Frequently asked questions

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Passport
I’m staying in Japan. What should I do if I have lost my passport?

If you have lost your passport, you should undertake the following procedures:

  1. File a report on lost property with the nearest police office and obtain a certificate of theft or loss of the passport.
  2. By submitting this certificate and other documents to your country's government agency in Japan, you will be able to have your passport (provisional passport/travel affidavit) re-issued.

Police Offices in Osaka
Embassies and Consulate Generals in Japan

Entry
How do I enter Japan?

Procedures
①If the applicant is entering Japan for the first time, it is necessary to show their passport and an “Embarkation/Disembarkation Card” to the immigration inspector. If the applicant is deemed worthy of admission into Japan, the official attaches a “Permission to Land” sticker to theirpassport. At the same time, the inspector stamps the entry visa as “USED,” invalidating it for further use (unless it is a multiple entry visa). The validity period of an unused entry visa into Japan is three months (single entry), or one or three years (multiple entry), except for in the case of nationals of certain countries, for whom other regulations apply. If the applicant already has a Certificate of Eligibility, they should present it to the immigration inspector as well.
A person who has become a Mid- or Long-Term Resident by virtue of this procedure will be issued Residence Card. Airports including Narita, Haneda, Central Japan, and Kansai International Airports will issue the card. All other air or sea ports will issue certificates stating “Residence Card to Be Issued Later,” and the cards will be mailed to the foreign resident as soon as they have registered their address with the local municipality.

② A person who has a Multiple Re-entry Permit does not need a new entry visa. They should present their passports (with the Multiple Re-entry Permit sticker attached), and an “Embarkation/Disembarkation Card for Foreigners.”

③ For a person who has temporarily left Japan under the Special Reentry Permit System, it is not necessary to obtain a new entry visa if they will be returning to Japan within one year (two years for Special Permanent Residents). They will need to present a valid passport. (The “Embarkation/Disembarkation Card” has a box for indicating an intention to use the Special Reentry Permit System.)

When re-entering Japan, you may be asked to present your Residence Card.

For conditions for Entry, please refer to Immigration HP.

Residence | List of statuses of residence
Residence | Temporary visit
What activities are approved for people with Temporary Visitor status?

Someone with Temporary Visitor status may not work or engage in any kind of paid activity. Allowed activities include tourism, medical treatment, sports, visits to friends and/or family, observation, participation in seminars and conferences, inspection tours, short-term business activities and the like.

Residence | Work-related statuses of residence
I would like to work in Japan as a language instructor. What are the necessary procedures?

Status of residence depends on the type of work in which you are involved.

  1. Professor: Research, research guidance, or education activities as professor, assistant professor, or assistant, etc. at universities, equivalent educational institutions, or technical colleges
  2. Instructor: Language instruction and other education activities at elementary schools, junior high schools, senior high schools, schools for the blind, handicapped children's schools, miscellaneous schools (kakushu gakko and senshu gakko), or other educational institutions equivalent to kakushu gakko in facilities and curriculum. A person whose contract goes through an agency are also covered by this status of residence.
  3. Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services: When engaged in language teaching at a privately owned language school, or in internal language training at companies.

For the necessary procedures in each case, please refer to Immigration HP.

I would like to work as a chef in a restaurant in Japan. What criteria do I need to meet in order to obtain a Skilled Labor visa?

The status of residence “Skilled Labor” is for "activities of following occupations that require skilled labor in special industrial fields on the basis of contracts with public or private organizations in Japan." "Special industrial fields" include fields unique to foreign countries and those in which skilled laborers are few in number in Japan. For more information, please refer to Immigration HP.

Residence | Designated activities
Can a foreign student stay after graduation to look for a job?

If a foreign student has not found a job by the time they graduate, they may continue their job hunt by changing their status of residence to “Designated Activities.” Such a student may stay up to one year with this status as long as their alma mater is helping them in their job search. 
For details, please refer to Immigration HP.

Residence | Education
Which educational institutions sponsor "Student" resident status?

An applicant who is enrolled in the below schools may apply for “student” resident status:
a university, technical college, senior high school (including latter part of secondary schools), junior high school (including former part of secondary school) in Japan as well as advanced course of school for special needs education, elementary school, and elementary course of school for special needs education, vocational school, miscellaneous school and any other educational institution which is equivalent to a miscellaneous educational institution in its facilities and curriculum.

