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Australian (NSW) Driver's Licence to Japanese Driver's License

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  • Australian (NSW) Driver's Licence to Japanese Driver's License

    Hi all,

    I will be moving to Japan for an indefinite amount of time and will need to change my current licence to a Japanese one. I've done some research and one criteria of getting this done is that the applicant must be able to prove that he or she stayed in the country where the licence was issued for at least three months after obtaining the licence. In here, lies my first query.

    I initially got my full driver's licence October 15, 2012 and I went to Japan to visit my then fiancé for about two and a half weeks on December 20, 2012. That is just abit over two months until I left Australia, but for a holiday. Will this little time away from Australia matter when I change my licence? Obviously I came back and have continued to live in Australia and am currently still residing here at this time. Please let me know your thoughts on this. It is abit confusing for me.

    My second query is related to the first one. My licence doesn't have a Date of Issue on it and I've read that an official copy of my driving history record from the RTA will suffice. Other info advise to also bring my passport, and my previous licence which is not a full licence by the way, rather a Provisional one (I upgraded to a full licence October 15, 2012).

    I've also read in the Australia Embassy in Tokyo website that if I require a record of movements in and out of Australia to prove that I've resided in Australia for at least three months after my licence was issued, that I need to contact the Immigration Section of the Australian Embassy, Tokyo. Is the record of movements going abit too far? It looks rather troublesome to get. Has anyone had to get a record of movements? or will a simple driving history record do? Please let me know your thoughts on this one too.

    Thanks all. Appreciate the useful info given in advance.

    RJ

  • #2
    Originally posted by RJSTYLZ View Post
    ... I require a record of movements ...
    I'd be skipping that one - lest your girlfriend see it and learn about your self abuse... Sorry I cannot help on the other points.

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    • #3
      Errrr

      Originally posted by TJrandom View Post
      I'd be skipping that one - lest your girlfriend see it and learn about your self abuse... Sorry I cannot help on the other points.
      Ummm, care to elaborate on "self abuse" and how this relates to my initial post? lol

      Anyway, thanks for replying though...I think 0_o

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      • #4
        Originally posted by RJSTYLZ View Post
        Ummm, care to elaborate on "self abuse" ...
        Sure - no problem at all.... just look at your hairy palms.

        I suspect someone from Auz will be along soon enough to answer your post.

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        • #5
          You haven't got a problem. They don't care about holiday visits. All they do is check your date of entry and check it is 3 months later than the issue date of your licence. You are at about 12 months so you are fine.

          The other good news is you very probably don't have to worry about all this on arrival. You will likely be able to drive for 12 months on your Oz licence and an International Driving Permit. Google for details.

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          • #6
            TJrandom - Ohhh rightttt, good one mate. A real class A comedian you are lol you must be speaking from experience and this must be a time of self reflection on your part

            Brown Cow - thank you for your USEFUL reply. I had a hunch it was like that but wanted to make sure. Better to be prepared eh.

            Anyway, I do have an IDP but I'd like get it out of the way in my early days before I get too busy with my job at a Japanese company. You know what they're like with work ethics lol
            Last edited by RJSTYLZ; 2013-09-07, 10:38 AM.

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            • #7
              Just a a counterbalance to Brown Cow's Rainbows and Sunshine: I would make a backup plan based on the fact that you left Australia earlier than 3 full months after first issue of your licence+ and that might confuse a sleepy civil servant at the wicket. Once they decide they need that proof, it can become a real nightmare.

              Get a copy of your driving record from the relevant authority, and also take along any old passports or DLs that might be relevant.The best way is to assume that it will go smoothly, and it seems to for many, or that it will become a bureaucratic Benny Hill routine.

              As a reference, I had my licence issued in May, 1979 and tried to switch to a Japanese licence in October, 2004. I had a licence renewal issued in Canada less than 3 months before my departure for Japan, and when I went to switch it over, a very simple procedure for us as well, it turned into a complete burlesque. I had to prove that I had resided in the Place of Issue for a full 3 months between 1979 amd 2004, having got my first licence while still at school. Where else was I going to have lived for the first 3 months after issue?

              In short, if it goes well, and we hope it does, eezy peezy. If it goes wrong, the more seemingly superfluous paper you have on hand, the better.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kurogane View Post
                I had a licence renewal issued in Canada less than 3 months before my departure for Japan, and when I went to switch it over, a very simple procedure for us as well, it turned into a complete burlesque.
                The key snag here is that the renewal date printed on the licence was within 3 months of your arrival date. I have heard of other people having difficulty with that.

