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Permanent Residency

We often receive inquiries about permanent visa.    For non-Japanese residents, we think to get permanent visa is a kind of a goal.

The guidelines for Permanent residency (PR) were revised in 2019 and the immigration announced new documentary requirements for PR application in accordance to the new guidelines. 


Most of new requirements, you had better prepare in advance, even from the time you start staying in Japan.  


Once you get permanent visa, you don’t have to extend your visa.  You just need to renew your residence card before it expires.   You can do any kind of jobs. Of course, not illegal ones. You don’t have to report when you change your workplaces.  It would become easier to start your business.    You can continue to stay in Japan after you get divorced from your Japanese spouse.   Some of the permanent visa holders say they have more chance to get a loan to purchase real estate in Japan.   And so on. 

There are three major legal requirements.   
1. good conduct (being a good citizen)
2. sufficient assets or ability to make an independent living
3. the person's permanent residence is regarded to be in accord with the interests of Japan


There are 4 major points to think about.  

(1) No violation of laws
Of course, you should not have any illegal experiences.  If you have ever got a ticket from police for illegal parking, be careful.  No more.    

(2) Tax
You need to submit tax information for 3 years for spouse visa holders, 5 years for working visa holders.  


★Residential tax for local municipal

The requirement is different depending on visa status.
+ Spouse visa:  3 year ( before 1 year)
+ Long term visa: 5 year ( before 3 year)
+Working visa:  5 year (before 3 year)

You need to submit Kazei shomeisho and Nozei shomeisho for all 5 years (3 year for spouse visa)
It means you need to prove you had enough income for the past 5 (3) years as well as paying tax properly.  Paying all tax is not sufficient. You need to prove you paid them by due date. 

Even if you have just started working in Japan, you had better pay tax properly and keep those small receipt slips as your treasure nicely and neatly for future PR application. Or install automatic bank withdrawal system and keep saving on your account. Or pay all annual tax in the beginning of tax season, in June/July.


★National tax

And national tax payment certificate become one of requirements, too.

If you are not running private business or if you are not a company owner or if you have not inherited asset, this change would not make big difference to you. But you need to get the national tax certificate from tax office to show you have not missed any tax payment. 

We believe nobody likes to pay tax. Probably many of you have an experience to feel relieved to get tax-free notice, Hikazei from your town hall. But if you are thinking about permanent visa, we would advise you to pay tax.  No matter how much it is.  Of course, the more is the better, though. It is one of the best ways to show you are a good citizen.   If you have any amount of unpaid tax, you need to clean it before application.  

Paying tax is important especially for business visa holders.  Generally, accountants are supposed to make a financial report for you not to make much profit so that you could pay less tax.  It is ok generally, but not too much.    Don't register too many dependents for the sake of deduction.   Parents and children are usually ok.  But no siblings and other relatives overseas. 

(3) Health insurance 
Along with tax information, you need to show you have joined health insurance at least for 2 years.  If you are planning to apply in the future but you have not joined health insurance yet, please start it as soon as possible. In Japan, there are two kinds of health insurance:  Kokumin kenkou hoken (National health insurance) and Shakai hoken.  If you are hired by a company, you usually get Shakai hoken by your company. But there are some companies that don't do such service.  If so, you have to apply Kokumin kenkou hoken at City Hall by yourself.  

(4) Pension

It was strange that only Nagoya Immigration required pension for PR application for long time. Now it is required throughout Japan. I guess it is not welcome matter for many people but anyway, it is good that immigration treatment has become equal to everybody no matter where he is staying.


In short, immigration sees if you join pension, nenkin, and pay at least for 2 years.

Anybody over 20 who is residing in Japan is supposed to pay pension, which is kind of your obligation. Of course, if you are a student or if your income is low, you can apply for waiver to be exempted from full payment.  If you have Shakaihoken for 2 years, nenkin is included. You don’t need to worry.


If you are willingly to apply for PR in the future and if you haven't joined pension yet, you had better join now and pay in time. If you join pension now, you could pay for the last 2 years. It is late payment. So you have to explain why you had not joined it till recently at PR application.   We don't yet know what kind of excuse they accept and don’t accept for late payment for pension.  It is because new requirements are kind of general information and we are not sure how immigration manipulate those requiments and guideline for each case. 


Generally, pension is 16,000 yen monthly for 1 person.  Everybody over 20 year old need to join unless he/she apply waiver.  Well, about 20 man yen yearly, about  40 man yen for 2 years for one person.  Pension is for future and you might not be sure if you would live in Japan for long.  But please remember if you join pension at least for 3 years and leave Japan, you could get some refund. 


