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.
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.
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
Guidelines for Permission for Permanent Residence
1. Legal requirements
(1) Must be of good character
“Must comply with the law and exhibit good behavior as a resident in their daily life.”
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) Must possess sufficient assets or skills to earn an independent living
“Must not be a burden to the public in daily life, and must be expected to be financial stable based on their assets and/or skills.”
Therefore, the immigration will ask you to file your tax certificates as well as a detail of your financial assets.
(3) It is recognized that permanent residence would be in the interests of Japan
(a) “The applicant must have, in principle, resided in Japan continuously for at least 10 years. However, they must have been residing for at least five of those years with a work-related or residential status of residence (excluding the “Technical Intern Training” and “Specified Skilled Worker (i)” statuses of residence).”
Which means “student visa (4 years) + working visa (6 years)” is fine, but the other way around is not good at all.
(b) “The applicant must never have been sentenced to fines or imprisonment and must properly perform their public duties (such as paying taxes, public pension, and public medical insurance premiums, along with submitting notifications as prescribed by the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act).”
If you receive a suspended sentence, the immigration will take it into consideration.
(c) “The applicant must be residing in Japan with the longest period of stay possible for their current status of residence, as stipulated in the Regulation for Enforcement of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, Appendix 2.”
At the moment, “3 years” or longer period is fine.
(d) “There must be no risk of harm from a public health perspective.”
※ If the applicant is the spouse or child of a Japanese national, permanent resident, or special permanent resident, they are not required to conform to points 1 or 2. If the applicant is recognized as a refugee, they are not required to conform to point 2.
Gyoseishoshi Lawyer 東京出入国管理局届出済申請取次行政書
2. Exceptions to the ten-year residency requirement
(1) The spouses of Japanese nationals, permanent residents, and special permanent residents must be in a continuous marital relationship for more than three years and must have stayed in Japan for over one year. The biological child of a Japanese national, permanent resident, or special permanent resident must have resided in Japan continuously for over one year.
This special requirement is not limited to the person with “spouse visa”.
(2) Applicants with the “Long-Term Resident” status of residence must have resided in Japan continuously for over five years.
(3) Applicants who have been recognized as a refugee must have resided in Japan continuously for over five years after receiving recognition.
(4) Applicants must be recognized as contributing to Japan in the fields of diplomacy, society, economy, culture, etc., and have resided in Japan for more than five years.
※ Please see “Guidelines for Contribution to Japan”
(5) In the case that the applicant engages in activities (Ministry of Justice Public Notice No. 131 of 1990) which fall under item 36 or item 37 of Appended Table 1-5, of Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, Article 7, Paragraph 1, Item 2, at a public institution in an area specified by the regional revitalization plan based on Article 5, Paragraph 16 of the Regional Revitalization Act (Act No. 24 of 2005), the applicant must have resided in Japan continuously for over three years and must be recognized to have contributed to Japan through these activities.
(6) Those with over 70 points when points are calculated as prescribed in the ordinance (hereinafter referred to as “Ministerial ordinance on highly skilled professionals”) which regulates the criteria in the lower column of the section on Highly Skilled Professionals in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, Appendix 1-2, and who fall under either one of the following:
(a) Have resided in Japan continuously for over three years as a “Highly Skilled Professional”; or
(b) Have resided in Japan continuously for over three years and are recognized to have over 70 points when points are calculated, as regulated by the ministerial ordinance on highly skilled professionals, based on the time three years prior to the day of applying for permission for permanent residence.
(7) Those who have over 80 points when points are calculated, as prescribed in the ministerial ordinance on highly skilled professionals, and fall under either one of the following:
(a) Have resided in Japan continuously for over one year as a “Highly Skilled Professional”; or
(b) Have resided in Japan continuously for over one year and recognized to have over 80 points in the points calculation, as prescribed in the ministerial ordinance on highly skilled professionals, based on the time one year prior to the day of applying for permission for permanent residence.
(Note 1) With this guideline, applicants will be treated as “residing in Japan with the longest possible period of stay” as stated in section 1, 3 (c) if they have a period of stay of “three years.”
(Note 2) “Highly Skilled Professional” in section 2, 6 (a) above corresponds to residents who are recognized to have a score of over 70 in their points calculation. “Highly Skilled Professional” in section 2, 7 (a) above corresponds to residents who are recognized to have a score of over 80 in their points calculation.
Immigration Procedures and Business Support ビザ（在留資格）各種許認可
My additional comments
Application information for Permanent Residence is available from the agency’s website. Yet, it may be better to check with their Japanese page (with Google Translate) simply because I can see that sometimes a nuance is slightly different between Japanese version and foreign language versions.
Although the immigration’s website says “Standard processing period” is “Four months”, in practice, most immigration officers advised me that they may take 10-12 months to process Permanent Residency application.
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.
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.