The Permanent Residency Visa (永住権 / 永住ビザ) is the best visa most foreigners can get in Japan. There is also a Special Permanent Residency Visa, which is only for foreigners that are related with the ancient Japanese colonies.
The Permanent Residency Visa is for people who already live in Japan for a certain number of years (which depends on their current visa and status) and intend to stay in Japan for always or for a long time period.
When can you apply to become a permanent resident?
This will depend on your current visa. Normally you will have to live in Japan for 10 years before you can apply. The following foreign nationals can apply for a Permanent Residency Visa in a shorter period of time:
・ If you have a Spouse of a Japanese National Visa or have a Spouse of a Permanent Resident Visa : You will need to be married for 3 years and have lived for at least 1 year in Japan.
・ If you are a High-Skilled Foreign Professional: This will depend on your points (calculate here ). If you have 70 points or above, you can apply after 3 years. If you have 80 points or above, you can apply after only 1 year of living in Japan.
・ If you have made a major contribution to Japan in the social, educational, economic, industrial, research, cultural, sports, or diplomatic field: You can apply after 5 years of residing in Japan. Note that this only applies to a small number of people, usually Nobel Prize winners or people who received special awards. Check here to see if this applies to you.
What are the qualifications to apply?
Aside from the number of years spent in Japan (see above), there are several other important factors that come into play when it comes to the screening of potential future permanent residents. Here are the requirements:
1. You must have shown a good behavior during your time in Japan
2. You must be financially stable
3. You must have performed your tax and other public obligations
4. You have obtained the longest period of stay allowed by your current visa
5. Your permanent residence is in accordance with the public interest of Japan
You can go to this page for more in-depth information about the above qualification.
What documents do you need?
There are a number of ‘basic’ documents you need to present, and some more depending on your current visa when applying. You should be able to find most of these additional documents at your local ward office or city hall.
The Basic Documents:
1. A valid passport
2. A recent photo (two for Russia, CIS countries, or Georgia nationals)
3. One visa application form (Eiju Kyoka Shinsei-sho永住許可申請書) (two for Russia, CIS countries, or Georgia nationals)
4. The original Certificate of Eligibility and a copy
5. Your residence card
6. A letter of guarantee by the person living in Japan.
Note that if you have a Spouse Visa, your guarantor can be your wife. You will also need the following documents from your guarantor on top of the above letter of guarantee:
1. Their Certificate of Residence (jumin-hyo 住民票)
2. Their Certificate of Employment (shuro shomeisho 就労証明書 or zaishoku shomeisho 在職証明書)
3. Their Certificate of Earnings (shotoku shomeisho 所得証明書) for the previous fiscal year
If you apply while having a Spouse Visa you will also need the following documents:
1. Your Tax Payment Certificate (nozei-shomeisho 納税証明書) and Tax Declaration Certificate (kazei-shomeisho 課税証明書) LOOK UP
2. A copy of the Family Register (koseki tohon 戸籍謄本)
3. A written statement as to why you apply for a Permanent Residence Visa (eiju wo kibo suru riyu ni kan suru chinjutsu-sho永住を希望する理由に関する陳述書)
4. A list of family members in Japan and in your country (kazoku ichiran-hyo家族一覧表)
5. A resume (rireki-sho 履歴書) where you will have to write: your academic and work background; a list of prizes, awards, or certificates you have (such as the JLPT); your criminal infractions.
Additionally, the Immigration Office may ask to show your National Health Insurance Card (NHI) to prove that you are enrolled in the Japanese NHI. They may reject your application if you don’t have that card or proof that you pay for the NHI. The same goes for your pension or any other required social security systems
How long does it take to receive the Permanent Visa?
This will depend from case to case, but usually it will take at least 4 months. The fastest cases can get their visa after less than 3 months, and there are some cases where people wait for over 1 year before receiving their visa.
In most cases, waiting for a long time does not mean that your application will get rejected, it simply means that there are some things that they have to check. You should normally receive a letter if your application was denied after about 4 months or less.
How long do I have to wait before I can reapply for a new Permanent Visa if my application was rejected?
You can apply immediately after your visa application rejection. However, you should not do that and ask the Immigration Office why your application was rejected. If they give you a concrete answer, you should work on the problem before applying, as it is likely to be rejected again.
If they do not give you a concrete answer as to why it was rejected, take a look here to see what the possible reasons for your rejections may be.
How does the screening works for the Permanent Visa?
First of all you will have to submit all necessary documents. Once that is done and that it is accepted, the Immigration Office will look through everything and see if everything you submitted and wrote is correct.
Once they checked everything, they will send your application to the police department to run a criminal background check. They will look at whether what you wrote was correct or not, and if you did not omit anything.
After that it will be sent to the tax office, where they will go through your tax history and check everything you wrote / submitted, and whether you have committed tax fraud in the past or not.
The Immigration Office may also contact your language school and / or workplace(s) to verify the information you have written and submitted.
When all of that is done and that they have deemed you suitable of receiving the Permanent Residency Visa, they will send you a letter via mail to let you know to come and get your visa before a certain date.