Permanent Residence

You cannot apply for Permanent Residence if you don’t have any experience to obtain Residence Card in Japan – in order to apply for Permanent Residence permit, you need to reside in Japan under other visa status first and continue to live here for years. Once you obtain Permanent Residence permit, you can reside in Japan indefinitely.

The requirement for "Permanent Residence" is different depending on your current visa status. Generally, you must been residing in Japan continuously for more than 10 years. Some visa status such as "Spouse or Child of Japanese National" etc. are exempted from this "10-year residence rule".

Difference from Naturalization

Permanent Residence is visa status which is allowed to stay in Japan for an indefinite period as well as to engage in any types of acitivities in Japan without limit. However, you must keep your residence card with you as your ID as well as you must obtain Re-enter Permit (including Special Re-enter Permit) when you go outside Japan.

Naturalization is to be naturalized in Japan, meaning you become a Japanese holding Japanese passport.

Refer to the table below for the difference between Permanent Residence and Naturalization.

  Permanent Residence Naturalization
Nationality and Passport Foreign National
You don't change your nationality into Japan and don't have rights and responsibility as a Japanese national.
Japanese
You become a Japanese holding Japanese passport. You have rights and responsibility as a Japanese national. You must leave other nationality.
Period of Stay Indefinite period
However, you may be deported in case of committed a crime, etc.
Indefinite period
Residence Card Issued
You must carry your residence card at any time.
Not issued
Re-enter Permit (including Special Re-enter Permit) Required Not required
Voting Rights No Yes
Activity in Japan Not limited Not limited
Ability to communicate in Japanese Not Required Required to some extent
Requirement of Required to reside in Japan more than 10 consecutive years.
* Special exception is applied to particular visa status.
Required to reside in Japan more than 5 consecutive years.
Period of Screening Approx. 4 months 6 months to 1 year

Requirements for Permanent Residence

In general, you must satisfy the requirement below if you apply for Permanent Residence. There are special exeption for particular visa status regarding the requirement of more than 10 consecutive years period of stay.

1. The applicant must have a good behavior.

  • You have to be a person who have been following the laws and regulation of Japan and living a life without being criticized socially as a resident in Japan.

2. The applicant must be recognized as financially stable.

  • You must be recognized to have financial stability or ability enough to make a living while staying in Japan.

3. The applicant’s permanent residence must be recognized as a benefit of Japan.

  • Generally, the applicant must have been residing in Japan for more than 10 consecutive years. In this period, you need to have 5 years experience under visa status which is allowed to work. The period of visa status such as Student, Dependent and so on cannot be included.
  • You don’t have any experience of fines and/or imprisonment during staying in Japan.
  • You have fulfilled public obligation such as tax duty and so on.
  • You have obtained the longest period of stay under the visa status currently granded.

Special Exeption

The applicant doesn’t need to have resided for more than 10 years in Japan in case of the following:

  1. In case the applicant’s current visa status is either "Spouse of Japanese national" or "Spouse of Permanent Residence":
    The applicant and his/her spouse has been married for more than 3 years and been residing in Japan for more than one year.
  2. In case the applican’s current visa status is either "Child of Japanese National" or "Child of Permanent Residence":
    The applicant has been residing in Japan for more than one year.
  3. In case the applicant’s current visa status is "Long-term Residence (Teiju-sha)":
    The applicant has been residing in Japan for more than 5 years continuously.
  4. In case of the person who are acknowledged as a refugee:
    The applicant
    has been residing in Japan for more than 5 years continuously.
  5. In case of the person who are acknowledged the contribution for Japan in the field of diplomacy, society, economy, culture and so on:
    The applicant has been residing in Japan for more than 5 years continuously.

Period of Stay and Expiration of Residence Card

There are no expiration of period of stay for Permanent Residence. You can stay in Japan indefinitely

However, please note that the duration of Residence Card for Permanent Residence is 7 years. You have to renew your Residence Card at the Immigration Office by the date of expiry stated on the card.

When you travel outside Japan and reenter Japan, you need to obtain Special Re-entry Permission or Re-entry Permission depending on how long you will stay outside Japan. >> Check out Special Re-entry Permit or Re-entry Permit

Necessary Documents

Necessary Documents are different depending on the case and what visa status you currently obtain. Here are the documents generally required for Permanent Residence application:

  1. Documents which prove that you are a good resident in Japan.
    • Certificates of taxes (i.e. income tax, resident tax, property tax and so on) for the past 3 years.
    • Certificates or Prizes which prove your contribution for Japan and/or local community in Japan.
  2. Documents which prove your finantial stability.
    • Bankbook, Certificate of real estate, etc.
    • Documents which certify your occupation/position and total income for the past 3 years.
    • In case of business owner: Certificate of Company Registration, Financial Statement (P&L and B/S) for the past 3 years, Report of Business, etc.
  3. Documents which prove the relationship of family.
    • Cetificate of Family Register, Cetificate of Removal from Family Register, etc.
    • Nationality Certificate
    • Birth Certificate
  4. Detailed explanation the reason why you would like to obtain Permanent Residence in Japan.
  5. Letter of Guarantor in Japan (the Guarantor must be a resident of Japan).

It takes approx. 4 months to process the application at the Immigration Office.

(Amended in July, 2012)

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