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 or extend VISA, to change the status, such as working visas and spouse visas etc..

In this article, I will explain who can obtain a ‘spouse of a Japanese’ visa?

Foreigners married to Japanese nationals

First of all, the official marriage procedures must have been completed.

You must have a legally valid marriage with a Japanese spouse. This legally valid marriage is, have been completed in both Japan and the spouse’s country of origin. In addition to this, the

marriage must also be an actual marriage, which can be objectively judged by the Immigration officers on the documents.

The couple is living together in the same house.

The most obvious part of ‘being an actual married couple’ is that the husband and wife are living together in the same house. It is indicated on the certificate of residence submitted by the Japanese spouse when applying the spouse of Japanese visa. On the certificate of residence states whether the couple is living together or not. In some cases, by submitting a lease agreement for the house in which they live together, to check whether the house (room) is available for habitation and whether its size and layout are sufficient for two people to live in.

The couple must be able to live together economically.

Next, it is also checked whether the couple is actually married from an economic point of view.

In particular, when a foreign spouse is invited from abroad to marry, it is necessary to prove that the Japanese spouse has enough income to maintain the lifestyle of the two. If this proof is not provided, the immigration officer may assume that the foreign spouse is planning to work in Japan, i.e. that the marriage is for the purpose of a visa to work and earn money. As proof of income, you will be asked to submit a certificate of taxation (tax payment) for the last year.

This will confirm how much income you have and whether it is enough to support you as a couple. In addition, supporting documents such as monthly pay slips issued by your employer if you are a company employee, or a company balance sheet, profit and loss statement or a copy of your tax return if you are a company manager or business owner, can be submitted to prove your income in detail. If the Japanese spouse is retired or on leave and has no income, he/she should ask his/her parents or other family members to act as guarantors and show that the couple can maintain their livelihood with financial support even without income. If the couple has assets such as savings, shares or real estate, they can also provide proof of such assets to demonstrate that they have sufficient financial background to support their livelihood.

The couple must be able to prove their dating history up to the time of marriage.

By submitting the history and records of how these two people met and got married, the applicant will prove that they are a real couple with substance. These should be explained by filling in the ‘2 How did you get married (history)’ section of the ‘Questionnaire’.  Be clear and specific about the date, time and place to increase credibility. To prove that the statements are true, provide a timeline of places you have been, people you have met, photos taken at events you have been to, etc. Show that you are in constant contact and communication with each other by Line, email, letters, etc. If the foreign spouse lives abroad, it is also useful evidence to show that you have financial ties by presenting records of overseas remittances. The immigration officer’s main suspicion is that this marriage is a so-called sham marriage, with only paperwork and no substance. In general, couples in sham marriages have no relationship of cohabitation or financial support, or have had little communication prior to the marriage and have not established a personal relationship as husband and wife, as the foreign spouse’s side is usually seeking a visa to work and the Japanese spouse is seeking money as a gratuity for doing so. Therefore, they must submit documents that objectively show whether they are living together, whether they are in a relationship of mutual financial support, and whether they have established a relationship in terms of communication and feelings. By proving to the immigration officer these three points, you will be granted the status of residence ‘Spouse of Japanese’.


This visa can be obtained by persons other than spouses. Specifically, the following two cases apply.

Children born to Japanese nationals.

This is the case of a biological child of a Japanese national. There is no marriage relationship between the Japanese and the foreign spouse. Even if the foreign spouse does not have the status of residence, the children can obtain the status of residence “Spouse of Japanese”.

When a child of foreign nationality is adopted as a special adopted child

In this case, too, it is possible to acquire the status of residence of ‘spouse or child of a Japanese national’. For special adoptions, the age of the child at the time of adoption must be less than 6 years old. The child must be under six years of age at the time of adoption. In addition, there are conditions and special procedures, such as procedures at the family court, It is necessary to check in advance.

In conclusion

The documents to be submitted to the immigration office will vary depending on the circumstances of each couple. The Immigration Bureau’s website lists the required documents, but these are only the minimum required. Depending on the circumstances of each couple, there are additional documents that must be submitted. The role of the administrative lawyer is to assess this and give advice.If you have any concerns about the documents required for your spouse visa application, or if you want to obtain approval quickly, we recommend that you consult your local administrative lawyer.

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 establishment of the company and status of residence ‘Management’, please feel free to contact us by phone or via the ‘Free Consultation Form’ on our website.