Q&A

Pre-entry procedures

Immigration procedures

Post-entry procedures

General

Q16 What is a "status of residence" and "period of stay?"

Q17 Where can I apply to change my status of residence, extend my period of stay, or receive re-entry permission? Who submits the application?

Q18 Do the Regional Immigration Services Bureaus close during Obon and the New Year's period?

Q19 I am living in 〇〇 Prefecture, can I submit an application at 〇〇 branch office?

Q20 How many months before the expiration date can I apply for an extension of my period of stay?

Q21 When I apply for the extension of period of stay, will my passport be kept by the Regional Immigration Services Bureau? If I can keep my passport during the application process, can I go abroad temporarily while my application is being processed?

Q22 If the documents to be submitted are prepared in a foreign language, do I need to have them translated? If so, can my spouse translate it?

Q23 On the application form (application for extension of period of stay, application for change of status of residence, application for issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility), there is a column to enter criminal records. From what year should I fill it in?

Q24 The documents to be submitted include "a tax certificate (or tax exemption certificate) for individual inhabitant taxes and a tax payment certificate (showing gross income and taxes paid for one year)." What should I do if I cannot submit them?

Q25 What should I do if I am unable to apply for a change of status of residence or extension of period of stay within my period of stay due to being infected with H1N1 influenza or living in an area that is in lockdown due to an H1N1 influenza outbreak? Will I be subject to deportation?

Q26 A foreign national couple is expecting a child. What should they do?

Q27 I lost my passport. I got a new passport. Can I transfer the landing permission seal and re-entry permission stamp that were in my lost passport to my new passport?

Those working in Japan

Q28 I came to Japan for sightseeing and am currently here under a "Temporary Visitor" status of residence. Can I work in Japan?

Q29 Under the "Business Manager" status of residence, the size of the business must fall under one of the following categories. What exactly is the "equivalent scale" mentioned in (c)?
(a) The business is operated by two or more full-time employees residing in Japan other than those engaged in the business's management or administration.
(b) The amount of capital or the total amount of investment is 5 million yen or more.
(c) The business is recognized as having a scale equivalent to these.

Q30 What kind of person can apply as a representative for the issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility for a "Business Manager" status of residence?

Q31 Please explain the difference between the "Intra-Company Transferee" and the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" statuses of residence.

Q32 I have an "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence and still have about one year left in my period of stay. I will marry a Japanese national soon. Do I have to complete the change of status of residence procedures?

Q33 I have an "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence and my period of stay will expire soon, but I am planning to change jobs. What kind of procedures should I fill out?

Q34 I work in Japan and have a status of residence of 〇〇 (e.g., "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services," "Skilled Labor," etc.). The period of stay expires in two years, but I have changed jobs. The type of work is the same as my previous work, but I would like to confirm whether it is included in the activities that can be performed under a "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence. What kind of procedures should I fill out?

Q35 Can I apply for a Certificate of Authorized Employment at an immigration office other than the one that has jurisdiction over my place of residence? Since my place of employment is in a different area of jurisdiction, I would like to apply at the immigration office that has jurisdiction over my place of employment.

Those studying in japan

Q36 Does the term "university" in the ministerial ordinance on landing criteria include foreign universities? What does "equal or better education" mean?

Q37 I transferred to another school. Is a notification required?

Q38 I have a "Student" status of residence. I would like to work part-time after school. Is some form of permission required?

Q39 Can students of Japanese language schools bring their families to Japan?

Q40 I currently have a "Student" status of residence, but I would like to switch to the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence in order to look for work. Do I have to have a university degree to do so? Can I apply if I have completed a program at a vocational school?

Q41 If a student has been offered employment and wishes to stay in Japan until they begin work (some time after their graduation), how should this be handled?

Q42 I am looking for a job, but I have not received any job offers even though I will graduate soon. I want to find a job and continue staying in Japan. What will happen to my status of residence if I do not find one?

Q43 I have a "Student" status of residence but have already graduated. I am thinking of returning to my home country, but I still have time left on my period of stay. Am I able to work a part-time job?

Q44 I graduated from a Japanese university and am currently residing in Japan with a "Designated Activities" status of residence to search for a job. Do I need to get permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted?

Q45 Do I need to change my status of residence from "Dependent" to "Student" in order to receive scholarships to attend school? Will my ineligibility to receive scholarships as a "Dependent" be taken into account?

Others

Procedures for temporary departure

Procedures for employing foreign nationals

Other procedures

Q64 In what cases can my status of residence be revoked? Please explain with specific examples.

Q65 What kind of procedures are involved in the revocation of a status of residence?

Q66 When notified to appear at a Regional Immigration Services Bureau, what happens if the foreign national or representative does not appear at the immigration office on the designated day?

Q67 Who can participate in the hearing procedures on behalf of a person who is subject to revocation of their status of residence?

Q68 How will I be notified if it is decided that my status of residence will be revoked?

Q69 Do foreign nationals have to leave Japan immediately after the decision to revoke their status of residence is made?

Q70 If the status of residence is revoked and a grace period for departure is given, will the foreign national's departure be treated as a normal departure? Will they be subject to deportation?

Q71 Can foreign nationals whose status of residence is revoked due to truancy and who are given a grace period be granted a "Student" status of residence again if they enroll in another educational institution within this period?

Q72 I heard that after a foreign national with the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence resigns from a company, if they have a "valid reason," they may not have their status revoked even if they have not performed the activities related to said status for three consecutive months or more. Is this true?

Q73 I heard that foreign nationals who are married to Japanese nationals and live in Japan based on the "Spouse or Child of a Japanese National" status of residence are not subject to a revocation of status of residence if they have a "valid reason," even if they were divorced from the Japanese national and have not been in this relationship for six or more consecutive months. Is this true?

Q74 I heard that mid to long-term residents are not subject to a revocation of status of residence if they have a "valid reason," even if they did not submit a notification of their address. Is this true?

