About Procedures To be Taken after Arrival in Japan

“Residence Card” system uses a card that serves as a certification of the foreigner residing in Japan, which was newly implemented in July 2014.

Formerly, foreigners were obliged to carry their passport, which has been replaced with Residence Card of which size is reduced so that it can be slipped into a wallet. A Residence Card certifies that the bearer is an individual that legally resides in Japan and has the permission to engage in activities other than those permitted under the status of residence previously granted.

You must always carry the card during your stay in Japan.

Residence Card is not issued to all foreigners who visit Japan, but only those  who plan to stay in Japan for a mid or long period (three months or longer).

What is “Residence Card”

Residence Card is a card issued by the Immigration Bureau to foreign residents who are to stay in Japan for a mid or long period. The card contains information on residence-related matters, such as landing permission, permission of changes of status of residence or residence period. Every time any change is made to residence-related matters, the Immigration Bureau takes procedures to reissue or update the card, so it can be used as a “certificate” issued by the Minister of Justice  (Japanese Government) that certifies  that the bearer is a foreigner with legitimate residence status.

Bearers of Residence Card are obliged to notify any change in the information on the card, so that the information in the card is kept updated.

Information contained in Residence Card

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Region
  • Residence
  • Residence status
  • Period of residence
  • Work permitted or not
  • Portrait (persons at age of 16 or older)

Obligation to carry and present Residence Card

Foreigners are obliged to carry and present their Residence Card under the law. You may be required to present your Residence Card at a counter of a public office or by a police officer on a street. If you do not carry the card, you may be subject to a fine of up to 200,000 yen. Furthermore, you may be suspected of illegally staying in Japan. So do not forget to carry it whenever you go out. But, this obligation is not applied to foreigners whose age is under 16.

Copy of your Residence Card number

Make sure to write down your Residence Card number on your datebook, etc., for just in case  you lose it. You would be able to promptly take procedures for the reissue.

Loss and reissue

If you lose or stain your Residence Card, you can apply for reissue of the card to the Immigration Bureau, which will provide you with a new Residence Card.

If you wish to change the photo on Residence Card, or if you want to replace the card with new one, you can apply for reissue. In such a case, you will be required to pay 1,300 yen as the reissue fee.

Obligation to notify

If you change or quit your job or school, or divorce or separate from your spouse, or your spouse has died during your stay in Japan, you must notify the Immigration Bureau office at the following address, of the matter  within 14 days:

5-5-30, Konan, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 108-8255
Notification acceptance section, Information Processing Department, Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau

Note 1: Indicate as “Notification Form Enclosed” in red on the envelop.
Note 2: Enclose the notification form and two photocopies of the Residence Card.

What is the difference from VISA?

What is VISA?

A VISA is a recommendation of a Japanese Embassy in a foreign country to the Immigration Bureau, and assures that the passport of the relevant foreigner is valid and there is no problem with his/her entry into Japan. It is issued by an embassy or consulate in a foreign country.

What is residence status?

Resident status is a kind of permission to stay in Japan, which is granted to a foreigner and means that “the relevant person is permitted to stay in Japan until MM/DD/YY.” The Immigration Bureau (an immigration officer) determines whether a foreigner can stay in Japan or not when he/she arrives at an airport (seaport) in Japan.

About “resident registration” of international students

An international student who plans to stay in Japan for a mid or long period, he/she must “register his/her residence”, and notify to that effect. You must “register your residence” with the office of the city/ward/town/village where you reside by presenting your Residence Card and notifying your new address within 14 days after you have determined or changed your residence .

* If an international students received the statement of “the Residence Card will be issued at a later date” near the Landing Permission stamp on his/her passport when he/she entered Japan, he/she must present the passport instead of the Residence Card and notify the office of his/her address.

For moving-in or moving-out notification under the Basic Resident Register Act, contact the nearest office of your city/ward/town/village.

Under “My Number System,” an individual number “My Number” will be given to an international student who “registered  as an resident.”

A “My Number” will in principle be given to every individual  even he/she is a foreigner as long as he/she registered his/her residence in Japan.

The individual number given to a foreigner who is to stay in Japan for a mid or long period in Japan is a 12-digit number as those given to the Japanese people.

Various administrative services made available to international students under My Number System are also same as those made available to the Japanese people. The My Number System may be expected to be enhanced and accordingly become more convenient for international students.

Even if you return to your home country, the My Number given to you will remain effective for your entire life. If you have stayed for a mid or long period in Japan and leave Japan without obtaining permission for re-entry, you must return your Residence Card and Individual Number Notification Card or  individual number card. When you return the cards, in return, a card stating your individual number will be issued. When you re-enter and plan to stay in Japan for a mid or long period again, present the card, and a new individual number card will be issued.

The individual number is specifically given to each person, and one of personal information by which  the person can be identified.

Be sure to keep the number confidential and do not easily disclose it to third parties other than public offices or your employer.

After the individual number is given:

An individual number is basically to be used to identify your status, but foreigners can identify their status by their Residence Card, so there will be not many chances to present or use the number. Carefully keep the relevant card in a place where no one else can access it.

By issuing an individual number, information on every foreigner who will stay for a mid or long period can be managed or checked through the system.

Even if you are a foreigner, the records of your income, tax payment, social insurance premium payment, etc.  can be correctly checked. You will be treated in the same manner as Japanese people.

This is a measure to prevent foreign workers from suffering any disadvantage but you also must be careful to appropriately pay tax and social insurance premiums and not to engage in any illegal part -time job.

When you receive the notification card of the individual number, you will find the “application form for issue of My Number Card” enclosed in the envelop.

If you wish, return this application form to the sender, and you will receive My Number Card. There should not be many opportunities to use it, so you do not have to use the application. It is said that even many Japanese people usually do not have the My Number Card.

You can apply for the issue of My Number Card online.

Website for the Individual Number Card / Application by a personal computer(English)

Issuing service at convenience store

Convenience stores provide the service to issue public documents such as copy of residence certificate or seal registration certificate using My Number Card.

Issuable Certificates

  • Certified copy of residence certificate
  • Seal registration certificate
  • Certificate of items stated in Residence Certificate
  • Certificates of various tax payments
  • Certificate of family register
  • Certified copy of supplementary family register

Merits of the system

  •  Improvement of convenience of residents
  • Reduction of workload of public office counter
  • Reduction of cost for tasks to issue certificates
  • Services available in early morning or late-night (6:30 to 23:00) on Saturdays, Sundays or national holidays (excluding the period from Dec.29 to Jan.3 )
  • Regardless of where you live, the issuing service is available in the convenience store closest to your place (meaning it is available at currently 48,000 convenience stores throughout the country)

Some cities/wards/towns/villages may not have introduced the convenience store issuing system.

When you wish to use the issuing service at a convenience store with your Basic Residence Register Card, you are required to submit an application for the issuing service of convenient stores to a counter of the city/ward/town/village office, and have the office set a code number for each certificate to be issued. On the other hand, with the individual number card, only by including information to be used for electronic certification at the application for the issue of the card,  you can use the issuing service at a convenient store without specific procedures but only with the use of the code number registered for the electronic certification system, as soon as the city/ward/town/village starts the issuing service through convenient stores.