News / 2020.12.17

How to get a scooter driving license in one day - A quick guide to make the best use of your foreign driving license

Holding a driving license can be one of the tools for foreign residents to improve their lifestyle in Japan. On this article of YOLO NEWS we will share some information on how to get a driver’s license for small motorbikes (50cc displacement or less). This will be helpful for those who are considering getting a driver’s license. 

■ For those with a driving license valid in their home country - The two ways to get a scooter driving license in Japan

Those who hold a license issued in other countries must know they cannot use it in Japan. Driving in Japan, without first obtaining a license or switching your license to a valid one, is against the law. 

If you have a driving license issued in your home country, you have two options to drive in Japan:
① Obtaining an International driving license
② Switching your country license with one valid in Japan

※If you do not hold a driving license, please check this other YOLO NEWS.

① Getting an International driving license

An International driving license is a document issued on the basis of a license released outside of Japan. Foreign residents holding a non Japanese driving license need to get an “International driving license” to drive in Japan. Many use this special driving license on business trips or while travelling in Japan. Residents coming from member countries of the Geneva Convention can drive in Japan by carrying an International driving license and Passport.   

《Where to get an International driving license》

Application for International license can be accepted at the following places:
・Driver’s license section at every police station
・Driver’s license centers
・Driver's license examination centers 

《What do you need》

(1)The driving license from your home country (while still valid) 
(2)An ID photo not older than 6 months (5cm×4cm, with face well visible, flat background and no frame)
(3)A proof of overseas travel (Passport or flight tickets)

《One year validity》

International driving licenses are valid up to one year. Once the period of validity is passed, you can return your expired license to the closest driver’s license center
or driver's license examination center.

Source: httpsbike-news.jppost139975

②Converting your license to a valid one in Japan

The condition for converting to a valid license in Japan is holding a valid visa issued in your home country and that was valid for more than 3 months while you were in your country.

Also, nationals from the following countries are exempted from written and practice exams:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, The Netherlands, U.K.

《Where to convert a driving license to a valid one in Japan》

Application can be accepted at the following places:
・Driver’s license centers

《What do you need to convert your license》

《What do you need to convert your license》
(1)The driving license from your home country (while still valid) 
(3)An official translation of your driving license
*For those who need the official translation, you can apply for one at any of the driver’s license centers. Application fee is 3.000yen (+ 500yen for application via post). Check more information at the Official JAF page.
(4)A copy of Residence track
(5)Your Residence card, or alternatively a Special Permanent Resident Certificate
(6)An ID photo not older than 6 months (5cm×4cm, with face well visible, flat background and no frame)

《Application fees》
For scooters: 1.500yen (Ordinary license: 2.550yen, Large, Medium, Semi-medium: 4.100yen / Others: 2.600yen
Delivery commission: 2.050yen
Writing commission: 200yen

■The benefits you get with a scooter license in Japan

Getting a driving license is not a hard task, and you can get one in a single day. With a scooter license, you can access more opportunities.

For example,
①Access places you wouldn't get to by public transportation
Japan has many places hard to reach with trains and buses, like intricate city streets or areas not connected to the main roads. With a small motorbike, you can visit beautiful places you never had the chance to see. 

②Save money on transportation fees
With a scooter, you will spend money only on gasoline, usually cheaper than train commuting fees. With some hundreds of yen you can cover a train trip that would otherwise cost 1.000yen. 

Moreover, there are other benefits in the general mobility you will get.

【Use your scooter driving license for work!】
Find here a selection of jobs requiring a scooter license:

YOLO News is YOLO JAPAN's new media blog service, bringing you all the best tips, trending information and interesting trivia about living in Japan as a foreign resident. 

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