Answer (Q1 ~ Q77)

For residence card holders: things to know about the Residency Management System

General answers
Q1:
What kind of system is the Residency Management System?
A.

The Residency Management System was created with the aim of allowing the Commissioner of the Immigration Services Agency to more effectively manage the status of residence of eligible foreign nationals (specifically, mid to long-term residents) on a continual basis. Such individuals will receive a residence card, which has their name, photograph, and details such as their status of residence and period of stay recorded on it.

Q2:
What has changed with the introduction of the Residency Management System?
A.

In accordance with the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act (henceforth referred to as the "Immigration Control Act"), foreign nationals must provide a certain amount of information to the Minister of Justice when they are applying for permission to enter the country, for an extension of period of stay, and so on. Any changes to this information had to be made through the municipal government via the Alien Registration System, resulting in a considerable amount of overlap.

The current Residency Management System seeks to merge the information gathered from landing permissions and extensions of period of stay with that obtained by municipal governments in order to create a more streamlined method of managing the information required by the Immigration Control Act for mid to long-term foreign residents in Japan.

Q3:
When will the new Residency Management System start?
A.

The new system came into effect on July 9, 2012.

* In accordance with the Cabinet Order Determining the Date of Enforcement of the Act on Partial Amendment to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act and the Special Act on the Immigration Control of, Inter Alia, Those Who Have Lost Japanese Nationality Pursuant to the Treaty of Peace with Japan, as it was announced on December 26, 2011.

Q4:
Who are the mid to long-term residents who will be subject to the new Residency Management System?
A.

Eligible residents are foreign nationals who reside in Japan with a mid to long-term status of residence under the Immigration Control Act, and who do not fall under conditions 1 to 6, as listed below. For example, those on short-term trips to Japan (for sightseeing, etc.) would not be subject to the Residency Management System.

  1. Those who have been granted a period of stay of three months or less.
  2. Those who have been granted a status of residence of "Temporary Visitor."
  3. Those who have been granted a status of residence of "Diplomat" or "Official.”
  4. Those who the Ministry of Justice has deemed to be similarly exempt (such as the employees in the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association’s Japanese office and their families, or workers of the Permanent General Mission of Palestine in Japan and their families).
  5. Special Permanent Residents
  6. Those without a status of residence.
Q5:
For the children of foreign nationals, at what point are they subject to the new Residency Management System? How about people who lost their Japanese citizenship?
A.

Foreign nationals who will be residing in Japan without landing permission (due to having been born in the country or having lost their Japanese citizenship) for more than 60 days must apply for a status of residence at a Regional Immigration Services Bureau within 30 days of the occurrence of the relevant event. Once their status of residence has been confirmed, they will be considered mid to long-term residents, and thus subject to the Residency Management System.

Foreign nationals who have obtained a residence certificate by way of submitting a notification of birth do not need to submit a notification of their address to their municipal government, as the copy of their residence certificate submitted to the Commissioner of the Immigration Services Agency when applying for permission to acquire a status of residence is sufficient.

Q6:
What will become easier to do under the Residency Management System?
A.

In addition to streamlining information related to the management of mid to long-term residents, the new system will introduce the following benefits:

  • An increase to the maximum length of the period of stay (from three years to five years).
  • Those registered under the new system will be able to depart Japan and remain abroad for under one year without needing to obtain re-entry permission.

Moreover, residents should see a reduction in the amount of paperwork they are required to submit when applying for various services at Regional Immigration Services Bureaus, making the process less onerous.

The previous system also required the same information from all foreign nationals residing in Japan, regardless of whether or not it had any bearing on their status of residence. The 2012 amendment to the Immigration Control Act has further refined the regulations, ensuring that only information which is absolutely necessary is being requested, thus reducing the burden on applicants.

With the introduction of the current Residency Management System and the integration of (eligible) foreign nationals into the Basic Resident Register, government agencies at both the national and municipal level will be able to more accurately gauge the status of both their Japanese and foreign residents, resulting in improved allocations of services.

Q7:
The residence card can be used for "the adequate provision of various administrative services." What exactly are these various administrative services? How is it different from the previous Alien Registration System?
A.

Some examples of said administrative services are national health insurance, long-term care insurance, national pension, education, and various allowances. The introduction of the new residence card system will allow municipalities to keep more accurate information regarding their foreign residents, ideally resulting in improved allocation of services.

Q8:
What kind of measures are taken to prevent forgery and alteration of residence cards?
A.

Residence cards are equipped with a number of anti-counterfeiting measures, such as high-security IC chips, holographic detailing and color-shifting ink.

