I’m Takashi Akeyama, a representative of the Niseko VISA & Immigration Support Centre. As the only administrative office in Hokkaido specializing in VISA & Immigration and tourism, we help foreigners living in Hokkaido, mainly in Niseko, Otaru and Sapporo areas, to apply new or extend VISA, to change the status, such as working visas and spouse visas etc..
Many foreigners working in Japan feel that they would like to continue to live in Japan as their life circumstances change, such as getting married and having children. One way for foreigners to remain in Japan without having complicated procedures such as renewing their VISA is to get Permanent Residence（永住者） status. It allows you to stay in Japan permanently and has several advantages for living in Japanese society, but the requirements are stricter and more numerous than other VISA, such as the 10-year residency requirement. Highly Skilled Professional visa holders have more preferential requirements for changing their status to ‘permanent residence’ than foreigner who married to Japanese. In this article, we will explain the requirements. In this article, I show a checklist to check quickly and easily in Three minutes whether you are eligible to change your status to Permanent Residence, if you have a Highly Skilled Professional VISA. If you are interested in Permanent Residence or would like to become Permanent Residence one day, we recommend that you use this checklist to find out first.
The requirements for Permanent Residence are explained on the website of the Immigration Service Agency（出入国在留管理庁）. The following 10 points can be briefly summarized so that you can check them in Three minutes. Of course, the circumstances and conditions vary from person to person, so it is impossible to say that this list is 100% accurate and reliable. But if these 10 points have been completed, you may meet the requirements for application.
Checklist of 10 Requirements for Changing from Highly Skilled Professional VISA to Permanent Residence.
１）On the Highly Skilled Professional calculation table, fulfilled the criteria for 70-80 points for at least three years, or 80 or more points for at least one year.
→To qualify for Highly Skilled Professional, you must have scored at least 70 points on the points calculation table; if you have scored 70-79 points, you have completed at least three years, and if you have scored 80 points or more, you have completed at least one year, you have met the requirements for applying for ‘permanent residence’.
２）Have not left Japan for more than 100 days per year.
→If you have been out of Japan for more than 100 days in any one year during the １or 3 year period, the calculation of years of residence will be interrupted there.
３）Have not left Japan for more than 90 days at any one time.
→If you have been out of Japan for more than 90 days during the 1 or 3 year period for which residence is required, the calculation of years of residence will be interrupted there.
★These two points are that if you leave the country for more than 100 days per year or more than 90 days per year at any one time during the one-year or three-year residency requirement, the counting of years of residence will be interrupted there. In such cases, the counting of years of residence will start anew from the moment of re-entry, and one or three years must have elapsed. Exceptions to this rule may be made if it can be reasonably and objectively explained that the departure was not for personal reasons, such as a business trip ordered by the company.
４) Has not been sentenced to imprisonment, imprisonment or a fine.
→If you have been punished in this way in the last ten years, your application for permanent residence will not be granted. As an exception, permission may be granted if 10 years have passed since release from prison in the case of imprisonment/imprisonment, five years have passed since the end of the probation period in the case of a suspended sentence, or five years have passed since the fine was paid in the case of a fined sentence. Those applying for permanent residence from a Highly Skilled Professional should have fewer problems with this point because of the short duration of their stay in Japan.
５）Less than five minor traffic offences in five years or less than three in the last two years.
→The driving record certificate shows the history of traffic violations and disciplinary actions over the last five years. People with more than five traffic offences or disciplinary actions in the last five years or more than three in the last two years will be difficult to change the status to Permanent Resident. If the number of violations or disciplinary actions on the driving record certificate is less than five, permanent residence may be granted.
６）Annual income of at least 3 million yen for the 1 or 3 years and an additional 400,000 yen per dependent.
→Persons with Highly Skilled Professional 1 (ロ) and (ハ) must have an annual income of at least 3 million yen to qualify for advanced professional status of residence. However, it should be noted that the more family members and dependents you have, the more the additional amount will be.If the annual income is less than 3 million yen for even one year, the count will be interrupted there and the application will not be approved until a new five-year period has elapsed.
７）Resident tax（住民税）, national pension（国民年金） and national health insurance premiums （国民健康保険料）are all paid on time.
→These three things must be paid on time. If you miss the deadline by even one day, you will not meet the requirements for permanent residence at that time. If you continue to make proper payments again and more than two years have passed, you may have a chance to approve your application.
８）Not a member of a gang or anti-social organization.
→If you are a member of such an organization, there is a high possibility that your application for permanent residence will be rejected and we recommend that you leave the organization and have no involvement before applying.
９）Has three or five years validity of the status of residence
→As a general rule, Highly Skilled Professional has a period of stay of five years on initial application. After three years, the status can be transferred to Highly Skilled Professional 2nd, and the period of stay is indefinite. Due to these characteristics of the Highly Skilled Professional, they are not considered to be a problem.
→Applicant must ask one guarantor. A guarantor must be Japanese nationality, or foreigner with Permanent Residence status in Japan. Guarantor should be people who are working and/or have certain income or assets.
I have explained the 10 requirements for applying for permanent residence from Highly Skilled Professional. As for the ‘annual income of at least 3 million yen for five consecutive years’ requirement, which is difficult for ordinary foreigners to meet when applying for permanent residence, if you are a Highly Skilled Professional, you should be able to meet this requirement without any problems. Also, the ‘period of validity of status of residence’ is not a problem if the foreigner is a Highly Skilled Professional, as the period of validity is five years from the beginning.
Therefore, the remaining eight points can be cleared without difficulty in most cases, as long as you live in compliance with the law and various rules in your daily life, such as paying taxes and pensions and not committing traffic violations. If you have fulfilled all the above 10 requirements, you can start for preparing for your application for permanent residence. If you would like to find out more about the specific requirements and determine whether you meet them, please consult with an application agent specializing in status of residence and visas.
The Niseko VISA & Immigration Support Centre help and support foreign nationals who are trying to overcome language, cultural and custom barriers and live as a member of Japanese society. If you have any questions or enquiries about this article, or about the conditions or procedural aspects of applying for Permanent Residence, please feel free to contact us by phone or via the ‘Free Consultation Form‘ on our website.