Is it possible to continue living in Japan on a spouse visa after a divorce?
As the number of international marriages increases, there are cases of foreigners divorcing in Japan on a spouse visa. What procedures are required if you want to stay in Japan after divorce? Some assume that they will face problems after the divorce because they will lose their residency status." This article is about foreigners on a spouse visa who get divorced and the procedure for changing the visa for long-term residence.
What happens if a foreign national on a spouse visa gets divorced?
The “Spouse or Child of Japanese National" visa may be applied for by foreign nationals living outside Japan, foreign nationals currently living in Japan, and foreign nationals who are children of a Japanese national, or children that have been adopted through special adoption.
Some foreigners who are here because of their marriage may be concerned that they will not be able to renew their visa if they divorce their Japanese spouse.
However, there are cases where you can continue to stay in Japan even after a divorce.
If a foreigner who holds a spouse visa of a Japanese citizen or permanent resident spouse gets divorced or is widowed, he or she must report to the Regional Immigration Office or the Tokyo Immigration Office within 14 days by mail or through the Immigration Electronic Notification System.
You must notify the Minister of Justice. If you fail to do so, you may be fined up to 200,000 yen under Article 19-16-3 of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.
In other words: If you divorce, you will lose your residency status as a “spouse or child of a Japanese national" and must notify the regional immigration office within 14 days.
Foreigners who wish to continue living in Japan after a divorce must apply for a long-term residence visa.
Change from spouse visa to long-term residence visa
In order for a foreign national to change from a spouse visa to a long-term resident visa after a divorce, the following requirements must be met.
- He/she was married to a Japanese spouse for at least 3 years.
- Has an income that allows him/her to live independently.
- Has a child with the former Japanese spouse.
- Has sufficient Japanese language skills not to be impaired in daily life.
- Meets public obligations such as tax payments.
If you have custody of the child after divorce and need to take care of the child in Japan, you can change you status of residence even if the marriage lasted less than 3 years.
In addition to these requirements, this is determined comprehensively and based on many factors on an individual basis.
If a foreigner on a spouse visa divorces, he or she loses his or her residency status as a “spouse or child of a Japanese national" and must notify the regional immigration office within 14 days.
Foreigners who wish to continue living in Japan after the divorce must apply for an change to the long-term residence visa.
The spouse-visa holders must meet the above requirements to change their long-term residence visa.