For more information, please refer to the "Residence card and special permanent resident certificate breakdown" (in Japanese)PDF available on the Immigration Services Agency website.

Q9:
How are foreign residents and Japanese nationals differentiated on residence certificates?
A.

Under the Basic Resident Registration Act, a "foreign resident" is someone residing in Japan who (a) is a mid to long-term resident, (b) is a special permanent resident, (c) has been granted landing permissions for asylum or a provisional stay, or (d) is a transitional resident, either by birth or the loss of their Japanese nationality. Both foreign residents and Japanese nationals are capable of receiving a residence certificate. A foreign resident's residence certificate will include their name, date of birth, sex, basic information about their address, and the status of their national health insurance. However, unlike those of Japanese nationals, it will also include information regarding their nationality, status of residence, and period of stay.

The revisions to the Basic Resident Registration Act will come into effect on the same day as those for the Immigration Control Act (July 9, 2012).

Detailed Answers

General introduction to the residence card

Q10:
What is a residence card?
A.

Residence cards are issued under the Residency Management System to mid to long-term residents once they are permitted to stay in Japan; such as receiving landing permission, permission to change their status of residence, or permission to extend their period of stay. The information recorded on the card includes the resident's name, nationality, date of birth, sex, status of residence, period of stay, working permissions, as well as their photograph.

Q11:
What is the main difference between the "certificate of alien registration" and the new "residence card?"
A.
  • Only mid to long-term residents are eligible.
    Residence cards are only issued to foreign nationals who have permission to reside in Japan for a moderate amount of time; they are not issued to those who are staying in the country illegally.
  • Decisions regarding working permissions are now more obvious.
    Residence cards will now have all the latest information pertinent to the holder's status of residence, such as their working permissions and/or permissions to engage in other activities printed on their card. Business owners will be able to tell at a glance whether or not they will be able to employ the foreign national in question, making the process easier for everyone involved.
  • The accuracy of the information being recorded has increased.
    After being issued a residence card, foreign residents must notify the Immigration Services Agency of any changes to the information recorded on it, thereby ensuring that the card always has the most recent details. Moreover, the Commissioner of the Immigration Services Agency is able to conduct inquiries into such notifications (as required), further guaranteeing the veracity of the details presented on a residence card.
  • The information has been streamlined.
    While the previous certificate of alien registration listed the majority of the information that the foreign resident provided, residence cards record only the bare minimum, so as to better protect the holder's personal information.
Q12:
Is the residence card a form of official identification like a driver's license?
A.

As residence cards are a record of all the information required by the Commissioner of the Immigration Services Agency, foreign residents must submit a notification if any of it changes. This ensures that the card always has the most recent details. Foreign nationals need only present their residence card to prove that they are mid to long-term residents of Japan, allowing them to more easily access government services or work within the country.

In that way, residence cards can be seen as a kind of "certificate" awarded to foreign nationals - proof that they have been granted permission to stay in Japan for a set period of time, as a legal resident.

Q13:
Like the PASMO and Suica smart cards for public transport, can I use my residence card to pass through automated gates when re-entering Japan?
A.

With the revisions made to the Immigration Control Act in 2012, mid to long-term residents who are in possession of a valid passport and a residence card are now able to leave Japan and return without re-entry permission, so long as it is within one year from the date of their departure. (Excluding circumstances which require special re-entry permission.)

Sadly, residence cards may not be used to tap through the gates like a PASMO or Suika card, as both a passport and an arrival card must be presented in order to re-enter the country.

* Those who register their fingerprints in advance may be able to use the automated gates at Narita International Airport, Haneda Airport, Chubu Centrair International Airport, and Kansai International Airport.

Q14:
What is the validity period of the residence card?
A.

Residence cards with either the "Permanent Resident" (limited to those over the age of 16) or the "Highly Skilled Professional (ii)" status of residence are valid for seven years from the date of issuance. Foreign nationals with any other status of residence have a unique validity period, which will expire on the date listed on their residence card.

"Permanent Resident" residence cards for those under the age of 16 expire on the holder's 16th birthday. As such, they will need to apply for a new card before that date.

For those under the age of 16 with a status of residence other than "Permanent Resident," the validity period lasts until either the date listed on their card or their 16th birthday, depending on which is earlier. (If they will turn 16 before their period of stay expires, then they will need to apply for a new card before their birthday.)

Q15:
When can I get a residence card?
A.

Residence cards will be issued to new arrivals to Japan and to those who have been granted permission to extend their period of stay or change their status of residence.

Q16:
Will there be a stamp in my passport?
A.

