The following topics on Permanent Resident visa application in Japan are covered in this page.
- Benefits of Permanent Resident
- Qualifications for Permanent Resident
- Standard Processing Time and Application Documents
- Engagement Process
- Cost of Application (Expenses and Attorney Fee)
- Contact Us
Benefits of Permanent Resident
Benefits of Permanent Resident are as follows:
- Status will not be expired, so that visa extension is no longer required
- No restriction for activities during residency
- Acknowledged socially as a long term resident
We look further into these benefits in what follows.
Status will not be expired
Once you become a permanent resident, the status will not be expired. You are no longer required to extend it. However the following should be noted:
- Residence Card itself still has to be renewed: in every seven years (or by 16 year old birthday for a holder younger than 16). For more details see MOJ page of “Application for extension of the valid period of the residence card (in Japanese)”
- Permanent Resident status can be revoked: A permanent resident is still a foreign national, unlike naturalization changing nationality to Japanese. In other words, a permanent resident maintains a home country to go or be deported back. A permanent resident therefore is subject to status revocation and deportation in the following cases, like other resident statues.
- Re-entry related:
- Having left Japan without re-entry permission nor special re-entry permission
- Not returning back to Japan before re-entry permission expires
- Not returning back to Japan before special re-entry permission expires after one year since departure
- Residency status can be revoked when:
- Fraudulence when obtaining verification for landing or Permanent Resident status
- New address is not reported within 90 days of address change
- False residential address is reported
- Deported due to the following (which are examples not an exhaustive list):
- Imprisonment with or without hard work for over one year or for life term
- Convicted for drug violation
- Engaged in prostitution or works directly related with prostitution
- Re-entry related:
No restriction for activities during residency
A permanent resident has no restriction for activities during residency in Japan. For example, a permanent resident is allowed to work even in adult entertainment business, though it is not allowed for other work permits. A permanent resident is allowed also not to work at all.
In comparison, the benefit, for a permanent resident to be allowed to take a personal option not to work, is not granted to a Highly Skilled Professional (HSP) (ii) even though a HSP (ii) holder is granted also for indefinite period of residency. A HSP (ii) visa can be revoked if a HSP (ii) holder does not work for six months or longer.
Acknowledged socially as a long term resident
A permanent resident is acknowledged socially as a long term resident of Japan. The acknowledgment works positively especially when borrowing money, e.g. housing loans and educational scholarships.
Housing Loan: Majority of public and private housing loans are available only to Japanese national or Permanent Resident. In other words, a foreign resident can not even apply for such loans. There are some loans available for a foreign resident, which however typically ask for higher interest rates and thus are less attractive.
Scholarship: Major scholarship becomes available when a student or a parent of a student becomes a permanent resident, as I write in my blog. This is because a permanent resident is acknowledged as a long term resident in Japan.
Qualifications for Permanent Resident
There are two regulations defining qualifications for Permanent Resident.
- Laws – Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act – Article 22
- MOJ – Guidelines for Permission for Permanent Resident
A checklist below with five check items is provided to see if you would be qualified for an application. You should note that meeting the qualifications does not mean that you would be granted Permanent Resident: it means that your application will not be rejected due to insufficient qualification. To have it granted, there are other factors to be considered by Immigration Bureau.
Checklist of qualifications for Permanent Resident
Check Item #1: Requirement on Duration of Residency
The duration requirements are in principle as follows.
- Having been resident in Japan continuously for 10 years or longer
- Of the 10+ year residency duration, having been resident with work permit (excluding Technical Intern Training and Designated Skilled Labor (i) ) or with family based residential status (such as “Spouse or Child of Japanese National” and “Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident”) continuously for 5 years or longer.
- Duration of the current residential status is the maximum duration for that status.
You have to make a note on this “having been resident … continuously” term. This term means that residency has to continue without break and is currently ongoing in order to meet this criteria. In other words, an applicant with the following residence history is NOT qualified for applying for permanent resident (unless the applicant would fall into any of exceptions described below).
- Total duration of residencies is longer than 10 years, though residency had been interrupted by returns back to home country so that the latest contiguous residency falls short of 10 years’ duration.
