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Japanese Driver's License and Expired Home Lincense

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  • Japanese Driver's License and Expired Home Lincense

    Hello all,

    I am interested in obtaining my Japanese driver's license but I may not be able to do it for another few months and by then my American license will have been expired. Can your home license be expired when getting your Japanese license?

  • #2
    No, it can't.

    You have 4 choices:

    1. Exchange your license before it expires.

    2. Renew your current license. Be sure to keep the old one, or get a letter from your DMV stating the original issue date.

    If 1 and 2 don't work out:

    3. Apply for a Japanese license in the usual manner. This will include written and driving tests. Cost is moderate but a lot of time is involved and it will be on weekdays, all morning or all afternoon.

    4. Go to a driving school. Cost is about Y200,000, time is flexible including evenings and weekends.

    Comment


    • #3
      Yeah, you should get on the phone to your home DMV and ask about special circumstances allowing you to renew your licence while abroad.

      Beg if you have to.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by rtfm View Post
        No, it can't.

        You have 4 choices:

        1. Exchange your license before it expires.
        You don't exchange your license. You use your U.S. license to enable you to bypass the normal procedures required for getting a J-one (a driving test and truncated written test are still required for U.S. citizens). You will still get to keep your U.S. license.

        Comment


        • #5
          While technically correct, "exchange" is the common term and more understandable to future readers for whom English may not be their first language (much like the common misuse of "visa" here). Japan is a rare case in that it lets people hold more than one driving license at a time.

          And in reality, you do give them your overseas license and they give you a Japanese license. "Exchange" is also used extensively on the license centre's website.

          Comment


          • #6
            I got it. But out of curiosity would I be able to use an international driver's license? I've never used one and I know an international driver's license is good for one year. I simply go home and get it in about 1 hour versus several weeks to get the renewal. Of course I would try to get the renewal but just asking. Is use of the international driver's license permitted in my situation as I've been in Japan a few years already.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rtfm View Post
              While technically correct, "exchange" is the common term and more understandable to future readers for whom English may not be their first language (much like the common misuse of "visa" here). Japan is a rare case in that it lets people hold more than one driving license at a time.

              And in reality, you do give them your overseas license and they give you a Japanese license. "Exchange" is also used extensively on the license centre's website.

              While technically correct? It's just correct. Exchange as you used it is wrong and misleading--it implies you give up your foreign license. The fact that is is use extensively on a J-site adds even more credence to the fact that the term is wrongly being used.

              ex change

              [iks-cheynj]

              verb (used with object)
              1. to give up (something) for something else; part with for some equivalent; change for another.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by karateman View Post
                I got it. But out of curiosity would I be able to use an international driver's license?
                An international license is nothing more than a translation of your current license. If your government-issue license has expired then the IDP is not valid.

                In Japan, the IDP + your non-Japanese license may be used for one year after your arrival. Looks like that moment has already passed for you.

                Why does it take weeks to renew your license at home? I can appreciate it takes weeks to *receive* the piece of plastic but it should be simple enough to walk in to the DMV and apply. Someone else can mail it to you in Japan.
                Last edited by rtfm; 2013-08-24, 09:35 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You seem to be pretty confused about a lot of things.

                  International driving permits are nothing but a copy and translation of your current license (no matter its origin) which allows you to drive in all countries signatory to the international driving permit treaty. The international license is worthless without the valid license to back it up.

                  You must renew your American license to get a Japanese license. States vary on what is required for this and some may let you do it over the internet. You might also try claiming you're out-of-state and have lost it, in which case most DMVs have a procedure for sending you another one without you having to be physically present. Further, make sure you keep your expired license as the folks at the Japanese licensing center want to see that you have held a license for at least one year. Your old license will be sufficient to prove this. Otherwise, you'll need special paperwork from your DMV and it's a pain in the butt.

