Japanese Version

Application for extension of period of stay (in short as “extension application” in this page) is to extend period of he current resident status. The following topics on visa extension application in Japan are covered in this page.

Benefits of Extension

  • Period of the current residential status is extended
    • Permitted possibly for a longer period if compliant with duties in laws and regulations
  • Less complexity and shorter processing time
    • Especially when no change in employer nor roles at work place, a fewer types of documents are required for an extension application.

Qualifications for Extension Application

There are three qualifications for an extension application.

  1. Matching with a residential status defined in law:
  2. Meeting additional criteria when if nay exists for an applied status:
    • When additional criteria are defined in Ministerial Order for a status applied, they also have to be met.
    • The additional criteria are defined as a MOJ’s ministerial order. Please refer to English translation of the Ministerial Order (PDF file with 51 pages) this is for reference only as this MOJ’s English translation is already outdated.
  3. Having reasonable grounds for Ministry of Justice to grant extension

The three qualifications above are not always reviewed. #1 and #2 qualifications can be skipped, depends on whether or not an applicant has any changes in residential status during the current period. For a work permit type of statuses, job change is typically such a change of the status.

  • No job change: Only #3 (Reasonable grounds) above is required for qualification.
  • Yes, job changed: All of the above, i.e. #1 (Matching with a status), #2 (Meeting additional criteria) and #3 (Reasonable grounds), are required for qualification.
    • In other words, when there is job change(s), a new employer, a new employment contract and a new job type are reviewed against the basic qualifications of #1 and #2 as well.
    • It means that an extension application with job change(s) is in essence similar to “Application for Certificate of Eligibility” or to “Application for Change of Status of Residence”, so that it requires more application documents and longer time for processing than an application without job change.
    • Therefore, it is recommended to apply for Certificate of Authorized Employment right after job change. Immigration Office will then review the new employment against the three qualifications and grant the certificate. Once this procedure is taken, an extension application next time will be taken as the same with the one without job change, and thus #1 and #2 are not reviewed.

The 3rd qualification – “Reasonable Grounds”

The 3rd qualification – “reasonable grounds” are rather abstractly defined in Immigration Law as follows.

 (Extension of the Period of Stay)
Article 21 (1) Any Foreign National residing in Japan may, without changing their status of residence, have their Period of Stay extended.
(3) If the application set forth in the preceding paragraph has been submitted, the Minister of Justice may grant permission only when the Minister finds that there are reasonable grounds to grant the extension of the Period of Stay on the strength of the documents submitted by the Foreign National.

It is understood that Immigration Office uses a set of unpublished criteria like the following when it makes judgment over the “reasonable grounds”.

  • Criteria on residential situations to date
    • Behavior and conducts should be good.
    • Payment of taxes is fulfilled.
    • Reporting requirements to a mid to long term resident are followed: to report change of address, job or marital status to Immigration Office.
  • Criteria on residential stability in the future
    • Financially able to maintain residence independently.
    • Participating in public social insurance.
    • Able to continue activities without infringing laws or regulations, e.g. through proper employment and labor conditions.

Among these criteria, tax payment, reporting requirements and participation in social insurance are what can be objectively judged. Incompliance in any of these criteria can be easily cited as a reason for refusal of extension. It is therefore important to meet all of these legal requirements during the residential stay.

MOJ (Ministry of Justice) Guideline

 MOJ has a guideline document on qualifications for change and extension application, posted in its web site. Please take a look at it as well for more details.

How Immigration Office Assigns Extension Period

Immigration Office assigns period of extension when extension is granted. Immigration Office uses criteria for assigning the period. The criteria are not published, which are however understood as follows. For illustration, a case for the visa type of “Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services” is described below. For this visa type, either 3 months, 1 year, 3 years or 5 years is assigned for extension.

  1. Desired Length of Extension” (which is stated by an applicant in the application form) is by default considered for assigning the period:
    • Desired Length –> Assigned period
    • Three months or shorter –> Three months (or one year)
    • One year or shorter –> One year
    • Three years or shorter –> Three years (which can be made shorter down to one year, when the “justification to assign a shorter period” below is applied)
    • Longer than three years –> Five years (which can be made shorter down to one or three years, when the “justification to assign a shorter period” below is applied)
  2. Justification to assign a shorter period“: when any of the three factors below is unmet it becomes justification to assign a shorter period.
    • Reporting requirements defined in Immigration Law, e.g. on address, employer and marital status, are fulfilled.
    • Parents’ obligation, to let a child have compulsory education, is fulfilled, as in Article 26 (2) of Constitution of Japan. (This applies only to an applicant with a child or children in primary and middle schooling age).
    • Employer and residential history meet either of the following:
      • Employer is either Category 1 or 2.
      • Employer is either Category 3 or 4, the period of the current visa is for three years and an applicant have been resident with the current visa type continuously for five years or longer.
  3. Dependent visa (status): Extension period of Dependent visa depends on his/her Supporter’s period. The following criteria are used in principle, which may be however shortened down to 1 year by discretion of Immigration Office.
    • When Dependent visa renewal is applied at the same time with Supporter’s visa renewal, then the Dependent’s extension period is set to the same as of the Supporter’s.
    • When Dependent visa renewal is applied alone, then the Dependent’s extension period is set to the shortest period, among ones specified for Supporter’s visa, that goes beyond remaining duration of Supporter’s visa.
      • Example: Supporter’s visa is Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services (“E/S/I” for short). The “E/S/I” visa’s specified extension period is either 3 months, 1 year, 3 years or 5 years (as of January 2020). If Supporter’s visa has 5 year extension period but it has only 2.5 years as its remaining duration, then 3 years (not 5 years) is given as extension period for renewal of Dependent visa.

