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Visa & Immigration Procedure in Japan

Required documents

What are the documents that you need to prepare before applying for a visa (status of residence)?

The documents you need to submit are generally the same within the same group category of visas (status of residence).

For a working visa (status of residence), you will need to submit :
  • Application form
  • Contract with your employer, letter of appointment, invitation letter, or any other documents to prove your activities, position, salary, period of time you will need to stay in Japan, etc.
  • Registry Certificate (Tokibo Tohon) of the company who employs you in Japan
  • The Company's most recent financial statements (Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss statement)
  • The Company's withholding tax report
  • Description of the company's activities (brochure, catalogues, printed web pages...)
  • Your CV/resume
  • Certificates of degree, certified transcripts, certificates of diploma, training, awards or qualifications
  • Documents to prove your previous working experience (letters from your former employers, etc.)
  • Portrait photo (3cmx4cm)

There could be other necessary documents depending on each individual case.

For a visa renewal, you will also need a certificate of employment (zaishoku shomei sho) and your personal, most recent tax payment certificate (nozei shomei sho) issued by the local city hall/ward office.

>> How to obtain and renew your visa in Japan

>> Where to apply for a visa for Japan

>> Ask for personalized advice

For a visa granted according to your family status (Spouse of Japanese National, Long Term Resident...) :
  • Application form
  • Documents proving your relation based on which your visa will be granted, such as Marriage Certificate, Birth Certificate, Family Registry (Koseki), Resident certificate (Juminhyo)...
  • Letter of Guarantee
  • Questionnaire (for Spouse of Japanese national)
  • Documents to prove your income (Certificate of employment and the most recent tax payment certificate). If you don't work, you will need such documents from the person who supports you financially, or other documents such as your bank statements showing enough savings.

There are also other required documents such as family photos (in case of spouse visa) or a list of family members, certificate of criminal record (in case of 3rd generation Nikkei applicants) etc.

All the documents written in foreign languages must be translated into Japanese.

If you have any other documents that could work on your favor, you can also add them even if they are not mentioned on the list.

In many cases, it is recommended to write a statement (in Japanese) explaining why you need to obtain, change or renew your visa (status of residence).

Even if it's not required, submitting such statement helps Immigration understand your situation better, and possibly increases your chance of getting a visa (status of residence).

It is often a good idea to ask a professional like us to write such letter, as it requires a profound knowledge in Immigration Law and in Immigration's policies.

>> How to obtain and renew your visa in Japan

>> Where to apply for a visa for Japan

>> Ask for personalized advice

Re-entry permit

From July 9, 2012, it is no longer required to have a Re-entry permit if you will be back in Japan within 12 months.

If you will be away for more than one year, it is still required to obtain a re-entry permit in advance

Your current visa (including the permanent resident visa) will be automatically canceled if you come back after 12 months and it is also not possible to extend the re-entry permit at the Japanese Consulate overseas if you leave Japan using the "re-entry permit exemption".

If there is a chance that you will be away from Japan for more than 12 months, it is still recommended to get a Re-entry permit before you leave Japan.

>> How to obtain and renew your visa in Japan

>> Where to apply for a visa for Japan

>> Ask for personalized advice

Residence Card

With the introduction of new Immigration law from July 9, 2012, a Resident Card replaced the Alien Registration Card.

For those arriving in Japan with the Certificate of Eligibility, a Resident Card will be issued upon arrival at the airport (Narita, Haneda, Kansai, Nagoya, New Chitose, Hiroshima and Fukuoka).

New Resident Card is issued each time you renew or change your visa status.

Under the new system, there is no visa stamp in your passport, so your Residence Card is the proof of your visa in Japan.

For those who are already resident in Japan, a new card will be issued at the time of the next visa renewal (or change of visa status).

It is required to report the change of your personal address to the city hall.

When you move, it is required to report the departure to the city hall of the place where you used to live, then also the arrival to the new city hall where you became resident.

All the other changes (employers and their address, name, marital status, etc.) need to be reported to the Immigration office within 14 days (not to the city hall) and there is a penalty for not doing so.

The notification however can be submitted by sending the document by post to the Immigration office.

For Permanent Resident visa holders, your current Alien Registration Card is valid until July 8, 2015. You will need to go to the nearest Immigration office to have a new Resident Card made before then.

A Resident Card is not issued to those with a tourist visa or any other type of visa that is valid for 3 months or less.

>> How to obtain and renew your visa in Japan

>> Where to apply for a visa for Japan

>> Ask for personalized advice

Getting a new passport

Since the introduction of the new Residence Card system in 2012, there is no visa stamp in your passport anymore, so there is no procedure that you need to go through even if you get a new passport.

You just need to make sure that you take your Residence Card with you each time you travel overseas and show the card at the Immigration counter when leaving and entering Japan.

If you have lost your passport while traveling abroad and come back to Japan with an emergency passport /traveling document, you can still enter Japan with your existing visa status if you still have the Residence Card.

If you have lost both your passport and Resident Card overseas, you will need to go through a relatively complicated procedure to get a document issued by the Japanese immigration office in advance so as not to lose your long term visa upon arrival (otherwise they will just grant you a 90 days temporary visitor visa upon arrival and cancel the long term visa you previously had).

>> How to obtain and renew your visa in Japan

>> Where to apply for a visa for Japan

>> Ask for personalized advice

Certified as Immigration Lawyers by the Japan Immigration Office, we can help you with obtaining an appropriate visa and with other immigration procedures.

For more information, click here.

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