- Even though total continuous residency is longer than 10 years of which status of residency with work permit was longer than 5 years, the status has been changed to and is currently Student (e.g. for studying at a post graduate school for MBA degree).
Exceptions for the “10+ years / 5+ years” duration requirement
An applicant falling into one of the exceptions below does not have to meet the “10+ years / 5+ years” duration requirement. Duration requirements underlined below all have to be read as “X years or longer as duration when an applicant have been continuously and currently is resident”.
- Spouse (of Japanese or Permanent Resident): Having been married for 3+ years and 1+ years
- Biological child (of Japanese or Permanent Resident): 1+ years
- Long-term resident (“Teijyusha”) or Refugee; 5+ years
- Highly Skilled Professional (equivalent) with 70+ points: 3+ years
- Highly Skilled Professional (equivalent) with 80+ points: 1+ years
- “Recognized … in diplomatic, social … fields …”: 5+ years
- “Engaged … the regional revitalization plan …”: 3+ years
Exception for the “maximum duration of the status”
Three year duration of a status is still considered as meeting this requirement for the time being, though the three year became no longer the maximum duration for many types of status when five year duration has been introduced in 2012.
Check Item #2: Do you have anybody who can be your guarantor?
It is mandatory to have a guarantor for you when you apply for permanent resident. If you do not have any candidate now, you should start looking for it because you can not apply without it.
Qualifications to be a guarantor for permanent resident application:
There are two qualifications for someone to become a guarantor.
- Residential status: Being either a Japanese national or a permanent resident
- Financial status: Should have stable income of 3 M JPY or more annually and preferably earning as much as or more than an applicant.
What does a guarantor have to guarantee?
Unlike a “jointly and severally liable guarantor” in Japan’s Civil Code, a guarantor in permanent resident application has limited responsibilities only. A guarantor has to sign a letter of guarantee as defined by MOJ. The MOJ template letter asks a guarantor to guarantee three things as follows.
- Financial support of living expenses in Japan of a permanent resident when such support is required
- Financial support of transportation cost for repatriation of a permanent resident when such support is required
- Guidance for an applicant to abide by the Japanese Law
And MOJ Q&A page says that nature of these guarantees is moral responsibilities not legal liability.
What to do if I can not find a guarantor for me?
In spite that the guarantor’s responsibility is moral in nature not legal, it is often not easy to find a guarantor. And it also often takes long time to find one, except a case where a Japanese spouse becomes a guarantor for his or her non-Japanese partner. This situation is typical because:
- The term “guarantor” resembles the “jointly and severally liable guarantor” in Japan’s Civil Code, especially to Japanese who are asked to become a guarantor. That makes the person feel reluctant to accept the request, because the “jointly and severally liable guarantor” would have to owe all of liabilities defaulted by a guarantee.
- A guarantor has to submit documents to prove his or her own financial viability. This disclosure of personal information makes the person uneasy.
Please feel free to contact Anshin Immigration Services for consultation in case your guarantor candidates are reluctant or uneasy. The attorney could explain about the guarantor of permanent resident application directly to your candidates if so required.
Alternative to Permanent Resident: Highly Skilled Professional (HSP) (ii) visa, in case you can apply for it
As stated above, HSP equivalent applicant can enjoy the benefit of shorter duration of residency, 3 or 1 years, to meet the duration requirement. This shorter duration however often turns out to be too short to cultivate friendships and have any candidate who can accept to be a guarantor. In this situation, an alternative is to obtain HSP (ii) visa which also allows “permanent” residency as with Permanent Resident, as an ultimate or an intermediate goal of your residency status in Japan.
HSP (ii) can be applied after three years of residency as HSP (i). HSP visa even has advantages over Permanent Resident, e.g. being allowed to bring over parents for childcare. Disadvantage is that HSP is less known than Permanent Resident so that a HSP holder is less likely to enjoy the benefit of social acknowledgment stated above e.g. in borrowing money for housing loans and scholarships.
Please refer to my blog post for comparison of other benefits between Permanent Resident (PR) and Highly Skilled Professional (HSP) if you are interested.
