The permanent residence card is valid for 7 years. If you do not renew it, you face severe penalties, one of which is deportation.
This article summarizes the purpose of the residence card issued to foreigners and the procedure for renewal.
The residence card for foreigners serves as proof of their name, date of birth, citizenship, etc. It has a similar purpose to a driver’s license or my number card for Japanese citizens and it is required by law for foreigners to carry it with them at all times.
Who is the Residence Card Is Issued to?
A foreigner who is eligible for a residence card is defined as a “medium to long-term resident" under Japanese law. Medium to long-term residents are foreigners who do not fall into any of the following categories (which applies to most foreigners living and working in Japan).
▼Foreigners who are not issued a residence card (those who are not eligible for medium- or long-term residence）
Six cases in which a residence card is not issued.
- To individuals who have been issued a residence permit for three months or less
- To individuals who have been granted the residence status of “temporary visitor"
- To individuals who have been granted the residence status of “diplomat" or “official"
- To individuals who are listed in the Ordinance of the Ministry of Justice as persons referred to in (2) and (3) above
- To special permanent residents
- To those without residence status
Residence card has a validity period
The residence card has a period of validity that is, in principle, the same as the period of stay established at the time of issuance/renewal/change of status of residence. When it expires, it can no longer be used and it is possible that you will be deported as an illegal immigrant.
If you have received a card, you must remember to renew it by the end of the validity period in order to be able to stay in Japan.
Permanent residence cards have an expiration date of 7 years
Permanent residents have an unlimited period of stay, but the residence card is valid for only 7 years. If you do not renew it after this period, you risk having your permanent residency revoked.
Renewal application acceptance period
As with all residency cards, renewal applications for permanent residency cards are accepted beginning 2 months prior to the expiration date of the current card. If you are not available within this period (e.g. due to a business trip), it is possible to submit the application in advance.
- Current residence card
- Passport (if you cannot present it, a written statement of reasons)
- Documents proving the circumstances (external certificates for long-term business travel plans, etc.)
If the expiration date of the validity period is the 16th birthday, you can start the renewal procedure starting 6 months before that birthday.
Application procedure for renewal
If you provide the following three items when applying for an extension and contact the regional immigration office that has jurisdiction over your place of residence, the application will be processed the same day. Please note that in some cases you may need to retake the photo due to imperfections (wearing a hat, blurriness, etc.).
- Residence card
- Application form
- Face photo (4 x 3 cm, no hat)
- There must be no background
- It must be a clear photograph.
- Taken within 3 months of the date of submission
*If you apply for the card through a representative, make a copy of the documents and submit the original.
Differences between permanent residents and other statuses of residence
The purpose and status of residence are not the same for all foreigners living in Japan. For illustration purposes, here are some differences.
Differences with special permanent residents
A special permanent residence permit is issued in place of a residence card to a “special permanent resident" who has lost Japanese citizenship under an international treaty. Its form is the same as a permanent resident card, and it also has a validity period.
Differences with people who have received a naturalization permit
If you are naturalized and receive Japanese citizenship, you will not be issued a residence card. This is because as long as you have Japanese citizenship, you can obtain a my number card or/and driver’s license.
Both have a validity period – the same as the permanent residence card – but the penalty after the validity period of your driver`s license expires is only that you cannot drive a car. There are no serious penalties, such as deportation.
Conclusion│Permanent residents must continue to renew their residence card
Permanent residents are treated as foreigners. They need a residence card for ID and must apply for renewal every 7 years. Unlike immigration, this is a simple process that you can easily forget about if you are not careful.