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 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 to Permanent Residence, if you have a working VISA. 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 Working 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 summarised 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 10 years.

→If you are changing from Working VISA to Permanent Residence, you must have lived in Japan for at least 10 years. The only exception is for “Highly-Skilled Professionals” or “deemed Highly-Skilled Professionals ” with 70 points or more on the points calculation table, who can apply to change their status to Permanent Residence” after one or three years.

②Working VISA for the last five years or more.

→There is no exception, except for “Highly-Skilled Professionals”.

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, at least 3 million yen for the last five consecutive years and an additional 400,000 yen per dependent.

→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.

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 more than two years have passed, you may have a chance to approve your application.

⑨Not a member of a gang or anti-social organisation.

→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. Guarantor should be people who are working and/or have certain income or assets.

In conclusion

This is a checklist of 11 requirements for applying for Permanent Residence from a working VISA. 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.