Japan’s Immigration Office and Immigration Rules

Different Status of Residence for Japan Travelers

There are the different status of residence that can be applied by travelers to Japan and it will depend on the length and reason for the stay. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has listed down almost 30 kinds of visa applications. It is important to note that all foreigners entering Japan must be fingerprinted and photographed. This is their means of controlling entry and ensuring the safety of the country from terror. Here are a few of the most commonly applied visas:

Temporary Visitors

The temporary visitor visa is what is most commonly applied for entry in Japan. This is what tourists and business travelers apply for.

90 Day Visa  - All tourists have the standard 90-day visa. This means that a person entering the country can visit and stay for up to 90 days. It is important to remember that people who have this kind of visa cannot be engaged in any form of work or paid activities. Temporary visitors are allowed to travel to any point of Japan to enjoy the scenery and take a holiday. On a positive note, people with this visa can enter short term language classes.

6-Month Visa - If an individual traveling to Japan is a citizen of these countries, then they could easily stay three to six months visa free. These countries include Austria, Switzerland, Mexico, UK, Ireland and more. What is important to note is the fact that they still need to acquire the standard 90-day visa, then go to an immigration office to petition for an extension.

Depending on the reason, the Japanese government can provide a minimum of three months to as long as six months. Since temporary visa holders are not allowed to engage in work or employment, they must prove that they can sustain lengthy stays in Japan. This means that the person applying for an extension must have a considerable sum of money in the bank – proving that they can survive six long months of unemployment. There are cases, on the other hand, when the application for extension is disapproved.

1-Year Visa – There are also 1-year temporary visitor visas which are available for nationals from countries where Japan has made a general visa exemption agreement. It is pretty similar to the 6-month visa; an individual needs to get the standard 90-day visa then apply for a one-year extension.

Just like 6-month visas, there are bank saving requirements for this kind of visa extension. The longer the stay being applied, the larger the amount is being required. The most important requirement here is that the person must have a minimum of about 30 million yen in the bank. Usually, people who apply for these kinds of long term visas are given a Certificate of Eligibility indicating that the individual has the capacity to live a normal lifestyle while staying in Japan without work.

Work Visa Japan

Foreigners that have a proof of employment in Japan can stay with a work visa. Most often than not, the work visa is vouched for by the company in question. What is called as residence permitting work, people who have employment in Japan can stay depending on the contract being held with the company. If the contract expires, the visa expires as well.

What is difficult about this is the fact that there is more than one kind of work visa in Japan, as each industry has a residence permit on its own. For people who will change their jobs while holding a work visa must change the status of residence as well.

A normal work visa can be as short as three months to as long as five years. Extension applications can be filed, depending on the person’s employer. On top of that, the work visa is usually applied before entry to Japan.

Student Visa Japan

A student visa is another example of a residence status in Japan. Individuals can apply for a student visa as long as they have sponsorship from the educational institution and bank statements to prove that the student has full financial support in his or her length of stay. This is due to the fact that people with student visas are not allowed to engage in employment and other paid activities. However, students can get permission from immigration offices on the condition that they have limited hours of work in a week.

Resident Permission for Spouse and Dependents

Spouses and dependents don’t get automatic permanent residence. They usually get spouse visas first which has varying lengths from six months of five years. People with this kind of visa cannot engage in paid activities but can get permission from the immigration office. They can also apply for a petition for permanent residence.

Working Holiday Visa

This is a special visa given to residents of 13 countries which include Australia, Canada, France, Korea, New Zealand, UK, and others. This is given to individuals between the ages of 18 and 30. The difference between this and a temporary visitor visa holder is the fact that they can work part time while staying in Japan and can stay in the country up to one year.  

Reasons to visit the visa office in Japan

Visa Extension Applications

Visa extensions are possible and common in Japan, for all types of visas. The levels of difficulty for application and the chances for success vary depending on the type of visa being applied. For instance, work visas and student visas may have relatively less difficult to apply because it is easy to prove. As long as the company or institution vouchers for the individual applying for the extension, there is a high percentage of acceptance.

On the other hand, for those applying for a temporary visitor stay, there might be additional requirements to be asked. For instance, the immigration office may opt to ask for a bank statement to show or prove that the individual has the financial capacity to stay longer months in Japan. This is in line with the fact that temporary visitor visa holders are not allowed to engage in any employment.

As long as the conditions for the status at hand are satisfied, the procedures for any type of visa extension request will be the same. Also, if the individual will be able to satisfy the additional requirements, the application process will be easy. Usually, it will only take a couple of days. The important thing to note is that the extension must be applied days or weeks prior the expiry of current visa.

