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Registration, Permits & Other Documentation

Tokyo - Registration, Permits & Other Documentation


The Immigration Bureau administers and manages foreigners living in Japan. The Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau has a Foreign Residents Information Centre that provides advice to foreigners (Address: 5-5-30 Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo Pref. Post Code: 108-8255; Tel:

03-5796-7111; email: info-tokyo@immi-moj.go.jp; Office hours: 9:00 - 12:00, 13:00 - 16:00 Monday through Friday; closed on national holidays, year-end and New Year holidays). Information regarding procedures for entry and stay is available in English, Korean, Chinese and Spanish.

To work in Japan, you will need to apply for a working visa. A working visa is sponsored by your company / employer. There are different types of working visas that allow the holder to engage in paid activities within that particular profession. If there is a change, you must also change the status of your residence. Most working visas are valid for one or three years.

Within the valid period of your visa, if you leave Japan temporarily, you need to a re-entry permit. There are single (Y3000) and multiple re-entry permit (Y6000) voucher stamps available for purchase from the Information Desk at the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau.

To work in Japan, you will need to apply for a working visa. A working visa is necessary to carry out any paid activity in Japan. There are strict penalties if you are found to be working without a valid working visa. A working visa is sponsored by your company / employer. There are different types of working visas that allow the holder to engage in paid activities within that particular profession. If there is a change in nature of your employment, you must change the status of your working visa. Most working visas are valid for one or three years.

Within the valid period of your visa, if you leave Japan temporarily, you need to a re-entry permit. There are single (Y3000) and multiple re-entry permit (Y6000) voucher stamps available for purchase from the Information Desk at the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau. Re-entry permits are usually valid for 3 years.

To live in Japan, expatriates will need go through a series of alien registration. An alien registration is required for all foreigners aged 16 and above who wish to live in Japan for more than 90 days. You will need to apply this in person. For an overview of the procedure, refer to Expat City's . A foreign alien registration certificate (gaikokujin torokusho) is mandatory by law. As the plastic certificate card takes a few weeks to be issued, some expatriates first apply for a Certificate of Alien Registration (a paper certificate) first, and then have the card (gaijin card) made after they have settled in their permanent residence. This is so that the card reflects your status of residence (not Temporary Visitor or Tourist Visa). The difference in residence status is important when it comes to applying and opening bank accounts, mobile phone subscriptions, etc. All foreigners living in Japan are required to carry their alien registration card at all times. The alien registration card sometimes doubles up as a photo-identification card.

In Japan, a personal stamp or seal (inkan) is sometimes used instead of an official signature. An officially registered seal is called a "jitsuin". Personal seals can be registered at the municipal office where you reside. You will receive a personal seal registration card when the registration is completed. In some cases, banks use ‘ginko in' instead of signatures in personal savings accounts.


Registering births and deaths

Japan has a family registry system that keeps a public record of the significant events in the lives of the Japanese, such as birth, death, marriage and divorce. Foreigners living in Japan are also expected to report such events to the local municipal office. The process of notifying your country's embassy or consulate will differ, so it is best to check with them. For a list of foreign embassies and consulates in Japan, refer to this website. Addresses and contact numbers are provided.

Births in Japan have to be reported to the municipal office within 14 days by either parent of the baby. The Birth certificate (notification of birth signed by the doctor or midwife), health insurance certificate (hokensho), mother/child record book (boshi kenko techo) are required during registration. The reporting of the child's birth to the local Japanese authorities does not equate the citizenship of the child. Check with your embassy or consulate for more details.

A notification of death is to be submitted to the municipal office within 7 days.


Registering your marriage

Expatriates need to report to the municipal office when they get married in Japan. The notification is effective immediately upon acceptance by the office. Once the notification is accepted, you will need to change the information on your alien registration card. If you and your partner are foreigners who wish to get married in Japan, you can do so at your country's embassy or consulate. You usually need a Certificate of legal capacity / competency to marry.


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