Landing permissions received at an airport will be stamped in your passport (a seal of permission). This happens regardless of whether or not the passport holder will be issued a residence card.

When granted permission for a change of status of residence (or a new mid to long-term status of residence), the applicant's passport will not be stamped. Instead, they will be issued a new residence card which has the details of their period of stay and status of residence listed on it. Temporary visitors are not eligible for residence cards. As such, any permissions they are granted will be stamped in their passport (a seal of permission).

Q17:
I understand that seals of permission for extension of period of stay, etc., as a mid to long-term resident are not affixed to my passport, but I am not sure if my employer (or place of study) will trust me when I present my passport and/or residence card. Is it possible to have a seal stamped if I wish?
A.

So long as a mid to long-term resident continues to be classified as such (through extensions of period of stay, etc.), they will be issued new residence cards, and their passport will not be stamped.

Q18:
I lost my residence card. What should I do? What should I do if it gets defaced or damaged?
A.

Those whose residence card has been lost, defaced, or damaged must apply for re-issuance at their nearest Regional Immigration Services Bureau. A new residence card will be issued once the application process is complete.

Those who wish to replace their residence card for any other legitimate reasons may do so at their nearest Regional Immigration Services Bureau. In those cases, a handling fee of 1600 yen will be charged for the new card.

Q19:
What should I do if, for example, my residence card is bent and the IC chip is broken?
A.

The IC card's durability is made with consideration to its daily use. If the IC chip itself is damaged due to excessive physical force, the information recorded in the IC chip will not be readable. Therefore, if it is presented as a personal verification document at a financial institution, for example, the authenticity of the residence card, etc. may be questioned.

In such a case, you can have a new residence card issued to you by applying for reissuance of the residence card at a Regional Immigration Services Bureau. Additionally, the Immigration Services Agency Commissioner can order mid to long-term residents to apply for reissuance if they have damaged residence cards but have not yet applied.

Q20:
Where can I obtain a certificate to replace the "certificate of information recorded on foreign resident registration file," which was previously used for various procedures to the same effect as a residence certificate copy (or a certificate of items in resident register)?
A.

If you are eligible to receive a residence card or special permanent resident certificate, your municipal office will prepare a residence certificate, and you can receive a copy (or certificate of items in resident register) at the municipal office just like Japanese nationals.

Q21:
Is there any penalty for the unauthorized use of a residence card? What measures are in place against such unauthorized use?
A.

There are penalties for the use, provision, reception, possession, and counterfeiting of residence cards; the use, provision, reception, and possession of residence cards that were forged using another person’s name; and the provision of a residence card in one's own name. Foreign nationals who conducted, instigated, or assisted in such activities are subject to grounds for deportation.

Q22:
Is there any penalty for noncompliance with a residence card reissuance order?
A.

If a foreign national has received an order to apply for reissuance of their residence card after the residence card was damaged, they must apply within 14 days of receiving the order. Failure to apply within this period may result in imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to 200,000 yen.

Q23:
I lost my residence card and am worried that my personal information on the IC chip will be seen by others.
A.

The IC chip does not contain any other information other than what is displayed on the front of the residence card.

Q24:
What are the dimensions of the residence card?
A.

The shape and dimensions of the residence card are the same as the old certificate of alien registration and a driver's license card.

For more information, please refer to the "Residence card and special permanent resident certificate breakdown" (in Japanese)PDF available on the Immigration Services Agency website.

People eligible for a residence card

Q25:
In the previous Alien Registration System, registration as an alien was possible even if you were staying in Japan for less than 90 days, for example, to register a personal seal, sign a civil contract, register real estate to establish a company, or open a bank account. Will a residence card be issued to short-term residents under the new system?
A.

Residence cards will not be issued to those who were granted a period of stay that is less than three months, or those whose status of residence is "Temporary Visitor."

Q26:
Why are short-term residents not eligible for the issuance of a residence card?
A.

Foreign nationals who reside in Japan with a "Temporary Visitor" status of residence are those who plan to stay in Japan for 90 days at most. Making every notification obligatory for these people for the continuous acquisition of information is not appropriate from the viewpoint of administrative efficiency, imposes an excessive burden on temporary visitors, many of whom enter Japan for sightseeing purposes, and is inconsistent with the basic policy of the government’s goal to become a tourism-oriented country.

Q27:
Will a residence card be issued when "Temporary Visitor" (90 days) landing permission is granted and they renew their period of stay for another 90 days?
A.

Residence cards will not be issued to those who have been granted a "Temporary Visitor" status of residence, or a period of stay that is less than three months.

