Naturalization (the process of obtaining Japanese citizenship) takes a long time. For many people, it also takes a long time to obtain the necessary documents before the actual application. This article is about what covers the time from application to approval, i.e. the overall process.
The period from the application for approval of naturalization to the announcement of the result
The standard period for naturalization procedures in Japan has not been disclosed. Usually, an interview is held 2 to 3 months after the application is submitted. After the interview, it usually takes another 8 to 10 months before you are notified of the outcome of the application.
The actual time needed for the procedure depends on the individual situation of the applicant.
Procedure from the application to the approval of naturalization
The whole procedure from the preparation of the application to the approval can be divided into 3 steps, starting with the phase before the actual application.
1. Preparing the required documents
The documents required for the naturalization application are different for each applicant. Therefore, you first need to contact the Legal Affairs Bureau to find out what you need in addition to the prescribed application form.
Follow the instructions provided by the Legal Affairs Bureau, and once you have prepared the documents proving your (1) family relationships, (2) property status, (3) employment status, and (4) other living arrangements, contact the Legal Affairs Bureau again for a final check of the completed application form.
Approximately one to two months after you have submitted the required documents, you will be notified of an appointment for an interview. Usually, this appointment will take place on a date of your choosing, if possible. However, depending on how busy the Office of Legal Affairs is, the interview date may be more than a month after they contact you.
The interview will last about an hour and you will talk primarily about your reasons for applying for naturalization. If you are getting married and applying together with your family, your partner will usually be interviewed with you.
3. Notification of the result
With the interview completed, the last necessary information is gathered and the actual review of the documents begins. You may receive a call from the legal Affairs Bureau if they need additional documentation during the course of the review.
If the review goes smoothly, you will be notified by phone approximately one year after submission that your application has been approved.
What are the methods and requirements for expedited naturalization?
Since the review of the naturalization application is left to the Legal Affairs Bureau, you can only receive expedited approval if you meet the requirements in your application. Those that fall under the following categories typically have shorter processing times.
Minors and young people who are new to society have less lengthy professional careers than older people. The work history makes up the bulk of the documents for naturalization, but for young people, there are fewer things to consider, so naturalization approval is granted more quickly.
Employees (wage earners)
For the same reason, a person who is employed by a company and makes his or her living primarily from salary income has a shorter examination time than a company manager or sole proprietor. This is because employees have to provide less evidence of assets and employment.
Applicants who have a relative who has already been naturalized
If relatives, especially parents and siblings, were naturalized before you, there are two areas that may be beneficial in the review. First, some of the applicant’s information was already recorded in the earlier naturalization application. Second, they can expect support from those who were naturalized earlier, and it is assumed that they can lead a stable life in Japan.
For the above reasons, the overall review time is shorter.
Conclusion │ The naturalization process takes at least one year
The naturalization process in Japan takes more than a year. An interview is held two to three months after the application, and you are notified of the result eight months later. Since the required documents are decided on a case-by-case basis, it is not uncommon for a month to pass before the application can be finally submitted.
If you want to obtain Japanese citizenship early, you should actively seek the help of experts in your place of residence.