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Visa & Immigration procedure in Japan

Marriage in Japan

It is possible to get legally married in Japan even if one or both of you are not Japanese citizens.

The requirements to be eligible for a marriage differ in each country, and you are bound for those of your own country.

Japanese citizens can get married at 16 years old for female and 18 years old for male, but need parents agreement if you are under 20 years old. Japanese female can not get married for 6 months after her prior marriage.

When getting married in Japan, it is necessary to prove that you meet the requirements set by the law of your own country. That is why you need to go to the Embassy or Consulate of your country to obtain one of the following certificates :

Australia : Certificate of No Impediment (CNI)

USA : Affidavit of Competency to Marry

Canada : Affidavit

New Zealand : Certificate of No Impediment

France : Certificat de capacité à mariage

UK : Certificate of No Impediment

Philippine : Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage http://www.tokyope.org > Legal and Miscellaneous documents

For the citizens of countries that are not listed above, please contact the Embassy or Consulate of your own country.

Once you get this certificate, you need to fill out a Registration of Marriage Form (Konin Todoke) which needs to be signed (stamped with hanko) by two witnesses. You can get this form at your local Ward/City Office, and hand it in there along with the above mentioned certificate, your passport, Alien Registration Card, certificate of Family Registry (Koseki tohon) for Japanese nationals, and all the other documents they might ask.

You can then get a certificate or declaration of marriage (Konin Todoke Juri Shomei-sho), if you need to declare it to your country's Embassy or Consulate. This document as well as a Marriage Certificate issued by the authorities of your country are required if you wish to change your visa status to Spouse of Japanese National, Long Term Resident, Spouse of Permanent Resident, Dependent, etc.

Once you are legally married, you are eligible for:

  • Spouse of Japanese national visa if your spouse is a Japanese national
  • Long term resident visa if your spouse is a long term reisdent visa holder
  • Spouse of permanent resident visa if your spouse is a permanent resident visa holder
  • Dependent visa if your spouse has a work visa or a student visa

When you apply for one of the visas above, it is necessary to provide among others a marriage certificate issued by the authorities of the both countries and your proof of income or that of your spouse.

>> How to obtain and renew your visa in Japan

>> Required documents for visa applications in Japan

>> Ask for personalized advise

Divorce and visa

If you get divorced from your Japanese spouse, it is required to report the divorce to the Immigration office under the new law from July 9, 2012.

The Immigration may revoke your spouse visa after 6 months from the divorce.

It is eventually possible to change your spouse visa to a "Long Term Resident" visa if you have lived long enough in Japan (approximately 5 years) or if you have a child of Japanese nationality to raise in Japan.

>> Ask for personalized advise

Permanent Resident

If you intend to stay in Japan for a long period of time, you might consider applying for Permanent Resident visa (status). These are the requirements :

  • Good behavior and conduct (no criminal records, payment of taxes...)
  • Having sufficient assets or ability to make an independent living (stable job, enough savings...)
  • 10 years of consecutive residence in Japan, which should include 5 years of residence under working visa (status of residence) or those granted according to the family status (Spouse of Japanese national, Long Term Resident...)
  • Your current visa (status of residence) having the longest period of stay (3 years in most cases)
  • More than 3 years of marriage for the spouses of Japanese nationals and Permanent Residents including more than one year of residence in Japan
  • More than one year of residence for children of Japanese nationals and Permanent Residents.
  • More than 5 years of residence in Japan as a Long Term Resident or a refugee
  • More than 5 years of residence in Japan for those who have been recognized for having made a considerable contribution to Japan in diplomatic, social, economical and cultural fields.

It is necessary to provide with the Certificate of Tax Payment (nozei shomeisho to be obtaind at the local city hall/ward office) for the last 3 years.

The application for Permanent Resident could take a very long time to be processed (6 to 8 months in general) and you still have to renew your current visa (status of residence) if it will expire before your Permanent Resident application is approved.

>> Required documents for visa applications in Japan

>> Ask for personalized advise

Certificate of Eligibility (COE) rejected

Your application for Certificate of Eligibility is rejected... end of the world ?

Before you give up or do anything else, it's important to know why it is rejected. The Immigration office will usually give you reasons if you show up and ask by indicating your application number. You can then re-apply for your COE if you think you can provide with additional documents to prove otherwise.

The re-application can be submitted anytime after the rejection and there is no limit in the number of times, although it is higly recommended to be careful with the kind and the content of the documents to be submitted in order to stay coherent.

What you need to provide depends on the reasons why your former application is rejected. This could be related to your employer's financial records (annual profits, payment of taxes...) or to your qualification and working experience.

It actually happens that the only reason why your application for COE was rejected was because your application was not prepared well enough to convince Immigration.

There are cases where the re-application of COE was accepted after preparing the documents correctly, so you may not need to give up just yet.

>> Ask for personalized advise

Overstay in Japan

What happens if you have overstayed (stayed after your visa is expired) in Japan ?

If you have overstayed accidentally by simply forgetting to renew your visa in time, it is eventually possible to submit the application for the visa renewal in an ordinary way upon the Immigration officer's approval, provided that the period of overstay hasn't been too long and that you maintain the conditions to be able to renew the visa (working or being married continuously).

In case of an intentional overstay, the consequences are:


If your case is suspected to fall under one of the cases that are subject to the deportation (including overstay), the Immigration will firstly conduct a survey on your situation. They have the right to question people and organizations related to you, to search places and confiscate evidences.

You may be requested to appear at Immigration for the investigation and detained if judged necessary.

You have three different opportunities to defend yourself - Examination, Hearing (within 3 days after the Examination) and Filing of an Objection (within 3 days after the Hearing).

After all these procedure, the authorities will make a decision whether they will deport you or not. If you are deported, you are banned to enter Japan for 5 years.

Even if you do fall into one of the cases where you should be deported, the authorities could give a special permission to stay depending on each case.

Departure Order

You can also appear at Immigration office voluntarily to announce your overstay. If you satisfy all of the following conditions, you can get the Departure Order, and in most cases you won't be detained.

  • You have appeared at Immigration office voluntarily
  • You don't fall into any other cases of deportation except for overstay
  • You haven't committed crime in Japan
  • No past record of deportation or departure order
  • You are most likely to leave Japan immediately (within 15 days)

Different from deportation, the ban to enter Japan will only last for 1 year.

In any case, it is important to make sure that you will not receive either of deportation or departure order. However, it is quite easy to overstay without even noticing it, as the Immigration office will not remind you the expiration date of your current visa. So make sure that you won't forget when you have to renew your visa the next time!

If you have unfortunately overstayed, the best move would be to appear voluntarily to Immigration before you are caught in your illegal situation, if you ever care about coming back to Japan one day.

>> Ask for personalized advise

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