Illegal residency

Other

Answers

Q1What is a visa?

Visas are issued at overseas embassies or consulates, acting as a "confirmation" that the foreign national’s passport is valid and as a "recommendation" that there are no problems for them to enter Japan according to the conditions written in the visa.

Q2What is a Certificate of Eligibility?

A Certificate of Eligibility is a certificate that proves that you comply with condition B of the landing conditions A to D as listed in the answer to Q9. By submitting this certificate at landing inspection, the landing inspection can be conducted smoothly. This system is not applicable for those whose purpose of travel is tourism, visiting relatives, or short-term visiting for business, nor for others falling under the "Temporary Visitor" status of residence.

Q3Who applies for a Certificate of Eligibility?

Foreign nationals who wish to enter Japan or their representatives may apply.

For example, if they intend to work in Japan, their representative should be an employee from the company which will be their accepting organization; if they intend to marry a Japanese national and enter Japan, the Japanese spouse should be their representative. Representatives corresponding to status of residence are as seen in this list.You will be taken to an external page.

Q4Where do I submit an application for a Certificate of Eligibility?

In principle, you must apply at the District Immigration Office or Regional Immigration Services Bureau with jurisdiction over your relative’s address or over the location of the accepting organization that will be your representative. The areas of jurisdiction can be found in this list.

Q5Can I enter Japan if I have a Certificate of Eligibility?

You cannot enter Japan with only a Certificate of Eligibility. You must have a visa issued by submitting your Certificate of Eligibility at an overseas embassy or consulate.

The Certificate of Eligibility does not guarantee entry into Japan; if it is discovered that you do not meet the landing permission criteria during the landing inspection due to a change in circumstances, it is possible that you will be denied landing permission.

Q6Is there a validity period for Certificates of Eligibility?

The validity period is three months. Therefore, you have to file your landing application within three months from the day your Certificate of Eligibility is issued or else the certificate will become invalid.
(Note) Please note that the validity period of the Certificate of Eligibility is different from the validity period of the visa.

Q7I would like to invite my relative (e.g., my sister's child) to Japan during summer vacation. What procedures are required?
  1. Visas are not necessary if the person is from a visa-exempt country or region.
  2. When the applicant is from a country or region without a visa waiver agreement, they need a "Temporary Visitor" visa during the landing screening at a port of entry in Japan.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for issuing visas, so please refer to "Inquiry Reception on Visas (Visa Information Service)" if you have any questions or concerns. Alternatively, please contact your overseas embassy or consulate.

Q8I have obtained a working holiday visa. I am from a visa waiver country/region. Can I enter Japan with a visa waiver before coming to Japan for a working holiday?

Because you will not enter Japan for a working holiday at this time, you must explain that you will not be using your working holiday visa during landing inspection at the airport and other ports of entry.

Q9What are the requirements for a newly arrived foreign national to be granted permission to land in Japan?

Those who enter to Japan with a valid passport issued by a foreign government recognized by Japan, those who possess (excluding cases where visas are not required due to international agreements, etc.) a visa issued by an overseas Japanese embassy or consulate, and those who follow the requirements below as set by the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (hereafter referred to as "Immigration Control Act") Article 7, Paragraph 1 will be permitted to land.

  1. A. Passport and visa are valid;
  2. B. Activity in Japan in which they wish to engage is not false and corresponds with their status of residence;
    Complies with the requirements should there be landing permission criteria to their status of residence;
  3. C. Period of stay pertaining to the application complies with the Ministry of Justice’s provisions; and
  4. D. Does not fall under grounds for denial of landing.
Q10What are the landing permission criteria?

Foreign nationals wishing to enter Japan must meet one of the status of residence requirements set out in the Immigration Control Act, but the Ministry of Justice regulations specify which specific conditions must be met in order to be admitted. This is called landing permission criteria. This is extremely important because if you do not meet the criteria, you will not, in principle, be allowed to enter the country.

The specific criteria can be found in this list.You will be taken to an external page

Q11What are the grounds for denial of landing? What kind of foreign nationals are denied entry?

Grounds for denial of landing are defined as the types of foreign nationals whose landing in and entry to Japan has been denied as they are deemed to present a threat to the public health, public order, domestic security, and so on of Japan. Specifically, foreign nationals as listed below will be rejected from entering Japan.

  1. Those denied landing permission for health/hygiene reasons;
  2. Those denied landing permission as they are deemed to display antisocial behavior;
  3. Those denied landing permission due to having been deported from Japan or for similar reasons;
  4. Those denied landing permission due to concerns that the interests or national security of the country could be harmed; and
  5. Those for whom granting landing permission would be rejected for reasons having to do with reciprocity.
Q12What happens to foreign nationals who are denied landing in Japan?

Foreign nationals who are denied landing permission and issued a deportation order must promptly depart the country. In principle, the responsibility and fees for departing Japan (deportation) is at the expense of the head of the ship, airplane, or carrier (generally the airline company in the case of an airplane) that the foreign national was on, in accordance with Article 59, Paragraph 1 of the Immigration Control Act.

When a foreign national arriving by air is denied landing, it is often difficult for them to leave Japan on a return flight of the same aircraft due to time constraints, etc. Depending on the availability of flights, they may have to remain in Japan until the earliest flight on the following day or later.

In this case, a special inquiry officer or supervising immigration inspector may grant a period of time for the foreign national to stay at a facility near the port of entry as permitted in Article 13, Paragraph 2 of the Immigration Control Act. Because landing permission has been denied, if they leave the facility that they are allowed to stay at without permission, they will be deemed to have entered or landed illegally.

Q13If I am ordered to depart Japan (via a deportation order), will it be difficult to come back to Japan again?

The next time you arrive in Japan, you will not be denied landing for the direct reason of receiving a "deportation order" in the past. However, receiving a "deportation order" means that you did not meet the "conditions for landing." Therefore, you must prove that you meet the "conditions for landing" next time you enter Japan.