You have to prove that you have sufficient assets or ability to make an independent living.   No official notice has been made regarding minimum amount of income required.  But generally we say you need at least 3 million yen annual income.  You need more income if you have dependents.    

For spouse (marriage) visa holders, financial status is not as important as working visa holders.    If you are a single mother with a long-term visa and receive governmental support, Seikatsuhogo, you had better get out of it.  We know it is tough for raising kids by yourself.  But if you want to get permanent visa, please try.    If you have your dependents, spouse and/or children, please make sure that none of them works longer than they are allowed.  This is especially important when you apply for permanent visa as a family. 
Please remember that the immigration often visits your home and workplace to confirm what you have written in your application documents is true and correct.   

For example, if you are a spouse visa holder, it is necessary to live with your spouse.  The immigration would check if your marriage is a real one, loving and supporting each other.   If you have a working visa, they would examine very carefully whether your job is really suitable for your visa nor not.  And you should be doing what you are allowed and supposed  to do in Japan.  If you have a cook visa, for example, you need to work as a cook at the restaurant you have reported, no other jobs like a hall staff or a cook at a different restaurant.


Generally, in order to apply for permanent residency, you need to live in Japan at least for 10 years. 10 years consecutively.  It means that if you go back to your country then come back with different visa, you have to restart again.  It is not good to go back to your country too often or to stay for a long time outside Japan without special reasons.    During the 10 years, you generally need to work at least for 5 years.   
However, there are some exceptions.  


If you are a spouse visa (marriage) holder, that is, spouse of a Japanese or of a permanent resident, you don't need 10 years.  3-year marriage and 1-year living in Japan is enough to apply for permanent.    If you are a long-term visa holder, 5 years are enough.  And there are other exceptional rules for some groups of people, such as Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals with certain points.


You need to be allowed maximum period of stay with your current status of residence.  The maximum period of stay is 5 years for most visa status.  The immigration still accepts 3-year visa holders as permanent residency applicants.  But nobody knows when they would start to accept only 5-year visa holders. 

So we think if you satisfy the condition and think about permanent residency in the future, you had better not hesitate to do action.   In other words, right after you get 3 years, start preparing for permanent visa application. 


Paying tax and joining pension are just part of your obligations.  You have other various obligations.  If you only miss just one of those reporting below, it might be the reason of disapproval of your future PR application as well as late payment for tax / health insurance.


★Reporting within 2 weeks

To immigration

+ Working visa holder, when you change working places

+ Student visa holder, when you change schools

+ Spouse visa holder, when you get divorced or your spouse died

+ For all, changing your name, nationality, etc.

+ For those who lost your residence card (you need to request a new card)

To city hall
+ For all, when you change your address
+ When you leave a company that provide you Shakai hoken.  You need to transfer to Kokumin kenkou hoken until you join the next company’s Shakai hoken


★Reporting every February or March

If you have income from more than 2 places for the last year, you need to declare the total amount of your income through Kakutei shinkoku in order to get proper taxation.


There are extra requirements for business owners.  Actually these extra requirements are not new.  But it is good to remember.

Besides obligations as a resident in Japan, business owners have other obligations such as:

• Joining Shakaihoken for all employees
• Proper payment for national tax
• Completing end-year tax arrangement, nenmatsu chosei

• Completing financial record, Kessan before due date every year

• Reporting to  Hello Work/Immigration promptly regarding foreign workers (hiring/resigning)
• Not violating any labor laws
• Doing appropriate registrations for company and other licenses,

You need to prove that you have been committing those obligations for 5 years.   


It usually takes four to six months or so to get the result of your PR application.   If your current visa is to expire before you get permanent visa, don’t forget to extend your current visa.  

You need to inform the immigration if there are any changes in your situation after you submit your application.  Change in your workplace, getting divorced, etc.   Not reporting these might end up in permanent visa cancellation in the future.   When you get denial notice, please go to the immigration to ask reasons.  You could get some hints for your next application.   If you are not confident with your Japanese and feel reluctant to go there alone, we could go there with you.  

For permanent visa application, you need to prepare many documents in order to prove that you are qualified.  Each applicant has various situations and has a different list of supporting documents to submit. 

So please don't hesitate to have a personal consultation first.  The first consultation is free of charge.  We will help you to make your application easier and faster. 

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