What is a certificate of eligibility required to live in Japan as a foreign spouse?


To invite and live with a foreign spouse living abroad in Japan, it is recommended to first apply for a certificate of eligibility.

This is because it is easier and faster to obtain an entry permit to Japan with a certificate of eligibility.

However, you may not be sure what kind of document a certificate of eligibility actually is.

Therefore, this article provides an overview of the certificate of eligibility for living in Japan as a foreign spouse.

What is a certificate of eligibility?

A certificate of eligibility for residence status is a type of certificate issued by the Ministry of Justice when a foreigner intends to land in Japan with a residence status other than “temporary visitor”.

The Ministry of Justice conducts a preliminary examination to determine whether the activities the foreigner intends to conduct in Japan meet the conditions for landing in Japan.

If a foreigner has a certificate of eligibility, it can be assumed that the Ministry of Justice has approved the foreigner’s landing in Japan.

Foreign nationals who present a certificate of eligibility are therefore subject only to a simple and quick landing check.

The advantage of having a certificate of eligibility is that the procedure for landing permission in Japan is expedited and allows smooth entry into Japan.

If you are planning to bring your spouse to Japan, having a certificate of eligibility will allow you to live together in Japan more quickly.

Requesting a certificate for your spouse to join you in Japan

To apply for a certificate of eligibility, you need to contact the nearest regional immigration office.

The usual processing time for a certificate of eligibility is about 1 to 3 months.

If there are no problems with the application or verification, the original certificate of eligibility will be sent by registered mail.

Once you receive the original, you can send it by international freight mail to your spouse living abroad.

Procedures to be performed by the foreign spouse

A foreign spouse who obtains a certificate of eligibility for residence needs to present the certificate to the Japanese embassy or consulate in their country of residence and apply for a visa to enter Japan.

Once you receive your visa, you can leave your country of residence, travel to Japan, and go through the immigration process.

At immigration control, you need to present your certificate of eligibility along with your visa. If there are no special problems at the inspection, you will be granted residency status as a spouse of a Japanese citizen.