    Residence | Training
    What are the Training visa and Technical Intern Training visa systems?

    The Training and Technical Intern Training systems are designed to bring young foreign workers into Japanese companies and public organs, to learn Japanese technology and knowhow, which they can then use to promote the progress of industry in their home countries. This is one way that Japan contributes to the international community and promotes international cooperation by transferring Japanese technology to developing nations.
    For details, please see Immigration HP and Japan International Training Cooperation Organization HP.

    Residence | Family-based statuses of residence
    I am planning to marry a foreign woman who is currently residing abroad. We want to hold the wedding in her home country, and then live together in Japan.

    Marriage Procedures: First undertake all marriage procedures necessary in the foreign spouse’s home country. There are two ways to bring relatives to Japan.

    1. Advance Visa Application: The foreign national applies to the Japanese consulate or embassy in his/her country for a “Spouse of Japanese National” visa.
    2. Certificate of Eligibility: After the Japanese spouse has returned to Japan, they apply as a proxy to the local Regional Immigration Bureau for a Certificate of Eligibility. If it is issued, they mail it to the foreign spouse, who then applies to the nearest Japanese consulate or embassy for a visa.
    I am living in Japan with a Student visa, but I would like to send for my wife and children to join me here. What are the necessary procedures? Can my wife work?

    You will need to apply for a certificate of eligibility for the status of residence of “Dependent” with a local immigration office. To apply for the certificate, please contact your local immigration office for details.

    In principle your wife will not be allowed to work; however, if she receives permission to engage in activities other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted from the Immigration Bureau, she will be able to take on a part-time job. (There are limits on type of work and hours).

    Residence | Resident procedures
    What are the criteria for extending my period of stay?

    It is possible to apply to extend your period of stay should you wish to stay in Japan doing the same activities. You may apply for renewal 3 months before the expiration date of your current period of stay.
    Please refer to “Guideline for changing status of residence/renewing period of stay” provided by the Immigration Bureau.

    We are a foreign couple living in Japan. We just had a baby. What procedures should we undertake?

    In the case that both parents are foreign nationals, the baby will also be a foreign national, and will thus need to acquire a Status of Residence. The Status of Residence application process should be begun at the Regional Immigration Bureau within 30 days of the birth. If the baby will reside in Japan for fewer than 60 days (except in cases in which the baby will be re-entering Japan with a Re-entry Permit), this procedure is not necessary. If the parents are not residing in Japan legally, or are in the midst of deportation procedures, the baby may be denied Status of Residence.

    Procedures:

    <Notification of Birth>
    Notify your local municipality of the birth within 14 days. If you submit notification, the municipal office will issue a Certificate of Residence in recognition of the baby’s provisional status of Residence. (Failure to apply for Residence status within 30 days will void the baby’s Certificate of Residence.)

    <Acquisition of Status of Residence>
    The documents needed to acquire status of Residence following birth are as follows:

    • Documents proving the birth (Birth Certificate, Maternal and Child Health Handbook, etc.)
    • Reference documents in accordance with activities in Japan
    • Passport (if it is not possible to present a passport, present a written statement explaining why not)

    <Residence Card>
    If the baby acquires Status of Residence and becomes a Mid- or Long-Term Resident, he/she will receive a Residence Card.

    Who can apply for a permanent resident permit and how?

    Please refer to the online “Guidelines for Permission for Permanent Residence” provided by the Immigration Bureau.

    Requirements
    1) Your behavior and conduct must be upright and proper, you must have no criminal record, perform civil duties, and live a problem-free life as a decent citizen.

    2) You have to have sufficient assets or ability to make an independent living, so as not to become a public burden, and are expected to live a stable life for the foreseeable future employing the assets or ability of yourself or those of your family members.

    3) Your permanent residence must be deemed likely to benefit Japan. 

    The Immigration Bureau provides guidelines for Permission for Permanent Residence including “Guidelines for Permission of Permanent Residence for those who are deemed beneficial to Japan” and a list of successful and unsuccessful application examples, on their homepage.

