to make your reservation.
- Please dial 075-631-5181(Driver's License Examination Center) and ask for extension 222,223.
- Calls are attended in Japanese only, from 4 pm to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. (Except public holidays, Year-end and New Year holidays)
Designation of application date
At the time of making reservation, date and time for document screening (On weekdays, from 9:00a.m.to 9:30a.m., 1:00p.m.to 2:00p.m.) are fixed.
Place of application
Kyoto Prefectural Police Driver's License Examination Center, Main Building, 1st floor, Counter 2or4
- Upon receiving necessary documentations, document screening, interview and knowledge test are conducted.
- Driving test will be conducted based on reservation only.
*To make your reservation, please come to the counter 5 on the 1st floor of the main
building between 11:00/11:20, 13:00/13:20 or 16:00/16:20.
- Applicants must pass the driving test within 6 months of the knowledge test. If you fail to pass the driving test you have to start with the document screening all over again.
- To those countries applicants whose knowledge test are exempted, we shall do the documentation examination and the aptitude test in the morning.
Licenses shall be issued in the afternoon to those applicants who pass those tests.
An interpreter is required
- Your interview is conducted in Japanese only. If you have problems with the language,make sure to be accompanied by an interpreter.
- Your interpreter will be asked to identify himself with ID documents, such as drivers license, health insurance card, mynumber card, passport, student ID. Notification card accompanying mynumber card is not acceptable, in principle.
- You are a holder of a valid foreign driver's license.
- You have stayed for 90 days or longer in the issuing country after having obtained the foreign driver's license.
- You must be aged 16 or older to obtain a license for a regular motorcycle or moped.
- You must be aged 18 or older to obtain a license for a semi medium-size vehicle, regular vehicle,large motorcycle, large special vehicle or towing vehicle.
- You must be aged 20 or older to obtain license for a medium-size vehicle.(*1)
- You must be aged 21 or older to obtain license for a large-size vehicle.(*2)
- You must be registered as a foreign resident of Kyoto Prefecture.
- To those who wish to change foreign driver’s license to Japanese medium or large vehicle license, you must first change to Japanese semi medium-size vehicle license or regular driver’s license then obtain from foreign country in question the history of your license in order to certify the eligibility to change to medium or large vehicle, then again you must do the procedure to change to medium or large vehicle driver’s license.
(*1)Eligibility for a medium-size vehicle license
- You must be aged 20 or older.
- You must have held a valid Japanese driver's license for a semi medium-size vehicle, a regular car or large special vehicle for 2 years or more (excluding any period of invalidity).
- You must have held a foreign driver's license equivalent to a Japanese semi medium-size vehicle, regular car or large-special vehicle license for 2 years or more.
(*2)Eligibility for large-size vehicle license
- You must be aged 21 or older.
- You must have held a Japanese regular car, semi medium-size vehicle, medium-size vehicle or large-special vehicle license for 3 years or more (excluding any period of invalidity).
- You must have held a foreign driver's license equivalent to a Japanese regular car, semi medium-size vehicle, medium-size vehicle, or large-special vehicle license for 3 years or more.
Your foreign driver's license that is valid at the time of application.
Bring your old license if you have one.
- Driving record (Certificate of Driver's License), if your foreign driver's license does not show the original date of issue, or if this is unclear.
- Official Receipt, Malacanan(Red Ribbon） if you are a holder of Phillippine Driver's license.
- Chinese National Identification and Basic information(kihon shinsoku) if you are a holder of Chinese Driver's license.
- Certificate of Driver's License according to each states, if you are a holder of Australian driver's license.
- According to the result of document screening, you may be requested to present certificate issued by your consulate or the authorities concerned.
Bring your residence card if you are a mid or long term resident.
Japanese translation of your foreign driver's license
You must provide a certified translation of your license. This can be done only by an embassy or consulate of the issuing country in Japan, the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF), ZIPLUS Co.Ltd. or the authorities officially designated（Taiwan,etc.）.
(JAF phone number:072-645-1300 Osaka Translation request on the website.)
(ZIPLUS Co.Ltd.:Translation request on the website.)
Certificate of Residence showing your nationality
- Certificate must be issued within 6 months. Photocopies are not allowed.
- Address on the family register must be written in the Certificate.
- Foreign residents are required to bring certificate of residence on which nationality, visa status and length of stay are written. Certificate is not acceptable if period of stay is expired.
- Those foreign residents who don't fall under the Basic Resident Registration law are kindly asked to make an inquiry to the Driver's License Examination Center.
- Certificate is not acceptable in principle, if identification number is written.
Your passport is required to prove that you were living in the issuing country when you obtained your driver's license and that you stayed in that country for 90 days or more after obtaining your license. Please bring expired passports along with your current passport. (If necessary, Certificate of entry issued by Immigration Control Bureau.)
You must provide a photo taken not more than 6 months prior to your application.
The photo should be 2.4 W x 3.0 H cm, showing you front-facing, from shoulders up, without a hat or cap, with a plain background.
Your Japanese driver's license (if you hold one)
If you hold a currently valid or expired Japanese driver's license, please bring it with you.
- Document screening (Applicants who pass this proceed to further steps.)
- Verification of Knowledge (Applicants who hold a national driver's license issued in one of designated number of countries are exempted from the verification of knowledge )
- Verification of Driving skill (Applicants who hold a national driver's license issued in one of designated number of countries are exempted from the verification of driving skill )
- Aptitude test
* Applicants with a national driver's license issued in any of the following countries are exempted from the verification of knowledge and driving skill (28countries・areas).
Iceland, Irland, United States of America(State of Indiana(only driving test is exempted),State of Ohio, State of Oregon,State of Colorado, State of Hawaii, State of Virginia, State of Washington, State of Maryland), United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, Australia, Netherlands, Canada, South Korea, Greece, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Slovenia, Czech, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, Hungary, Finland, France, Belgium, Poland, Portugal, Monaco, Luxembourg, Taiwan
(As of Apr 24th 2023)
- ¥4.100 for large-size, medium-size and semi medium-size vehicle
- ¥2,550 for regular vehicles
- ¥1,500 for mopeds
- ¥2,600 for other vehicles
If you need to take the Verification of driving skill, an additional charge of ¥1,450 must be paid, for vehicle usage.
¥2,050 for a single license (and ¥200 for each additional license issue)
VERIFICATION OF DRIVING KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL (SCREENING)
Verification of knowledge
- To proceed to the driving technique stage it is necessary to score 7 or more correct answers out of 10 questions. Note that you will be charged for the knowledge test even if you fail the test.
- Note that you will be charged again for the knowledge test each time you retake it.
Verification of driving skill
- Driving test will be held at the Kyoto Driver's License Examination Center where you will be asked to drive over a designated course according to the license type you are applying for. To pass the test you must score 70 or more out of 100points.
- Note that if you fail the verification of driving skill, you will be charged again for the test and vehicle usage each time you retake the test.
- If you have committed any traffic violations in Japan (even while using an international driver's license) you may not be allowed to take the examination.
- If you have had your driver's license revoked (excluding revocation under the Beginner Driving Period), if how have had a license application refused, or if you have been banned from driving for more than six months, you will be eligible to apply for a license examination only after the penalty period has ended and you have attended driver reeducation classes within the past one year.
- You may be required to submit additional documents.