Requirements for a spouse visa with a 3-year residence status

Some holders of this visa may be wondering what the length of stay is for a spouse visa and how long it can be extended. Especially since approval to extend a spouse visa with a 3-year residency status is a requirement for applying for permanent residency. But how do you apply for a stay of 3 years or longer? This article is about how to apply for the duration of stay and extension of a spouse visa.

What is the length of stay for a spouse visa?

This is a residence status that a foreigner who has married a Japanese citizen can acquire to live in Japan. It is also referred to as a “marriage visa." The official designation is “spouse or child of a Japanese citizen". 

It can be applied for by foreigners living abroad, foreigners currently living in Japan, and foreigners who are biological children of a Japanese citizen, as well as children adopted through special adoption.

There are no restrictions on residence in Japan and the visa holder is mostly free to choose his or her occupation.

The duration of the residence permit can be 5 years, 3 years, 1 year and 6 months. 6 months and 5 years are newly established periods due to the revision of the law in July 2012.

In most cases, the original period of stay is granted for only one year.

As the length of stay in Japan increases, the length of stay granted also gradually increases from one year the first and second years, three years the following year, and so on.

If you are granted a period of stay of three years or more, you are eligible for permanent residency.

Application for renewal of spouse visa

This is possible from 3 months before the expiry of the current period of stay. The standard processing time for a spouse visa renewal is approximately 2 weeks to 1 month.
The renewal process should take up to two months after the expiration of the period of stay.

How is a length of stay of 3 years or more determined? 

If you wish to apply for permanent residency, you must have a spousal visa with a length of stay of at least 3 years.

An applicant qualifies if he or she

  • Has met the reporting requirements under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.
  • Meets various public obligations
  • Does not qualify for a stay of 5 years, 1 year, or 6 months 
  • Has already been granted a stay of 5 years, 1 year, or 6 months and would fall under one of the above conditions if the length of stay is extended

In addition, in many cases, a residence permit may be granted for the continuation of the marriage if the duration of the marriage is 3 years or more.

Requirements for applying for a permanent residence

  • Good conduct
    No criminal record, traffic violations, etc.
  • Sufficient assets or ability to earn a living
    This means you have sufficient income and ability to live a normal life.
  • It is determined that permanent residence is in accordance with the interests of Japan.
    This includes certain requirements, such as work experience of at least 5 years and a residence status that allows for extended stay.


If you wish to apply for permanent residency, you must have a spouse visa for at least 3 years. To obtain a spouse visa for 3 years or longer, you must meet various public obligations, comply with reporting requirements under the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act, and meet requirements such as continuity of marriage.

In most cases, the first spouse visa is initially issued for only one year.