Even if a foreign national, who was granted a period of stay of three months, applies for an extension of the period of stay and is granted a new period of stay of three months, a residence card will still not be issued to them.

Q28:
I understand that residence cards are not issued to short-term visitors. Is there any plan to issue a certificate at the Immigration Services Agency to prove one's place of residence?
A.

Regarding the Residency Management System, the Immigration Services Agency does not collect or manage the information on temporary visitors’ addresses, as there are no obligatory notifications of address that must be submitted by them. Therefore, there will be no issuance of certificates that authenticate the addresses of temporary visitors.

Q29:
If a foreign national who does not possess a residence card wishes to make use of administrative services available in Japan, should they go directly to the municipal office where the services are offered?
A.

Some examples of administrative services are national health insurance, long-term care insurance, national pension, education, various allowances, and other services. Please consult your local ward office or the government office in charge of each administrative service.

Q30:
Is it possible for mid to long-term residents under the age of 16 to obtain a residence card?
A.

Yes. Mid to long-term residents will be issued a residence card, even if they are under the age of 16.

Q31:
If someone is granted special permission to stay in Japan, will a residence card be issued at the same time?
A.

A residence card will be issued to those who were granted special permission to stay in Japan and those who are considered mid to long-term residents based on the determination of their status of residence.

Q32:
Is it possible for illegal residents to possess residence cards?
A.

Residence cards will not be issued to illegal residents who do not possess a status of residence.

Q33:
If a residence card is not issued to an illegal resident, it is likely that they will go underground, causing public order and security to deteriorate even more. Do you have any measures to resolve this?
A.

Residence cards are only issued to foreign nationals who possess a legitimate status of residence as a mid to long-term resident. Because of this, it will be very easy to determine whether the foreign national can be employed without any issues when business owners verify the residence cards, consequently making it difficult to employ illegal residents (illegal employment). As a result, it will be far more difficult for illegal residents to reside in Japan while in hiding.

Moving forward, we will continue to make efforts to reduce the number of illegal residents by urging illegal residents to make an appearance at an immigration office on their own, while also promoting the detection of illegal residents in cooperation with affiliated institutions.

Obligation to carry residence card

Q34:
Do I have to carry my residence card on my person at all times? Are there any problems (penalties) if I am not carrying it?
A.

Foreign residents must carry their residence card with them at all times, and you are required to present it in case an immigration officer, immigration control officer, police officer, or other official asks for it.

You may be subjected to a fine of up to 200,000 yen if you are not carrying your residence card. If you do not comply by presenting it, you may be subjected to imprisonment for up to one year or a fine of up to 200,000 yen.

Q35:
If I am carrying my passport, do I need to have my residence card on my person?
A.

Yes. Regardless of whether you are carrying your passport or not, you must always carry your residence card with you.

Q36:
Do children also have to carry their residence cards at all times?
A.

Those under the age of 16 are exempt from the obligation to do so, so they do not need to carry their residence card at all times.

Q37:
Why do I have to carry my residence card at all times when special permanent residents are not required to carry their special permanent resident certificate at all times?
A.

There are still many entrants with counterfeit passports, as well as foreign nationals overstaying their period of stay in Japan. Because of this, it is necessary to enforce the obligation to carry residence cards on those who reside mid to long-term in Japan in order to quickly understand the residing foreign national’s identity, residency, and whether they have a status of residence or not.

On the other hand, regarding the obligation to carry a special permanent resident certificate at all times, during the process of deliberation of the Diet on the revision of the Immigration Control Act, it was decided that there is no obligation to carry the certificate at all times because "special consideration is necessary in light of the historical background of special permanent residents."

Q38:
If I leave my residence card with an administrative scrivener in order to submit an application for extension of period of stay, will I violate my obligation to carry my residence card?
A.

If a person is designated by law submits or receives the residence card on behalf of a foreign national, this will not be a violation of the obligation to carry their residence card, as the action is considered to be within the scope of the law.

Q39
There is a risk of identity theft for special permanent residents if there is no obligation for them to always carry their special permanent resident certificate. How will the Immigration Services Agency deal with this?
A.

Impersonation of special permanent residents will be handled appropriately, and we will make an effort to detect identity theft by utilizing the records preserved at the Immigration Services Agency.

Items listed on residence cards

Q40:
What kind of information is listed on residence cards?
A.

Your photograph will be displayed as will the information listed below.

However, photographs will not be displayed on residence cards with a period of stay that expires before the holder's 16th birthday.

