The Japanese are very strict on which people they let into their country, and keep track of all foreigners and their legal status. Before moving to the land of the rising sun you need to ensure that you have acquired all of the necessary permits and permissions. The two main documents you need are listed as follows:
Prior to your arrival in the country you need to acquire the appropriate visa. You can apply for a Visa from the Japanese consulate or embassy in your home country. You must bear in mind the length of your intended stay and list whether you will be working or not whilst in the country. It is very difficult to change your immigration status once you arrive in Japan. While in Japan, do not hesitate to contact local officials with any questions. The language barrier may present a frustrating obstacle to communication at times, but most Japanese officials remain polite and helpful when dealing with foreigners.
To apply for a Visa you will need a number of certain documents prior to your application. These include:
• Valid passport.
• Two passport sized photos.
• Application forms.
• Proof that you have the means to support yourself financially whilst living in Japan.
• Proof of medical insurance.
• Proof of a return ticket or the funds necessary to afford a return airline ticket to your country of origin.
If you are going o be staying in Japan for longer than 90 days then you must also go through the process of Alien registration. You must go to a municipal office to begin this process. You will have to bring your passport and a recent photograph with you in order to verify your identity. Once the process is finished you will receive an Alien registration ID card which you then have to carry with you at all times.
Once you receive your card you must then inform the immigration authorities whether you intend to do any of the following:
Extend your stay – You must notify the relevant authorities if you wish to stay in the country beyond the expiration date of your Alien ID card.
Change your residency status – any change in your residential status must be reported to the authorities. (e.g. if you want to start working and currently only have a temporary visa.)
Leave temporarily- To leave the country and return you must apply for a re-entry permit to allow you access to return. This process must be done before you leave the country. If you plan on travelling frequently, you might want to apply for a Multiple Re-entry Permit.
The Visa process is constantly being tinkered with so it’s a good idea to frequently check with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website.
The Japanese work VISA
As a potential immigrant to Japan the most important VISA you will need to apply for is the working visa. It is highly unlikely that you will be accepted into the country if you are not already in work so bear this in mind when thinking about a move to Japan.
There are 14 types of working visa each aimed a specific field of work or career. To apply you will need to provide a certificate of eligibility from the company or organization that is sponsoring your move to the country. It is possible to obtain a work visa without a sponsor but that process is highly complicated and will no doubt you plenty of headaches.
Your employer must then submit additional forms to the Immigration Bureau, including a registration form (tokibo tohan), profit-loss report (son-ekai keisansho) and general company information. You will have to provide your CV, degree, and employment contract as part of the application process. Work visas may be issued for lengths from two months to several years.
The spouse and dependants VISA
When bringing your spouse and children to Japan you will serve as their sponsor, (in the same way your employer was your sponsor). You must apply for their certificates of eligibility at a Japanese embassy; you could ask your employer to do this for you. You will need to provide the following:
• Application forms.
• Passport sized photos.
• Marriage certificates.
• Birth certificate.
• Letter verifying your employment.
• Proof of dependency.
In the event that you are already living in Japan and your family will be joining you there, you may be required to submit additional residence and financial records to the local municipal office. These include tax records. Family or friends who want to visit while you are living in Japan should not require a visa unless they are staying for longer than the duration of their visa exemption period.
To apply to become a fully fledged Japanese citizen you must have lived in the country for at least five years and be over 20 years old. You must have sound mental health and not have a criminal record. Aside from this there is a massive amount of paperwork to get through.