As international marriages become more common, there are quite a few cases of foreigners and Japanese citizens getting married.
Some may think that a foreigner who marries a Japanese person automatically becomes a Japanese citizen.
According to the Japanese legal system, even if a foreigner marries a Japanese citizen, they cannot automatically become a Japanese citizen.
Therefore, this article summarizes what to do if a foreigner married to a Japanese citizen wishes to obtain Japanese citizenship.
Marriage to a Japanese person does not automatically lead to the acquisition of Japanese citizenship
Even if a foreigner marries a Japanese citizen, this does not mean that they automatically acquire Japanese citizenship through marriage.
Depending on the legal system, you may be able to acquire citizenship of that country by marrying a person from that country, but there is no such legal system in Japan.
Naturalization is required to acquire Japanese citizenship
Even if a foreigner is married to a Japanese citizen, a naturalization procedure is required to obtain Japanese citizenship.
Naturalization means that a foreigner who does not hold citizenship of the country is granted citizenship of that country.
In order for a foreigner to be naturalized in Japan and obtain Japanese citizenship, they need to meet several requirements set forth in the Nationality Law.
Even a foreigner who is married to a Japanese citizen cannot be naturalized if they do not meet the requirements set forth in the Nationality Law.
I If you marry a Japanese national, residency requirements will be relaxed
For foreigners married to Japanese nationals, one of the naturalization requirements – the residency requirement – is relaxed.
The various requirements for naturalization of foreigners in Japan are set forth in Article 5, Paragraph 1 of the Nationality Law, and the address requirements are commonly referred to as the residency requirement.
The residency requirements for naturalization are generally as follows.
- You must have had an address in Japan for more than 5 years.
However, for foreigners married to Japanese nationals, the residency requirements are relaxed. Naturalization is possible if any of the following conditions are met (Article 7 of the Nationality Law).
- You have lived or resided in Japan for more than 3 years and currently have a residence in Japan.
- 3 years or more have passed since marriage and you must have had an address in Japan for at least one year.
You cannot acquire Japanese citizenship simply by marrying a Japanese citizen, but if you do, the requirements for naturalization are partially relaxed, making the naturalization process easier.