  • Name, date of birth, sex, and the country of their nationality or region as stipulated in Article 2, Paragraph 5 of the Immigration Control Act.
  • Address (main place of residence in Japan)
  • Status of residence, period of stay, and expiration date
  • Permission type and date
  • Residence card number, issuance date, and end of validity period
  • Employment restrictions
  • Details if granted permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted
  • Details if an application was submitted to extend period of stay or change status of residence
Q41:
Will the name on the residence card be written using the Latin alphabet only? Is it possible to use kanji as well?
Q42:
How will information be entered or removed from the "application for extension of period of stay, etc." section of the residence card?
A.

Regarding the application fields for permission for extension of period of stay and other applications, a record will be included that the applicant is "applying for extension of period of stay" or "applying for change of status of residence" when the applicant submits an application for extension of period of stay or an application for change of status of residence at a Regional Immigration Services Bureau (excluding applications made online).

In the case the application is processed or withdrawn, the record in question will be removed by the Regional Immigration Services Bureau.

Q43:
If the period of stay for a residence card has passed but an application for permission to extend the period of stay is still pending, is the person considered an illegal resident (overstaying their authorized period of stay)?
A.

In principle, if a foreign national who possesses a residence card applies for an extension of period of stay or for a change of status of residence (hereinafter referred to as "application for extension of period of stay, etc."), their pending application status will be indicated in the application field for permission of extension of period of stay, etc., on the back of their residence card.

If the processing related to an application is not completed by the expiration date of the period of stay, the person may continue to reside in Japan with their previous status of residence for two months starting from the time when the application is processed or the expiration date of the period of stay, whichever comes first.

However, there are cases where procedures to remove the pending application status were not filed at a Regional Immigration Services Bureau after the application was processed, and cases where no status is listed on the residence card at all if the application is filed online.

Therefore in order to accurately confirm the validity of residence cards, the Immigration Services Agency has set up a page on their website where foreign nationals can check the revocation information of residence cards and special permanent resident certificates (hereinafter referred to as "resident card, etc."). This page is called the "Residence card, etc. expiration information inquiry" page.

If a foreign national is overstaying their period of stay, the residence card will expire unless they are currently applying, in which case the residence card will remain as valid. As such, not only should they confirm the information listed on the back of the residence card, they should also confirm that the card has not expired by using the website mentioned above.

Residence card, etc. number expiration information reference page: https://lapse-immi.moj.go.jp/You will be taken to an external page

Q44:
Are "nicknames" (通称名) displayed on residence cards?
A.

Nicknames (通称名) will not be displayed legally or operationally on residence cards. Under the Residency Management System and Special Permanent Residency System, the information that Immigration Services Agency Commissioner continuously retains is restricted to information necessary for a proper Residency Management System. Considering that nicknames are not information necessary for residency management, and that the information necessary for residential administration services will be held under the Basic Resident Registration System for foreign nationals, the Immigration Services Agency does not manage nicknames (including listing on residence cards).

While the Immigration Services Agency does not have jurisdiction over residence certificates and My Number Cards, it is understood that nicknames are accepted in residence certificates.

Q45:
If the date of landing permission is not stated on the residence card and the foreign national renewed the passport that had the landing permission seal, wouldn't it be difficult for the foreign national to know whether enough time has passed to allow submission of an application for permanent residence?
A.

In light of the demands for personal information protection, it has been made so that only the minimum information necessary will be recorded on residence cards. Additionally, even if the date of landing permission is not recorded on the residence card, the length of residence can be ascertained by keeping the passport with the landing permission seal or by other appropriate means.

Q46:
Why was it decided to embed IC chips in residence cards? Where will the information recorded in IC chips be used outside of the Immigration Services Agency?
A.

IC chips are embedded in residence cards as an anti-counterfeiting measure because embedding an IC chip with advanced security measures makes it highly difficult to create counterfeit cards.

The information recorded on the IC chip is assumed to be used in scenarios to confirm the authenticity of the residence card by comparing the information recorded in the IC chip and the information recorded on the front of the residence card, such as when presenting the residence card as a form of ID at a financial institution.

For more information, please refer to the public consultation "Specifications of residence cards and special permanent resident certificates"You will be taken to an external page from June 30, 2010.

Q47:
What kind of information is recorded in the IC chip?
A.

The information written on the front of the residence card is either partially or entirely recorded. No other information is recorded on the IC chip. Specifically, the following information is recorded: name, date of birth, sex, nationality/region, address, photograph (if displayed on the residence card), and a summary of activities the holder is permitted to engage in as an activity other than those permitted by the status of residence previously granted.

Q48:
Are fingerprints recorded in the residence card IC chip?
A.

Fingerprints are not recorded on the IC chip.

