Is there a legal liability for the guarantor required to apply for a residence status (visa)?

Under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, a guarantor is required in certain cases to obtain status-based residency.

However, a sponsor is not required for a residency status for the purpose of work (work visa). This article explains in which cases a guarantor is required.

Guarantor for residence status (visa) application

In certain cases, a guarantor is required when you apply for a residence status (visa).

It is required if you are applying for the residence status of a “permanent resident", a “spouse of a Japanese national", a “spouse of a permanent resident," or a “long-term resident". 

The applicant must provide a certificate of employment, a certificate of income and tax payment, and a certificate of residence of the guarantor

A person who can act as a guarantor when applying for permanent resident status must be a Japanese citizen or a foreigner with permanent resident status.

For spousal visas, the applicant’s spouse is the guarantor and must be a resident of Japan.

If the spouse’s income is low, they can act as a guarantor along with their relatives.

Foreigners who work in a company can ask their supervisors or work colleagues.

If it is not possible to find a guarantor, you can submit a “statement of reasons for the absence of a guarantor"

What is the guarantor responsible for?

  • Paying for the applicant’s stay in Japan if he/she is unable to do so.
  • Paying for the applicant’s travel expenses to return to their country if the applicant is unable to do so.
  • Compliance with Japanese laws and regulations.

Therefore, the guarantor must have a stable income in Japan. It is also important that they meet their tax obligations and preferably has an annual income of 3 million yen or more.

Responsibilities of the Guarantor

The guarantor is not legally bound. Even if they do not fullfil their obligations, the immigration authorities will only instruct that the promise be fulfilled. 

In other words, it is a moral responsibility and not a legal obligation.

Therefore, even in the unlikely event that a problem arises with the visa holder, they will not be held liable.
However, they will lose their social credibility, so they will never be able to act as a guarantor for foreigners again.


In some cases, a guarantor is required to obtain a residency status such as “permanent resident," “spouse of a Japanese national," “spouse of a permanent resident," or “long-term resident"
However, even if a problem arises with the visa holder, the guarantor will not be held accountable. The document is not legally binding and is only a moral obligation.