How long does it take to apply for permanent residency in Japan?


The standard processing time for applying for permanent residency in Japan is 4 months, but in reality, it is not uncommon for it to take 6 months or longer. If you want to get the permit faster, check all the documents carefully before submitting the application.

Permanent residency application period

When reviewing the application for permanent residence, careful consideration is given to whether there have been no problems with your residency status in Japan in the past and whether you will be able to live without problems in the future. There are many aspects that need to be checked., so you should expect that it may take up to 6 months to receive the results.

Standard review period

According to the Ministry of Justice, the standard review period for applying for permanent residency is 4 months (Procedural Guide page). However, it can be shorter or longer, depending on the application’s content and the reviewer’s workload. In recent years, it has usually taken between 6 months and 1 year.

Factors that influence the examination time

The main reason why examination time varies is the content of the procedure for each candidate. The more items the examiner has to examine, the longer the examination will take. Conversely, if the exam does not need to be as rigorous, it will be shorter.

▼ The duration of the examination is less than the norm if

  • The submitted documents are sufficient and the examination is completed without additional procedures
  • There are no possible reasons for rejection 

▼The examination duration is extended if

  • Insufficient documents have been submitted
  • Additional materials and document corrections are required
  • It is necessary to pay attention to the details of public records during the applicant’s stay in Japan
  • There are factors that may be a reason for rejection (poor behavior, problems with tax obligations for previous years, etc.)

How do you shorten the time it takes to get a permanent residence permit?

The processing time for a permanent residence application depends mainly on the applicant. If you want to receive the result of your permanent residence application as soon as possible, you should pay attention to the following.

Make sure that none of the documents are missing

The most important thing to shorten the processing time is to properly prepare the documents according to the instructions of the Ministry of Justice. Be attentive when submitting the documents and carefully review the contents.

In the unlikely event that additional documents or corrections are requested, the review will be temporarily suspended. Until the review resumes, it will take at least as many days as it takes the responsible department to receive the requested documents.

Pay attention to the qualifications of your guarantor

If you are applying for permanent residency without a guarantor, it often takes a while for the guarantor to be verified. So remember that you need a guarantor, and make sure that the person listed as your guarantor is qualified for the role.

If you are considering a job change, wait for visa approval first

In order to obtain permanent residency in Japan, you must be in permanent employment for an extended period of time. If you have only worked for a short time and have recently changed jobs, your employment situation and income will be unstable and you may be found to have difficulty living on your own.

If you plan to change jobs, you should do so after your permanent residence application has been approved.

Hire an administrative scrivener or any other of the various services that are available

It is difficult for foreigners to understand the rules for applying for permanent residency, and mistakes and missing documents are almost inevitable. If possible, hire an administrative scrivener or other support services in your current country of residence to ensure that your application is forwarded for review without any problems.

They can help you especially with the preparation of documents that do not have a fixed format.

Is it possible to check the status after the application has been submitted??

You can check with the immigration office that has jurisdiction over your place of residence on the status of applying for permanent residence in Japan. However, keep your expectations realistic.

You will not receive a detailed response

As for the consideration of residence matters, including permanent residence, the contents may not be disclosed in detail to the public, including Japanese citizens. Therefore, even if you inquire to check the status, you will most likely receive one of the following answers:

▼Example of a response to confirm the review status

  • “We are processing the documents."
  • “Under review."
  • “We sent you a letter because we need to confirm a few things with you."

Inquiries will not be considered unfavorable during the examination

Even if you inquire about the review status, it will not affect your results because “it is troublesome" or “the reviewer was interrupted." Japanese administrative services are friendly to applicants and do their job properly.

However, if you are too persistent, the examination time may be extended. Before submitting an application, Before submitting an application, check it carefully for errors or missing documents to avoid delays.

Approval rate for permanent residence permit

It is impossible to tell in advance whether an application for permanent residence will be approved. The only option is to check the current trend by looking at the relationship between the number of approvals and the number of applications from government statistics, which show that the total number of approvals is declining.

In recent years, the approval rate has been around 50% in major cities

The Japanese government immigration statistics (link) show the approval rate for permanent residence applications for each city. Although there are regional differences, Tokyo has seen a downward trend, dropping to less than 50% in 2020, when the epidemic of the new coronavirus began.

Statistical YearTokyoOsakaSapporo
201468.5%(19,565 out of 28,531)72.9%(4,936 put of 6,765)81.8%(253 out of 309)
201953.3%(18,366 out of 34,453)71.5%(4,980 out of 6,962)69.3%(337 out of 486)
2020 49.3%(16,459 out of 33,336)76.8%(4,469 out of 5,817)68.2%(294 out of 431)

The reason why the approval rate has dropped

The reason why the approval rate for applying for permanent residency has dropped is likely due to the revision of the guidelines in 2019. The standards for paying taxes and social security contributions have become stricter, and even a single failure to do so is now a disadvantage.

Another possible impact is that, given the epidemic of contagious diseases, more people are applying to improve the convenience of public services and private transactions. In any case, you now need to be a little more careful about how you go about your application.

Conclusion │ Prepare in time to apply for the permanent residence permit

Once you get the permanent residence permit, your daily life will be almost the same as that of a Japanese citizen. Prepare carefully before applying so as not to prolong the examination period.

▼How to shorten the examination period for permanent residency application

  •  Avoid incomplete/missing documents
  •  Pay attention to the guarantor’s qualifications
  • Postpone the job change