Among the factors for the “justification to assign a shorter period”, the first factor, fulfillment of reporting requirements, should be well taken care of. It is often to see that no reporting is filed when an applicant changes a job and an employer. It is likely to constitute the justification so that, for example, an applicant will be assigned one or three year period only even when five years is stated as the desired period in an application form.

Standard Processing Time and Application Documents

Standard Processing Time

MOJ page states two to four weeks as the standard processing time for an extension application. It may be true for immigration offices outside of Tokyo. For Tokyo Immigration Bureau, where the number of applications is much greater, it can take longer than four weeks. It is therefore recommended to apply early: Immigration Office accepts an extension application three months in advance of expiration date.

Application Documents

Two sets of application documents are required for an extension application.

  • Documents common across types of the current visa
  • Documents depending on types of the current visa

Documents common across types of the current visa

The following documents are required to submit, regardless of type of the current visa.

  • Application Form for Extension of Status of Residence
  • Face Photo (4 centimeter height and 3 centimeter width)
  • Passport (for presentation only, not for submission)
  • Residence Card (for presentation only, not for submission)

Documents depending on types of the current visa

The following documents are required, but the requirements are different in terms of necessity or number of years of historical records, depending on types of the current visa of an applicant.

  • Documents on Income and Tax
  • Documents on Employer as proof of its category (only for work permit types of status)
  • Point calculation tables and proof documents for all of points claimed (only for Highly Skilled Professional)
  • Documents to prove family relationship (only for “family” types of status)
  • Documents on Guarantor (only for Spouse or Child of Japanese national or Permanent Resident)

MOJ sites for details

You can find details of the documents in the following MOJ sites.

(If you would become a client of Ainshin Immigration Services, up-to-dated details would be of course given all in English and the attorney would support the client all the way to prepare the required documents for submission.)

Engagement process consists of three phases

Engagement process consists of three phases as follows.  Details of the engagement process can be found here. 

  1. Case Evaluation
  2. Quote and Engagement
  3. Fulfillment

Case Evaluation and Quotation for extension application is free of charge. The following cost will be incurred after contractual Engagement for Fulfillment of services.

Cost of Application (Expenses and Attorney Fee)

Cost of application is as follows when you ask Anshin Immigration Services to support your application for extension.

The cost is a sum of expenses and attorney fee.

Cost of Application = ExpensesAttorney Fee


Expenses for extension application include the following:

  • Fee payable to Immigration Office: JPY 4,000 per applicant (required only when extension is granted)
  • Transportation: Actual expenses
  • Translation: JPY 5,000 or less per page (only when translation to Japanese of an application document is required. Translation of a sparsely worded document will be discounted.)

Attorney Fee

Attorney fee for extension application is calculated as follows.

(Base Fee + Additional Fee) x (100% – Discount)

  • Base Fee: is as follows. Its amount depends on how many months are left prior to a target date of application submission at time of engagement contract.
    • More than 4 months: JPY 20,000
    • More than 3 months: JPY 25,000
    • More than 2 months: JPY 30,000
    • More than 1 month: JPY 35,000
    • Less than 1 month: JPY 40,000
  • Additional Fee: is applicable for the following cases.
    • Employer is either Category 3 or 4: JPY 10,000
    • Collection of a new residence card at Immigration Office on behalf of an applicant: JPY 10,000
    • Job changed without “Certificate of Authorized Employment” : from JPY 30,000 upto 100,000 (to be quoted after evaluation)

Discount for Dependents applied at the same time

Discount is offered as follows for extension application of family members with Dependent visa, when applied at the same time with their supporter’s application. Note that if applied at a different time there is no discount offered.

  • Discount: 70% off
    • Spouse, or
    • Child (16 year old or above)
  • Discount: 90% off
    • Child (under 16 year old)

Services in scope of Basic Fee

The following services are offered for Basic Fee:

  • Evaluation of qualification for application
  • Consulting on application documents and procedures
  • Validation of application documents
  • Submission of application at Immigration Office
  • Supporting an applicant in case Immigration Office requests for additional documents

Note that collection of a new residence card at Immigration Office is not covered by the basic fee. It can be provided for the additional fee stated above.

Examples of Attorney Fee

Case 1: Applicant only (with the following situations)
  • Contracted 4 months or earlier prior to expiration
  • Employer is either Category 1 or 2
  • New card will be collected by an applicant
  • No job change since the last extension

Fee=(JPY 20,000+JPY 0) x (100%-0%)
  =JPY 20,000

Case 2: Applicant only (with the following situations)
  • Contracted 3 months or earlier prior to expiration
  • Employer is either Category 3 or 4
  • New card will be collected by attorney
  • No job change since the last extension

Fee=(JPY 25,000+JPY 10,000+JPY 10,000) x (100%-0%)
  = JPY 45,000

Case3: Applicant in Case 1 plus two Dependents (Spouse and Child under 16) applied at the same time

For Applicant
Fee=(JPY 20,000+JPY 0) x (100%-0%)
  =JPY 20,000

For Spouse
Fee=(JPY 20,000+JPY 0) x (100%-70%)
  =JPY 6,000

For Child under 16
Fee=(JPY 20,000+JPY 0) x (100%-90%)
  =JPY 2,000

Fee Total= 20,000+6,000+2,000
    =JPY 28,000