The "deportation order" is different from the deportation procedure. Those who have received a "deportation order" will not be denied landing for a period of five years. (However, in cases where the person who received a deportation order due to illegal possession of narcotics, cannabis, stimulants, firearms and swords, or explosives, they may be denied landing permission for a period of one year (Immigration Control Act, Article 5, Paragraph 1, Item 9a.)

Q14My passport is about to expire so I got a new one. My old permit has my landing permission seal and re-entry permission stamp. Am I able to bring both passports with me when I go through immigration procedures at Narita International Airport?
Do I need to transfer my seals/stamps to my new passport?

You can complete all the procedures at a Regional Immigration Services Bureau without any issues if you bring both your new and old passports.

If you have been issued a new passport and you wish to transfer the landing permission, permission to stay (excluding those who have been granted a residence card), re-entry permission, or stamp pertaining to your permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted onto your new passport, you must submit a request for the transfer of the stamp (which can be obtained at a Regional Immigration Services Bureau) at the Regional Immigration Services Bureau with jurisdiction over your address (list of areas of jurisdiction). Please bring both your old passport and new passport.

Q15Can confirmation of departure be withheld due to notification by a regular civilian?

Because withholding the confirmation of departure can only be done when notified by the affiliated organization of the foreign national, confirmation of a foreign national’s departure cannot be withheld with a notification by a regular civilian.

General

Q16What is a "status of residence" and "period of stay?"

Status of residence is a legally specified categorization of statuses or positions of foreign nationals and activities that foreign nationals may engage in to enter/reside in Japan. Currently there are 36 types of statuses of residence.

Period of stay is the period a foreign national with a status of residence may reside in Japan. The permitted length of period of stay is determined for each status of residence. Foreign nationals may engage in activities within the permitted status of residence and period of stay. Status of residence and period of stay can be found in this list.

Q17Where can I apply to change my status of residence, extend my period of stay, or receive re-entry permission? Who submits the application?

Applications for change of status of residence, extension of period of stay, re-entry permission, and other residency-related applications must be filed by the applicant at the Regional Immigration Services Bureau that has jurisdiction over their place of residence. It is possible for the legal representative of the applicant to apply in their place. In addition, the staff of the foreign national's accepting organization (requires approval of a Regional Immigration Services Bureau Director-General), a lawyer or administrative scrivener (must be notified to the Regional Immigration Services Bureau Director-General), parent, or cohabitant (if the applicant is 16 years old or younger, or cannot appear due to sickness) may also conduct procedures to submit application documents.

Q18Do the Regional Immigration Services Bureaus close during Obon and the New Year's period?

The Regional Immigration Services Bureaus are closed on Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, and December 29 to January 3 (New Year's period).

Q19I am living in 〇〇 Prefecture, can I submit an application at 〇〇 branch office?

You will need to follow the procedures at the Regional Immigration Services Bureau that has jurisdiction over your current address (list of areas of jurisdiction).

Q20How many months before the expiration date can I apply for an extension of my period of stay?

You can apply roughly three months in advance.

For those who have a period of stay that is less than three months, you can apply when over half of your period of stay has passed.

Q21When I apply for the extension of period of stay, will my passport be kept by the Regional Immigration Services Bureau? If I can keep my passport during the application process, can I go abroad temporarily while my application is being processed?

Your passport will not be kept by the Regional Immigration Services Bureau during your application for the extension of period of stay.

It is possible to depart from and enter into Japan even if you are in the middle of applying for an extension of period of stay due to re-entry permission (including special re-entry permission).

However, if you depart Japan with re-entry permission (including special re-entry permission) after applying for an extension of period of stay, you must re-enter Japan within two months of the expiration of the period of stay and receive a disposition of the application for an extension of period of stay.

Q22If the documents to be submitted are prepared in a foreign language, do I need to have them translated? If so, can my spouse translate it?

If the documents to be submitted are in a foreign language, attach Japanese translations (Regulation for Enforcement of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, Article 62). Anyone is allowed to translate so long as the translations are accurate and the translator’s signature is included.

Q23On the application form (application for extension of period of stay, application for change of status of residence, application for issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility), there is a column to enter criminal records. From what year should I fill it in?

There are no limitations regarding from which year it must be filled in. If you have been subjected to any crimes, whether inside or outside of Japan, you must write it all down.

Q24The documents to be submitted include "a tax certificate (or tax exemption certificate) for individual inhabitant taxes and a tax payment certificate (showing gross income and taxes paid for one year)." What should I do if I cannot submit them?

If you cannot submit them, create and submit a letter of explanation (no specified format) as to why you cannot submit the documents. If you have a withholding tax slip or detailed documents that can act as a reference to your recent income, please submit that as well.

Q25What should I do if I am unable to apply for a change of status of residence or extension of period of stay within my period of stay due to being infected with H1N1 influenza or living in an area that is in lockdown due to an H1N1 influenza outbreak? Will I be subject to deportation?

Please apply after your have made a complete recovery or after the lockdown is lifted.

In cases where your period of stay has passed (or for the representative, in the case that the person is 16 year or younger) due to circumstances beyond your control, including H1N1 influenza, disasters, illnesses, and accidents, your application will be accepted without deportation procedures based solely on the expiration of your period of stay. Therefore, once you are able to apply, consult with the nearest Regional Immigration Services Bureau as soon as possible.

Q26A foreign national couple is expecting a child. What should they do?

They will need to apply for permission to acquire a status of residence. This application must be done within 30 days from the day of the birth at the Regional Immigration Services Bureau with jurisdiction over their address. However, if they intend to depart from Japan within 60 days from the day of the birth, there is no need to apply for permission to acquire a status of residence. (This excludes cases where they intend to receive re-entry permission (including special re-entry permission) before departing.)

Q27I lost my passport. I got a new passport. Can I transfer the landing permission seal and re-entry permission stamp that were in my lost passport to my new passport?

