Immigration procedure / status of residence

Welcome to the website of Senshu Branch, Osaka Gyoseishoshi Lawyers’ Association.

Gyoseishoshi lawyers are legal specialists qualified by the Government of Japan and certified as an Immigration Lawyer by the Immigration Office to proceed to visa and residence status application on behalf of our clients.  We are here to help you with obtaining visas for Japan, proceeding to renewal or change of residence status and setting up business in Japan including all other related legal issues. 

We are also specialists in international marriage/divorce and naturalization.  We can offer you our attentive and professional service as the administrative procedures are somewhat complicated and time-consuming for those who do not have enough experience.

Foreigners wishing to stay in Japan are required to obtain a visa (residence status = zairyu shikaku) which is most appropriate for the intended activities in Japan.  There are 27 types of visa in Japan and the requirements as well as the authorized activities differ according to each residence status.
Basically, the types of residence status are classified in the following three categories;

(a)Working activity visa: with these, you are allowed to work legally in the specified field.

Specialist in Humanities / International Services, Engineer, Skilled Labor are some examples of this group.  Working visas only cover the kind of work that requires high level of professional knowledge or skills; therefore, there is no such working visa for a simple, manual labor work as a construction worker, a waitress, a salesclerk or a hairdresser.

(b)Non-working activity visa: with these, basically you are not allowed to work in Japan.

Student, Dependent, Temporary Visitor, Technical Internship, and Designated Activities are the main residence status which correspond to this group.  Under some of these non-working visas, however, some allow you to work under certain condition or you can work within the limited hours on condition that you obtain from the Immigration Office the “permission to engage in a non-authorized activity."
(c)Family-related residence visa: these visas are granted according to the family status.
   Permanent Resident, Long-term Resident, Spouse or Child of Japanese National and Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident fall in this group.  Under these visas, basically you are allowed to work without any restriction.

*Even with working activity visa, you are required to report to your nearby Immigration Office any change in the content or condition of your status of residence, and eventually a new status of residence is to be issued; otherwise, your stay in Japan may be deemed illegal.


New Resident Registration system effective July 9th, 2012

Since July, 2012, a new Resident Card has replaced the old Alien Registration Certificate.  On arrival at major Japanese airport (Kansai, Narita, Haneda, Nagoya), you will receive a Resident Card at the immigration office.  If you change your address, you report to your municipality.  If you change your job or marital status, then you report to your Regional Immigration Bureau.  As the new Resident Card shows your residence status, naturally your employer can see if you have an effective working visa.  A new Resident Card is issued each time you renew or change your status of residence.  For most of the types of residence status, the maximum period of stay has been extended to 5 years, and you don’t need to have a re-entry permit if you are coming back to Japan within 12 months. 

With the introduction of the new Resident Registration system, the foreign residents are registered under the same residence record system as the Japanese citizens, thus making it possible for foreigners to appear in the same Japanese resident certificate (juminhyo) as that of Japanese spouse and children.  The foreign residents can also become the head of household of the family with Japanese spouse and children. 

You don’t receive a Resident Card only if you are a temporary visitor or with a visa valid for 3 months or less.  If you have an alien registration certificate, it is still valid until the next visa renewal.  However, if you wish to have a new Resident Card issued, you can do so at your Regional Immigration Bureau.  If you travel abroad frequently, you don’t need to ask for re-entry permit if you have a new Resident Card.

For more detailed information please contact Senshu Branch, Osaka Gyoseishoshi Lawyers’ Association tel/fax 072-464-2793.


Registered foreign residents in Japan by origin

Continent oforigin - Country of origin -
Asia 1,653,679 China 674,879
Korea 545,401
Philippines 209,376
others 224,023
Europe 58,427 -
North/Mid America 63,250 USA 49,815
others 13,435
South America 277,220 Brazil 210,032
Peru 52,843
others 14,345
Oceania 12,860 statistics as of end/2011
Africa 11,972
no nationality 1,100
total 2,078,508

Published 5th/Nov./2012 by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications