Good conduct is required of foreigners applying for naturalization in Japan. Therefore, previous convictions or traffic violations will affect the consideration of the application. Here is how to apply for naturalization if you have a criminal record and the conduct requirements for naturalization.
About applying for naturalization with a criminal record
If you are wondering whether you can apply for naturalization if you have been arrested, have a criminal record, have committed a traffic violation, etc., it is likely that you will not be able to meet the conduct requirements and your application will be denied.
However, there are cases where prior convictions do not affect the conduct requirements.
Article 34-2 of the Criminal Code states, “If a person who served a sentence of imprisonment or a more severe sentence more than ten years ago, or was exempt from serving such a sentence, has not been sentenced to a fine or a more severe sentence for ten years, the sentence shall no longer take effect. The same shall apply if a person who has served the execution of a sentence less severe than a fine, or has been exempted from the execution of such a sentence, has not been sentenced to a sentence more severe than a fine for five years."
In other words: If you served your sentence more than 10 years ago, you may be granted naturalization.
However, depending on the content of the crime, there are cases where naturalization is not possible, even if more than 10 years have passed.
On the other hand, depending on the content of the crime, there are cases where naturalization is possible even if 10 years have not yet passed since the crime.
In addition, the test for naturalization is judged by household. Even if you are well behaved, permission may not be granted if there is a criminal record or traffic violations in your family.
Criminal offenses are judged comprehensively by degree, content, punishment, duration, etc.
What are the conduct requirements for naturalization?
Among the conduct requirements is good behavior. This is a requirement set forth in Article 5, Paragraph 1, Item 3 of the Nationality Act.
These include, in particular, prison sentences, convictions with suspended sentences, traffic violations, unpaid taxes, civil violations, illegal residence, and pension payment status.
Traffic violations vary in severity and frequency.
In some cases, the Legal Affairs Bureau may order you to withdraw your naturalization application if you commit a serious offense punishable by imprisonment or a fine, such as drunk driving, dangerous driving causing death, exceeding the speed limit, or driving without a license.
Concealing prior convictions or traffic violations is often discovered during the examination phase and is then considered a false statement, resulting in the rejection of the application.
The requirement for applying for a naturalization permit is that the applicant has behaved well in Japan. This requirement is set forth in Article 5, Paragraph 1, Item 3 of the Nationality Law.
If you have been arrested, have a criminal record, have violated traffic regulations, etc., there is a high probability that you will not be able to meet the good conduct requirement and the permit will be denied.
However, if you served your sentence more than 10 years ago, you may be granted naturalization.
However, depending on the content of the crime, there are cases where naturalization is not possible even if more than 10 years have passed.