How to Obtain A Spouse Visa in Japan
Are You Ready For the Plunge?
So, you’ve made it to Japan, already met-- or just met the love of your life and decided: “I want to stay here in this culturally rich, beautiful land!” Remember, you can only apply for this type of visa if you are already married. In this article, I will explain How to Obtain A Spouse Visa in Japan.
Well lucky you, huh? Now comes the fun, yet nerve-wracking part: Applying For Your Spouse Visa (Dun Dun Dun!)
Don’t stress too hard, and just ask yourself a few questions first. Do you like living in Japan, whether it be in a small place like Hirai, a bustling place like Shinjuku, or even places like Funabashi and Nagoya; where lights are always shining in the nightlife?
Then prepare for a series of sleepless nights trying to get a bunch of paperwork in order for you to stay in your spouses home country (in this instance-- Japan). This will take time, and with the right help, it’ll be easier and less anxiety-inducing than you think.
Use the Resources Provided to You
Many people will try to fill out their own documentation thinking it can’t be too hard right? It’s more paperwork than you think and isn’t always the most accessible to the public.
The best way to go about this is to hire an immigration lawyer to handle the paperwork and guide you through these hoops.
If you weigh the pros and cons of going through this important time in your life with someone who knows what they're doing, versus doing it DIY style, you could save a lot of heartache and tension.
It will cost you though, about ￥149,000 which is about $1,416.99 based on the current market. If for whatever reason, your Visa is declined, the lawyer ( at least mine) will return half of the initial cost as insurance.
So proper documentation is incredibly important! I can’t stress this enough. Many couples have had their visas stalled because of paperwork that wasn’t filled out properly.
If you don’t know what you need you should be able to find all the materials necessary on the U.S Embassy and Consulates website services for U.S citizens.
Check it Off!
Going in order on this checklist the very first thing you need is a sworn Affidavit of Competency to Marry. You WILL need the English and Japanese version; the English version when being notarized, and the Japanese one, while at the nearest municipal office.
You will need to make an appointment for notarial services via the .gov website as found in the link above.
Two witnesses must sign the Kon In Todoke (request of registration of marriage). They can be any nationality but must be over the age of 20. (Don’t ask the staff, they aren’t allowed to be your witnesses).
The next step: Actually Getting Married. (Who would have thought?) After that, you’ll be given your “Certificate of Acceptance of Notification of Marriage” (Kon-in Todoke Juri Shomeisho). This is your only proof of marriage, so try not to lose it.
Now comes the fun part, applying for your Spouse visa. Your lawyer will provide you a checklist of the necessary materials needed such as;
○4cm x 3cm photo (Bust up, non-purikura, and taken within the last three months)
○Family Registry (Koseki/ 戸籍)
○Resident Certificate (Juminhyo/住民票)
○Letter of Guarantee http://www.moj.go.jp/ONLINE/IMMIGRATION/16-1-24.pdf
○Passport (not listed but is required)
○The Spouse that will support you will need to provide a Certificate of Employment and most recent tax payment certificate.
○(All documents written in any language other Japanese must be translated into Japanese.)
○Try to provide information and family photos and such, as they can help your case. (Proving a fruitful relationship rather than an elaborate hoax.)
After providing all of this your lawyer will then proceed to apply for your Certificate of Eligibility (COE). This whole process right up to this point shouldn’t take more than two weeks (if you’re already married). Afterward, it’s time to play the waiting game! A general timeframe in which you have to wait for a response can be anywhere from 1-3 months.
Home is Where the Visa is
Now, if you’ve been granted your COE, it’s now time to exchange it for your Spouse Visa. There are two ways to go about this.
1. Exchanging your Spouse COE at a Japanese embassy outside of Japan.
a. This is the traditional method for obtaining the Spouse Visa. The COE is exchanged at a Japanese Embassy for the visa outside of Japan. The process taking 2-3 days. The spouse then travels to Japan and is given their Visa at the Port of Entry.
2. Undertake a Change of Status to Spouse of a Japanese National SOR in Japan.
a. In some cases, under the Japan Visa Waiver Program or some other form of short-term entry, the foreigner then applies for Spouse / Child of a Japanese National SOR. Which is a change of status, usually at a regional immigration office nearby.
b. A change of status takes approximately up to two weeks, during which, it is impossible for the “Applicant” to travel outside Japan.
Just Your Friendly Neighborhood Gaijin
Congratulations! You’ve most likely gotten your new Residence Card along with your Spouse Visa of a Japanese National. You can let that deep breath out now; kick back and drink a nice Long Island Tea if you want- you earned it.
If you ever plan on leaving Japan for less than a 12- month time period you don’t need to worry about a Re-entry permit, that was taken care of in July of 2012. But, if it is for a longer period than 12 months, apply for a re-entry permit before you leave Japan.
So on that note, with all this information at hand, and advice from someone who's gone through this exact process not too long ago either, I hope you guys have smooth sailing! It’s time for yet another adventure; maybe even yours.
In case you are looking for a job,
the article below includes the best sites that will help you find a job in Japan.