If you have been issued a new passport and you wish to transfer the landing permission, permission to stay (excluding those who have been granted a residence card), re-entry permission, or stamp pertaining to your permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted onto your new passport, you must submit a request for transfer of stamps (which can be obtained at a Regional Immigration Services Bureau) at the Regional Immigration Services Bureau with jurisdiction over your address (list of areas of jurisdiction). Please bring a certificate of loss if you have one.

Those working in Japan

Q28I came to Japan for sightseeing and am currently here under a "Temporary Visitor" status of residence. Can I work in Japan?

In principle, foreign nationals who have been issued the "Temporary Visitor" status of residence (for sightseeing, visiting family, etc.) may not work in Japan.

Q29Under the "Business Manager" status of residence, the size of the business must fall under one of the following categories. What exactly is the "equivalent scale" mentioned in (c)?
(a) The business is operated by two or more full-time employees residing in Japan other than those engaged in the business's management or administration.
(b) The amount of capital or the total amount of investment is 5 million yen or more.
(c) The business is recognized as having a scale equivalent to these.

In order for a business to be considered of "equivalent scale," it must match the situations outlined in either (a) or (b) to a substantial degree. An example of a business which would fall under (a) is one where increasing the full time staff by one extra person would require approximately 2.5 million yen (were only one person to work full time).

Alternatively, an example of a business which would fall under (b) is a sole-proprietorship started by a foreign national which is being operated with a 5-million-yen (or more) investment. In this case, the 5-million-yen investment should cover all the expenses required to run the business, such as securing an operating location, paying employee salaries, and purchasing office equipment.

Q30What kind of person can apply as a representative for the issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility for a "Business Manager" status of residence?

An employee from the company (which operates in Japan) who wishes to hire a foreign national may apply. For companies which are newly established in Japan, then either employees in managerial/administrative positions or those who have been entrusted with the establishment of the new office (and regular employees, in cases of corporations) may apply.

Q31Please explain the difference between the "Intra-Company Transferee" and the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" statuses of residence.

Regarding the "Intra-Company Transferee" status of residence:

  1. The activities which may be performed by someone with the "Intra-Company Transferee" status of residence are as listed in the lower column of the Intra-Company Transferee section of Appended Table 1-2 of the Immigration Control Act. Specifically, it applies to "foreign nationals who are employed in a public/private company located overseas which has branches (etc.) in Japan, and who have been transferred to perform activities listed under the Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services section for a specific period of time at the relevant place of business." Therefore, the permissible activities for those with the "Intra-Company Transferee" status of residence are almost identical to those with an "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence, aside from the limitations on the duration and location of their employment.
  2. In addition, as per the ministerial ordinance on criteria regarding the Intra-Company Transferee status of residence, the applicant "must have been continuously engaged in activities listed in the lower column of the Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services section of Appended Table 1-2 of the Immigration Control Act at the relevant overseas location for a minimum of one year immediately preceding the submission of their application." However, if an applicant does not meet the one-year minimum (and is subsequently ineligible for the "Intra-Company Transferee" status of residence), but otherwise meets the requirements for landing permissions for the Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services status of residence, they may be able to enter the country in that way (provided there is no time limit on their period of transfer). While one of the requirements for the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence is "having a contract with a public/private Japanese company," this is not limited to employment contracts. It also includes assignments, commissions, outsourcing, and so on. That being said, as another one of the stipulations is that the aforementioned activities will be ongoing, the contracts with a given company (it is acceptable to have several) must be continuous.
  3. Moreover, a foreign national who enters the country through the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status (due to being ineligible for the "Intra-Company Transferee status) will be held to the "contract with a public/private Japanese company" condition for their activities. That same requirement also applies to intra-company transferees. As the foreign national being transferred is simply continuing their existing employment contract which, by extension, has already been made with a "public/private Japanese company," a new contract will not be required. This stipulation is not restricted to the "Intra-Company Transferee" status of residence either. Provided that the employee entering Japan with the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence already has a valid contract with the overseas branch, it is not necessary to draw up a new one with the Japanese branch.
Q32I have an "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence and still have about one year left in my period of stay. I will marry a Japanese national soon. Do I have to complete the change of status of residence procedures?

Provided there have been no changes to one's employment status, it is fine to remain on the existing "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence until it expires. That being said, it will be possible to apply to change one's status of residence to "Spouse or Child of a Japanese National" once the marriage has been made official. Should the applicant be granted permission to change their status of residence to "Spouse or Child of a Japanese National," they will be able to work without being restricted to a particular category.

Q33I have an "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence and my period of stay will expire soon, but I am planning to change jobs. What kind of procedures should I fill out?

For those whose new job is one whose activities fall within the scope of their current status of residence, then they should apply for an extension of period of stay.

For those whose new job is one whose activities do not fall within the scope of their current status of residence, then they should apply for a change in status of residence.

Regardless of the situation, applicants must remain mindful of their current period of stay's expiration date.

Q34I work in Japan and have a status of residence of 〇〇 (e.g., "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services," "Skilled Labor," etc.). The period of stay expires in two years, but I have changed jobs. The type of work is the same as my previous work, but I would like to confirm whether it is included in the activities that can be performed under a "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence. What kind of procedures should I fill out?

Please apply for a Certificate of Authorized Employment.

Q35Can I apply for a Certificate of Authorized Employment at an immigration office other than the one that has jurisdiction over my place of residence? Since my place of employment is in a different area of jurisdiction, I would like to apply at the immigration office that has jurisdiction over my place of employment.

Applications may only be submitted to the Regional Immigration Services Bureau with jurisdiction over your place of residence. This also applies to applications for changes of status of residence or extensions of period of stay.

Those studying in japan

Q36Does the term "university" in the ministerial ordinance on landing criteria include foreign universities? What does "equal or better education" mean?

The term "university" in the ministerial ordinance on landing criteria does indeed include foreign universities.

As for "equal or better education," it refers to an institution within an education system which is not classified as a university, but whose quality of education, organization systems, etc. are on par with those of a university.

