[Important] What to do when your visa (residence status) expires


The visa (residence status) you receive when you enter Japan is temporary, but many people do not know what to do when it expires. This article explains the different types of residence status and what to do when it expires.

What is a visa (residence status)?

It is proof that a foreigner is allowed to stay in Japan and that they can engage in certain activities during their stay.

Residence status is defined in the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.

Foreigners must have a residence status to stay in Japan, but they cannot have two residence statuses at the same time.

Residence statuses are broadly divided into residence statuses based on the activity in which one engages and those based on status or position (e.g. permanent/long-term resident ).

There are 29 types in total, each with a different length of stay. Depending on the type, there are those that allow carriers to work and those that do not.

If a foreigner passes the application review, they are issued a certificate of eligibility.

Illegal residence is when a foreigner stays in Japan without a residence permit.

Residence statuses that allow you to work in Japan

There are 19 types of residence statuses that allow you to work:

  • Diplomat, official, professor, artist, religious activities, journalist/media, highly skilled foreign professional, business manager, law/accounting, medicine, researcher, instructor, engineer/specialist in humanities/international business, intra-company transferee, nursing care, entertainment, skilled worker, specified skilled worker, technical intern training

Residence statuses that do not allow you to work

The residence statuses that do not allow you to work are as follows:

  • Cultural activities, short-term stay, study abroad, education, family stay

Difference between residence status and entry visa

An entry visa is a certificate that allows a foreigner to enter Japan and is issued by a Japanese embassy or consulate.

In other words, it is not a guarantee of your stay or permission to engage in activities in this country.

Once you are in Japan, you apply for a residence permit at the immigration office. If you meet the screening criteria, you will be issued a certificate of eligibility.

What to do if your visa (residence status) has expired?

If you overstay by even one day, you are in Japan illegally. If your visa (residence status) has expired, you must contact the Immigration Bureau immediately and report to the nearest immigration office.

Generally, you can extend your visa within two months before your current visa expires, but in many cases you will need to submit additional documents.

When you go to the immigration office, be prepared to summarize and explain why you want to stay in Japan and why you have not been able to complete the procedures in time.

If you can prove that there were unavoidable circumstances, the request for extension may be accepted. If you find that your period of stay has expired, you should not ignore it or run away.

You can extend your visa (residence status) within 3 months before the expiry of your period of stay.


If your visa (residency status) has expired, you must contact the immigration bureau and report to the nearest immigration office.

If your period of stay expires while you are abroad, you may be able to enter within two months of the expiration date.