Application for Permanent Residence & Residence Card

The government of Japan allows foreign nationals to have permanent residence in the country, as long as the individual proves that they have the capability to live independently. Any individual who has been residing in Japan for a significant number of years, typically a total of ten consecutive years, can apply for a permanent residence card. Permanent residence does not entail that the individual change their nationality or citizenship. It just simply eases the individual’s need for extension applications.

Application for Naturalization

This is pretty much similar to a permanent residence status, however, the main difference is that the individual is willing to renounce their citizenship. Most of the requirements are the same – the individual must be able to prove that he or she can provide independent financial support. It is also a must that the individual has shown good conduct throughout the years that they have stayed in the country.

Application for Re-entry

Any individual who already has an access to a residence card must take hold of “re-entry permits” for every time they leave the country. This is so they will not lose their residence status. However, for individuals who will be leaving the country for only a few weeks or months (as long as it is less than a year), re-entry permits are not anymore needed.

Visiting an immigration Office in Japan: Visa Application Requirements

For any individual planning a trip or stay in Japan, having a visa is a must. Entry to the country will not be allowed without a visa. Although the requirements for all visa applications are different, there are common documents which are usually required. The first, and most important, would be a valid passport. An individual will not be allowed to travel out of their home country’s airport without a passport. Furthermore, entry to another country’s airport will not be accepted without it as well.

Another requirement would be application forms which are available from Japanese consulates and embassies within the home country. Another very important requirement would be proof of financial stability, most visas like the temporary visitor visa does not allow individuals to engage in any money making activities. Because of this, they must be able to have enough money to support themselves during the entire length of their stay in Japan.

Lastly, there are cases where a proof of return ticket is required by the immigration office as well. If the ticket is not yet available because the stay is currently indefinite, there must be enough funds to be able to purchase a return ticket home.

It is important to note that there are other requirements as well that may be asked by the consul evaluating the visa application. The items which have been listed are the common requirements but there are special requirements asked for depending on the type of visa being applied.

Where to find Local Immigration Offices in Japan

Immigration Office in Yokohama, Japan

The Yokohama district immigration office is located in Torihama-cho, Kanazawa-ku, Yokoshima-shi, Kanagawa. Together with the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau, the Yokohama District Immigration Office has jurisdiction over all of Kanagawa. It is usually open from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, every Mondays through Fridays. There are telephone numbers depending on the area or department in consideration.

Immigration Office in Osaka, Japan

The regions and cities of Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Shiga, and Wakayama are under the jurisdictional control of the Osaka Regional Immigration Bureau. Their office hours are between 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Its headquarters is located in Osaka, and there is a branch office in Kobe.

Immigration Office in Mito, Japan

This is one of the branch offices of the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau, along with 11 other branches. They have jurisdiction of the Tokyo and Kanagawa regions.  The Mito Branch office is responsible for tasks such as resident inspection and port inspection. Its jurisdictional area would be Ibaraki and Tochigi. Its tel no is 029-300-3601.

Immigration Office in Saitama, Japan

Just like the Mito Office, the Saitama office is a branch office of the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau. This particular branch office has jurisdiction over Saitama, Chiba, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Yamanashi, and Nagano. However, their top task is resident inspection only.

Immigration Office in Nagoya, Japan 

The Nagoya Immigration office and information center has a total of eight branches. Among its Jurisdictional areas are Toyama, Ishikawa, Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi, Mie, and Fukui. The main headquarters is located at Shoho-cho, Minato-ku, Nagoya City.

Immigration Offices of other countries in Japan

USCIS Office in Japan

The USCIS is the main immigration office that is responsible for US-Visa applications of foreign nationalities including Japan. This organization helps applications to gain immigration benefits from the US. For the Japanese, there are different types of visas that can be applied, there are student visas, work visas, and more. There are even additional visa types for individuals that have suffered from recent natural calamities in Japan. To this date, there are thousands of Japanese who have migrated in different parts of the US. There are even communities in Hawaii, Guam, and other American territories.

Canada Immigration Office in Japan

The Canada Visa Application Centre is located in the Sanki Shiba Kanasugibashi Bldg, in Shiba, Minato-ku Tokyo. It is here where visa applications for the Japanese locals are being evaluated. Visa types include temporary resident visas, work permits, study permits, and even permanent resident applications. Through the help of the officers of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada or IRCC, the applications will be evaluated depending on the satisfaction of Canada’s immigration laws.