Such institutions will be judged on a case-by-case basis in relation to that country's education system, taking into account its nature, standards, and the content of its educational programs.

Q37I transferred to another school. Is a notification required?

Mid to long-term residents who are living in Japan under the "Student" status of residence are required to submit a notification to their Regional Immigration Services Bureau for both their withdrawal from the previous institution and their acceptance to the new institution within 14 days of the change. When making a notification by mail, a photocopy of one's residence card (front and back) is required. If making an in-person appearance at an immigration office, the physical copy of one's residence card will be required.

Q38I have a "Student" status of residence. I would like to work part-time after school. Is some form of permission required?

Should a foreign national wish to engage in any activities other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted, such as earning an income as a temporary part-time worker, they will need to apply for permission through a Regional Immigration Services Bureau.

Q39Can students of Japanese language schools bring their families to Japan?

In cases where the student is already considered to be a dependent, they will not be able to sponsor others through a "Dependent" status of residence. (The spouse and/or children of a university or post-secondary course of specialized training college student are exempt from this.)

Q40I currently have a "Student" status of residence, but I would like to switch to the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence for work. Do I have to have a university degree to do so? Can I apply if I have completed a program at a vocational school?

Foreign nationals who are looking to switch to an "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence will be required to show proof that they have acquired the knowledge and/or skills necessary to work in their field of choice, in accordance with Article 7, Paragraph 1, Item 2 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. Those who have graduated from a university overseas will also be required to demonstrate that they meet those educational standards. In addition, foreign nationals who have completed a program of study at a vocational school and are considered a professional in their field (refer to "Regulations for Granting Professional Titles to Graduates of Vocational Schools," Ministry of Education Notice No. 84, 1994 for details) are considered to meet the aforementioned educational requirements provided that their activities fall under those permitted through the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence and make use of the skills/knowledge they have obtained.

Q41If a student has been offered employment and wishes to stay in Japan until they begin work (some time after their graduation), how should this be handled?

Once a student has completed their course of study, they will become ineligible to renew their "Student" status of residence. However, as many companies in Japan do not begin hiring until April, it is not uncommon for fall graduates to find it difficult to secure employment until the spring. Those with job offers may discover that their new position will not begin until April. In such cases, provided that the company which has made the offer submits documents confirming as much, the student will be able to apply for a change of status of residence to "Designated Activities." This will allow them to remain in Japan until they are able to begin working (must be within one year of receiving an offer; for a period no longer than one year and six months after graduation).

Q42I am looking for a job, but I have not received any job offers even though I will graduate soon. I want to find a job and continue staying in Japan. What will happen to my status of residence if I do not find one?

Provided there are no issues pertaining to their current status of residence, graduates of universities and post-secondary courses of specialized training colleges who have yet to receive an offer of employment should seek to obtain a letter of recommendation from their educational institution. This will allow them to apply for a change in status of residence to "Designated Activities" (valid for six months). This status may be extended once, granting the applicant a total of one year in which to continue their search for a job.

The graduate will also be able to take advantage of any job search programs offered by local government bodies, provided they meet the requirements that have been set. If they are indeed eligible, they will be awarded a certificate which will allow them to continue their job search efforts for a second year, including internships. Once again, provided that there are no issues pertaining to their status of residence, graduates may apply for a change in status of residence to "Designated Activities" (valid for six months). This period of stay may be renewed once, granting the new graduate an extra year in Japan to look for work (for a total of two years after their graduation).

Q43I have a "Student" status of residence but have already graduated. I am thinking of returning to my home country, but I still have time left on my period of stay. Am I able to work a part-time job?

The "permission for unspecified activities" granted to students who have requested permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted is tied to their status as a student. As such, they would not be able to work after their graduation.

Q44I graduated from a Japanese university and am currently residing in Japan with a "Designated Activities" status of residence to search for a job. Do I need to get permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted?

If the letter of recommendation which the graduate received from their university or professional training college states their permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted, then permission may be granted. Otherwise, requests will be determined on an individual basis.

Q45Do I need to change my status of residence from "Dependent" to "Student" in order to receive scholarships to attend school? Will my ineligibility to receive scholarships as a "Dependent" be taken into account?

As those with the "Dependent" status of residence may be ineligible for certain scholarships awarded by independent administrative agencies such as the Japan Student Services Organization, should they choose to apply for a change in status of residence to "Student" for the purposes of obtaining a scholarship to aid in furthering their studies, these circumstances will indeed be taken into account.

Others

Q46Is there an age limit for dependents coming to Japan?

There is no age limit for those who will be receiving support.

Q47My wife (who has "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence) gave birth in China and is currently their with our child. I am in Japan as a dependent. Can I apply for a "Dependent" Certificate of Eligibility for my child?

As parents are considered to be the legal representatives of their children, they may submit applications on their behalf.

Q48I (a Japanese national) am marrying a foreign national who is in Japan under a working visa. After the marriage, we plan on applying for a change of status of residence. Will we need both a notification of marriage and a marriage certificate from our home country?

In order to apply for a change in status of residence to "Spouse or Child of a Japanese National," they will need to submit a copy of the family register which clearly states the marriage, as well as a marriage certificate which has been issued by their embassy. (If there is no record of a marriage, then the Japanese national will be required to submit a notification of marriage in addition to the copy of their family register.)

Q49When submitting the notification of marriage in Japan first, my home country's institution will not issue a marriage certificate, which is a necessary for the application. What should I do?

In this case, please submit a document explaining why the marriage certificate was not issued.

Q50My status of residence is "Dependent," but I would like to work part-time, so I am planning on applying for permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted. What documents are required?

Please refer to the application for permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted.

Q51In the documents to be submitted, there is a "guarantor form." What is a guarantor? What are the responsibilities when guaranteeing someone's identity?

