Bad experience with traffic department, and discriminatory policy against APRC holders

Hi everyone.

Do you know if you are holding and ARC/APRC and a Taiwan drivers license that you have no ability to drive legally in Japan - due to a decision made by the Taiwan government? This is my view is a clear discrimination against permanent residents in Taiwan.

I am an engineer working in the tech park in Taiwan. I have working here for 8 years, and have an APRC, I also have a Taiwanese drivers licenses, both car and bike. But for this topic I will be focusing on the car license. I frequently travel to Japan for various reasons and need to drive in Japan. Previous I had done that using my home license + international license. But due to living in Taiwan so long now, I only have a Taiwanese drivers license.

The standard International license does not work in Japan for Taiwanese licenses. Japan and Taiwan have a different arrangement. That is a Taiwanese license can be used in Japan if it is accompanied by a Japanese translation. This translation is issue by the Taiwan traffic department.

The traffic department has refused to issue me a Translation of the Taiwan drivers license, saying its only for pure Taiwanese people. They are steadfast that APRC is not possible. They gave me a list of excuses which were all bullshit. One being that its not their choice to not issue the translation to APRC holders, it is Japan. I approached to the Japanese consulate in Taipei, they ensured me that this rule does not come from Japan, and they are aware Taiwan has made the policy not to issue the Japanese translation to APRC holders, and they don’t know why. The Japanese consulate said they could advise me how to get the translation in Japan. But in Taiwan there is no option.

So all of us ARC/APRC holders in Taiwan with Taiwanese drivers licenses cannot drive in Japan because we cannot get a translation of our Taiwanese license.

I find the arbitrary choice issue a translation to a Taiwanese, and not a ARC holder - when both are holding the exact same physical license - as a clear case of discrimination against foreigners in Taiwan.

I have approached to the traffic department to address the issue, but they refuse.

What is the next step. I am sure there are more people than just me who live in Taiwan with an ARC and frequently need to travel/holiday and do business in Japan - but we are being restricted by Taiwan’s own discriminatory practice of only issuing the translation only to pure Taiwanese.

Right now, its not seriously urgent due to covid travel retractions. But next year, I am not sure how I will be able to drive and do business when visiting customers in Japan, etc.

How do we fix this?




Probably easiest to renew your license and international drivers permit from your home country.

It’s not right, but you do what you gotta do.


I am no longer eligible for a drivers license in my home country as I am not resident there. I need to live in my home country for 183 days before I can apply for the license again. (United Kingdom)


How about an official translation from your embassy or another reputable source? Does the law specifically state only the Taiwan Traffic Department can issue the translation?

The only embassy than can validate and stamp the Japanese translation of the Taiwanese drivers license in Taiwan, is the Taiwan Traffic department. I have already discussed this with the Japanese embassy in Taipei and the Taiwan traffic department. The japanese embassy acknowledged that it is the Embassy’s job to validate the Japanese translation, but in the case of the Japanese embassy in Taiwan, they differ the job to the Taiwanese Traffic department, who in turn refuses to do it for APRC holders. The result is a dead end.


why not drag your employer into it? Presume these are business trips.

My employer has contacted the traffic department in Shilin and Bada road, and both got the same answer.

The fact that I wont be able our visit clients in Japan does indeed put my job at risk. (I am in the heavy engineering field)


If you are in a smaller city, say Yilan or Hsinchu or something, go to their DMV. Generally they are not up on all the technicalities and they will issue you what you want. Don’t ask me how I know.
But as to your original point it is one battle after another in Taiwan for some level of equality. And it seems to be getting worse.


Thanks Dan. You are right my employer has contacted a DMV in a smaller city to attempt to get the translation and there is a chance. Right now. the plan in my mind is to fly to Okinawa and get it done, at least I know I can get it down this way. This option however requires a postal address in Japan to mail the translation to - which I am lucky I have because my employers has an office in Japan. However for other ARPC holders they wont be so lucky.

I hope for other long term APRC residents we can find a reliable solution in Taiwan.


There are most likely many forwarding companies that will accept the post in Japan and forward it to Taiwan or anywhere else.

I have one set up in the US so that I can order things only shipped within the US


Easiest thing we can do is sending a complaint to the governing authority.

To: Minister, Ministry of Transportation and Communications部長(民意)信箱

To:the Directorate General of Highways (DGH), MOTC (Thye say you should bring a national ID with your license to get a translation.)

To:Director-General of NIA

it seems who does translation is Taiwan-Japan Relations Association, MOFA, so
To:Minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs


I got one before without any problem. Has this policy changed?

I’m an APRC holder and I was able to get a Japanese translation of my Taiwanese scooter license without a problem in 2017. Was it because it’s not a car license, it was in Taoyuan, it was three years ago, or I was just lucky? It makes me wonder now.

In any case this certainly sounds ridiculous and/or discriminatory. I’m following this thread and I hope it gets resolved.


yes, apparently the rule has change recently. The Japanese Embassy told me they they were notified recently of the change. The Japanese Embassy has been the only party willing to talk to me and give me some information on this. The Taiwan traffic department are stone walling me, and are only prepared to say ‘外國人不行’

This case sounds right up @Marco’s alley. We need a hero to help fight the good fight.


I’m an APRC holder. I just had my Japanese language driver’s license translation renewed at the Banciao Motor Vehicles Supervision Station on August 24th, no problem.

My license is permanent so I officially don’t need to get the translation renewed yearly. The traffic office recommends it though because many traffic police in Japan think it has be to less than a year since issue but it actually doesn’t by Japanese law. It just saves you some hassle.


I had this problem also. I emailed them to point out that it’s a stupid rule: I’ve passed the driving test there, I’m a British citizen, and if I go back there for visits it’s ridiculous for me to be doing so with a foreign licence. They sent me some quite amusing waffle that amounted to “well, that’s the law, but if you want to just declare that you have a UK address nobody’s really that bothered”. So I just reapplied for a license as usual, and got it no questions asked.

Rather OT, but it baffles me that any country in the world is still using the concept of “Driving Licenses”. Why not just have an online record managed by some neutral agency that police etc can cross-reference against your passport or national ID?


Thanks finely, what traffic department did you go to, and what is your plan now? I had a screaming match in the Bade Rd traffic department, didnt help.

Thanks to QuaSaShao, I could try banqiao before trying to get it done in Okinawa.

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And to those who submitted links above with complaint line hyper links - thanks, I have submitted 1 complaint, written in English.