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1. Residency

Residency in Japan

When entering Japan as a foreigner, you must acquire one of the status of residence depending on the purpose of your visit. Each status has a different range of activities allowed in Japan (such as employment) and period of stay, so confirm and adhere to the rules set forth by the status of residence indicated on your passport.

For more information, please contact Fukuoka Immigration Bureau

Main Procedures Related to Status of Residence

Re-entry Permit
If a foreign national possessing a valid airline ticket and their residence card departs from Japan, they will effectively not require a re-entry permit if they return within one year from their departure date (*) to continue their activities in Japan. This system is known as the “special re-entry permit system” or minashi sainyuukoku kyoka. Foreign nationals who have departed Japan on a special re-entry permit may not extend the period of the permit’s validity from overseas. If a foreign national does not re-enter Japan within one year of their departure date, their status of residence will be lost/terminated, so please take this into consideration.
Furthermore, foreign nationals whose period of stay is considered mid- to long-term (one year or more) who remain overseas longer than one year are required to obtain a re-entry permit, as has been the case previously. The maximum validity period for a re-entry permit is five years, but does not extend beyond the expiration date of the existing period of stay.
(* Note) If your period of stay expires within 1 year after your departure, please ensure that you re-enter Japan before the expiration of your period of stay.

Extension of Status of Residence
If you want to extend the period of your current status of residence, you must apply to renew your Period of Status of Residence before it expires. Please be aware that staying in Japan after your period expires is a violation of the law (illegal overstaying).

Change of Status of Residence
As mentioned above, activities of foreigners living in Japan are limited only to what is indicated under the status of residence. Consequently, for example, if an international student begins working in Japan, or an employee decides to quit and start his own business, the current status of residence must be changed to become valid. To do so, apply for a Change of Status of Residence.

Permission to Engage in an Activity Other than that Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted
Foreigners with employment-prohibited visas such as students cannot, in principle, earn money by working. However, by obtaining permission to engage in an activity other than that permitted by the status of residence previously granted, part-time employment is permitted under certain restrictions. Additionally, even if you have a visa that allows employment, by obtaining this permission, you can have secondary employment under certain restrictions as long as it does not negatively affect the activity permitted by your current visa status. However, there are types of employment that are restricted, such as adult entertainment business, as well as restricted working hours, so strictly adhere to your employment conditions. 
To apply, fill in the application form, and submit it along with other necessary documents and a service charge at the immigration bureau. However, submitting the application does not guarantee that you will receive the permission. For details, contact the immigration bureau. The Fukuoka Gyoseishoshi Lawyers Association offers free consultations on various procedures for status of residence, so feel free to visit them for more knowledge and information.

- Immigration Bureau Official Website

- Fukuoka Regional Immigration Bureau
Tel: 092-717-5420
(3-5-25, Maizuru, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka)

- Foreign Residents Information Center
Tel: 0570-013904 (for IP and PHS phones or when making calls from abroad dial 03-5796-7112)
Time: Weekdays 8:30-17:15

- Fukuoka Gyoseishoshi Lawyers Association Free Consultation

Residence Card

A residence card is issued to mid- to long-term residents when granted permission pertaining to residence, such as landing permission, permission for change of resident status and permission for extension of the period of stay. The residence card includes the individual’s photo, name, nationality and region of origin, date of birth, gender, status of residence, period of stay, and permission to work or not, in addition to other information. Applications or notifications regarding residence cards can be made at the regional immigration office or appointed branch office with jurisdiction over your area of residence.

Reissuing a Residence Card
If you lose or soil your residence card, please proceed to the nearest immigration bureau and follow reissuing procedures. (In the case that you have lost the card, please submit an application to have it reissued within 14 days from the day you realized you lost it.)
When all procedures are completed, a new residence card will be issued.

Returning a Residence Card
Foreign nationals in possesion of a Residence Card must return the Residence Card to the Minister of Justice within 14 days of the card becoming invalid when their card becomes invalid due to them no longer needing mid- to long-term residency status, due to the expiration of the period of validity of the Card, or due to them not returning to Japan within the validity period of their re-entry permit, etc.
Residence Cards can be returned in person to the Regional Immigration Bureau Branch Offices, or sent to the address below. You may be subject to a fine if you do not return the card within the accepted time frame.
The same process applies to Alien Registration Cards which can be considered Residence Cards.
Address to return Residence Cards to:
Tokyo Immigration Bureau, Odaiba Office
Tokyo Port Bay Joint Office 9F, 2-7-11 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0064

Notifying Changes
If any of the below changes have occurred, you will need to make notification of the changes within 14 days of their occurrence at the nearest immigration office.
1) Change in name, nationality/region, date of birth, or gender
2) Change in dependants, marriage status, etc. (for those whose status of residence is determined by their status as a dependant, such as “dependant of a Japanese national”, “dependant of a permanent resident”, “dependant of a family”, or “Designated Activities”)

Additionally, if you have newly established a residence or have changed your location of residence, please submit notification to the municipality in which you live.

Also, if you need to change the status of your residence (excluding cases when you wish to change your status of residence to that of a permanent resident), make sure to apply for the change of status after the reason for change has become evident and before your residency status expires.

- Immigration Information Center
Tel: 0570-013904, 03-5796-7112 (Weekdays 8:30-17:15)

Changes to the Special Permanent Resident System

Since July 9, 2012, the Alien Registration Card system has been abolished and a Special Permanent Resident Card has been issued.
For details regarding this system, please visit the homepage of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

Ministry of Justice: Changes to the Special Permanent Resident System (Japanese)

- Immigration Information Center
Tel: 0570-013904, 03-5796-7112 (Weekdays 8:30am-5:15pm)

The My Number System

The "My Number" Social Security and Tax Number System began in January 2016
Every registered resident in Japan has been issued with their own individual 12-digit number known as their My Number. The number is issued to all foreigners in Japan for medium- to long-term stays, including those with permanent residency. Complete an application form in your municipality to receive an individual number card which can be used as identification and for a variety of services. Individual number cards will have your photograph, name, address, date of birth, sex and your My Number printed on them.
Your My Number will be required for administrative procedures relating to social security, taxes and disaster prevention measures, including pensions, employment insurance, medical insurance, welfare, child benefits, tax declarations, etc.

- Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication

- Government Online Public Relations Office

Notice of Birth/Death

In Japan, you must report births and deaths to the local municipal office within a certain period. Report births within 14 days, and deaths within 7 days.

International Marriage and Divorce

If you are a foreigner getting married in Japan, you must submit an official notification (available at the Citizens’ Affairs Section of your ward office) as well as a Certificate of Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage and its Japanese translation. This Certificate proves that you meet all the conditions for marriage in your home country (are of legal age to get married, not already married, etc.), and is issued by the home country, embassy or consulate general. However, some countries do not issue this document, in which case, you must have a similar document issued by your country. For details, please contact your embassy. Also, when getting documents translated, please indicate who translated the documents. You can translate your own documents as well.

There are four types of divorce in Japan: 1) amicable divorce, 2) arbitrated divorce, 3) family court adjudicated divorce, and, 4) district court adjudicated divorce. Amicable divorce is when both parties mutually agree to the divorce, and is finalized when submitting the notification of divorce to the ward office. If both parties disagree, one of the other three types of divorce procedures will apply, with the district court adjudicated divorce being the last resort. In other words, even when both parties do not mutually agree, you do not have to go to court right away, but rather, try to resolve conflict at the family court through arbitration or adjudication. If disagreements still arise, proceedings will take place before a judge in a district court. However, some countries recognize only adjudicated divorce, so it is advisable to contact the embassy for details.