About the naturalization application for Special Permanent Residents and the difference from permanent residency?


Special Permanent Residents who were born and raised in Japan can also apply for naturalization. This topic explains the differences with naturalization applications and how to apply for naturalization for Special Permanent Residents, as well as the Special Permanent Resident system itself.

What is a Special Permanent Resident?

It is a residency status set forth in the “Special Law Concerning Immigration Control for Persons Who Have Lost Japanese Nationality Based on a Peace Treaty with Japan".

If you do not have Japanese nationality and want to live or work in Japan, you need a “residence status". One of these is a special permanent resident status.

It refers to foreigners who lived in Japan before the World War II and lived as Japanese citizens.

It is interesting to note that many people with this status are from South Korea and Taiwan, as many have renounced their citizenship due to the peace treaties between Japan and these countries.

The “Alien Registration Certificate" has been abolished and a “Special Permanent Resident Certificate" is now issued instead.

Differences from Permanent Resident Status

Permanent Resident is a residency status based on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. It is a right granted by the Minister of Justice to reside in Japan without a fixed period of stay.

You do not have to renew your residency status, but can stay in Japan as a foreigner without changing your citizenship.

Special permanent residents have a residence status based on the “Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act" and the “Special Law Concerning the Immigration Control of Those Who Have Lost Japanese Nationality Based on a Peace Treaty with Japan".

Permanent residents apply for permanent residency at the regional immigration office that has jurisdiction over their place of residence.
Special permanent residents, on the other hand, apply for a special permanent residence permit at the counter of the local government having jurisdiction over their place of residence.

Permanent residents are required to carry a residence card, while special permanent residents are not required to carry a special permanent residence certificate.

Application for Naturalization as a Special Permanent Resident

The application for naturalization of Special Permanent Residents is distinguished by the fact that the required documentation is less extensive.
However, it is not uncommon for application procedures to be difficult and for consulates and other authorities to require a large amount of documentation compared to other foreign nationals applying for naturalization.

If you decide to stay in Japan without going through the landing procedure, you must also submit an application to the Family Registration and Residents Department in your city or county within 60 days of your birth or the date of notification of loss of citizenship.

The application process for naturalization for Special Permanent Residents

  • Contact the Office of Legal Affairs or the County Office of Legal Affairs

If you wish to apply for naturalization,you need contact the Office of Legal Affairs. Since this requires a reservation, you must make the consultation appointment in advance.

  • Collect and prepare documents

Gather the required documents and prepare them as directed. Incomplete documents will not be accepted, so you may hire an administrative scrivener to help you prepare them. 

  • Interview at the Legal Affairs Bureau

Approximately two to three months after receiving the documents, the Legal Affairs Office will contact you to schedule an interview.

  • Notification of results

If your application is approved, it will be published in the Official Gazette. In some cases, it takes between 10 months and a year from application to approval.


Special permanent residents differ from the permanent residents described above in several ways. In addition, naturalization applications differ in that some of the required documents are relaxed.

However, it is still necessary to prepare a large amount of documentation. If you are unsure, you can consult an expert, such as an administrative scrivener.