Q49:
Is there any plan to add functions (such as e-money) to the residence card IC chip besides the information recorded by the Immigration Services Agency?
A.

Nothing besides the information displayed on the residence card is recorded on the IC chip.

Q50:
Is it possible to check the information recorded in the residence card IC chip outside of the Immigration Services Agency if I have a reader?
A.

The image of the front of the residence card is recorded in the IC chip. We have published the specifications of the reader for the residence card IC chip so that private companies can use this to check for fabricated cards. Software products to read the residence card have been developed and sold based on the publication of these specifications. It is possible to check the card image using these products.

Q51:
I can place a donor seal on my driver's license or health insurance card, but is it possible to put a donor seal on my residence card, which I carry at all times?
A.

The residence card was not made with the idea of putting a donor seal on it. Therefore, you must display your willingness to be a donor in a different way.

Residence card issuance

Q52:
Where is the residence card issued? What documents and fees are required?
A.

In principle, mid to long-term residents who are newly landing in Japan will be issued a residence card at the port of entry. Foreign nationals who already reside in Japan as mid to long-term residents are issued a new residence card if their application for extension of period of stay, application for change of status of residence, application for acquisition of status of residence, or application for permission for permanent residence is approved. A new residence card will also be issued when a notification of change in name, date of birth, sex, and nationality/region on a residence card, application for validity period extension of residence card, or reissuance of a residence card due to loss or damage is submitted.

Handling fees for issuing a residence card are not required when the card is issued due to permission to extend the period of stay, renewing the residence card, or applying for reissuance due to loss or damage. However, if mid to long-term residents wish to exchange their residence card for another reason, a handling fee reflecting the actual costs (1,600 yen) will be required.

Q53:
Are residence cards issued at all ports of entry when landing permission is given?
A.

Residence cards are issued when landing permission is given to mid to long-term residents at New Chitose Airport, Narita International Airport, Haneda Airport, Chubu Centrair International Airport, Kansai International Airport, Hiroshima Airport, and Fukuoka Airport.

Mid to long-term residents who entered Japan from other ports of entry receive their residence card by simplified registered mail to the address they register with their local municipality after entering Japan.

Q54:
Will a certificate of designation be attached to my passport?
A.

When receiving landing permission with a "Designated Activities" status of residence, a designation form will still be attached near the landing permission seal that is affixed to the passport, regardless of whether a residence card is issued. When issued a residence card for a status of residence for which a designation form is issued when granted permission to change status of residence, the designation form will not be attached to your passport or residence card. However, we will attach it to the passport if requested due to concerns about losing the form.

Q55:
What is the estimated time per person required for the issuance of a residence card at an airport?
A.

At the landing examination area at the airport where you are issued a residence card, there is one examination booth for general foreign nationals who enter Japan for tourism or commercial purposes, and another for mid to long-term residents who are issued a residence card. This is in order to prevent any impact on people who use the general foreign national examination booth, which makes up the majority of entries into Japan. When issued a residence card, the card is printed, the details on the card are checked, and the foreign national is given instructions about how to report their address in Japan. It takes less than one minute to print the card.

Q56:
As it takes time to have a residence card issued at an airport, is it possible to get the residence card at the municipal office of my place of residence or at my company/school after I enter Japan? If I refuse the issuance at the airport, will I not be allowed to enter Japan?
A.

In principle, residence cards are issued along with landing permission at the airport. Issuance of a residence card at your local municipality or accepting organization after entering Japan is not possible.

If you refuse to accept a residence card, you may be penalized with imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to 200,000 yen based on Article 75-2 of the Immigration Control Act.

Q57:
I always have to wait at the airport. I understand that the procedures for issuance of a residence card are carried out on top of the immigration examination, but I am worried that it will considerably prolong waiting time. What measures, such as additional staff or improvement of the system, have been implemented?
A.

At the landing examination area at the airport where you are issued a residence card, landing examinations are conducted at either the examination booth for general foreign nationals who enter Japan for tourism or commercial purposes, and another for mid to long-term residents who are issued a residence card.

We have designed the system so that the issuance of the residence card does not result in longer wait times.

Q58:
I understand that residence cards not issued at ports of entry will be sent by mail to my place of residence. How and when will it be delivered?
A.

Mid to long-term residents who were not issued residence cards at their port of entry must determine their address and submit a notification of address at the relevant counter of their local municipal office. After this, a residence card will be promptly issued to the address via simplified registered mail.

Q59:
In the case that the residence card is sent by mail, are there handling fees (postage, etc.)?
A.

If issued a residence card by postal mail on a later date, mid to long-term residents do not bear any costs.

