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Thursday, July 02, 2009

Applying for Permanent Residency in Japan I

永住権 申し込み

Explanation form for permanent residency application, page 1.

I began the application process for permanent residency in Japan. As a rule of thumb, you should have lived here at least ten years before you apply, although there are exceptions. My present unbroken run in Japan is 13 years, and it was only inertia that kept me from applying earlier.

The night before, I first rang a good Japanese friend of many years standing, who had agreed to be the guarantor for my apartment when I first moved to Tokyo, and asked him if he would be my sponsor for permanent residency, which he kindly assented to.

Explanation form for permanent residency application, page 2.

The following afternoon, I went to the Immigration Office in Tokyo’s Minato ward, a short bus ride from Shinagawa station. I had printed out and filled in the form from the website of the immigration office and submitted it for preliminary approval at a counter on the second floor.

The only bit that required any real thought was the "Reasons for application" bit. I pulled out the "social" and "cultural" stops and crafted a 50-or-so word appeal.

The poor guy I handed it to was extremely polite, but inept at describing what had to be done, and I had to ask him several times to slow down and start again when it came to describing the bit about copying the number that would be entered into my passport onto the front of the envelope that I was given in which to send the documents that would be needed later. (Actually, perhaps it’s no wonder I couldn’t understand the Japanese: it makes for pretty turgid English, too!)

I then went to the main application counter, took a number, 464, and waited my turn, all the way from 322. It took about an hour and a half. Once summoned, the procedure was, again, very polite, explained very lucidly, and I was given all the information I needed in the form of a pamphlet (pictured at top).

The documents that must be submitted include my tax records for the past three years, and a certificate of residency. The next morning, therefore, I went to my local ward office and got those documents – all within the space of half an hour (but 2,100 yen poorer) - and still made it to the office on time.

I now need to get a certificate of employment in the name of the company, and get my sponsor to supply me with an certificate of identification, a certificate of employment, last year’s tax records, and a certificate of residency. Poor guy. My shout this Friday.

Stay tuned for the next move.

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  1. What are the benefits to becoming a permanent resident?

  2. No more visa renewal at Immigration - just the re-entry permit - though the period is increased.
    You can now buy a house, set up a company, divorce your spouse and still stay legally.
    You may be able to vote in some local elections.

  3. Well what happened?
    Is there a follow-up post?
    Did you receive permanent residency?

  4. No, he didn't he was turned down but is planning an appeal. He has promised a follow up and we've alerted him to your comment so hopefully he'll reply asap.

  5. Hi iamsolucky, I got a response to my application just last week. They turned me down for "not having attained a sufficient level of achievement" during my time here. That's in spite of having been here 20 years, having the 1-kyu Japanese Proficiency Test, being part of a website dedicated to Japan, having an MA in Japanese history, being a longtime student of Japanese calligraphy. Um ... gee, what else CAN I do?
    I know for a fact that not being married to a Japanese woman is an instant mark against me, and not having Japanese blood. My partner, a Japanese Brazilian, who has been in Japan half the time I have, who cannot communicate in Japanese, is unmarried, and has little to do with Japanese society in general, got permanent residency just like that because he has the "right" surname. Humph.


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