go.5 wrote:Good morning, fellow Singaporeans!
Does anyone intend to drive in Japan? I have a driver's licence and my preference is suburban. I'm looking to rely more on public transport and my leg muscles (what little I have lol). Still, I think I would like to have my licence handy just in case.
Will an international licence suffice? I know it will only be valid for a certain period though. Is it then more advisable to go for the full licence conversion in Japan?
Initially I intended to respond to this after I have successfully converted my license. But goodness know how many time I might have to take the test and by that time, the 2012 JETs might have left for Japan. And after what I went through applying for the conversion today, I thought I might want to share this with you guys now.
Firstly, an IDP will suffice for the first year in Japan. Just head down to SAA to apply for the IDP. The IDP is only valid if you concurrently hold the Singapore license. So make sure you have both document when you are driving in Japan.
Secondly, unfortunately Singapore is NOT one of the countries who are exempted from the test. I was told by the embassy that this was the case for my prefecture, but I highly suspect it is for the whole of Japan (someone do chip in if you know otherwise). The written and practical tests are simplified test and not the full version of the driving tests in Japan.
With my translated license (done by JAF) and relevant document, I headed down to the centre to apply for the conversion. Now, the proofing of residency seems to be not so straight forward for my case. To do that, of course they referred to the passport. They will check through every page, EVERY stamp. I had quite a number of stamps and that poor guy had to use another piece of paper to write down the details (arrival/departure; country and date) of every stamp. Next was to ascertain my period of stay in Singapore. Unfortunately my first stamp was that of US.
Now, US only has the date of entry and no date of departure. So he told me that there was no evidence that I re-entered Singapore. And even more unfortunate was that I had 4 such stamps interspersed in fairly regular interval. I suggested to list all the stamps in chronological order so that if there was evidence of me visiting somewhere other than the US consecutively, that could be my period of residence in Singapore. Either he couldn't get what I was driving at or it was just to messy as I REALLY had quite a lot of stamps, he didn't do it and/or seemed unwilling to it. Lucky for me, a second guy said we could use my first date of entry to US as the time I left Singapore after I got my license. I barely made the 3 mths mark.
So for those who might be in the same situation as me, I am not sure if there is any document we could request of to proof our period of residency. Of course ESID, this might just be for my prefecture, but one can never know. Oh, and mind you, ALL those malaysian stamps when you pop over to JB for a meal or so would 'break' you period of residency.
Yupz, so that was my ordeal this afternoon. My heart probably skipped a beat there. Haha. Thought I would give you guys a heads up on this.
Have fun preparing for your departure!