How long does it take to apply for naturalization as a Special Permanent Resident?Summary of the procedure


An application for naturalization must be submitted to become naturalized and obtain Japanese citizenship.

In this article, you will learn how to apply for naturalization as a special permanent resident and how the process works.

Consultation at the Legal Affairs Bureau

If you decide to apply for naturalization, you must first go to the Legal Affairs Bureau for consultation.

Consultations on naturalization applications are by appointment only. Therefore, you need to call the nearest Legal Affairs Bureau to schedule a consultation.

When the consultation appointment will take place depends on the Legal Affairs Bureau, but if it is high season, you may have to wait several months. So, it is advisable to make an appointment early to ensure that you have enough time to complete the entire process.

Obtaining the necessary documents

When you contact the Legal Affairs Bureau, you will receive a brochure with application procedures. Next, you need to obtain the required documents listed in the brochure.

In addition to the required documents that you can obtain from institutions in Japan, some documents must be obtained from the applicant’s home country.

Many documents are required, so it takes a lot of time and effort to gather them all.

Submission of documents

Once you have all the required documents for the naturalization application, you can submit them to the Legal Affairs Bureau.

However, if there are any deficiencies in the documents, you will need to resubmit them.


A few months after the documents have been accepted, the Legal Affairs Bureau will usually send you an invitation for an interview.

After you have scheduled the interview, you need to go to the Legal Affairs Bureau on the day of the interview. During the interview, the content of the submitted documents and your basic knowledge of the Japanese language will be reviewed.

Notification of the results

After the interview at the Legal Affairs Bureau, the applicant is usually notified of the outcome  6 to 10 months later.

Naturalization applications from permanent residents are often approved unless there is a serious problem. However, there are cases where approval is not granted, for example, if the applicant has committed a serious crime or traffic violation.

If your naturalization is approved, it will be published in the Official Gazette (a newspaper published by the government) and the Legal Affairs Bureau will contact you regarding the naturalization process.

What should be considered when applying for naturalization as a Special Permanent Resident

Naturalization applications from special permanent residents are usually approved unless there are serious problems. For example, if problems such as the following exist, the application may be denied.

  • Serious crimes such as robbery in the past
  • Multiple traffic violations in the last 5 years (usually 6 or more)
  • Tax violations, such as a residence tax

Naturalization will not necessarily be denied if any of the above problems exist. However, it is very likely that they will affect the outcome of the application. Therefore, you should try to avoid actions that fall under these items.