In accordance with the Immigration Control Act, a guarantor is someone who has vowed to the Minister of Justice that they will take it upon themselves to assist the foreign national with their smooth integration into Japanese society, both socially and financially, while ensuring that they comprehend and are compliant with local rules and regulations. Although these assurances being made to the Minister of Justice are not legally enforceable (at best, authorities can only remind a guarantor of their duties), they do hold a degree of social accountability. Those who shirk their duties as a guarantor will not be accepted on subsequent applications.

Q52What are the requirements for permission for permanent residence?

In accordance with the Immigration Control Act, those who wish to become permanent residents must "exhibit good behavior," and "possess sufficient assets or skills to earn an independent living." Moreover, "the Minister of Justice must determine that granting the applicant permanent residency would be beneficial to Japan" in order to obtain the necessary permission.

Let us start by explaining the first two requirements outlined by the Immigration Control Act. It should be noted that "these requirements are not necessary for the spouse and/or children of a Japanese national, those with permission for permanent residence, or special permanent residents." The reasoning behind the more relaxed stance for such foreign residents is that they have already proven that they are rooted in Japanese society (by virtue of their circumstances), and to help stabilize their family unit.

"Exhibit good behavior" refers to not being imprisoned with work, imprisoned without work, or levied a fine for violating Japanese laws and regulations, not being placed under probation under the Juvenile Act, and living a live without social criticism in one’s daily life.

"Possess sufficient assets or skills to earn an independent living" refers to not becoming a public burden in daily life, and being expected to maintain a stable lifestyle in the future from one’s skills or owned assets. This condition will be met if a stable lifestyle can be expected to continue when looking not only at the applicant, but the spouse and other members who comprise the family unit.

"The Minister of Justice must determine that granting the applicant permanent residency would be beneficial to Japan" refers to the concept that granting a person permanent residence would be beneficial to Japanese society and Japan's economy. This decision is made by taking into consideration land conditions, the ability for Japanese society to accept foreign nationals, such as trends in population, etc., and other internal and external circumstances that affect immigration control and management. The Minister of Justice has been granted wide discretion in decisions to grant permission for permanent residence.

Specific examples include residing as a member of Japanese society for a long period of time, fulfilling public duties to pay taxes, compliance with laws and regulations, and not being a burden to the public.

Q53I am staying in Japan under the status of residence of 〇〇 (e.g., "Dependent") and would like to leave Japan temporarily. What procedures should I complete?

Provided that one has a valid residence card (or a certificate of alien registration), and will be returning to Japan within a year of their departure, then there is no need to obtain special re-entry permission prior to departure. (→ See "special re-entry permissions.")

However, please note that if one's period of stay will expire during said year-long departure period, they must return to Japan before then. Those exiting the country with special re-entry permission should also be aware that they will not be able to extend its validity period while overseas.

Those who are aware that they will need to spend longer than one year overseas will need to apply for special re-entry permission at the Regional Immigration Services Bureau with jurisdiction over their place of residence. (A list of offices and their areas of jurisdiction may be found here.) (→ See "re-entry permissions.")

Q54Do I need to obtain re-entry permission each time I leave Japan?

First of all, there is no limit to the number of times a person can apply for special re-entry permission.

Secondly, there are two kinds of re-entry permissions. One may only be used for a single entry, while the other may be used for multiple entries (within a determined validity period). With multiple re-entry permission, there is no need to apply for a new permit each time a person leaves the country.

As for the validity period for re-entry permissions, the current maximum is five years (six years for special permanent residents).

Q55What is the difference between one-time re-entry permission and multiple re-entry permission?

Multiple re-entry permission allows the person to enter and leave the country as many times as they wish within the validity period. A one-time re-entry permission, on the other hand, allows the person to enter and leave the country only once.

Q56What is the validity period of re-entry permission?

A. Re-entry permission is valid for a period not to exceed five years (six years for special permanent residents) from the effective date of the re-entry permission. For example, you can receive re-entry permission until the end of the period of stay if the period of stay is within five years from the effective date.

Q57Is departure from Japan via re-entry permission (or special re-entry permission) possible when an an application extend period of stay (or change status of residence) is being processed?

It is indeed possible to depart Japan and return using re-entry permission while an application to extend one's period of stay or change one's status of residence is being processed. However, applicants should ensure that they have a reliable method of communication while outside of the country, as it is possible that the Immigration Servicse Agency will need to contact them.

  1. Departing Japan with re-entry permission
    Please return before the re-entry permission expires.
  2. Departing Japan with special re-entry permission
    Please return within either two months after one's previous period of stay has expired, or one year of the date of departure.
    Upon returning to Japan, be sure to check the results of your application for an extension of period of stay with the Regional Immigration Services Bureau to which you submitted the application prior to your departure. You need to check this before the two-month grace period expires. Those who return later than two months after their period of stay has expired will be considered to have overstayed their visa, regardless of whether or not they have already submitted an application to extend said period of stay.
Q58I came to Japan with a "Temporary Visitor" status of residence for sightseeing, business, or visiting relatives, but I want to travel abroad temporarily and come back to Japan. Can I get re-entry permission?

In principle, those who have been granted a "Temporary Visitor" status of residence are not eligible for re-entry permissions.

This also includes special re-entry permissions.

Once someone with a "Temporary Visitor" status has departed Japan, they will need to apply for a new visa (exempting those from countries/regions which do not require an entry visa).

Those who are already aware that they will need to depart during their stay may be able to apply for multiple visas, so they should consult with the Japanese embassy located in their home country.

Q59If my period of stay will expire while I am overseas, can I apply for an extension through a Japanese embassy?

Embassies located overseas are not capable of processing applications for extensions of periods of stay. Those in this situation must return before their period of stay expires and submit an application for an extension to the Regional Immigration Services Bureau with jurisdiction over their place of residence. (A list of offices and their areas of jurisdiction may be found here.)

Q60I would like to hire a foreign national with a "Student" status of residence for a part-time job. Are there any restrictions on working hours?

