[For those who wish to acquire Japanese citizenship] Overview of the procedure for applying for a naturalization permit


To obtain Japanese citizenship as a foreigner, you must apply for a naturalization permit. However, many who apply for the first time are anxious and do not know how to proceed. This article describes the process for applying for a naturalization permit.

What is an application for a naturalization permit?

This is the procedure by which foreigners can renounce the citizenship of their home country and acquire Japanese citizenship.

In Japan, dual citizenship is not recognized under the Nationality Law.

Once approved, you will lose your original citizenship and receive the same rights as a Japanese citizen.

However, compared to the procedures related to visa/residency status, this procedure requires you to submit a large number of documents.

Procedure for applying for naturalization permit

1. Preliminary consultation with the Legal Affairs Bureau

After an initial phone call to the Tokyo Legal Affairs Bureau or the District Legal Affairs Bureau responsible for your place of residence, make an appointment for a preliminary consultation.

Usually, you have to go to the Legal Affairs Bureau yourself. The content of the consultation is to confirm whether the requirements for naturalization are met. 

You should bring your residence card (special permanent residence certificate), passport, driver’s license, etc.

The place for the consultation is the place where you are registered as a foreign resident.

2. Preparation and collection of required documents

The list of required documents depends on the characteristics of the applicant.

The main documents you need to prepare by yourself are an application form for a naturalization permit, a motive for naturalization, a written oath, an overview of your family circumstances, and a document describing your livelihood.

3. Submitting the application to the Legal Affairs Bureau.

After you have prepared all documents, contact the Legal Affairs Bureau to have the documents reviewed.

4. Interview at the Legal Affairs Bureau

Approximately 2 to 3 months after submitting the application, the Legal Affairs Bureau will contact you to set the date and time of the interview.

5.​​​​​​ Application review by the Ministry of Justice

After the interview, the Ministry of Justice will conduct a review of the application.

Please note that during the review, the status of your residence in Japan will also be verified. If you change your address or travel abroad, you must notify the Legal Affairs Bureau where you submitted the application.

It takes about 10 to 14 months from the time you submit the application until you are notified of the result.

6. Approval/rejection of naturalization application

If approved, the naturalization of the applicant shall be published in an official gazette issued by the Government of Japan. You become a Japanese citizen from the date of publication in the Official Gazette.

On the specified date, you will receive a naturalization permit and an ID card from the Legal Affairs Bureau.

If the permit is denied, a denial notice will be sent to the applicant’s residence. If you can improve your application, it is possible to apply again after 6 months.


This article explains the process of applying for naturalization. After you receive your naturalization permit, you must return your residence card or special permanent residence permit within 14 days of the date of the notice in the Official Gazette and apply for naturalization within one month of the publication of the notice in the Official Gazette.