Requirements, application period, and documents needed to acquire Japanese citizenship

To obtain Japanese citizenship, you must meet certain requirements and prepare a number of documents. However, some people may not be sure how to obtain Japanese citizenship because they do not know how to compile the documents, or they want to know what the requirements for obtaining citizenship are. Therefore, this article is about the requirements for obtaining Japanese citizenship and the necessary documents for the naturalization application.

Requirements for Obtaining Japanese Citizenship

To obtain Japanese citizenship, you must apply for naturalization at the Legal Affairs Bureau or District Legal Affairs Bureau.
If you apply for naturalization, you will lose your original citizenship and obtain Japanese citizenship.

There are three types of naturalization: “normal naturalization", “simplified naturalization" and “extraordinary naturalization".
When a foreigner comes to Japan and acquires Japanese citizenship, it is called “normal naturalization".

To apply for naturalization, you need to contact the Legal Affairs Bureau or the District Legal Affairs Bureau in advance. Depending on your situation, you will then prepare the appropriate documents.

Processing time for naturalization application

It takes about 3 to 4 months from the acceptance of the naturalization application to the interview. It also takes about 6 to 8 months for you to receive the results of the review (approval/denial) by the immigration authorities. 

In some cases, they will visit you at home or ask your neighbors about you after the interview.

Requirements for normal naturalization

There are seven requirements for normal naturalization.

  1. Residency Requirement
    You must have lived in Japan continuously for more than 5 years
  2. Eligibility requirement
    You must be at least 20 years old and have reached the age of majority in both their home country and Japan. However, minors may apply if they are naturalized together with their parents.
  3. 3. Conduct requirement
    You have no criminal record, you have not violated any tax obligations, you have not committed any traffic violations, you have not engaged in antisocial activities, etc.
  4. 4. Livelihood requirement
    You are able to support yourself, your spouse, or other relatives with whom you live
  5. Citizenship requirement
    Loss of original citizenship when acquiring Japanese citizenship. However, in some cases, the requirements may be relaxed if circumstances make it impossible to renounce citizenship.
  6. 6. Constititional compliance requirement
    No intention to destroy the Japanese government by violence or to join a gang or terrorist organization
  7. Japanese language proficiency requirements
    Japanese language proficiency equivalent to the lower grades of elementary school is required.
    If Japanese language proficiency is insufficient at the time of the interview with the official of the Legal Affairs Bureau when considering the naturalization application, a Japanese language proficiency test will be conducted.

Documents required for the application

Several documents are required to apply for a naturalization permit. In general, you should prepare the following documents. There is no fee for the application itself.

Application for naturalization permit, statements of reasons for naturalization, curriculum vitae (from birth to the present), written oath, document certifying family relations, certificate of residence, document describing the summary of livelihood, tax payment certificate, driver’s license certificate, schematic map of the area surrounding your residence, schematic map of the area where you work, documents describing the basic features of your business/profession, employment/salary certificate, withholding tax certificate, various tax payment certificates, final tax return, financial statement, loan repayment certificate, certified copy of the land register, etc.


To obtain Japanese citizenship, you must apply for naturalization at the Legal Affairs Bureau or District Legal Affairs Bureau. There are seven requirements for normal naturalization.

Various documents are required to apply for naturalization permit, such as those listed above. If you have any questions, you can consult an expert, such as an administrative scrivener.