requirements for change of residence status from “spouse/child” to “permanent resident”


If you are a spouse/child of a Japanese citizen, permanent resident, or special permanent resident, the requirements for changing your residency status to permanent residency are less strict. If you find it burdensome to renew your residence status every few years, consider applying for permanent residency. 

Requirements for obtaining permanent residence permit for spouse/child visa holders

There are certain requirements for permanent residency in Japan (permanent resident status). Generally, you can apply for it only after 10 years have passed since the beginning of your stay. In exceptional cases, early application is possible for spouses and children of Japanese citizens or permanent residents.

Exceptions for spouses

Spouses who have a “spouse or child of a Japanese national" visa or a “spouse/child of a permanent resident" visa may change their residency status to “permanent resident" if they have been married for at least 3 years and have resided in the country for at least 1 year. The other requirements are the same as for people who are not married to a Japanese national or permanent resident.

Exceptions for children

It is possible for a child of a Japanese citizen or permanent resident to become a permanent resident if they have lived in Japan for at least one year.

Please note that “adopted children" do not fall under this exception. As a rule, children who are not related to their parents must live in Japan for at least 10 years before they can apply for permanent residency.

Other legal requirements

For spouses and children, the “good conduct requirements" and the “independent living requirements" may not be relevant for permanent residence.

If you have not had any serious problems and the income and assets of the household to which you belong are sufficient, you can expect that your application will be approved without any problems.

▼Basic requirements for permanent residency

  • You have lived in Japan for a certain number of years
  • Good behavior
  • You have assets or skills to support yourself independently without the need for a living allowance, etc.
  • You have not been sentenced to a fine or imprisonment
  • You have fulfilled your public obligations (public obligations = obligation to pay taxes and social security contributions)
  • You are no danger to public health

Precautions on changing the residence status of “spouse/child" to “permanent resident"

Although permanent residency requirements are less strict for spouses and children of Japanese citizens and permanent residents, there are still some restrictions. Check the current requirements in advance so that you do not waste your time with an application that is then rejected.

For spouses, it is only allowed if they are still married

If you are applying for permanent residency as a spouse of a Japanese citizen or permanent resident, the first thing they will check is whether you are actually living together as a couple.

If you are in a situation where separation or divorce talks have begun, or your partner refuses to vouch for you, you will be rejected as this shows that you will not be able to live a stable life even if you are granted permanent residency.

No tax or social security default is allowed

With respect to public obligations, i.e., tax and social security obligations, there is a high probability that the application will be rejected if there is even a single default. In the case of an ordinary household, the head of household (Japanese national/permanent resident),  is assumed to pay these on behalf of the household, so their payment status should be carefully checked before applying.