What to consider when switching from a work visa to a spouse visa

Some foreigners who have a work visa choose to switch to a spouse visa when they marry a Japanese citizen. However, many do not know how to switch from a work visa to a spouse visa, nor do they know the specifics of a spouse visa. In this article, you will learn how to switch from a work visa to a spouse visa, how a spouse visa works, the benefits, and the documents required to switch from a work visa to a spouse visa.

Switching from a work visa to a spouse visa

There are many cases where foreigners on work visas marry Japanese nationals. However, it is not always necessary to change a work visa to a spouse visa.

In other words, the change of residence status is not mandatory.

However, for future employment purposes, it may be better to apply for a spouse visa.

What is a spouse visa?

A spouse/child visa is a residence status that can be applied for by a spouse married to a Japanese national, a child of a Japanese national, or a special adopted child with a foreign nationality. It is also referred to as a “marriage visa".

The official designation is “spouse or child of a Japanese national".

However, the visa cannot be issued if the applicant spouse dies, the marriage was contracted under false pretenses, or the marriage has already been dissolved.

Advantages of the spouse visa

  • No restrictions on activities

Since there are no work restrictions, it is possible to pursue various work opportunities, such as business management, cook, tax consultant, or clothing salesman.

You are free to work part-time or marginally. It is also possible to attend college or vocational school.

  • The requirements for the permanent residence visa and the naturalization application are less strict

In principle, to obtain permanent residency on a work visa, you must meet residency requirements for 10 years.

If you change from a spouse visa to a permanent residence visa, it is possible to apply after three years.

Documents required for change from work visa to spouse visa

To change from a work visa to a spouse visa, you need to prepare the following documents.

  • Application for permission to change residence status (with your photo attached)
  • Family register of the spouse (in which the fact of marriage is recorded)
  • Marriage certificate (issued abroad)
  • Tax certificate of the (Japanese) spouse for residence tax (or tax exemption)
  • Tax payment certificate of the (Japanese) spouse
  • Letter of guarantee (the guarantor is a spouse living in Japan)
  • Copy of resident certificate listing all members of the spouse’s (Japanese)
  • Household Questionnaire
  • Family photos (3-4 or more)
  • Residence card of the applicant (foreigner) (except for short-term stays)
  • The passport of the applicant (foreigner)


You do not need to change your work visa to a spouse visa. However, changing to a spouse visa has benefits, such as removing activity restrictions and easing conditions on permanent resident visas and naturalization applications.