A Must for Permanent Residents! Application for Re-entry Permit and Special Re-entry Permit

Permanent residents may travel abroad or temporarily return to their home country. If they wish to re-enter Japan at that time, they must apply for a re-entry permit. But what happens if they forget to apply for a re-entry permit?

This article is about how to apply for a re-entry permit and a special re-entry permit.

What is an application for a re-entry permit?

It is an application for a permit issued by the Ministry of Justice to facilitate entry and landing procedures when foreigners staying in Japan temporarily return to their home country.

There are two types of re-entry permits: those that are valid only once and those that are valid multiple times within the validity period.

The condition is that you return to Japan before the end of the period of stay.

The validity period of the re-entry permit is determined by the Minister of Justice within a framework of no more than five years.

It is up to 5 years for permanent residents. However, it can be extended up to six years.

Up to 6 years for special permanent residents. In special circumstances, a one-year extension (up to seven years) may be requested.

If you apply for and obtain a re-entry permit in advance, you will not need a visa when re-entering Japan with the same status of residence.

A visa is a document issued by a country’s government to obtain permission to enter the country during the landing procedure.

The applicant can apply for the re-entry permit by himself/herself or hire a lawyer or an administrative employee reported to the director of the regional immigration office and requested by the applicant.

Departure from Japan without re-entry permit

Please note that if you leave Japan without a re-entry permit, both your residency status and length of stay will expire.

After you apply for a new visa and pass the landing inspection, you will receive a new entry permit.

Therefore, foreigners who have obtained residency status should apply for a re-entry permit when they leave Japan.

What is a special re-entry permit?

In principle, a special re-entry permit is issued when a foreigner who has obtained a residence status in Japan and holds a passport re-enters Japan within one year of leaving Japan (within two years for special permanent residents). This is a system that recognizes a special re-entry permit as a foreigner.

If you wish to leave Japan with a special re-entry permit, simply check the “Declaration of Intent for Re-entry Permit" column on the ED re-entry/exit card.

No fees will be charged.

However, a re-entry permit may not be issued to persons who have a criminal record for disorderly conduct, are facing deportation, or have had their residency status revoked.


Please note that if you leave Japan without having obtained a re-entry permit, both your residency status and residency period will expire.

If you are a foreign national with a residence status, you should apply for a re-entry permit when you leave Japan.

On the other hand, if you have obtained a residency status in Japan and have a passport, you will usually be granted a permit if you re-enter within 1 year of leaving Japan (within 2 years for permanent resident foreigners).