Check Item #3: Financially sufficient and stable to sustain as a long term resident
Income of an applicant is reviewed to see if it is sufficient and stable to sustain living in Japan as a long term resident. There has been no lowest limit explicitly publicized by Immigration Bureau. It has been however understood from cases that annual income of “JPY 3 million plus 0.6 million times number of dependents” should be an approximate amount Bureau would look for as the lowest. For example, if an applicant have two dependent family members, then the limit should be JPY 4.2 million = 3.0 + 0.6 x 2 as annual income.
Since July 2019, documentary proof of income for the latest five years becomes required, being extended from the latest three year history required previously. Stability of income is reviewed over the five year period through the documents.
Check Item #4: Having been compliant with public duties (taxation, payments of premiums for social insurance, duties defined in Immigration Act) ?
Compliance with public duties of an applicant is reviewed. Scope of this item also has been extended since July 2019, as you see below.
- Tax payment history: Documentary proof of tax payments is now required for the last five years, extended from the three year history required previously.
- Tax types to prove: National tax (income tax, consumption tax, inheritance tax and donation tax) is added for this review, on top to local and residential tax only required previously.
- Premium for Social Insurance: Documentary proof of premium payments for social insurances (Employer’s Pension, National Pension and Health Insurance) for the latest two years is now added, which was not required previously.
Immigration Act defines the following as a duty of a foreign resident. Details can be found at MOJ’s site “List of Necessary Documents (in Japanese)”
- Residential Status: should be properly managed, for examples, when applied, changed, extended, permitted for re-entry and allowed for engaging other activities.
- Residential Information: should be properly reported, when there is a change in address, employer, spouse or any other information shown in residential card.
- Residential Card: should be properly administered, for examples, to be carried all the time, to be shown upon request, and to be renewed (when expired for a permanent resident or HSP (ii)).
In case there is incompliance among these public duties, it has to be resolved soon in order to reduce risk of application denial.
Check Item #5: Having been criminally punished?
Guidelines for Permanent Resident Application states as “the person has been never sentenced to a fine or imprisonment” as a part of qualification. This is understood as follows.
- Have never been criminally punished due to violation of laws in Japan, i.e. never sentenced to a fine or imprisonment.
- However as remedy, after a certain years of no criminal record since the last punishment, an applicant will be seen as meeting this “no crime” criteria.
- Imprisonment: after 10 years
- Suspended Sentence: after 5 years
- Fine: after 5 years
Standard Processing Time and Application Documents
Standard Processing Time
MOJ page states 4 months as the standard processing time for a permanent residency application. It may be true for immigration offices outside of Tokyo. For Tokyo Immigration Bureau, where the number of applications is much greater, it therefore often takes longer, 6 to 12 months, for Bureau’s judgement of a permanent residency application to be given.
Because it can take long time for a permanent resident application, the current visa can run out its period while waiting to hear from Immigration Bureau on the permanent resident application. In case the current visa expires within a year, it is recommended to extend it first before applying for permanent resident. Please note that a new residence card ID number will be issued when residence period is extended. So that you have to wait for the new ID number to be issued, before completing a permanent resident application document. With the new ID number the application document can be completed and submitted.
Two sets of application documents are required for permanent resident.
- Documents common across types of the current visa
- Documents depending on types of the current visa
In addition to these two sets, another set would be required in case of permanent resident application as a Highly Skilled Professional (HSP) (or its equivalent).
- Documents to prove HSP points
Documents common across types of visas
The following documents are required to submit, regardless of type of the current visa.
- Application Form for Permanent Resident
- Face Photo (4 centimeter height and 3 centimeter width)
- Certificate of Residence (“Jyu-Min-Hyo”) for all of family members at residential place
- Documents on Guarantor
- Passport (for presentation only, not for submission)
- Residence Card (for presentation only, not for submission)
Documents depending on type of 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 Applicant and family members
- Documents on Employment
- Documents on Income and Tax
- Documents on Premium Payments for Social Insurance
- Documents on Assets
- Documents on Contributions to Japan (optional)
Details can be found at linked pages of this MOJ site for Permanent Resident Application.
(If you would become a client of Ainshin Immigration Services, the full details of course would be given all in English and the attorney would support the client all the way to prepare the required documents for submission).
Documents to prove Highly Skilled Professional (HSP) points
An additional set of documents to prove HSP points is required for a HSP (equivalent) applicant to make use of the HSP advantage of shorter period of residency, 3 or 1 years. The document set consists of the following.
- Point calculation tables: at two timings (one at time of application for permanent resident, the other at 3 or 1 year earlier)
- Proof documents for all of points claimed
For details, please take a look at MOJ’s Point Calculation Table (PDF) (in Japanese) and HSP Point Details and Proving Documents (Excel) (in Japanese).
Engagement process consists of three phases: Details of the engagement process can be found here.
- Case Evaluation
- Quote and Engagement
Case Evaluation and Quotation for permanent resident application is free of charge. The following cost will be incurred after contractual Engagement and Fulfillment of services.
Permanent Resident: Preparatory Services
At the first phase, Case Evaluation, Anshin Services would advise an applicant that PR application is likely to be denied due to an issue in payments for public health insurance and/or pension insurance. Should it happen, it is recommended to change payment method to automatic withdrawal from your bank account so that arrears or late payments will not happen in the future, and then to apply for PR only after rectifying the payment issue for one to two years. For those who need support for changing the payment method, Anshin Services provides preparatory services for PR application as a certified attorney of labor and social securities. For more information on the services, please click the following link:
Permanent Resident: Attendant Service
An applicant is allowed to visit and meet an immigration officer, if his/her PR application is unfortunately denied. At the meeting an officer tells an applicant reasons for denial in details. This immigration meeting can be attended by an applicant. An agent can also attend the meeting as well in case the agent has submitted an application on behalf. Some regional immigration bureaus allow a certified agent to attend if an applicant specifically requests the attendance even when the agent has not be involved in the application.
This immigration meeting is run verbally only in Japanese. No recording is permitted. It would be worth considering to bring in an immigration lawyer to the meeting, especially if you feel that your Japanese language skills are not proficient enough to effectively understand reasons in spoken Japanese. Anshin Services provides attendant service to those who live in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba or Saitama prefecture and need a bilingual assistant with expertise in Immigration and Social Securities Laws of Japan.
Please find more on the services at the link below:
Cost of Application (Expenses and Attorney Fee)
Cost of application is as follows when you ask Anshin Immigration Services to support your application for permanent resident.
The cost is a sum of expenses and attorney fee.
Cost of Application ＝ Expenses＋Attorney Fee
Expenses for permanent resident application include the following:
- Fee payable to Immigration Bureau: JPY 8,000 per applicant (required only when Permanent Resident is permitted)
- Transportation: Actual expenses
- Translation: JPY 5,000 or less per page (Only when translation to Japanese is required. Translation of a sparsely worded document is discounted.)
Attorney fee for permanent resident application is calculated as follows.
(Base Fee + Additional Fee) x (100% – Discount)
- Base Fee: JPY 150,000 per application
- Additional Fee: JPY 50,000 per application
- For add-on service of “attending a Bureau meeting to hear reasons in case of denial”
Discount for Permanent Resident application for Dependent
Discount is offered as follows for permanent resident application by family members living together with Dependent visa, when applied at the same time with a supporter’s application. Note that if applied at a different timing there is no discount offered.
- Discount: 30% off
- Spouse or Child (16 year old or above), who works on a full or part time basis
- Discount: 70% off
- Spouse or Child (16 year old or above), who does not work
- 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
- Guidance on preparing “Letter of Justification” (“Riyuu-sho” 理由書)
- Submission of application at Immigration Bureau
- Supporting an applicant in case Immigration Bureau’s requests for additional documents
- Collection of a new residence card at Immigration Bureau.
Examples of Attorney Fee
Case 1: Applicant only
Attorney Fee=(JPY 150,000+JPY 0) x (100％-0％)
Case 2: Applicant plus two Dependents (Spouse and Child under 16) applied at the same time
Attorney Fee=(JPY 150,000+JPY 0) x (100％-0％)
Attorney Fee=(JPY 150,000+JPY 0) x (100％-70％)
For Child under 16
Attorney Fee=(JPY 150,000+JPY 0) x (100％-90％)
Attorney Fee Total=150,000+45,000+15,000