Permission for Permanent Residence

The status of permanent residence is granted when certain conditions have been satisfied by foreign nationals who reside in Japan under another status of residence and who have applied for change of status of residence to permanent residence or by those who have applied to acquire status of residence due to birth or renouncement of Japanese nationality.

The status of residence “Permanent Resident” provides much more advantageous treatments than other statuses of residence because it does not limit the status holder’s activities or period of stay.

For this reason, the immigration control authority needs to examine permanent resident applicants much more closely than other applicants for merely changing their status of residence.

1 Statistic

According to the Ministry of Justice, in 2017, the immigration processed 50,907 permanent residency applications and 28,942 applications were successful. Only 56.9% of applicants received positive reply from the immigration. Considering over 70% of applicants permitted for their permanent residency in 2015, it is expected that the situation will be getting tougher year after year.

Professional comment
These figures include Japanese descendants. Therefore, a real chance for foreigners, especially people other than “Spouse of Japanese Nationals”, must be lower than an official statistic says. Moreover, the immigration’s screening is getting more strict. So even spouse visa holders or highly skilled professionals, a failure of Immigration’s requirement will put them in a difficult position.

Visa and Beyond by Takatsuka Office たかつか行政書士事務所

2 Guidelines for Permission for Permanent Residence

1. Legal requirements

(1) The person is of good conduct.

The person observes Japanese laws and his/her daily living as a resident does not invite any social criticism.

Professional comment
Along with “Letter of Guarantee” which is a mandatory document for Permanent Residency application, it is good idea to ask your guarantor (ideally Japanese national) to write a good reference letter.

(2) The person has sufficient assets or ability to make an independent living.

The person does not financially depend on someone in the society in his daily life, and his/her assets or ability, etc. are assumed to continue to provide him/her with a stable base of livelihood into the future.

Professional comment
The immigration will ask you to file your tax certificates as well as a detail of your financial assets.

(3) The person’s permanent residence is regarded to be in accord with the interests of Japan.

(a) In principle, the person has stayed in Japan for more than 10 years consecutively. It is also required that during his/her stay in Japan the person has had work permit or the status of residence for more than 5 years consecutively.

Professional comment
Which means “student visa (4 years) + working visa (6 years)” is fine, but the other way around is not good at all.

(b) The person has been never sentenced to a fine or imprisonment. The person fulfills public duties such as tax payment (, social security payment, change of address/job notification, etc).

Professional comment
If you receive a suspended sentence, the immigration will take it into consideration.

(c) The maximum period of stay allowed for the person with his/her current status of residence under Annexed Table 2 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act is to be fully utilized.

Professional comment
At the moment, “3 years” or longer period is fine.

(d) There is no possibility that the person could do harm from the viewpoint of protection of public health.

※ The requirements (1) and (2) above do not apply to spouses and children of Japanese nationals, special permanent residents or permanent residents, and requirement (2) does not apply for those who have been recognized as refugees

Gyoseishoshi Lawyer 東京出入国管理局届出済申請取次行政書

2. Special requirements for 10-year residence in principle

(1) The person is a spouse of a Japanese national, special permanent resident or permanent resident, and has been in a real marital relationship for more than 3 years consecutively and has stayed in Japan more than 1 year consecutively. Or, the person is a true child of a Japanese national, special permanent resident or permanent resident, and has stayed in Japan more than 1 year consecutively.

Professional comment
This special requirement is not limited to the person with “spouse visa”.

(2) The person has stayed in Japan for more than 5 years consecutively with the status of long term resident.

(3) The person has been recognized as a refugee, and has stayed in Japan for more than 5 years consecutively after recognition.

(4) The person has been recognized to have made a contribution to Japan in diplomatic, social, economic, cultural or other fields, and has stayed in Japan for more than 5 years.

※ Please see “Guidelines for Contribution to Japan. (Japanese only)”

(5) The person has continuously stayed in Japan for 3 years or more

in cases where such person engaged in the activities coming under any of item (xxxvi) or item (xxxvii) of the public notice (Public Notice No. 131 of 1990) specifying the activities listed in the right-hand column of Appended Table I(5) of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act pursuant to the provisions of Article 7, paragraph (1), item (ii) of the same Act at a public or private organization located within the area of the plan specified in the regional revitalization plan approved under Article 5, paragraph (16) of the Regional Revitalization Act (Act No. 24 of 2005), and these activities are deemed to have made a contribution to Japan.

(6) The person has a total score of 70 points or more based on the points calculation criteria prescribed in the Ordinance to Provide for the Criteria in the Right-Hand Column Corresponding to “Highly-Skilled Professionals as Specified in Appended Table I(2) of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act” (hereinafter referred to as “Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice”), and comes under one of the following.

(a) The person who has continuously stayed in Japan as a “Highly-Skilled foreign Professional” for 3 years or more.

(b) The person who has continuously stayed in Japan for 3 years or more, and who is deemed to have a total of 70 points or more when calculating with reference to the situation at 3 years before the date of the application for permission for permanent residence.

(7) The person has a total score of 80 points or more based on the points calculation criteria prescribed in the “Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice”, and comes under one of the following.

(a) The person who has continuously stayed in Japan as a “Highly-Skilled Foreign Professional” for 1 year or more.

(b) The person who has continuously stayed in Japan for 1 year or more, and who is deemed to have a total of 80 points or more when calculating with reference to the situation at 1 year before the date of the application for permission for permanent residence.

(Note 1) In these guidelines, for the time being, any person whose period of stay is “three years” shall be regarded as a “person who is allowed to stay up to the maximum period of stay”, as specified in the above Section 1 (3) c).

(Note 2) The “Highly-Skilled Foreign Professional” in the abovementioned 2 (6) a. is a person staying in Japan, who is deemed to have a score of 70 points or more as a result of the points calculation, and the “Highly-Skilled Foreign Professional” in the abovementioned 2 (7) a. is a person staying in Japan, who is deemed to have a score of 80 points or more as a result of the points calculation.

(Source: Immigration Services Agency of Japan)

Immigration Procedures and Business Support ビザ(在留資格)各種許認可

3 Professional advice

Please note that unlike other status of residence (=visa) procedures, even if you submit the application before a current visa expiry, automatic 2 months visa extension will not be applied in case of Permanent Residency application. Which means, once his/her visa expires, he/she will become an overstayer.

Application information for Permanent Residence is available from the agency’s website. Yet, it is better to check with their Japanese page (with Google Translate) for more details.

If you need a professional advice and support for your Permanent Residency application, please contact Visa and Beyond by Takatsuka Office by using our inquiry form.

Consultation including professional advice starts from 5,500 yen, while Permanent Residency application support (drafting explanatory statements and filing an application to the immigration on behalf of the client) starts from 110,000 yen.

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