                  I have personally gone through hell with this. I was trying to renew my WA license after moving to Japan. The mail man refused to deliver it because I used my ex-girlfriend's mother's house as my address (needed to have a WA address for a WA license, go figure) and my name wasn't on the box (I should have called the post office to confirm, my bad). They wouldn't mail it to a non-WA address. When I called they said that in order to avoid fraud there was a no-exceptions rule whereby any online interaction dealing with licensing which ends in failure necessitates that the next interaction be done in person.

                  Long-story short, last winter I paid approximately $2000 for a license renewal after all was said and done (plane tickets, etc). Do your research or it can and will get messy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by karateman View Post
                    I got it. But out of curiosity would I be able to use an international driver's license? I've never used one and I know an international driver's license is good for one year. I simply go home and get it in about 1 hour versus several weeks to get the renewal. Of course I would try to get the renewal but just asking. Is use of the international driver's license permitted in my situation as I've been in Japan a few years already.
                    an international license in a permit to drive abroad based on the license issued in your home country.... for as long as your home license in valid AND any other hurdles the country your are visiting puts in place. in the case of Japan, that international license is valid for the first year you enter Japan. so NO, you could not get one because you have been here too long, and NO, it would only be valid until you US license expires. (Cost = ten bucks, done at any AAA office.)

                    Once you acquire a Japanese driving license, you can use that to obtain an international license and (hopefully) use that to drive anywhere you visit.

                    as stated before: Get you US license renewed anyway you can (some states will do that by mail...) and get a Japanese license before the US one expires!!

                    in my mates case, he switched his home address to that of his parents, and had the new license forwarded on to him in Japan. Helped in the long run.
                    Last edited by well_bicyclically; 2013-08-24, 09:44 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hijinx View Post
                      While technically correct? It's just correct. Exchange as you used it is wrong and misleading--it implies you give up your foreign license. The fact that is is use extensively on a J-site adds even more credence to the fact that the term is wrongly being used.
                      I agree completely. However, "visa" and "exchange" are heavily misused here, at the respective government offices, and on about 10,000 websites dealing with the topic. No amount of nit-picking is going to change that fact. People will be typing "japan drivers license exchange" into Google because that is the expected verb and common practice elsewhere (remember, Japan is the exception to the norm when they return your other-country license). They will also search for "japan permanent resident visa" (and every other status of residence) for the forseeable future.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by karateman View Post
                        Hello all,

                        I am interested in obtaining my Japanese driver's license but I may not be able to do it for another few months and by then my American license will have been expired. Can your home license be expired when getting your Japanese license?
                        Why the "may not be able to" ? Do it now. How does the new catch phrase go in Japan, now? ¡‚Å‚µ‚åI

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rtfm View Post
                          (remember, Japan is the exception to the norm when they return your other-country license).
                          Is that so? The UK doesn't require anyone to hand over their other licences and I don't understand why anyone would demand that. Or, in fact what good it could do. You might have physical possession of the licence but you can't overrule its validity. All the person has to do is apply for a replacement from the issuing authority.

                          I take it the US requires this. What about other countries? Is it really the norm?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you're from the U.S., I think at least half of the states have an online renewal process. That's what I did for my last renew. It's fast, easy, and you pay the renewal fee by credit card. They use your current picture for the new license.

                            In my state you can only do that once before having to do it in person so the picture isn't outdated. I've heard there are still other ways, just maybe more time consuming.

                            So if you can, go ahead and order a copy of your driving record that states the year your license was first issued (if your state doesn't already print it on the license) along with it and have someone back home send both.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Brown Cow View Post
                              Is that so? The UK doesn't require anyone to hand over their other licences and I don't understand why anyone would demand that. Or, in fact what good it could do. You might have physical possession of the licence but you can't overrule its validity. All the person has to do is apply for a replacement from the issuing authority.

                              I take it the US requires this. What about other countries? Is it really the norm?
                              In Canada it is not legal to possess more than one operator's license. To obtain a local license you must give them any and all current licenses. The website uses the words "exchange" and "surrender" frequently. One would assume they return it to the issuing authority along with a note that the user has a new license now.

                              If you have more than one license you could, for example, use the local one for insurance and show the other one to the police, thus escaping the point penalty and possibly the fine as well.

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