Reasons for rejection of an application for naturalization and number of rejections

Submitting a naturalization application does not necessarily mean that you will be approved. It is not uncommon for approval to be denied for any reason, so some people wonder what happens after a rejection. Here you can learn how a naturalization application is processed and denied, what the reasons are, and how many naturalization applications are denied each year.

Naturalization application procedure and rejection

The procedure for a naturalization application is generally as follows.

Consultation with the Legal Affairs Bureau or the District Legal Affairs Bureau

The naturalization procedure begins with consultation with the Legal Affairs Bureau or the District Legal Affairs Bureau.

  • Gathering the necessary documents

Next, gather the necessary documents for the naturalization application. First, you will need a resume, a motivation letter for naturalization, a document describing your livelihood, certificate of income and withholding tax, a certified copy of the land register, etc.

The number of documents required varies from person to person, and many people give up due to the sheer number of documents that need to be obtained.

  • Preparation of the naturalization application

You can obtain the application from the Legal Affairs Bureau. It should be filled out by hand.

  • Examination and acceptance of the naturalization application

You may be asked to submit additional documentation after officials confirm the content during the review process. The application will be accepted only if it has no deficiencies.

  • Interview at the Legal Affairs Bureau

During the interview, everything, including the applicant’s behaviour, is taken into consideration.

  • Decision on acceptance or rejection of the application

If your naturalization application is approved, it will be published in the Official Gazette. After that, you will receive a phone call from the person in charge at the Legal Bureau.

In case of rejection, you will receive a notice.

Possible reasons for denial

The main grounds for denial are as follows.

  • Criminal record or traffic violations

You may have a criminal record or a history of traffic violations that cause you to fail the good conduct requirement.

  • Neglect of pension payment obligations

If you fail to make your pension payments, your application will not be approved because the conduct requirements have not been met.

  • Poor knowledge of the Japanese language

This is the case if your Japanese language skills are deemed to be poor at the time of the interview. However, if it is determined that your Japanese language proficiency is low, you will usually also be required to take a Japanese language test.

  • The content of the application documents and the answers during the interview do not match.

If there is a discrepancy between the documents you submitted and what you said during the interview, there is a high probability that your application will not be approved.

This is because the interviewer’s job is to make sure that there are no discrepancies between the documents and what the applicant said during the interview.

Number of naturalization applications rejected

According to a survey by the Ministry of Justice, the number of naturalization applicants from 2019 to 2021, as well as the number of accepted and rejected applications, is as follows.

You can see that about 500 to 900 people are rejected every year.

Number of naturalization applicantsNumber of approved applicantsNumber of rejected applicants


It is not uncommon for naturalization applications to be rejected. The main reasons for rejection are criminal record, traffic violations, non-payment of pension obligations, low Japanese language proficiency, etc.

However, this cannot be said without reservation, as the applicant is subject to a comprehensive review and approval may be denied for a variety of reasons.

If you are concerned about applying for naturalization or preparing an application form, you can consult an expert, such as an administrative scrivener.