What is the Japanese Residence Card?
With the introduction of new Immigration law from July 9, 2012, a Resident Card replaced the Alien Registration Card.For those arriving in Japan with the Certificate of Eligibility, a Resident Card will be issued upon arrival at the airport (Narita, Haneda, Kansai, Nagoya, New Chitose, Hiroshima and Fukuoka).
New Resident Card is issued each time you renew or change your visa status.
Under the new system, there is no visa stamp in your passport, so your Residence Card is the proof of your visa in Japan.
For those who are already resident in Japan, a new card will be issued at the time of the next visa renewal (or change of visa status).
It is required to report the change of your personal address to the city hall.
When you move, it is required to report the departure to the city hall of the place where you used to live, then also the arrival to the new city hall where you became resident.
All the other changes (employers and their address, name, marital status, etc.) need to be reported to the Immigration office within 14 days (not to the city hall) and there is a penalty for not doing so.
The notification however can be submitted by sending the document by post to the Immigration office.
For Permanent Resident visa holders, your current Alien Registration Card is valid until July 8, 2015. You will need to go to the nearest Immigration office to have a new Resident Card made before then.
A Resident Card is not issued to those with a tourist visa or any other type of visa that is valid for 3 months or less.
Getting a New Passport
Since the introduction of the new Residence Card system in 2012, there is no visa stamp in your passport anymore, so there is no procedure that you need to go through even if you get a new passport.
You just need to make sure that you take your Residence Card with you each time you travel overseas and show the card at the Immigration counter when leaving and entering Japan.
If you have lost your passport while traveling abroad and come back to Japan with an emergency passport /traveling document, you can still enter Japan with your existing visa status if you still have the Residence Card.
If you have lost both your passport and Resident Card overseas, you will need to go through a relatively complicated procedure to get a document issued by the Japanese immigration office in advance so as not to lose your long term visa upon arrival (otherwise they will just grant you a 90 days temporary visitor visa upon arrival and cancel the long term visa you previously had).
Certified as Immigration Lawyers by the Japan Immigration Office, we can help you with obtaining an appropriate visa and with other immigration procedures.