Understanding the Juminhyo - The Residence Record of Japan’s Citizens

In recent years, the country of Japan has been welcoming in more and more foreign residents due to a number of reasons including marriage, work, and immigration. As with other countries, Japan observes various regulations when it comes to the registration, living arrangements, tax, and health insurance of its people.

By Cheng-en Cheng [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Among the most important of these codes is the Juminhyo Residence Registry Record, which verifies one’s residency in Japan, alongside the household that recognizes the record owner as a member of their family.

Overview of Japan’s Juminhyo Registry/Code

A Juminhyo refers to an individual’s registry of his existing residential addresses in Japan and is maintained by each area’s local government office.

As required by the law, each citizen of Japan needs to report his current or new address to the city office for them to be able to properly compile his information for various purposes including census, national health insurance, and tax.

After a resident has applied for a juminhyo at his respective local government office, he can then start to apply for several social services such as a health insurance plan.

The Juminhyo is also important when registering a child at a local school or opening an account at any Japanese bank, as this serves as a proof of residence. For these cases, an individual can request a copy of his registry record at the city office by filling out a Juminyo Application Form for requesting copies.

In addition, the Juminhyo is also required when registering for an inkan, a name seal, which serves as a person’s official signature in Japan.

Those who will be registering their address for the first time should take note that the Juminhyo is not the same as the Koseki, which serves as a family’s formal history record.

Requirements for Getting a Copy of the Juminhyo Certificate/Card

During the year 2013, the government of Japan amended their residency management system to include foreign residents in their Juminhyo Registry. Although the areas in Japan make use of slightly different forms from one another, the following items are required for all applicants to be able to request a copy of their registry record:

Juminhyo Application Form (Sent in person or through mail)

The Juminhyo Application Form for a particular city is often available at the area’s official website. On these sites, two forms are usually free to download – one for those who will be applying in person and another for those who will be requesting their residency record through mail.

In the rare case that a Juminhyo Application Form is not available on the internet, a person can head on to the city office to get a copy of the application form in person. It should be noted that although there are some English translations available for some Juminhyo Application Forms, most forms provided by the areas of Japan are only written in the Japanese language.

As such, it is highly recommended that applicants who will be going to the city office to get their copy of the form to also ask any questions they may have regarding the process or request for assistance in answering the form to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Teigaku Kogawase (Money order)

Teigaki kogawase is a term used to refer to money order. This is needed for the handling charge that all areas of Japan require applicants to pay when requesting for their registry record. Similar to the Juminhyo Application Form, the handling charge for each area is different. This fee usually ranges from 200 to 500 yen.

Foreigners may obtain a teigaku kogawase from any branch of the Japan Post Office Bank. Applicants should keep in mind that the money order form should be kept blank, as the staff member at the city office will be the one in charge of filling out all the correct details.

Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope (For those who will be applying through mail)

Self-addressed stamped envelopes are pretty much self-explanatory. Although Japan has its own format when it comes to addressing an envelope, the most common formats used in other countries will work just fine.

For uniformity, applicants are advised to place the address of the city office on the back of the envelope, the stamp on the upper righthand corner of the back of the envelope, and the address of the applicant on the front of the envelope. With regards to the stamp that needs to be put on the envelope, the 90 yen ones may be used.

Photocopy of Valid ID

Of course, as with any other application, a valid ID must be presented to confirm one’s identity. When requesting for the registry record, a photocopy of one’s valid ID is required. This ID must include the applicant’s full name, address, and photo.

For foreigners, the best IDs to present to the city office include the special permanent resident ID or the resident card (zairyu card).

English Translation for Juhinyo Request Application Form for Different Areas of Japan – Nagoya, Chiyoda, Etc.

As mentioned, the application form for requesting a copy of one’s registry record differs from area to area. On a general note, the following sections need to be correctly filled out in the Juminhyo Application Form for Certificate of Residence:

Whose certificate is needed?

In this section, an applicant needs to indicate whose registry certificate is being requested. The record owner’s full name, address, date of birth, the name of the household, and contact number need to be provided in the respective boxes.

Which certificate is needed?

The application form for requesting a copy of one’s registry record also asks what particular kind of certificate is needed by the applicant.

In this section, the following checkboxes may be ticked – certificate of residence (owner), certificate of residence (all members of the household), deleted record of residence (owner), deleted record of residence (partial members of the household), certificate of registered matters, certificate of non-registration, and others.

Beside each type of certificate, another box is often provided and serves as a space where the applicant may indicate how many copies he will be needing.

In addition, an applicant may also request for certificates needed for matters for Japanese nationals and foreign nationals including country/area, resident card number, individual number, and name of household and corresponding relationship.

