How to get Permanent Residence in Japan
Permanent residency is the right to continue living in Japan with your native nationality. The Permanent Residence Permit is determined by the Minister of Justice as “permitted” or “not permitted” when a foreigner who has been living in Japan for a certain period of time applies for permanent residence in Japan. Therefore, in order to be granted permanent residence, you must be able to meet the strict conditions.
In this article, we will write about the conditions of permanent residence and points to be aware of as easily as possible for foreigners considering permanent residence.
Pros & Cons of Permanent Residence
The advantages of permanent residency are mainly 1) maintaining your nationality, 2) removing restrictions on your activities of residence, 3) indefinite stay, and 4) applying for permanent residence of your spouse or child. Is also advantageous.
With permanent residency, you will no longer be restricted in your stay in Japan and will be able to work in any profession. For example, a person who worked as an IT engineer on a 技術・人文知識・国際業務 visa could only perform engineer-related work within the scope of the duties approved by the Immigration Bureau. After obtaining permanent residence, you can also operate an Italian restaurant without changing your visa. Of course, there are no restrictions on the types of occupations that you can work, so you can engage in the employment that is called simple labor and sales of customs as long as it is legal.
In addition, since the period of stay is indefinite, there is no need to renew the status of residence. And because the expiration date is gone, it is very advantageous to borrow funds such as mortgages and business funds from banks. Some banks don’t lend money unless they are permanent residents.
Also, spouses and children become “永住者の配偶者等” by acquiring permanent residence of the applicant, making it easier to obtain permanent residence.
Many people ask, “What is the difference between permanent residence and naturalization?” Simply put, permanent residence does not acquire Japanese nationality like naturalization, so it does not give you the right to vote or be elected as a Japanese person, nor does it mean that there is no restriction on being a public servant. On the other hand, the difference from naturalization is that you can live in Japan without restriction in principle indefinitely while maintaining your nationality. In addition, since you will continue to be treated as a foreigner, if you commit a criminal act, you will be subject to deportation from Japan.（永住者の在留資格は取り消し）
Requirement for Permanent Residence in Japan
There are four requirements for obtaining permanent residence in Japan:
(2) The person has sufficient assets or ability to make an independent living.
(3) The person’s permanent residence is regarded to be in accord with the interests of Japan.
(4) You need a Guarantor(身元保証人) for application.
However, in the case of spouses and children of Japanese / permanent residents, the requirements for permanent residence have been relaxed, and the conditions of （3） and (4) will be sufficient.
（１）The person is of good conduct.
The person observes Japanese laws and his/her daily living as a resident does not invite any social criticism.
① No legal penalties have been imposed for violating the laws of Japan
The requirement is that no legal penalty has been imposed in violation of Japanese law. It is necessary that at least 10 years have passed since the imprisonment ended. Five years must elapse after the postponement period has expired.
In the case of a fine, if five years have passed since the payment of the fine, etc., it will not be treated as having been punished in violation of Japanese laws and regulations. In addition, it is necessary that protective actions under the Juvenile Law are not ongoing.
②No minor illegal acts or harassment to society
The requirement is that you do not repeatedly make minor violations of the law that do not constitute a legal penalty or inconvenience the community. Includes fines for traffic offenses and overwork of family members staying on a family visa.
The penalty for traffic offenses is not a legal penalty, but if you repeatedly pay the penalty, you are repeatedly committing illegal activity. At present, it is difficult to estimate the number of traffic violations etc. in the examination process at least 5 times in the past 5 years and at least 4 times in the past 2 years. For example, it is not often memorized that a ticket was illegally locked due to parking prohibition, so you can get a driving record certificate at a police station and check it.
In the case of serious offenses such as unlicensed driving, drunk driving, and running away, it is necessary to wait five years after payment of fines is completed.
Illegal work of your family (overwork)
If you have a family staying on a family visa and the family is overworked, the applicant will be held liable for family misconduct. In that case, three years must elapse.
（２）The person has sufficient assets or ability to make an independent living.
In addition, the income required for permanent residence should be at least 3 million yen for the past 3-5 years. This is the income of the whole household. However, depending on the number of dependent families, you may be required to earn more. From July 2019, you will be able to check your income for the past 5 years. Be careful if you have a yearly income of 3 million yen or less for the past five years due to a change of job.
When you change jobs
If you change jobs, the Immigration Bureau may disallow permanent residence because of your lack of stability. Therefore, it is recommended that you apply for permanent residence about one year after you change jobs. Please note that many foreigners change jobs in a shorter period of time compared to Japanese to improve their career.
If there is no dependent family, the income of 3 million yen per year is a guide, but it is necessary to add about 700,000 to 800,000 yen per year for each additional dependent family. For example, if a man is dependent on a wife and a child, the annual income will be about ¥ 4.4 million to ¥ 4.6 million for 3 million yen + 700,000 to 800,000 yen x 2 people.
（３）The person’s permanent residence is regarded to be in accord with the interests of Japan.
It is important that the permanent residence of the applicant is in the interest of Japan. Specifically, there are six points.
①Stay in Japan for at least 10 years, including at least 5 years with working VISA
Stay in Japan for at least 10 years
You must have been in Japan for more than 10 years.
In other words, it means that you have been living in Japan, and if you have departed from Japan for more than three months, or if you have departed from Japan for a total of 100 days or more per year, it is considered that you have continued to live in Japan. May be lost. Use caution when you are on a long-term business trip or returning to your home country.
However, if this period has passed formally, it is not immediately considered that you will not be resident.You will not be deemed to have left the country for a long period of time, your previous period of departure, the status of real estate held in Japan, The situation will be considered by the Immigration Bureau.