Q60:
Regarding my current residence card, if I receive permission to extend my period of stay or change my status of residence, or if my card is re-issued or information is changed, am I able to receive my new residence card on the same day?
A.

In principle, a new residence card is issued when submitting applications or notifications related to the residence card to a Regional Immigration Services Bureau, such as applications for residence card validity period extension. For residence applications, such as the application to change status of residence and the application for extension of period of stay, you may return home with your residence card after presenting it at the immigration office. At a later date, you will receive a notification to appear at an immigration office to receive permission. When you come to the Regional Immigration Services Bureau, you will return your previous residence card and be issued a new residence card.

Residence card renewal, reissuance, revocation, and return

Q61:
I forgot to file an application for residence card validity period extension and my validity period has expired. What procedures are necessary?
A.

If the validity period of a residence card has expired, please submit an application for validity period extension as quickly as possible.

If you are unable to submit an application for validity period extension within the application period, you may be penalized with up to one year of imprisonment or a fine of up to 200,000 yen based on Article 71-2 of the Immigration Control Act.

Q62:
I was trying to apply for an extension of the validity period of my residence card, but I was admitted to a hospital and was unable to apply. What should I do?
A.

If you are unable to submit an application for validity period extension yourself due to illness, you must have a family member you reside with complete the procedures in your place. If the family member does not submit an application, you may be fined up to 50,000 yen.

Q63:
I am an adult with a "Permanent Resident" or "Highly Skilled Professional (ii)" status of residence, and the validity period of my residence card has expired. What should I do? Does this mean that my resident registration will be deleted from the Basic Resident Register?
A.

Even if the validity period of your residence card has expired, you are required to submit an application for validity period extension. Please conduct those procedures as quickly as possible. In this case, only the validity period for your residence card has expired. Your residence certificate will not be deleted.

Q64:
Can applications for residence card validity period extension be submitted at an airport?
A.

Ports of entry, including airports, do not process applications to renew residence cards. Therefore, please conduct renewal application procedures for your residence card at the Regional Immigration Services Bureau that has jurisdiction over your address.

Q65:
If I lose my residence card, how long do I have to complete re-issuance procedures? Is there a penalty for losing it?
A.

If you have lost your residence card, you must submit an application for reissuance of the residence card to a Regional Immigration Services Bureau within 14 days of the date you realize that it is missing (or the date you return to Japan if you realize this while outside of Japan).

There are no provisions for penalties related to losing a residence card. However, if you do not submit an application for reissuance of the residence card due to loss within the application period, you may be penalized with up to one year of imprisonment or a fine of up to 200,000 yen.

Q66:
What is the handling fee in case of loss or reissuance of a residence card?
A.

There is no handling fee for reissuance of a residence card due to loss, theft, or destruction. There is also no handling fee for reissuance of a residence card due to severe damage, wear, or damage to the recording of the IC chip.

However, there is a handling fee reflecting actual costs (1,600 yen) for those who wish to exchange a residence card without grounds such as damage.

Q67:
Is it possible to apply by mail for reissuance of a residence card in the case of loss?
A.

The application for reissuance of a residence card due to loss and reception of this card cannot be done by postal mail. However, if there is no special issue, it is possible to request that a family member, etc., as established by the Ministry of Justice, complete the procedures on your behalf.

Q68:
In the case of reissuance of a residence card on the grounds of loss or theft, will I need a certificate issued by the police when applying?
A.

When applying for reissuance of a residence card due to loss or theft, you must submit one application form, a photograph, and either a stolen property certificate or loss notification certification issued by the police as reference materials.

Q69:
I departed Japan with the intention of re-entering, but I have decided not to return. What should I do with my residence card? If I am supposed to return it, where should I send it?
A.

Mid to long-term residents who leave Japan with re-entry permission and do not re-enter Japan within the validity period of the re-entry permission are required to return their residence card to the Immigration Services Agency within 14 days of the date of the expiration date of the validity period. In this case, please mail your residence card to the following office.

(Mailing address for returns)

〒135-0064
Tokyo Kowan Godochosha 9F, 2-7-11 Aomi, Koto Ward, Tokyo
Odaiba Annex Office, Tokyo Regional Immigration Services Bureau

Q70:
Will penalties be applied if I do not fulfill my obligation to return my residence card while out of Japan with re-entry permission?
A.

Foreign nationals who do not fulfill their responsibility to return their residence card may be penalized with a fine of up to 200,000 yen. If your residence card expires while you are outside of Japan with re-entry permission and you do not fulfill your responsibility to return it, you will be subject to punishment upon returning to Japan.

