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How to Obtain a Residence Permit in Japan

How to Obtain a Residence Permit in Japan

According to the Immigration Bureau of Japan, a permanent residence permit in Japan is issued for a foreign citizen who lives in the country if certain conditions are complied with.

Foreign citizens may enter Japan for short-term stays and in this case a visa may be needed according to nationality. However, for long-term stays such as those that involve work purposes, the foreign individual will need to obtain a residence permit in Japan.

Our company formation consultants in Japan assist foreign investors and business people who are interested in arriving in the country and remaining here for longer periods in order to attend to their business or company management responsibilities.

For foreign nationals interested in applying for one of the different types of residence permits, our immigration lawyers in Japan are able to answer personalized questions.

Long-term stay in Japan

A long-term stay visa is issued to foreign nationals who plan on remaining in Japan for more than 90 days and will have a specific reason for this purpose, such as work.

The following steps are required for obtaining a work or long-term stay visa:

  • Decide on the reason for the relocation: this can be work or business, and foreign investors who wish to open a company in Japan can discuss their options with our team;
  • Prepare the documents: we assist you during this phase by giving you complete details on the documents you need to put together for your specific visa;
  • Apply: this step takes place before you arrive in Japan, as you will need to apply with the Japanese Consulate or Embassy in your country of origin;
  • Once you obtain the visa, you will need to travel to Japan within 3 months.

The visa thus obtained has a certain validity period (that can depend, for example, on the duration of the employment). In all cases, our team will give you details about its validity and how you can renew it in due time if permanent residence in Japan is what interests you.

As a medium to long-term resident in Japan (for longer than 3 months), the foreign national is issued a residence card. Once this document is issued, the holder will need to register his address in Japan by filing a moving-in notification, 14 days after settling on the residence address.

If the foreign national loses his or her residence card, this must be reported to the Regional Immigration Services Bureau within 14 days of such loss.

Extending the period of stay in Japan is also applied for with the Regional Immigration Services Bureau, based on documents that prove the motive for the prolonged stay.

It is also possible to continue to reside in Japan if you choose to change the purpose of your stay. However, this means that your decision needs to be notified to the Regional Immigration Services Bureau and you will need to submit the identification documents, along with those proving the new reasons for remaining in the country.

Permanent resident permit guidelines in Japan

In order to obtain permanent residence status in Japan, a foreign citizen has to meet the following legal requirements:

  • To prove that he or she does not have any issues with the law as a resident of Japan;
  • He or she is able to sustain himself or herself financially, and he or she has the skills or assets to do so. Our company formation experts in Japan can provide more information on what these skills should be comprised of;
  • To show that his or her residence in Japan is helpful for the Japanese economy or society. As part of this requirement, the resident has to show that:
  •      He or she intends to stay in Japan for more than 10 years (in most cases; in certain well-defined situations, this period can be shorter; we advise applicants to seek counsel from our immigration lawyers in Japan);
  •      He or she has not been imprisoned or punished by fine and he or she has complied with his or her tax duties;
  •      He or she does not need to appeal to the public health system in Japan;
  •      Other requirements: Our company registration advisors in Japan can provide further information.

If you would like to obtain permanent residence in Japan, the following documents are required:

  • the applicant’s identification document (passport) and his residence card;
  • a recent photograph (not older than 3 months);
  • the filled-in application form;
  • other documents that may be needed on a case-by-case basis.

A foreign national who acquires the status of permanent resident will be able to engage in any activity in the country and remain for as long as he or she wishes. Moreover, there will be no need to extend the period of stay.

A special category of foreign nationals who can obtain a residence permit in Japan are highly skilled professionals. In their case, a points system applies and some of the items taken into account for the points calculation are the following:

  • Academic background: 30 points for doctoral decrees and 20 for master’s degrees;
  • Professional practical experience: 20 points for 10 years or more; 5 points for 3 years or more;
  • Age: 15 points for up to 29 years of age and 5 points for applicants between 35 and 39 years of age.

The required score is 70 and our team can give you complete details about the points that can be awarded. If you would like to become employed in Japan, our team can give you details about the rules and regulations applicable under the provisions set forth by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

Obtaining a Business Manager Visa in Japan

The Business Manager Visa is a type of residence permit in Japan that allows you to live and work in the country while managing or starting a business.

To be eligible for the visa, you must register the company and invest at least 5 million yen into it. You must provide evidence of how the invested funds were obtained. The company must have a well-defined business plan detailing the company’s activities and financial projections. This should include annual sales of at least 10 million yen and expenses of 5 million yen.

You should hold a top-ranking executive position in your Japanese company, typically as the registered representative. This visa is often granted to individuals in executive or management roles.

Your business must have a physical office space with separate doors and walls that is solely dedicated to your company’s use. Shared rooms and virtual addresses do not meet the requirements of company registration in Japan.

After obtaining the visa, you are required to receive a monthly salary from the Japanese company, with a minimum ranging from 200,000 to 250,000 yen, depending on family size.

The initial visa granted is usually for one year. It can be renewed if your business continues to meet the requirements.

We offer guidance if you want to open a company in Japan and therefore obtain a residence permit in the country.

Renewing the residence permit in Japan

Renewing your residence permit in Japan is a fairly easy process. The residence card is a tangible document that represents your residence permit or status in Japan. You can renew your residence card up to three months before it expires, so you can plan ahead to ensure you have enough time for the renewal process.

To renew your residence card, you’ll need to gather several documents, including:

  • application form for extension of stay;
  • your current residence permit and card;
  • passport;
  • a passport-sized photo;
  • any additional documents that might be required based on your individual circumstances like proof of employment or tax documents.

Documents must be submitted at an immigration office. Your application will be reviewed and if accepted, you will be announced to pick your new residence permit in Japan. This process can take around 2-4 weeks. If you require your new residence card urgently, you may have the option to request expedited processing for an additional fee.

More details regarding the residence card can be obtained by discussing with one of our immigration lawyers in Japan. We also offer support regarding citizenship in Japan.

Why move to Japan

Moving to Japan provides a high quality of life with a strong emphasis on safety, education, and healthcare, as well as access to a diverse range of cultural experiences. Japan also boasts a well-developed infrastructure, and efficient public transportation. Another reason to have a residence permit in Japan is to take advantage of the country’s strong economy and its advantages.

Here are some statistics about population and immigration to Japan:

  • As of October 1, 2020, Japan’s total population was 126.146 million residents;
  • Japan’s population was comprised of 61.350 million males and 64.797 million females;
  • The population of foreign residents living in Japan was 2.747 million (2.2% of the total population);
  • The number of foreign residents increased significantly from 2015, by 0.835 million (43.6%);
  • China had the largest population of foreign residents in Japan, with 667 thousand people (27.8%), followed by Korea with 375 thousand (15.6%) and Vietnam with 321 thousand (13.4%).

If you need to know more about permanent residency in Japan, or if you would like to open a company in Japan, we invite you to contact us for assistance.