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/extend their VISA is to get Permanent Resident(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. In this article, I show a checklist to check quickly and easily in Three minutes whether you are eligible to change your status from Spouse of Japanese to Permanent Residence. If you are interested in Permanent Residence or would like to become Permanent Resident one day, we recommend that you use this checklist to find out first.


【Checklist of 11 Requirements for Changing from Spouse of Japanese VISA to Permanent Residence】

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 11 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 11 points have been completed, you may meet the requirements for application.

①Continuously reside in Japan for at least 1 year.

②The marriage with a Japanese has lasted for more than 3 years.

→ Not only you have lived in Japan for the entire three-year marriage period, but also you have  lived in Japan for at least one year out of the three-year period will meet this requirement.

For example, if a couple has been married abroad and lived for two years and then come to Japan together. And they have lived in Japan for one year. In total they have been married for three years, so they meet the requirement.

③Have 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 10-year period, the calculation of years of residence will be interrupted there.

④Have 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 10-year period for which residence is required, the calculation of years of residence will be interrupted there.

⑤Has not been sentenced to 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, 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.

⑥Less 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.

⑦Annual income of Japanese husband/wife, at least 3.4 million yen for the last 1-3 consecutive years and an additional 400,000 yen per dependent.

→If the foreigner is currently working and has an annual income at least 3 million yen for the last 1-3 consecutive years, there is no problem. If the applicant is a housewife who is not working or has a part-time job with an annual income of around 1 million yen, the Japanese husband/wife as a dependent, must have an annual income at least 3.4 million yen.

⑧Resident 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 at least two years have passed, you may have a chance to approve your application.

⑨Not 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.

⑩Have three or five years validity of the status of residence

→If your status of residence is valid for one year or six months, your application for Permanent Residence will not be approved. Usually, if a person has lived in Japan for more than 10 years and has only one year validity of the status of residence, it is assumed that there is some problem on the applicant’s side.

⑪A guarantor(保証人)

→Applicant must ask one guarantor. A guarantor must be Japanese nationality, or foreigner with Permanent Residence status in Japan. Please ask your husband/wife to be a guarantor. Guarantor should be people who are working and/or have certain income or assets.

In Conclusion

This article has been written as a case of Spouse of Japanese visa holder. However, if you are officially married with a Japanese national, these 11 requirements in this article applies to you regardless of the type of visa you currently hold.

This is a checklist of 11 requirements for applying for Permanent Residence from a Spouse of Japanese. First of all, if you have cleared all of the above 11 requirements, you may start the preparations for applying for Permanent Residence. If you would like to find out more about the specific requirements, or determine whether you meet them or not, please contact our office. We will provide you 60-minute free consulting.

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.