Q71:
If someone with a residence card is undergoing deportation procedures, when should they return their residence card?
A.

You must your return residence card once it expires. Please follow the instructions of the person in charge if undergoing deportation procedures.

Q72:
If a residence card holder dies, what should be done with their residence card?
A.

In the event of the death of a mid to long-term resident, a family member or person living with them at the time of their death is required to return the residence card within 14 days of the death (or 14 days after discovering the residence card after the death). In this case, please return it by hand to the nearest Regional Immigration Services Bureau or mail it to the following office.

(Mailing address for returns)

〒135-0064
Tokyo Kowan Godochosha 9F, 2-7-11 Aomi, Koto Ward, Tokyo
Odaiba Annex Office, Tokyo Regional Immigration Services Bureau

Q73:
If I return to my home country, is it possible to bring my residence card back with me as a keepsake?
A.

If a mid to long-term resident receives permission to depart Japan at a port of exit without receiving re-entry permission (including special re-entry permission), they must submit their residence card. However, after punching a hole in the residence card to invalidate it, the card will be returned to the foreign national.

Residence card photograph

Q74:
From what age must a photograph be displayed on a person's residence card? Will a photograph be displayed on children's residence cards too?
A.

If you are 16 years old or older, a photograph is required when applying for the issuance of a residence card. Photographs will be displayed on residence cards issued with a validity period that expires after the applicant’s 16th birthday. Photographs shall not be displayed on residence cards issued with a validity period that expires on or before the person’s 16th birthday.

Q75:
Is it necessary to prepare the photograph for my residence card beforehand? Is a photograph taken a few months before necessary?
A.

The photograph used for a residence card issued upon receiving landing permission at an airport is the photograph submitted when applying for the issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility or visa. There is no need to prepare a photograph when applying for landing permission.

On the other hand, for applications and notifications related to the residence card and residence applications, such as the application for extension of period of stay, a photograph shot within three months of the date of application or notification must be attached and submitted.

However, photographs will not be displayed on residence cards with a validity period that expires before the holder’s 16th birthday.

Q76:
When submitting an application for validity period extension of residence card or reissuance, is it possible to send a photo later if I forget to bring a photograph or submit a photo that does not satisfy the requirements (such as a photo with a background)?
A.

In principle, the residence card is issued on the same day when submitting an application for reissuance or an application for validity period extension of a residence card. Applications will be accepted even if you do not bring an appropriate photograph that meets the criteria. However, even if you send a photograph by mail at a later date, you will still need to appear at an immigration office again to receive your residence card, so please bring a photograph which meets the requirements.

Q77:
I have entered and left Japan many times as a "Temporary Visitor," and have had my photo taken during immigration procedures. Is that photograph acceptable?
A.

The photograph for the residence card issued upon receiving landing permission at the airport must be a photograph submitted when applying for the issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility or visa for landing permission; it cannot be a photograph that was taken during a previous landing examination.

Q78:
If I don't like the photograph taken at the airport, can I have the photo taken again? Is it possible to use an ID photo that I prepared beforehand?
A.

Photographs of residence cards issued with landing permissions at airports are selected by the immigration officer from among the photographs submitted with the application for issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility related to the landing permission or visa applications. Therefore, there is no need to prepare a photograph during landing examinations.

If you wish the change the photograph on the issued residence card, you can submit an application for reissuance of a residence card due to exchange request at the Regional Immigration Services Bureau that has jurisdiction over your address. However, there is a handling fee of 1,600 yen.

Q79:
If submission of a photograph is not necessary for issuance of a residence card at a port of entry, shouldn't the photo taken at the port of entry be used, or shouldn't the Immigration Services Agency take the photo during residency procedures?
A.

Laws stipulate that a foreign nationals bears a duty to provide a photograph for landing applications and submit a photograph when submitting visa applications and applications for issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility during pre-entry procedures. Therefore, this photograph will be used when issuing a residence card during landing permission, and the foreign national will not be required to submit a photograph during landing examinations.

On the other hand, a new photograph must be displayed on a residence card issued due to an extension of the validity period or renewal of the card, such as from an application for extension of period of stay. The photograph taken when receiving landing permission cannot be used for this purpose. These procedures differ from landing applications in that a family member can conduct the procedures in the place of the foreign resident. In that case, the photograph of the applicant cannot be taken at the Immigration Services Agency.

Therefore, applicants are required to submit a photograph when submitting the application or notification related to various residence applications and residence cards, which are necessary for the issuance of a residence card during residency.

Ministerial orders stipulate that photographs are one required submission for these procedures.

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