Basics for the Japanese Permanent Resident Visa (for spouses)


When you apply for a permanent residence visa in Japan, your past behavior in Japan will be closely scrutinized. And even if you meet certain criteria, your application may not be approved. So it is important that you understand the key points of review before you apply.  

if you want to settle or do business in Japan, you should know the basics beforehand.

What is a permanent residence visa?

A permanent residence visa is just one of 29 types of legal residency statuses in Japan. Holders of such a visa, unlike other residence statuses, may work indefinitely. While they do not have the right to vote or enjoy other rights or services available to Japanese citizens, there are no restrictions on employment or transactions.

Examination criteria for a permanent residence visa

There are three review criteria for a permanent residence visa in Japan. In general, you can only apply if you have been continuously residing in Japan for at least 10 years. Based on your living conditions in Japan, careful consideration is also given to whether you have sufficient income and assets to earn a living and whether there are any problems with your behavior.

Points of the examination

The following three points are the focus of the examination for a permanent residence visa. These are only the requirements and guidelines prescribed by law, but in reality, each individual’s situation is analyzed more carefully.

  1. Are you of good character?

Applicants must abide by Japanese laws, such as traffic rules, and be able to live at work or at home without major problems.

  1. Do you have the necessary assets or skills to earn a living independently?

They also check whether you have enough income and savings to live a stable life for a long time and whether you might become unemployed due to illness or lack of skills.

  1. Is your permanent residency in the best interest of Japan?

At the same time, it is also important that the granting of permanent residency serves the interests of Japan. This judgment is multi-faceted, and the guidelines can be summarized under the following aspects.

  • Generally, you have at least 10 years of residence (including 5 years with work or residence status)
  • You have no fines, jail time, or juvenile convictions
  • You are currently approved for the longest period of stay available for your existing residence status (5 years if you have a work visa)
  • You do not pose a public health threat.

Need for a Guarantor

To apply for a visa for permanent residence in Japan, you must have a guarantor. The role of the guarantor is not to take on debts and fines, but to support the daily life of the applicant by “listening to their problems and giving advice".

The qualifications of the guarantor are not explicitly stated, but it must be determined in a separate examination that they meet all of the following requirements:

  • They are a Japanese citizen or a foreigner with a permanent visa
  • They have a job and a stable income
  • They have committed no tax offenses 

How many months does it take to obtain a permanent resident visa?

It takes about 6 months from the date of application to obtain a permanent residence visa. The standard is 4 months, but it may take longer depending on the applicant’s situation and the workload of the caseworker in charge.

Reason for cancelation of permanent residence visa

Even if you have been granted a permanent resident visa, you are still a foreigner subject to immigration control laws. If you commit any of the following violations mentioned in Article 22.4 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, your permanent resident visa will be immediately revoked.

Remember to follow the prescribed procedures if you need to move or leave Japan, or if your residence permit expires.

  • If you lie or use fraudulent documents in immigration/residency procedures
  • If you do not report the change of residence within 90 days of moving
  • If you leave Japan without obtaining a re-entry permit
  • If you leave Japan with a re-entry permit but do not re-enter within the time limit
  • If you do not complete the required procedures such as renewing your residence card
  • If you are involved in illegal immigration or illegal employment of other foreigners
  • If there is a reason for deportation other than those listed above (crime, forgery of residence card, etc.)

Conclusion │ Support is essential for the issuance of a permanent residence visa

There are no clear criteria for obtaining a permanent residence visa in Japan, and the documents to be submitted must be tailored to the specific situation. In addition, one of the requirements is a sponsor who holds a permanent resident visa or is a Japanese citizen.

Most importantly, unlike the naturalization process, you must fulfill your prescribed duties as a foreigner from the time of application until the permit is issued. If you are considering applying for a permanent residence permit, you should hire an agency to assist you with the process as much as possible.