Students who have obtained permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted are restricted to no more than 28 working hours per week (or no more than eight hours per day during extended holidays such as summer/winter break). This is further limited to students who are currently enrolled at an educational institution, and excludes employment related to the adult entertainment industry. The details of individual working permissions are as outlined on the seal of approval affixed to the foreign national's passport.

Q61I would like to hire a foreign national with a "Student" status of residence for one month during summer break. Are there any restrictions on working hours?

First of all, please make sure that either the potential employee's passport is affixed with a seal of approval which permits them to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted, or that they have been granted a permit.

Secondly, even with working permissions, those with the "Student" status of residence are not allowed to work more than eight hours a day during extended holidays (such as summer break).

Q62I am the head of HR for my company. We would like to employ a foreign national who came for an interview, but is there anything I should be mindful of?

Please be sure to verify the prospective employee's status of residence, using either their passport or residence card. If their status of residence is "Spouse or Child of a Japanese National," "Spouse or Child of a Permanent Resident," "Long-Term Resident," or "Permanent Resident," then there are no restrictions on their employment. Those with the "Student" or "Dependent" status of residence will need permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted by the Immigration Services Agency in order to be able to work. Even then, there are restrictions on the type of employment they may engage in and the hours that they may work. For "Designated Activities," please verify the "Certificate of Designation" which will have been applied to the prospective employee's passport by the Immigration Services Agency. Those who entered the country for a working holiday will have any applicable terms of employment clearly outlined on their certificate.

Among the other working statuses of residence, foreign nationals may be employed provided that their duties fall within the scope of their current status. If those duties do not, then they will need to apply for either a change in status of residence or permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted by the Immigration Services Agency. If this proves difficult to judge, it is possible to apply for a Certificate of Authorized Employment which may then be used for verification. Finally, aside from "Permanent Resident," all statuses of residence have a defined period of stay. Please be sure to check this as well.

Q63If I want to hire a foreign national, do I absolutely have to check their Certificate of Authorized Employment?

A Certificate of Authorized Employment (which clearly outlines the working activities a foreign national has permission to perform) may be issued at the foreign national's request for both their convenience and that of their employer. That being said, a Certificate of Authorized Employment is not required to prove one's eligibility to work. Simply confirming their status of residence (or that they have permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted) as stated on either their residence card or the seal of approval affixed to their passport is sufficient.

Q64In what cases can my status of residence be revoked? Please explain with specific examples.

There are four general circumstances in which the Minister of Justice may revoke a status of residence.

  1. If the person has received permission by deception or other wrongful means:
    Upon applying for landing permission or an extension of period of stay, if the person submits fabricated documents or materials, enters false information on an application, or receives permission based on false statements.
  2. If the person is not engaged in the activities their status of residence permits, or is/will be engaged in activities which they have not received permission for:
    Those who hold one of the statuses of residence listed in Appendix 1 who are either not engaged in the activities they were approved for, or are/will be engaged in activities which they have not received permission for without a valid reason.
  3. If the person has not been continuously engaged in the activities their status of residence permits for some time:
    Below are examples of people who fit into this category. However, they will not be subject to a revocation of their status of residence if there is a valid reason for not performing the activities.
    • Foreign nationals who reside in Japan based on a status of residence in Appendix 1 of the Immigration Control Act ("Skilled Labor," "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services," "Student," "Dependent," etc.) who have not performed activities based on this status of residence for three months or longer (or six months in the case of "Highly Skilled Professional (ii)").
    • Foreign nationals who reside in Japan based on a status of residence of "Spouse or Child of a Japanese National" (excluding the children of Japanese citizens and special adoptions) or "Spouse or Child of a Permanent Resident" (excluding the children of permanent residents born in Japan) who have not been in such a relationship for at least six consecutive months.
  4. If the mid to long-term resident did not register their address or submitted a false notification:
    Below are examples of people who fit into this category. However, the first and second items will not be subject to a revocation of the status of residence if there is a valid reason for not submitting a notification.
    • When those who become new mid to long-term residents through landing permission or permission to change status of residence do not submit a notification of address to the Minister of Justice within 90 days.
    • When a mid to long-term resident fails to notify the Minister of Justice of their new address within 90 days of vacating the address they had previously reported.
    • When a mid to long-term resident notifies the Minister of Justice of a false address.
Q65What kind of procedures are involved in the revocation of a status of residence?

When attempting to revoke a status of residence, the immigration officer is required to ask the opinion of the foreign national subject to the revocation. The foreign national may state their opinion, submit evidence, or request access to materials. It is possible to select a representative when being asked opinions and to have that person participate in the hearing of opinions in place of the foreign national.

Q66When summoned to appear at a Regional Immigration Services Bureau, what happens if the foreign national (or their representative) does not appear on the designated day?

If either the foreign national who is subject to revocation of their status of residence or their representative do not appear on the designated day without a justifiable reason, their status of residence will be revoked without hearing their opinion. Therefore, please contact the Regional Immigration Services Bureau beforehand if you cannot appear on the designated day due to unavoidable circumstances, such as illness.

Q67Who can participate in the hearing procedures on behalf of a person who is subject to revocation of their status of residence?

Those with parental authority over minors, legal representatives such as guardians, and lawyers granted power of attorney by the foreign national subject to the revocation of status of residence may participate in the hearing as their representative.

Q68How will I be notified if it is decided that my status of residence will be revoked?

Notifications of revocation of status of residence are made through a written notification. The written notification of the revocation of status of residence is sent to the address of the subject of the revocation of status of residence and issued directly to the foreign national.

Q69Do foreign nationals have to leave Japan immediately after the decision to revoke their status of residence is made?

There are two ways in which matters following the revocation of status of residence are handled.

In cases where the foreign national demonstrated considerable malice through their use of underhanded means (such as withholding any grounds for denial of landing or falsifying details about their work history and/or life in Japan on their application), they will be subject to deportation immediately following the revocation of their status of residence if they had not been engaged in the activities their status of residence permitted, were/would have been engaged in activities which they had not received permission for, or if there is strong evidence to suggest that they will attempt to flee.

