Visas in Japan: Gov’t to change foreigner registration, visa system

March 19th, 2012By Category: Visas & Immigration

On July 9, a new system of residence management will be implemented that combines the information collected via the Immigration Control Act and the Alien Registration Law respectively. Foreign nationals residing legally in Japan for a medium to long term are subject to this new system.

 The government started accepting applications for new residence registration cards on Jan 13, which will then be issued after July 9. To apply for the new card, you are required to appear in person at the nearest regional immigration bureau.

The Ministry of Justice says the new system ensures further convenience for such persons by extending the maximum period of stay from 3 years to 5 years. In addition, a system of “presumed permit of re-entry,” which essentially exempts the need to file an application for permission for re-entry when re-entering Japan within one year of departure, will be implemented.

Upon introduction of the new system of residence management, the current alien registration system shall become defunct. Medium- to long-term residents will get a new residence card which they will be required to always carry with them. Children under the age of 16 are exempt from the obligation to always carry the residence card.

Foreign nationals residing legally for a medium to long term with a status of residence under the Immigration Control Act, EXCLUDING the persons described below, shall be subject to the new system of residence management:

  1. Persons granted permission to stay for not more than 3 months
  2. Persons granted the status of residence of “Temporary Visitor”
  3. Persons granted the status of residence of “Diplomat” or “Official”
  4. Persons whom a Ministry of Justice ordinance recognizes as equivalent to the aforementioned foreign nationals
  5. Special permanent residents (for example, of Korean descent)
  6. Persons with no status of residence

Permanent residents, meanwhile, will have to apply for a new residence card within three years from July 2012.

What is the residence card?

The residence card will be issued to applicable persons in addition to landing permission, permission for change of status of residence, and permission for extension of the residence period, etc. The card is equipped with an IC chip to prevent forgery and alteration, and the chip records all or part of the information included on the card. Fingerprint information will not be recorded in the chip.
The card will contain a portrait photo of the individual and the following information:

  1. Legal items given
  2. Name in full, date of birth, sex,  nationality
  3. Place of residence in Japan
  4. Status of residence, period of stay, date of expiration
  5. Type of permission, date of permission
  6. Number of the residence card, date of issue, date of expiration
  7. Existence or absence of working permit
  8. Existence of permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted under the status of residence previously granted

New visa and re-entry system

(1) Extension of the maximum period of stay

The status of residence with a period of stay of 3 years under the present system, will be extended to 5 years. As for the status of residence of “College Student,” the maximum period of stay will be extended to “4 years and 3 months” from the current “2 years and 3 months” starting from July 1, 2009.

(2) Revision of the Re-entry System

A foreign national with a valid passport and a residence card will be basically exempt from applying for a re-entry permit in cases where he/she re-enters Japan within one year from his/her departure. In cases where a foreign resident already possesses a re-entry permit, the maximum term of validity for the re-entry permit shall be extended from 3 years to 5 years.

Conditions of Revocation of Status of Residence

Implementation of the new system of residence management includes establishment of the following provisions concerning the conditions of revocation of status of residence and deportation, and penal provisions:

  1. The foreign national has received, by deceit or other wrongful means, special permission to stay
  2. Failing to continue to engage in activities as a spouse while residing in Japan for more than 6 months (except for cases where the foreign national has justifiable reason for not engaging in the activities while residing in Japan
  3. Failing to register the place of residence within 90 days after newly entering or leaving a former place of residence in Japan (except for cases with justifiable reason for not registering the place of residence), or registering a false place of residence
  4. Forgery or alteration of a residence card
  5. Being sentenced to imprisonment or a heavier punishment for submitting a false notification required of medium to long term residents, or violating the rules concerning receipt or mandatory presentation of the residence card

For further information, visit http://www.immi-moj.go.jp/newimmiact_1/en/index.html or call the Immigration Information Center at 0570-013904 (weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:15 p.m.)

Photos taken at Shinagawa Immigration Office by Masa Yagishita

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Author of this article

GaijinPot

GaijinPot is an online community for foreigners living in Japan, providing information on everything you need to know about enjoying life here, from finding a job and accommodation to having fun.

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