Including at least 5 years with working VISA
You must have been working on a work visa for at least 5 years. This does not apply to those who worked part-time on a student visa. You must have worked for at least 5 years with a period of employment, such as a technical / humanistic / international work visa, skill visa, or business management visa. It is OK even if you live for more than 5 years with your spouse’s residence status.
②Public obligations such as tax payment and social insurance
Taxes such as income tax, resident tax, and corporate tax, as well as pensions such as employee pensions and national pensions must be properly paid and not payable. In addition, they are not asking whether you paid the final payment, but rather whether you are paying on time. If you have not paid taxes or pensions, or you have paid but have not paid by the due date, you will not be allowed.
If you do not pay within the payment deadline
If you do not pay within the payment deadline, you need to accumulate the payment results for 5 years after completing payment and applying for permanent residence. In addition, it is necessary to explain to the immigration bureau why the payment deadline was not met and how to prevent it from recurring. As measures to prevent recurrence, it is conceivable to use a bank account withdrawal or credit card payment system.
In the first place, those who have not joined the national pension need to join the national pension, pay the unpaid portion, and leave a record of joining for the next five years.
Number of legally dependent families
In order to pay taxes, you must be properly dependent on tax law. If a relative who is not originally permitted under tax law is being supported for the purpose of reducing tax payments, permanent residence is not permitted because he / she does not fulfill the appropriate tax obligations (= tax evasion).
③Visa for three years or more
Your status of residence is defined as “5 years, 3 years, 1 year…”. In order to apply for permanent residence, you must have a VISA with a period of stay of 3 years or more.
④There is no risk of harm from a public health perspective.
Specifically, you must not be addicted to drugs, marijuana, or stimulants, and you must not have contracted any infectious diseases such as Ebola hemorrhagic fever or plague.
⑤It is recognized that there is no risk of committing an act that is materially harmful to the public interest.
The content here is similar to the requirements for conduct in (1).
（４）You need a GUARANTOR
You need a guarantor (身元保証人) when you apply your Permanent Residence for the Japanese Immigration Bureau. Only Japanese national people or “Permanent Resident Status in Japan” are available. Only those with a stable income and who have paid their tax obligations can be a guarantor for permanent residence applications. In other words, a person who is unemployed or has not legally declared personal income is ineligible.
[Responsibilities of guarantor]
The guarantor’s guarantee consists of three parts: 1) payment for accommodation expenses, 2) payment for return expenses, and 3) legal compliance of the applicant.The guarantor under the immigration law is morally responsible and has no legal responsibility.In other words, there is no legal obligation to pay the applicant’s stay and return expenses, and he is not responsible for overseeing any violations of the applicant.
However, a guarantor that has failed to fulfill its moral obligations to the applicant will no longer be able to become an guarantor for another permanent resident application.
（For your reference：永住申請の身元保証人を頼むポイント）
Special foreigners whose conditions of permanent residence are eased
While we have explained the general requirements for permanent residence for foreign nationals, the requirements for obtaining permanent residence are partially relaxed for the spouse and children (including adopted and specially adopted children) of Japanese nationals or permanent residents, as described below.
【Those who are exempt from the conditions of (1) good conduct and (2) having an independent financial base】
In the case of the spouse and children (including ordinary and special adopted children) of a Japanese or permanent resident, the requirements for permanent residence permit have been relaxed, and the conditions of contributing to the national interests of Japan (3) and securing a guarantor (4) are sufficient.
In addition, those who meet the following conditions are eligible for a 10-year reduction in the length of stay in Japan.
- The spouse of a Japanese national, permanent resident or special permanent resident is married for three years or more and has been living in Japan for one year or more.
Birth children of Japanese, permanent residents, special permanent residents, and special adopted children who have been living in Japan for more than one year are eligible for
- 定住者 to have been residing in Japan for more than 5 years
- Highly Skilled Professionals who have had at least 70 points for 3 years
- Highly Skilled Professionals who have had at least 80 points for 1 year
Examination period from application to permission
The immigration bureau’s website states that the permanent processing period for a permanent residence application is four months, but at the time of writing this report (January 2020), it actually took eight to ten months. As with other statuses of residence, the screening period varies by applicant’s status, application time, and immigration bureau.In May 2019, the permanent residence guidelines were revised, and the Immigration Bureau has been required to obtain income and tax payments for the past five years, and the number of documents related to pensions has been stricter. With the stricter examination of permanent residence, the probability of permitting permanent residence（永住審査の許可率) has been declining.
For foreigners who want to live in Japan for a long time while maintaining their native nationality, obtaining permanent residence is a status of residence with many advantages. Therefore, the application for permanent residency is very strict and takes a long time. It’s easy to get disallowed if you don’t prepare well, but if you prepare well enough, you’ll be fine. Our experts will make sure that the negative points are well reinforced in advance and the positive points are positively substantiated according to the applicant’s situation. If you have any doubts, please contact us for an interview to discuss your needs.
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Immigration consultant, Financial advisor
18 years experience in Investment Banking at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley. He had provided financial advisory more than 500 entrepreneurs and senior management.
During his tenure, he worked as an employee union executive committee member in promoting diversity, including the active participation of foreigners and women in the workplace, and engaged in activities to improve the working environment. He specializes in consulting and financial consulting on the status of residence for foreigners.
Gyoseishoshi Immigration Lawyer
CMA(Japanese financial analyst license)
CFP (Certified Financial Pllanner)
Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship(Hosei Business School)