Can I apply for naturalization myself? │ Advantages and requirements of self-application


In most cases, an administrative scrivener is hired to prepare and file the application on behalf of the applicant, but the applicant may also file the application themselves.  However, the procedure is much more complicated than the procedure for foreigners who simply wish to remain in Japan, so time and understanding of the procedure are required.

Required steps for naturalization application

The procedure for naturalizing a foreigner in Japan requires various documents regarding assets, income, tax payment status, and relatives. You must check with the Legal Affairs Office for all required documents and procedures.

Not only do you need to submit the required documents and wait for the results, but you also need to take care of the interviews and notifications after the results are announced.

General procedure for naturalization application

  • Preliminary meeting at the Legal Affairs Bureou (reservation required)
  • Collection of required documents (including some handwritten documents/documents from home country)
  • Re-consultation at the Legal Affairs Bureou (for final review of submitted documents)
  • Submission of application documents
  • Interview (if the applicant is married, the spouse also joins the interview)
  • Announcement of results by public notice + via phone
  • Notification of revocation of original citizenship + naturalization

Advantages for applying for naturalization by yourself

The advantage of applying for naturalization by yourself is that the cost is lower. It is also safer for those who want to protect their privacy as they are already treated as Japanese in daily life.

Minimal application fee [about several thousand yen per person]

If you hire an administrative scrivener in Japan to file a naturalization application on your behalf, you will be charged about 150,000 to 200,000 yen, including the cost of obtaining the necessary documents and the cost of various consultations and problem-solving. If you submit the application yourself, the costs are limited to obtaining the documents, which amount to a few thousand yen per person.

* There is no fee for the naturalization application itself.

The acquisition of Japanese citizenship is completed without anyone knowing about it

As part of the naturalization application, you must provide the scrivener with detailed information about your background. The required information is very detailed in order to determine if the application is even admissible and what should be done with the contents of the documents.

If you wish to naturalize yourself, you do not need to take the above steps. Regardless of how you apply for naturalization, your name and address will be listed in the Official Gazette, but it is unlikely that anyone close to you reads it. Other than your guarantor and close relatives assisting you with the process, it is very unlikely that anyone else will find out.

Conditions for foreigners who apply for naturalization themselves

In order for foreigners to apply for naturalization themselves, they must meet some conditions. If these sound difficult, it is easier to appoint a proxy.

You have time on weekdays

For the general naturalization application, you must visit the Legal Affairs Bureau a total of three times. All of these appointments are on weekdays only, and you must make time by taking a break from work.

Also, if you want to pick up necessary documents such as a copy of the family registry and foreigner registration card, you will need to go to a a municipal office on weekdays if you want to get them on the spot.

Chances are good that your application will be approved, but…

The decision on naturalization depends on the examination. Even if you believe you meet the requirements, the application may actually be denied. Rejection due to missing documents cannot be ruled out.

In the following cases, without the help of experts familiar with the naturalization process, you may lose valuable time without being able to acquire citizenship.

  • You have debts (you are worried about your livelihood)
  • You have recently changed jobs (you are concerned about living conditions and length of employment)
  • You have traffic violations and back taxes/unpaid taxes (you are concerned about your past behavior and livelihood)
  •  You do not have time to obtain the required documents or you are concerned about obtaining them

Conclusion│Hurdles to applying for naturalization on your own

If you want to naturalize without many people knowing about it, while keeping costs as low as possible, it is best to take the process into your own hands. However, there are some hurdles, such as gathering a large number of documents, especially on weekdays, and taking steps to reduce the possibility of rejection as much as possible.

If you want to do this as smoothly as possible, you should seek the help of experts.