    In which cases is it necessary to obtain “Permission to Engage in Activities Other Than Those Permitted by Current Status of Residence”?

    The scope of activities permitted for foreigners to engage in is limited within the authorized activities defined by the status of residence they hold. Thus it is against the law to engage in income-generating business or paid activities that are not authorized under the status of residence they hold. If you wish to work outside the scope of your authorized line of work, however, you should obtain a “ permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted” or “shikakukatsudo-gai kyoka,” in Japanese. The permission is granted as long as the planned activity won’t hinder the applicant from the activity that is the original purpose of residence. Holders of “Spouse of Japanese National, etc.,””Long-Term Resident,””Spouse of Permanent Resident, etc.,” and “Permanent Resident” status do not have restrictions on their activities so they don’t need to obtain this permission.

    I have Long-Term Resident status, but I want to return home for a while. What are the necessary procedures?

    There are two possible procedures for a Mid- or Long-Term Resident to return to Japan and resume activity after an absence, depending on the duration of the absence. 

    If you will be abroad for less than one year:

    If a foreign resident with a valid passport and Residence Card will be returning to Japan to continue the same activities as before, they will not need a Re-entry Permit if they will be abroad for less than one year (two years for Special Permanent Residents). Someone who leaves Japan under this system can lose their Status of Residence if they do not return within one year, (or before their Period of Stay expires, whichever comes first) as it is not possible to extend Special Re-entry Permits while abroad. 

    If you will be abroad for more than one year: 

    You can obtain a Re-entry Permit at your local immigration office before your departure. 
    Validity Period: The maximum validity period for Re-entry Permits has been extended from 3 years to 5 years (6 years for Special Permanent Residents).

    I recently left the company I had worked at for the past three years, and now have a new job.

    If you are staying in Japan with a status of residence as “Engineer/Specialist in Humanities and International Services” and wish to change jobs, it will be necessary to notify the Immigration Bureau within 14 days, either in person, or by mail, after the change takes place. Your employer also has an obligation to submit notification within 14 days. 
    It is important to make sure the type of work in the new workplace is within the category of the activities authorized under your current status of residence. To confirm that this is the case and to ensure your renewal procedures go smoothly, you can apply for a “Certificate of Authorized Employment” at your local Regional Immigration Bureau. This certificate is also useful for your prospective employers because they can see beforehand whether the work you will be doing conforms to your permitted activities under your status. This certificate is issued upon your request and is not mandatory to have.

    Residence | Immigration violations
    Resident registration system for foreign residents
    I am currently staying in Japan with “Temporary Visitor” status. What if I plan to renew my temporary visitor status to live in Japan for more than three months? I would like to have a Resident Card to use as my ID card.

    A Resident Card is issued to a foreign national who is staying in Japan for the medium- to long-term. Those listed below are not issued a Resident Card.

    1. Those who are granted permission to stay for less than three months
    2. Those who are granted “Temporary Visitor” status
    3. Those who are granted “Diplomat” or “Official” status
    4. Those who are recognized by Ministry of Justice ordinance as equivalent to the foreign nationals in the above 1) to 3)
    5. Special permanent residents
    6. Those with no status of residence

    Someone originally entering Japan with “Temporary Visitor” status isn’t issued a Resident Card even if they end up staying in Japan for more than three months by renewing their “Temporary Visitor” status.

    Do I simply notify the authorities of the change of address at the city office in the new city, as I used to, when I move to another city? What kind of procedure should I undertake when I move overseas?

    You need to submit a “notification of moving-out” to your current ward/city office. Once you move into a new city, you need to submit a “notification of move-in” to your new ward/city office within 14 days of moving in. What you need to submit at that time are your Resident Card/Special Permanent Resident Certificate, and a “moving out notification certificate” that was issued at your former city/ward office. Changing your address in the same city/ward still requires a “notification of change of address” at your city/ward office within 14 days of your move. 

    When you move overseas, you also need to submit a “notification of moving out” at your city office. In this case, however, no “certificate of moving out” will be issued to you. When you return to Japan with a reentry permit, you need a “notification of moving-in” within 14 days of your move after you set up a place to settle down. For this procedure, you will need your passport, your Resident Card.

    Failure to comply with the above required procedures may result in penalties or the revocation of your resident status.

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