This web page is in English but that is where its user-friendliness ends. So I will try to guide you through the process. Please read everything and follow the appropriate links. Also hope they haven't changed things again. You can go to and print these directions if you like
1. For first time applicants
The link at the end of this paragraph will take you to the Immigration Procedures English web page. The link will open a new window on your browser so you can go back to this page to check the instructions when you need to. So click Apply for Japanese Immigrant Status to begin.
The resulting page is long and has a lot of info and many links that can utterly confuse you so I suggest you follow these instructions and bypass some red-tape. Under Immigration Procedures, the first link you wiil see says (Click here to view application forms). Click this link and you will come to a page that says "List of Necessary Documents".
You will see a long list of options. Click on option number 4. This takes you to the "Application for Permission to Acquire Status of Residence" chart. From this page you can read through what you will need. The actual application form can be found in the Format section. You can choose PDF which is Adobe Acrobat format or Excel which is a spreadsheet format. I recommend clicking the [PDF] option. Print it out and complete it by hand. To do so, when the page comes up, click the small printer icon on the top of the PDF page and print the application.
Now the chart on this page does not include all the items you will need when you go to turn in your application. From my experience, you will need:
- Application form
- 40 x 30mm photo of you alone
- a photo of you and your sponsor together (any snapsho size)from sometime in the past to show you have been together for a while.
- A copy of your sponsor's Koskei Tohon and Kimin Sho. Your sponsor will know what these Japanese documents are.
- Hanko - name stamp. If you don't have one, you need to get one made.
- Proof that you are legally in Japan prior to getting residency. (For example: proof of SOFA status)
- a pay statement showing that you can support yourself. I used a copy of my MyPay retiree account statement. Since I had already applied for social security, I listed proof of that. I got my data online at https://secure.ssa.gov.
Side note. When I applied for my first resident status, they approved me for three years. I know quite a few others, who got five years. I don't know why. Just sayin.
2. For applicants who want to extend their stay (renewals):
To extend your stay as a resident alien, you can start at the same web page as above. Click here to begin . This will open a new page in your browser so you can keep these instructions open as well. Now, on the new page, click the first link on the left side of the page. It says "(Click here to view application forms).
When this new page opens, you will click item 3 which is Application for extension of period of stay.
(If you get lost, you can Click here to go directly to the this page on the immigration website.)
This page tells you most of what you need to know but, in my experience, it doesn't tell you everything. For now though, let's stick with this page.
In the Format section of the page you will see links to two forms that you will need. Click the "Application for Extension of Period of Stay" link and then scroll down this list to find the category that you fits your situation but for most of us it will be item 13, "Spouse or child of Japanese national, Permanent resident, etc." In the two last columns on the right you will see links to the PDF and Excel forms. Again, I recommend clicking the PDF version and the the Application for Extension of Period of Stay form will show up. Print it out (maybe a couple of copies in case you mess up). Complete it by hand. This one is a few pages long.
The second form you will need is the "Letter of Guarantee". You can hit the "back" button on the browser or click hereto get directly to the form. Click the small icon on the top right to print this form. Again, you may want to print a couple just in case. Please note that this form must be filled out by your Guarantor. They did not accept the one I did in English and made my wife redo it in Kanji.
You can go back to see the List of Supporting Documents here but, once again, be advised that it is not complete. My wife just got off the phone with the Aomori branch and I verified the items needed and they are listed below.
- You current residence card
- Application form (Application for Extenstion of Period of Stay)
- Letter of Guarnatee
- 40 x 30mm photo of you alone
- A copy of your sponsor's Koskei Tohon, Kimin Shomei, tax documents for both of you and proff of emplyment if your wife works. Your sponsor will know what these Japanese documents are and how to get them.
- Your pay statement showing that you can support yourself. I used a copy of my "MyPay" retiree account statement a Social Security benefit amount statement if you are getting anything from them. You should have received such a statement when your benefits were granted.
When you are at the office you will be given a post card and you write your home address on it and return it to them. They will use this card to notify you by mail to go and pick up your card.
When you pick up your new card granting you an extension you will have to pay ¥4,000 for a tax stamp. You can purchase the stamp on the fifth floor of the same building
I have heard from others that they required a photo of them and their sponsor that was older and showed that you have been together for a while. The older the better. So, I didn't need it but I had one just to be on the safe side.
3. For applicants who want to apply for permanant residence:
This is hard for me to understand. I have known folks who got permanant status on their first renewal and some who did not. So to find some limited information on permanant status, you can go to this page on the immigration web site.
When I applied for my second card I asked about permanant and they wanted to know how long my wife and I had been married. Told the it was nine years. He didn't indicate if that was considered enough but it is a consideration. I also told him I have been in Japan for 38 years, continuously. He didin't look too impressed. I digress. He did say that I could complete a second application, this one for permanant status along with the regular renewal which would give me five more years. So, if you want to try permanant as well, you can get that appropriate form here. Click the 5th item in the list of Necessary documents.
You can go directly to the PDF version of the form by clicking here. Click the 5th item in the list of Necessary documents. Be prepared to submit both applications. The supporting documents do no change from the renewal to the permanant.
According to the gentleman who assisted us, they will consider and approve the extension which should take about 2 or 3 weeks (that's what he said), and then they will also conider the request for permanat and rule on it.
If you are granted permanant residence, you will have to pay an ¥8,000 fee for the tax stamp for it.
You can go back to the beginning of the immigration web site by clicking here.
The Aomori Branch Office now processes immigration requests for our area. If you are looking for them on the Japanese immigration website, you must look for Sendai and then Aomori as a branch office.
The address of the Aomori Branch is:
The 2nd Government Building of Aomori,
3-5-1 Chome Nagashima, Aomori City
Aomori Prefecture, Japan
Link to Aomori Office. Their office hours are 9am to noon and 1 to 4pm.
The building is about 20 minutes on foot from the JR East Aomori Station. It is about a 5 minute walk from the Shinmachi 2 Chome, Kencho-mae Shiyakusyo-mae buss stop.
The Morioka Branch Office is available for those who find it more convenient. The address is:
The 2nd Sangyo Daikan Building,
4-10 Icome Seien, Morioka City
Iwate Prefecture, Japan
The building is about a 20-minute walk from the JR Morioka Station and about 5 minutes by foot from the Iwate-Koen bus stop. There is no dedicated parking for the building. You will have to use a nearby pay parking lot.