Person/s who visit/s the city office and who will be using the certificate

For those who will be requesting a copy of a registry record on behalf of someone else, this section must be correctly filled out to inform the city office of the representative’s information. The representative must provide his full name, relationship with the record owner, date of birth, address, and contact number.

The use of the certificate

Lastly, the application form for requesting a copy of the registry record also requires that the purpose of the request be indicated.

Common uses, i.e. applying for a driver’s license, applying for arbitration, applying for counseling, applying for renewal of public housing, and applying for reduction or exemption of public housing, are typically provided in this section.

For those who will be needing the copy for other purposes, the reason or use must be clearly, but briefly, explained in the space provided below the existing checkboxes.

At the bottom part of the application form, there is usually a few more boxes left that feature Japanese writing.  This section should be left blank, as the staff member at the city office will be responsible for filling this out after checking all the details provided in the previous sections.

For more information on the other additional requirements or details that need to be provided at the different areas of Japan, the following contact guide may be quite useful:

By Kure (UserKurefile) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Shinjuku City

The city of Shinjuku allows individuals to either come to the city office in person to request a copy of their residence record or file their request through mail.

For those who will be sending a representative, a proxy letter should be provided along with the other requirements. A sample letter can be found on the official website of Shinjuku City.

The handling fee observed by the Resident Registration Section of Shinjuku's city office is 300 yen per copy.

Alternatively, individuals may also get a copy of their registry record through the office’s automated certificate-issuing machines after office hours or during holidays. To be able to obtain documents using these machines, a person must first complete the usual procedures during the regular operating hours of the city office.

Office Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Closed Days: Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays, December 29 – January 3

Contact Details: 03-3209-1111

Address: 1-4-1 Kabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 160-8484

  • Yaizu City

People eligible to request for a copy of a registry record at the city of Yaizu include those who own the record, a household member of the record owner, and a proxy with a ininjo (power of attorney) from the record owner. The city’s official website has a template for the ininjo available for download.

The application form needed for the request can also be found at the website and features English translations.

Office Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Closed Days: Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays, December 29 – January 3

Contact Details: 054-626-1111

Address: 2-16-32 Honmachi, Yaizu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan 425-8502

  • Miyakonojo City

The city of Miyakonojo’s official website has all the forms needed for requesting a copy of one’s registry record available for download.

Unfortunately, these forms only come in the Japanese language but foreigners can easily request for assistance from the city office or a local friend to be able to correctly fill out the sections.

A handling fee of 300 yen per copy is observed by the city office for Juminhyo copy requests. Every weekday, an English-speaking staff member is available to assist foreigners at the city office from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Office Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:15 PM

Closed Days: Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays, December 29 – January 3

Contact Details: 0986-23-2295

Address: 6-21 Himegi-cho, Miyakonojo-shi, Miyazaki-ken, Japan 885-8555

  • Shibuya City

The city of Shibuya requires applicants to provide the following information when filing a request for a Juminhyo copy: full name of the record owner, full name of record owner’s household head, relationship to the household, date of birth, gender, address, nationality/region, and the date of approval as a foreign resident.

In some cases, the record owner’s previous address might be requested by the city office. Furthermore, those who have a medium or long-term visa are required to provide proof of their stay status, residence status, period of stay, residence card number, and the expiration date of the visa.

Foreign applicants can ask for assistance from the English interpreter of the city office from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, every weekday. The interpreting desk can be located on the third floor of the city office building.

Office Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Closed Days: Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays, December 29 – January 3

Contact Details: 03-3463-1146

Address: 1 Chome-18-21 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Prefecture, Japan 150-0002

  • Koka City

The city of Koka observes a handling fee of 300 yen per copy of the residence certificate.  Similar to the other cities listed above, the official website of Koka has the necessary forms available for download such as the application form, and the proxy letter.

Other things needed when filing a request for a copy of the Juminhyo include one’s personal seal, and a valid ID.

Office Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:15 PM

Closed Days: Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays, December 29 – January 3

Contact Details: 03-5796-7112

Address (Minakuchi Branch): 6053 Minakuchi, Minakuchi-cho, Koka-shi, Shiga Prefecture, Japan 528-8502

Address (Konan Branch): 810 Noda, Konan-cho, Koka-shi, Shiga Prefecture, Japan 520-3393

  • Nagoya City

The city of Nagoya requires individuals in need of a copy of their registry record to come to one of the local government offices of the various wards it houses.

Once there, the process is pretty much the same as that of the others and is relatively more convenient, given that applicants can immediately request for assistance from staff members of the city office.

Office Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:15 PM

Closed Days: Saturday, Sunday, National Holidays, December 29 – January 3

Contact Details: 03-5796-7112

Address: 3-1-1-1 Sannomaru, Naka-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi Prefecture, Japan 460-8508