                So, whatever you do don't lose your licence and have to have it replaced. If you do, then be prepared to provide evidence that the "underlying" licence was issued earlier. As long as the date of issue printed on the licence is 3 months before your date of entry then I stand by my prediction of sunshine and rainbows.

                This rule is not really aimed at us. It's there to prevent Japanese people dodging the costs and hassles of getting a Japanese licence through normal channels.

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                • #9
                  Just to add to what KG mentioned, I've also read about it becoming a real headache once they decide that some sort of backing document is in order. Bring along your old driving license and a copy of your driving record and you should experience no problems whatsoever.

                  I wouldn't even mention holiday visits or anything like that. I changed my license with a passport full of stamps and visas--I was advised to fill out a form of all the times I had left the country and present it with my other documents. The guy behind the counter started trying to verify it with my passport stamps (literally about 100 of 'em in there), half of which were either faded or lazily slapped in there by inebriated African border guards. After two minutes he leaned across the counter and told me that it'd be a lot easier if we both just pretended I never gave him that piece of paper. The only way they're probably going to consider travel is if you bring it up. So just don't.

                  As long as you have your old driving license (they likely don't know the difference between a provisional license and a full license) and your driving record you'll have no problems proving your residency/date of issue. Another useful document is just your college diploma, as that obviously proves you've been living there and you'll need to take it to Japan anyway.

                  Also don't give them your IDP when you get your license converted. They frequently keep them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Brown Cow View Post
                    This rule is not really aimed at us. It's there to prevent Japanese people dodging the costs and hassles of getting a Japanese licence through normal channels.
                    There were more than a couple young Japanese kids in there with the rest of us foreigners trying to convert their American licenses (unlike you Commonwealth/European people we get to take a fun little driving test with a 95% failure rate). Even with the pain of retesting they said it was still so much easier and cheaper: 1-3–œ vs 20-40–œ!

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the many replies fellas.

                      Kurogane - I've only had one Australian passport since 2006 when I first got it, the other one is my NZ passport from before that time. I'm sure they will only look at my Australian passport in regards to the time period thats relevant. Also when I came back from my Japan holiday early Jan 2013 there was a six month gap until I went to Hawaii for another holiday in early July 2013, so that should account for more than three months.

                      afterglowefx - when you had to fill out the form for all the times you had left your country did you have to start from the very beginning of your passport? I mean, shouldn't it start around the date when you had your driver's licence first issued? It seems pointless to include any travel before that.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RJSTYLZ View Post
                        afterglowefx - when you had to fill out the form for all the times you had left your country did you have to start from the very beginning of your passport? I mean, shouldn't it start around the date when you had your driver's licence first issued? It seems pointless to include any travel before that.
                        It wasn't an official form. I had to get an official translation of my license done (as I am sure you will need to do) from the Japanese Auto Association. They recommended that I write it all out to expedite the application process (although they have nothing to do with license issuance). The people at the licensing center dutifully looked at it, but it's not required by any means. Again, I'd just leave out the travel as immaterial--the only way it'll likely become material is if you make it material.

                        General advice: don't go to the licensing center acting like you've got a problem or an inconsistency, as that will tell the clerk that there must be a problem or some inconsistency. Japanese have a tendency of blowing little things up.

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                        • #13
                          Agreed. I didn't create any such document and no-one at the licensing centre asked for it. All they noted was the date I started living in Japan.

                          Regarding when you do it. Bear in mind it doesn't take 5 minutes. You have to get a translation of your licence done. This means a trip to a JAF office that can offer the service. Not all of them can these days. Then you book a slot at the licensing centre and have to go there. That will take the whole day as you put in the documents in the morning and then come back after lunch to complete the process.

                          Personally, I wouldn't try to do it on arrival. There are so many other things to do then and it will take to big a chunk out of the time available to you. Do it at your leisure after about nine or ten months and everyone will be happy.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for that afterglowefx.

                            So will the Japan Auto Federation also translate my driving history record when I go there to get my driver's licence translated?

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                            • #15
                              I'll bring my passport and old driver's licence just in case eh

                              Yea, the driver's licence is one of the last things I'll tend to after all the most important tasks are all done.
                              Last edited by RJSTYLZ; 2013-09-07, 12:55 PM.

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