On the other hand, if the foreign national did not demonstrate much malice through their dishonest means (someone other than the applicant submitted documents that were not truthful), had not performed activities based on their status of residence for a certain period of time, was a mid to long-term resident who did not submit a notification of address (or submitted a falsified notification), the foreign national will be given enough time to prepare to leave the country, not exceeding 30 days from the time their status of residence is revoked (grace period), and will depart Japan on their own within this period.

Q70If the status of residence is revoked and a grace period for departure is given, will the foreign national's departure be treated as a normal departure? Will they be subject to deportation?

Departing Japan within the period designated by the revocation of status of residence will be handled the same way as departing during their period of stay.

Q71Can foreign nationals whose status of residence is revoked due to truancy and who are given a grace period be granted a "Student" status of residence again if they enroll in another educational institution within this period?

They will not be permitted to change their status nor extend their period of stay once their status of residence has been revoked. After departing Japan, please conduct procedures to once again enter Japan (application for issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility).

Q72I heard that after a foreign national with the "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" status of residence resigns from a company, if they have a "valid reason," then they may not have their status revoked even if they have not performed the activities related to said status for three consecutive months or more. Is this true?

Foreign nationals who reside in Japan based on a status of residence in Appendix 1 of the Immigration Control Act ("Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services," "Skilled Labor," "Student," etc.) are not subject to a revocation of status of residence if they have a "valid reason" for residing in Japan without performing their activities, even if they have not performed the activities based on their status of residence for three or more consecutive months.

What constitutes a "valid reason" will be determined on an individual basis. However, the following cases are considered to have a "valid reason" and are not subject to the revocation of status of residence.

  1. After resigning from their place of employment, the foreign national has performed tangible job search activities, such as visiting companies, in order to find a new place of employment.
  2. After their affiliated educational institution closed, the foreign national began the necessary procedures to enroll in another educational institution.
  3. They took a leave of absence from their educational institution for unavoidable reasons, such as a long-term hospitalization to treat an illness, and intend to return to school once they have been discharged.
  4. They decide to enroll in a Japanese university after graduating from a vocational school.
Q73I heard that foreign nationals who are married to Japanese nationals and live in Japan based on the "Spouse or Child of a Japanese National" status of residence are not subject to a revocation of status of residence if they have a "valid reason," even if they were divorced from the Japanese national and have not been in this relationship for six or more consecutive months. Is this true?

Individuals residing in Japan with a status of residence of "Spouse or Child of a Japanese National" (excluding the children of Japanese citizens and special adoptions) or "Spouse or Child of a Permanent Resident" (excluding the children of permanent residents) are not subject to a revocation of status of residence if they have a "valid reason" for residing in Japan, even if they have not been in this relationship for six consecutive months or more.

What constitutes a "valid reason" will be determined on an individual basis. However, the following cases are considered to have a "valid reason" and are not subject to the revocation of status of residence.

  1. When temporary evacuation or protection is required due to domestic violence.
  2. When someone must live separately from their spouse for an unavoidable reason, such as their child’s education, while still being supported by them.
  3. When someone leaves Japan for an extended period with re-entry permission (including special re-entry permission) due to an illness in their family.
  4. When in divorce mediation or legal proceedings.
Q74I heard that mid to long-term residents are not subject to a revocation of status of residence if they have a "valid reason," even if they did not submit a notification of their address. Is this true?

Those who became new mid to long-term residents through landing permission or permission to change their status of residence are not subject to revocation of status of residence if there is a "valid reason" for not submitting a notification of address even if they fail to submit a notification of address to the Minister of Justice within 90 days of receiving permission, or if they fail to submit a notification of a new address to the Minister of Justice within 90 days of vacating the address they previously submitted.

What constitutes a "valid reason" will be determined on an individual basis. However, the following cases are considered to have a "valid reason" and are not subject to the revocation of status of residence.

  1. When someone loses their place of residence due to their company laying off temporary dispatch employees or suddenly going bankrupt, and they have not decided on a new residence.
  2. When evacuation or protection is required due to domestic violence.
  3. When there are unavoidable medical circumstances, such as hospitalization for treatment of an illness, and there is no one to submit the notification on behalf of the applicant.
  4. When someone leaves Japan with re-entry permission (including special re-entry permission) due to a sudden business trip after changing addresses.
  5. When a place of residence has not been established due to the nature of the activities the foreign national is engaging in, such as frequent short-term business trips to Japan.
Q75I have overstayed my visa in Japan, but I would like to return to my home country. Please tell me what is needed and where I should go to report this.

The foreign national must first make an appearance at either a Regional Immigration Services Bureau (located in Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Takamatsu, and Fukuoka) or a District Immigration Office (located in Yokohama, Kobe, and Naha). When visiting the immigration office, they must present their passport, certificate of alien registration, or similar piece of ID which can be used to verify their identity. Please do not purchase a departure ticket prior to visiting an immigration office.

Q76There is a foreign national illegally overstaying their visa in my neighborhood, so I would like to provide information.

Thank you. Please submit the information by email, mail, or phone.

Q77I would like to obtain statistics on foreign nationals. Where can I get them?

The following statistics are available on the website of the Ministry of Justice:

  1. White papers, statistics, and resources (in Japanese)
    http://www.moj.go.jp/housei/toukei/toukei_index2.html
    Immigration control statistics
    Foreign resident statistics
  2. Press conferences, press releases, and announcements
    https://www.isa.go.jp/en/publications/press/index.html
    The following press releases have been published:
    • Number of foreign nationals who entered Japan and Japanese nationals who departed Japan
    • Number of foreign residents
    • Foreign nationals who are overstaying their authorized periods of stay in Japan

*Data that was not officially published is not available.
For older statistics which are not available online, please refer to previous publications found at the Ministry of Justice Central Library, as well as prefectural libraries across the country. The availability of documents will vary from one prefectural library to another, so please be sure to check.

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