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The Long-Term Resident Visa in Japan

The Long-Term Resident Visa in Japan

There is a specified visa in Japan called Long-Term Resident, which is granted according to the family relationship and without any restrictions on working activities so that the holder of this visa can keep living in Japan just like a Japanese.

There is no requirements on the applicants' skills or educational background. It was designed for very special individuals including foreign nationals with Japanese ancestry, Indochinese refugee settlers, the spouse or children of Japanese nationals left behind in China, etc. By 2017, about 179,834 foreign nationals hold this status of residence, which accounts for 6.5 percent of the total foreign residents in Japan.

The Long-Term Resident may be confused with the Permanent Residence visa easily, as both of them have no restrictions on working activities. However the former one is only available to second or third generation Japanese settlers, while the latter one is broadly granted to any foreigner who can meet the requirements on skills or working and educational backgrounds or staying period in Japan. And the former only allows a stay up to five years, while the latter is for a life-long time.

Who is eligible to apply for Long-Term Resident visa?

Eligible applicants are divided into two categories:

Notified Long-Term Residents

・Refugees according to the Status of Refugees of the United Nations Convention

・Second generation Japanese settlers

・Third generation Japanese settlers

・Spouses of holders of Long-Term Resident visa with a period of stay over one year

・Unmarried minor children of parents who are one of the following:

-Japanese national

-Spouse or child of a Japanese national

-Holder of Permanent Resident visa

-Spouse or child of a holder of Permanent Resident visa

-Holder of Long-Term Resident visa with a period of stay over one year

-Holder of Special Permanent Resident visa

・Adopted children who are under six years old and whose parents are one of the following:

-Japanese national

-Holder of Permanent Resident visa

-Holder of Long-Term Resident visa with a period of stay over one year

-Holder of Special Permanent Resident visa

・Indochinese refugee settlers

Non-Notified Long-Term Resident

A holder of Spouse or Child of Japanese National visa and has divorced or been widowed by a Japanese person but wants to stay in Japan, and is able to support his or her own living in Japan and satisfies one of the following:

・Lives with and raises a child with Japanese nationality in Japan

・The period of marriage is at least three years

How to apply for Long-Term Resident visa?

If the applicant doesn't own any visa currently, he or she needs to apply for a COE (Certificate of Eligibility) first, which should be applied at the regional immigration office in Japan. After the COE being granted, the applicant can apply for the Long-Term Resident visa at the Japanese embassy or Consul in his or her own country.

If the applicant owns any other visa currently, he or she should apply for Change of Status of Residence to this visa at the regional immigration office. The basic required documents for these two ways are similar as following:

・Personal documents of the applicant

・Family documents that certify the family relationship of the applicant

・Financial documents certifying that the applicant or other sponsor will be able to meet all expenses associated with his or her stay in Japan

・Guarantee documents from a guarantor living in Japan

While detailed documents vary depending on the situation of each applicant and hosting person as follows:

In case that the applicant is a second or third generation Japanese

・Family register (Koseki/Joseki Tohon) of his or her parents or grandparents who is or was Japanese

・Marriage certificate of his or her parents or grandparents

・Death certificate of his or her parents or grandparents

・Birth certificate of the applicant

・Resident card (Jumin-hyo) of person living with the applicant in Japan with all family members listed

・A copy of the employment contract, or bank statement or other evidence of asset, or Certificate of Tax Payment of the applicant or other sponsor

In case that the applicant is the spouse of second or third generation Japanese

・Marriage certificate of the applicant

・Documents supporting the spouse's status as second or third generation Japanese such as resident card (Jumin-hyo) with all family members listed

・Documents certifying the spouse's income or occupation such as Certificate of Tax Payment, employment contract or copy of final tax return

・A letter of guarantee from the spouse

・A questionnaire

・Marriage certificate granted by the applicant's own nation

・Photos with the applicant and the spouse shown

・Documents to certificate Japanese language level of the applicant like JLPT level

In case that the applicant is an unmarried minor child who is a dependant of Long-term Resident, Spouse or Child of Japanese, or Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident

・Documents that prove the status of the person supporting the applicant, like resident card or family register

・Documents that prove the occupation and income of the person supporting the applicant, like Certificate of Tax Payment, employment contract or copy of final tax return

・A letter of guarantee from the person supporting the applicant

・A statement of reasons for applying for this visa

・Birth certificate of the applicant granted by his or her own nation

・Certificate of Criminal Record of the applicant granted by his or her own nation

・Personal information documents of the applicant's parents or grandparents like passport, driving license or death certificate

In case that the applicant is an adopted child under 6 years old who is a dependant of Japanese, Permanent Resident, Long-term Resident, and Special Permanent Resident

・Documents that prove the status of the person supporting the applicant, like resident card or family register

・Documents that prove the occupation and income of the person supporting the applicant, like Certificate of Tax Payment, employment contract or copy of final tax return

・Certificate of adoption acceptance of the applicant

・A letter of guarantee from the person supporting the applicant

・A statement of reasons for applying for this visa

・Documents about the adoption granted by the applicant's own nation

・Birth certificate of the applicant granted by his or her own nation

・Personal information documents of the applicant's parents or grandparents like passport, driving license or death certificate

How long is the period of stay?

Long-Term Resident visa allows a stay for either 5 years, 3 years, 1 year, 6 months for Notified Long-term Residents, or a designated period of less than 5 years for Non-Notified Long-term Residents, which will be decided by Immigration Office case by case. Of course the holders can extend this visa 2 months before its expiration.

What kind of job is a Long-Term Resident allowed to do?

As one of the advantages of the Long-Term Resident visa, its holders can engage in any legal work in Japan, including part-time work, or simple labor work.