For foreigners who have stayed in Japan for quite a long time and wish to stay in the future, to become a permanent resident will be a good choice.
As a special status of residence, Permanent Residence provides much more benefits than other statuses of residence because it does not limit the status holder's activities or period of stay. Other work visas usually require the holder to only engage in claimed activities and have a valid period.
Moreover permanent residents usually have a higher social credit than other working visa holders which will make them easier to get loans from Japanese banks. For this reason, the application for Permanent Residence is examined much more strictly than merely changing to other statuses of residence by the immigration control.
Naturalization also allows foreigners to live in Japan for life, however the biggest difference between a permanent resident and a naturalized citizen is that the former is still a foreigner with Non-Japanese nationality, while the latter becomes a Japanese citizen. As a result,
・They will own a passport from a different country.
・A permanent resident still has to hold and renew a residence card while a citizen of Japan don't need to.
・A permanent resident has to obtain a re-entry permit or take some other action for departure from Japan, while a naturalized citizen has no such bother.
・Permanent residence still may be revoked and the holder has to leave Japan if he or she violated laws, while a citizen will not.
The following requirements shall be satisfied for an application.
・Good behavior and conduct
payment of taxes, no criminal records, especially traffic violations like speeding or drunken driving may lead to a rejection.
・Having sufficient assets or ability to make an independent living
The applicant or the applicant's sponsor has enough savings, or stable job, etc.
・To be recognized as meeting the interests of Japan, which means that the following should be met
-10 years of consecutive residence in Japan, which should include 5 years of residence under a work visa or those granted according to the family status like Spouse of Japanese National or Long-Term Resident, etc.
-Having paid taxes and payments for pensions and national health insurance premiums may also be checked.
-Currently having the longest period of stay, which is 3 years in most cases
The requirements differ from person to person, for example, in the case of a current Spouse of Japanese National visa holder, only the first one condition needs to be fulfilled. Also, In the case of a current Highly Skilled Professional visa holder, only 1 year of residence under the current visa is required for an application.
You need to fill in the necessary application forms, make required documents ready and submit them to the regional immigration office in charge of your address, including:
・Application form, which can be downloaded from the official website
・A photo (4cm×3cm) taken within three months prior to your submission
・Passport and residence card
-If your current status of residence is Spouse of Japanese National, copy of family register will be needed
・Reason for applying for Permanent Residence
・Materials showing that your behavior and conduct have been good
-Income tax, property tax, residence tax, etc. for the past three years;
-Or certificates to prove that you have contributed to Japan or local communities.
・Materials showing that you or your sponsor have sufficient assets or ability to make an independent living
-Documents from banks that show your assets;
-Documents that clarify your total income and occupation for the past three years;
-Or if you have your own business, a copy of the registry, income statement for the past three years, etc.
・Materials from a guarantor who is Japanese national or Permanent Residence visa holder
-A Letter of Guarantee whose template can be downloaded
-Certificate of residence issued by the city hall within 3 months
-Residence tax certificates issued by the city hall
-Certificate of Employment issued by his or her current employer, or other proof of occupation
The application duration depends on your current status of residence, but on average it takes about six months from the submission to be granted Permanent Residence. In soon case, you may become a permanent resident in 4 months, while 8 months is also possible.
A Permanent Residence visa has no limitation on the period of stay, which means that a holder can stay in Japan for life. However if any of the following cases found, the Permanent Residence status of residence may be revoked and the holder can no longer stay in Japan anymore.
・If someone obtained a seal of verification for landing, or obtained the Permanent Residence visa, etc. by deceit or other wrongful means;
・If someone has failed to notify his or her new domicile to the Minister of Justice within 90 days from the day on which he or she moved out of his or her former domicile;
・If someone has departed from Japan without obtaining a re-entry permit, the status of residence and period of stay permitted shall lapse. For a permanent resident, a departure from Japan over one year must apply for a re-entry permit, whose period of validity is five years. So if you go out of Japan for less than one year, you can just go directly and a seal will be stuck to your passport by the customs. For a departure from one year to five years, you can keep your status of residence with a re-entry permit, when over 5 years, your status will be revoked.
・If someone forgot to renew his or her residence card until its period of validity expired. The status of Permanent Residence is for life, while the residence card do have a valid period of 7 years. Never forget the renewal of residence card.
・If someone violated the law and forced to leave Japan, he or she will lose the status as a permanent resident.
As there is no limitation on a Permanent Resident's activities, you are allowed to take part in any kind of legal jobs.