This web page is in English but that is where its user-friendliness ends. So I will try to guide you through the process. Please read everything and follow the appropriate links. Also hope they haven't changed things again. You can go to and print these directions if you like
1. For first time applicants
The link at the end of this paragraph will take you to the Immigration Procedures English web page. The link will open a new window on your browser so you can go back to this page to check the instructions when you need to. So click Apply for Japanese Immigrant Status to begin.
The resulting page is long and has a lot of info and many links that can utterly confuse you so I suggest you follow these instructions and bypass some red-tape. Under Immigration Procedures, the first link you wiil see says (Click here to view application forms). Click this link and you will come to a page that says "List of Necessary Documents".
You will see a long list of options. Click on option number 4. This takes you to the "Application for Permission to Acquire Status of Residence" chart. From this page you can read through what you will need. The actual application form can be found in the Format section. You can choose PDF which is Adobe Acrobat format or Excel which is a spreadsheet format. I recommend clicking the [PDF] option. Print it out and complete it by hand. To do so, when the page comes up, click the small printer icon on the top of the PDF page and print the application.
Now the chart on this page does not include all the items you will need when you go to turn in your application. From my experience, you will need:
- Application form
- 40 x 30mm photo of you alone
- a photo of you and your sponsor together (any snapsho size)from sometime in the past to show you have been together for a while.
- A copy of your sponsor's Koskei Tohon and Kimin Sho. Your sponsor will know what these Japanese documents are.
- Hanko - name stamp. If you don't have one, you need to get one made.
- Proof that you are legally in Japan prior to getting residency. (For example: proof of SOFA status)
- a pay statement showing that you can support yourself. I used a copy of my MyPay retiree account statement. Since I had already applied for social security, I listed proof of that. I got my data online at https://secure.ssa.gov.
Side note. When I applied for my first resident status, they approved me for three years. I know quite a few others, who got five years. I don't know why. Just sayin.
2. For applicants who want to extend their stay (renewals):
To extend your stay as a resident alien, you can start at the same web page as above. Click here to begin . This will open a new page in your browser so you can keep these instructions open as well. Now, on the new page, click the first link on the left side of the page. It says "(Click here to view application forms).
When this new page opens, you will click item 3 which is Application for extension of period of stay.
(If you get lost, you can Click here to go directly to the this page on the immigration website.)
This page tells you most of what you need to know but, in my experience, it doesn't tell you everything. For now though, let's stick with this page.
In the Format section of the page you will see links to two forms that you will need. Click the "Application for Extension of Period of Stay" link and then scroll down this list to find the category that you fits your situation but for most of us it will be item 13, "Spouse or child of Japanese national, Permanent resident, etc." In the two last columns on the right you will see links to the PDF and Excel forms. Again, I recommend clicking the PDF version and the the Application for Extension of Period of Stay form will show up. Print it out (maybe a couple of copies in case you mess up). Complete it by hand. This one is a few pages long.
The second form you will need is the "Letter of Guarantee". You can hit the "back" button on the browser or click here to get directly to the form. Click the small icon on the top right to print this form. Again, you may want to print a couple just in case. Please note that this form must be filled out by your Guarantor. They did not accept the one I did in English and made my wife redo it in Kanji.
You can go back to see the List of Supporting Documents here but, once again, be advised that it is not complete. I got a checklist from the Aomori branch and I verified the items needed and they are listed below.
- You current temporary residence card
- Application form (Application for Extenstion of Period of Stay)
- Letter of Guarnatee (completed by your Guarantor.)
- Proof of employment if your guarantor works. (Working Certificate)
- Kimin Shomei (Certificate of Residence) for yoursef and if your guarantor is not your wife.
- A copy of your wife's Koskei Tohon (Family Register) for yourself.
- You will need Income and Tax document for your guarantor.
- 40 x 30mm photo of you alone
- Your pay statement showing that you can support yourself. I used a copy of my "MyPay" retiree account statement a Social Security benefit amount statement if you are getting anything from them. You should have received such a statement when your benefits were granted.
- If your guarantor is not your wife or other immediate family member, you will need a written statement as to why you want to stay in Japan. This needs to be in Japanese.
After they have accepted all your documemts, you should tell them you also want to apply for permanent residence. You can apply for permanent when requesting your first extension. But you can't apply for just permanent. In order to do this, you will need the Application for Permanent Residence. You can get that appropriate form here. Click the 5th item in the list of Necessary documents.
If you are applying for both an extenstion and permanent residence, you will also need a second copy of everything except the forms you get from city hall.
Once all your forms have been accepted, you will be given a post card (two if applying for both) and you write your home address on it and return it to them. They will use this card to notify you by mail to go and pick up your new card. Normally, your extension will be appoved first and if you pernanent is appoved it will come a month or two later.
According to the gentleman who assisted us, they will consider and approve the extension which should take about 2 or 3 weeks (that's what he said), and then they will also conider the request for permanat and rule on it.
When you pick up your new card granting you an extension you will have to pay ¥4,000 for a tax stamp. When picking up your permanent card, you will need an ¥8,000 tax stamo. You can purchase the stamp on the fifth floor of the same building
3. For applicants who want to apply for permanant residence:
To find some limited information on permanant status, you can go to this page on the immigration web site.
So, if you want to try permanant as well, you can get that appropriate form here. Click the 5th item in the list of Necessary documents.
You can go directly to the PDF version of the form by clicking here. Click the 5th item in the list of Necessary documents. Be prepared to submit both applications. The supporting documents do not change from the renewal to the permanant.
If you are applying for permanent status only, you will need all the items I listed above for the Extension of Stay and the permanent application from the website listed above.
As I wrote earlier, if you are granted permanant residence, you will have to pay an ¥8,000 fee for the tax stamp for it.
You can go back to the beginning of the immigration web site by clicking here.
The Aomori Branch Office now processes immigration requests for our area. If you are looking for them on the Japanese immigration website, you must look for Sendai and then Aomori as a branch office.
The address of the Aomori Branch is:
The 2nd Government Building of Aomori,
3-5-1 Chome Nagashima, Aomori City
Aomori Prefecture, Japan
This is link to theLink to Aomori Office. Their office hours are 9am to noon and 1 to 4pm.
The building is about 20 minutes on foot from the JR East Aomori Station. It is about a 5 minute walk from the Shinmachi 2 Chome, Kencho-mae Shiyakusyo-mae buss stop.
The Morioka Branch Office is available for those who find it more convenient. The address is:
The 2nd Sangyo Daikan Building,
4-10 Icome Seien, Morioka City
Iwate Prefecture, Japan
The building is about a 20-minute walk from the JR Morioka Station and about 5 minutes by foot from the Iwate-Koen bus stop. There is no dedicated parking for the building. You will have to use a nearby pay parking lot.