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Learn About the Status of Residence in Japan

Learn About the Status of Residence in Japan

Foreigners who want to come and stay in Japan for a short or long time must have heard about Status of Residence, which relates to their entry and every daily life in Japan. Granted by the immigration officer upon arriving at a Japanese airport or seaport, Status of Residence clarifies statuses or positions which allow foreigners to enter and stay in Japan, or activities that they can engage in.

They are not allowed to engage in certain activities that are unauthorized under their Status of Residence in principle, for example, a chef with a status as "Skilled labor", can only work as a chef in Japan and is prohibited to work as a company manager or translator. However with a permission called "Engage in an Activity Other Than That Permitted by the Status of Residence Previously Granted" from the immigration office, they can engage in other activities.

Difference between Visa and Status of Residence

Before coming to Japan, foreigners have to apply for a visa also. Though similar and easy to be confused, it's quite different between a visa and a Status of Residence.

Issuing authority

Visa is issued by a Japanese Embassy or Consulate in other countries which is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while Status of Residence is issued by the immigration office in Japan which is under the jurisdiction of the Immigration Bureau. The two authorities have their own granting processes.

Issuing purpose

Visa is issued for a foreigner to enter Japan. Visa "confirms" the validity of the foreigner's passport and also "suggests" that a visa holder would not cause any problem as long as the visa holder enters Japan with the activities specified on the visa. As someone with a visa may also be refused entry by some reasons, visa should be thought as a recommendation letter for entering Japan and staying in japan with the claimed activities.

Status of Residence is issued for a foreigner to stay in Japan legally after entering Japan. Status of Residence "defines" the reason of the foreigner's stay in Japan and the period of stay and whether allowed to work in Japan.

Issuing timing

Visa is issued before going to Japan when the foreigner is still in his or her home country, while Status of Residence is issued upon or after landing Japan.

Valid period

Usually a visa has a valid period of 3 months, which means that the holder is only allowed to enter Japan in 3 months. Visa will be out of effect once entering Japan (except for those visa allowing for a re-entry), and another visa application will be required for the next entry.

Status of Residence is usually issued with a period of stay like 1 year, which means that the holder is allowed to stay in Japan under this status for 1 year. The status will expire after 1 year, and the holder needs to apply for another Status of Residence for continuing to stay in Japan.

List of Status of Residence

According to the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, which is abbreviated as Immigration Law, there are 28 types of Status of Residence at present, while one person can only obtain one type at the same time. Basically they can be classified into 2 kinds:

・Status of Residence based on the foreigner's personal relationship or position in Japan. There are no limitations on what activities he or she can engage in.

-Permanent Resident: individual who is permitted permanent residence by the Minister of Justice.

-Spouse or Child of Japanese National: spouse, biological child, or child adopted by a Japanese national.

-Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident:spouse or biological child of permanent residents or special permanent resident who was born and continues to reside in Japan.

-Long Term Resident: refugees accepted for third-country resettlement, Japanese relative, child of Japanese descent, or child of foreign national spouse from a previous marriage.

・Status of Residence based on the foreigner's activities.

-Designated Activities: domestic staff of a diplomat, etc., working holiday, or a foreign nurse or care worker candidate under an Economic Partnership Agreement, etc.

-Cultural Activities: researcher of Japanese culture.

-Temporary Visitor: tourist or conference participant.

-Student: student or pupil of a university, junior college, college of technology, senior high school, junior high school or elementary school, etc.

-Trainee

-Dependent: spouse or child who is a dependent of a residing foreigner.

-Diplomat: ambassador, minister, consulate general, or delegation member of a foreign government and their families.

-Official: employee of an embassy or consulate of a foreign government, individual assigned by an international institution for an official assignment, and their families.

-Professor: college professor.

-Artist: composer, artist, or writer.

-Religious activities: missionary assigned by a foreign religious organization.

-Journalist: reporter or photographer of foreign press.

-Highly Skilled Professional: highly-skilled human resources in accordance with the points' system.

-Business Manager: manager or administrator of a company, etc.

-Legal/Accounting Services: attorney or certified public accountant.

-Medical Services: physician, dentist or registered nurse.

-Researcher: researcher at a government-related institution or company.

-Instructor: language instructor at a senior high school or junior high school, etc.

-Engineer/Specialist in humanities/International Services: engineer such as mechanical engineering, interpreter, designer, language instructor at a private company or marketing specialist.

-Intra-company Transferee: transferee from an office abroad.

-Entertainer: actor, singer, dancer, or professional athlete.

-Skilled Labor: chef of foreign cuisine, sports instructor, aircraft pilot, or craftsman of precious metals.

-Technical Intern Training

-Specified Skilled Worker: work-ready foreigners who possess certain expertise and skills in certain industrial fields.

The types of Status of Residence are increasing, as you may know that "Specified Skilled Worker" is the latest one taken into effect in April, 2019.

How to acquire a Status of Residence?

If a foreigner intends to acquire a Status of Residence, he or she must apply to the Minister of Justice under the following procedures.

For a Temporary Visitor status

For a short stay up to 90 days, there are 67 countries or regions whose citizens can enter Japan just with their passports and without a visa.

People from other countries need to make the typical visa application as follows.

・Procedures conducted by the inviting person in Japan

-Prepare for documents

letter of reason for invitation, schedule of stay, letter of guarantee, other necessary documents.

-Send documents to the applicant;

・Procedures conducted by the applicant in other countries

-Prepare for documents

passport, visa application form, photograph, other necessary documents;

-After receiving documents from Japan, make the application at the Japanese Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction;

-The application is examined in the Embassy or Consulate;

-After completion of the examination, go to get back the passport;

-Enter Japan with the visa in 3 months.

These short-term visitors will get a Status of Residence as "Temporary Visitor" after entering Japan.

For other Status of Residence

For a long-term stay over 90 days, the applicant needs to choose a status suitable for his or her purpose of stay in Japan and make an application as follows.

・Procedures conducted by the inviting person in Japan

-Apply to the Regional immigration Bureau for the issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility;

Documents differ depending on the bureau and the Status of Residence under application.

-Send Certificate of Eligibility to the applicant;

・Procedures conducted by the applicant in other countries

-Prepare for documents

passport, visa application form, photograph, other necessary documents;

Documents differ depending on the nationality and the Status of Residence under application.

-After receiving documents from Japan, make the application at the Japanese Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction;

-The application is examined in the Embassy or Consulate;

-After completion of the examination, go to get back the passport;

-Enter Japan with the visa in 3 months.

These long-term visitors will get a corresponding Status of Residence after entering Japan.

What is a Residence Card?

Residence Card is a certificate issued by the Minister of Justice for a foreigner to prove that he or she has a Status of Residency. Similar to the driver's license, Residence Card has the latest information of name, date of birth, gender, nationality, place of residence, status of residence, and period of stay, etc. printed on. The holder is under obligation to notify the Minister of Justice for updation if any information has changed.

Note that only the status holders with a period of stay over 3 months will be issued a Residence Card.

Revocation of Status of Residence

Status of Residence may be revoked before the expiration date in the following cases, and the relevant foreigner will be subjected to deportation immediately or be required to depart from Japan in 30 days.

・If the Status of Residence was obtained by deceit or other wrongful means.

・If the holder failed to continue to engage in the activities corresponding to the Status of Residence for a certain period. For example, a "Spouse of Japanese National" status may be revoked if the holder got divorced for six months or more; a "Skilled labor" status may be revoked if the holder got out of work for three months or more.

・If the holder failed to notify his or her new domicile to the Minister of Justice within 90 days from the day he or she moved out.