I need the new UK ID card license to apply for a Japanese license here in Tokyo. My old paper license is still valid. In going through the process via GVT-UK online, I was met with the problem that my old address and postcode (Goldington Rd, Bedford MK41 postcode) on my paper license (the details of which I was filling in as requested) do not 'match'. Perhaps this is due to building changes over the years; or all I know, the old place might have been knocked down, as that area of town is unrecognizable after years of roadworks and construction.

It mentions requiring proof of residence in the UK for at least a month of having received the license. Well, I certainly was in the UK for some years after acquiring the license, but proof could be tricky as we're talking 20+ years ago. Is it easier to simply send the license in by snail mail and have it send to a family address in the UK? It also talks about getting fined up to 1,000 pounds if a change of address is not notified. Yikes, I haven't notified DVLC of anything for 25 years! What to do?

2 Answers 2


Have you avoided driving in Japan for 25 years? :-)

Technically you are not allowed to update your GB licence unless you are a resident of Great Britain.

I think the licence exchange program is designed for people that have recently moved countries. As you said even if you updated the address with the help of a contact in Great Britain (ticking the box saying your are definitely a GB resident in the process), you will not satisfy the Japanese requirements because you don't have proof of recent UK residency for the Japanese application.

To do it by the book it looks like you will have to apply for a Japanese licence from scratch and take the driving test.

  • Agreed. The time to 'exchange' your foreign licence for a 'local' one in any country, is soon after you arrive. Waiting a significant time after that can lead to problems like this - or problems where your original licence expired, etc.. Taking the local test is then the easiest way to get a local licence.
    – Scott Earle
    Apr 30, 2018 at 4:39
  • Thanks so much for taking the time to answer, chaps. Looks like I will have to take the long way home in regards this. That's what happens when you sit still for too long, I guess.
    – user15106
    May 8, 2018 at 2:15
  • @ScottEarle "The time to exchange your foreign licence for a local one in any country, is soon after you arrive." - This is true in general, but there is an exception if you are an EU citizen and have moved to another EU country; in that case you don't have to exchange your licence until it expires (which can be more than 10 years depending on which country issued it and when). May 29, 2018 at 9:08

Well, it just goes to show that you shouldn't always rely on the 'calculated wisdom' of expats: Went down to the driving center and presented the necessary documents (including my old paper license, which they DO accept) and it was fine; NO DRIVING TEST, just a bit of a wait. A piece of cake.

  • Interesting, seems they are more flexible than I thought. Your question was about changing the address on the old paper licence, and proving your UK residence. What happened in regards to those points? Nov 7, 2018 at 10:58

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