Group 1: No Tests Required

If you meet certain requirements you may be eligible to obtain a Japanese driver’s license with simplified testing procedures involving submitting certain documents (listed below) to determine your eligibility. Once they are approved there will be a vision and color recognition check.

For Group 1 foreign license conversion is a short bureaucratic paperwork process that takes a couple of weeks and one or two visits to the License Center.

You are a member of “Group 1” if you meet all of the following criteria:

Your license was issued in one of these countries:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, Hawaii (USA), Maryland (USA), Virginia (USA), Washington (USA ), Ohio (USA), Oregon (USA), Colorado (USA), Indiana (USA, Indiana licenses will still take the written test but are exempt from the driving test).

  1. The license is valid (not expired, etc.)
  2. You can prove residency in that country for a minimum of 90 days (can be non-consecutive) after license issuance
  3. Hold a valid visa to stay in Japan
  4. Be registered as a foreign resident at your local city, town, or ward office

If you are a member of Group 1, you are not required to take either the written test or road test to convert your license.

Required Documents

  • Valid foreign driver’s license – and previous licenses, if you have them; if the license does not show the date of issue, or if the license was recently renewed, it may be necessary to submit additional documentation.
  • Japanese translation of foreign license – available from the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) or (sometimes) at the embassy or consulate of the issuing country in Japan.
  • Residence (Zairyu) Card – must have an up-to-date address.
  • Resident Certificate (Juminhyo) – issued within the past six months – must show Nationality.
  • Passport – and any expired passports; the passport is required to prove that you were in the country that issued your license for at least 90 days (can be non-consecutive) after you obtained your license.
  • Photo – one photo, 3 x 2.4 cm; must be taken within the last six months.
  • Previous Japanese license (if you have one).

Examination Process

After your documents are approved, and you have passed the eye test your license will be issued to you.