I’m Takashi Akeyama, a representative of the Niseko VISA & Immigration Support Centre. As the only Administrative scrivener(行政書士) 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 visa and spouse visa etc.

This article explains “FAMILY STAY=家族滞在”, a status of residence which is to be obtained when  foreigners living in Japan wants to invite family members from their home country.

What is “FAMILY STAY” ?

The “FAMILY STAY” status of residence is mainly used by foreigners with working visa such as “Engineer / Specialist in Humanities / International Services”, “Skilled Lavor”, or with Student visa, to bring their “dependent spouse/children” to Japan.

What does ‘family’ mean in “FAMILY STAY” ?

First, ‘family’ is limited to spouses and children. It does not include parents, siblings or other relatives. And with regard to children, there is no age stipulation, but the word ‘dependent’ usually means children who are minors (under 18 years of age) in Japan, unless there are special circumstances.

What does ‘dependent’ mean?

Under the status of residence for “FAMILY STAY”, the principle is that the foreigner who is bringing in a spouse or child must support them. As a rule of the residence of the status, their spouse and children can not work as a regular job. So, the foreigner must have enough regular income or savings etc., that enables their spouse and children to live without working.

Key Points of Screening

The following is an explanation of the points considered important during the examination of this “family stay” status, based on the documents submitted to the immigration office.

Credibility of the relationship between the foreigners in Japan and the ‘child/spouse’

The first point is the relationship between the foreigner in Japan and the spouse/children they are trying to bring in. In other words, can you objectively prove that they are genuine spouses and children through various documents?  The immigration officer should have checked that “is this person entering Japan to work or live illegally, pretending to be a spouse or child?”  

Documents to prove that the couple is officially husband and wife, or parent and child are,

“Copy of the family register=戸籍謄本”, “Marriage certificate=婚姻証明書”, “Birth certificate=出生証明書”, etc.

Official documents issued by the country of origin, such as proof of marriage, family relations or parent-child relationships, must be provided.

Regular and Sufficient income to support spouse/children.

The second point, does the foreigner who is already living in Japan and bringing in spouse/children have a certain level of regular income, etc., to support his/her spouse and children? If the foreigner’s income is too low and he/she is in economic hardship and cannot make a living, there is a possibility that he/she will commit a crime such as illegal employment in order to force himself/herself to earn an income.

As proof of certain income or work, the applicant is required to submit the following documents.

 ’A copy of your certificate of employment or business license’ (在職証明書、営業許可証)

    *A certificate that shows your occupation.

 ‘Certificate of taxation (or tax exemption) and certificate of tax payment’.


It is necessary to prove with official documents what kind of work you do and how much income you earn from that work.


If you are an international student who is not working, you are required to submit the following documents.

 ‘Proof of bank balance’ (預金残高証明書)or

 ‘Documentation of scholarship benefits’(奨学金給付証明書)

 ‘Documentation proving payment of living expenses.’

This proves that they have enough savings and assets to live without work.

Income and work are not likely to be a problem if the person has a working visa. When the person obtains a working visa, there is a condition that the amount of the income must be equal to or higher than that of a Japanese national. Therefore, if the income is so extremely low that the person cannot live on it, he or she may not have been granted a working visa.

What should foreign students be aware of when inviting their family to Japan?

International students cannot work full-time in Japan as a regular employee. They can only work part-time for 28 hours a week with a “Permission to engage in activities other than permitted under the status of residence” Therefore, their monthly part-time income should be around 150,000 yen. It is not possible to live on such part-time work alone. Therefore, international students need to prove that they can maintain their life through savings or scholarships.

If proof is provided by savings, the balance must be sufficient to cover living expenses for the remainder of the student’s study period.

For example, if you are bringing your spouse in the third year of a four-year university, you need to have a balance that will allow you and your spouse to live together for the remaining year of study. In this case, the balance should be about 2,400,000yen (200,000 ten per month × 12 months)

In conclusion.

In this article, I explained the important points for an application for “FAMILY STAY” status of residence.

In addition to the mandatory documents listed on the website, it is important to provide concrete and clear proof by submitting additional documents, especially regarding the authenticity of the marriage and parent-child relationship and the stability of the work and income, etc., in order to get “FAMILY STAY”.

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 FAMILY STAY, please feel free to contact us by phone or via the ‘Free Consultation Form’ on our website.