Convert Your Drivers License to Japanese License

My apologies I’m not going to write for the whole world but this probably goes for most countries. So, how do you convert your license to a Japanese one?

Step 1, you have to get a translation of your license at the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) nearest to you. You can print out the application form here. You have to bring 3 things to the JAF:

1) Drivers License (Duh…)
2) ¥3,000
3) Alien Registration Card

The translation will be issued on the same day except for citizens of some countries. So upon getting the translation, you are set to go apply for the conversion.

Step 2, go to your local police webpage to locate the license issuance centre. You have to bring:

1) Copy of Drivers License (Front/Back)
2) Copy of Passport (Photo page and VISA page)
3) Copy of Alien Registration Card (Front/Back)
4) License Translation (From JAF)
5) Photo taken within the last 6 months (3cm x 2.4cm) – not passport size
6) ¥2,400 (for Singaporeans taking Auto Transmission test)

Of course, do bring the original license, passport and alien registration card. As for the photo, you can get it taken at the centre for probably around ¥500. Once you get to the application window, they will tell you what to do from there. And on the actual test date, you’ll have to pay another ¥1,000 to use the car.

I took my first test today and failed due to 信号無視!Yes, I didn’t stop completely at the red light (in the driving centre) because the light was flashing, so I thought it was broken. Turns out, they deliberately set it to red light permanently and I guess the only way was to have it flash. Also, I was misguided by the written test examiner who told me to copy the test routes in front of counter 17. It was supposed to be counter 19! So, today I had no idea which was the correct route to go. =  = And yes, you have to memorize the routes. The examiner will not tell you where to go.

The written test is only 10 minutes, 10 questions. 7 correct to pass. The actual practical test is probably around 10 minutes and you need 70 points to pass. Yep, so I got my first immediate failure ever. The irony is, I can still drive with my International Driving Permit.

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