My Number and My Number Card in Japan - all you need to know about benefits, eligibility and applying.
If you’re married to a Japanese citizen you may be eligible for a Japan marriage visa - also known as a spouse visa. These visas can be issued for individuals who want to stay in Japan for up to 3 years, with renewals available if required.
Check out this full guide to the Japan spouse visa, how to get it, and what documents you’ll need to prepare. We’ll also touch on how you can save money when living as an expat, using Wise for low cost international payments which use the real mid-market exchange rate.
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The Japan spouse visa is issued to people who are married to Japanese nationals, who may already be in Japan, or who plan to visit. Spouse visas can be issued for lengths of either 6 months, 1 year, 3 years or 5 years.¹
If you’re not yet in Japan you’ll need to apply for a spouse visa through your local Japanese embassy. People who are already in Japan should apply through the Japanese immigration bureau (see the list of immigration bureaus in each area)
In each case you’ll need documents and evidence to support your application, passport style photos and your valid passport. We’ll cover the full documentary requirements in just a moment.
The first thing you’ll need to do in most cases is apply for a certificate of eligibility (or Zairyu shikaku nintei shoumeisho 在留資格認定証明書 in Japanese)¹. This can take a while to process, but having the certificate in place at the time you apply for your spouse visa will make it much more straightforward to get your visa issued.
If your Japanese spouse lives outside Japan and cannot issue a certificate of eligibility in Japan, you should talk to an embassy.¹
To get your certificate of eligibility as a spouse of a Japanese national, you’ll need:²
- Completed application form
- One photograph (4 cm long × 3 cm wide)
- Family register of the Japanese national, stating that they are married to you (issued within the past 3 months)
- Marriage certificate issued by an institution in your home country
- Documents to prove that you can cover the cost of your living in Japan, such as tax certificates or bank statements
- Letter of guarantee from your Japanese spouse
- Completed questionnaire giving evidence of your marriage
- The Japanese spouse’s family register and resident registration certificate (issued within the past 3 months)
- Two or three photos to show your marriage is genuine
- Reply envelope with 404 yen in postage stamps attached
The application forms as well as information for the sponsor are available on the Immigration Services Agency’s page.
If you have your certificate of eligibility already, you’ll then be able to take the next step of applying for your Japan spouse visa. It’s worth noting that you may be able to apply for your marriage visa without having the certificate of eligibility in advance. However, the Japan spouse visa processing time will then be much longer.
To give an example, the Embassy of Japan in the US states that spouse visa applications which have the certificate of eligibility will take about 4 days to process - those without the certificate already in place can take months³.
Spouse visa Japan required documents include¹:
- Japan spouse visa application form (get it from an embassy)
- Certificate of eligibility
- Passport photos
- Valid passport
You may need more documents based on your nationality. Check with your embassy for more details.
To renew your spouse visa you’ll need to visit your local immigration office, taking along⁴:
- Completed application form
- Passport photo
- Family register of the Japanese national
- Evidence you can pay for your extended stay in Japan
- Residence certificate for both the spouse and the Japanese citizen
- Guarantor form (the guarantor should be your Japanese spouse who lives in Japan)
- Residence card
All the information you need as well as application documents, is available on the Japanese Immigration Authorities’ website.
If you have been married for more than 3 years and have lived in Japan for at least 1 year, you may consider applying for a permanent residence.⁵
|Read more: Permanent resident visa in Japan: Application guide|
If you separate or divorce from your Japanese partner, you’ll need to report the change to the immigration authorities within 14 days. Because your visa is based on your relationship, you’ll have to reapply for a new visa within 6 months, if you want to continue to reside in Japan⁶. Take professional advice to make sure you’re on the right side of the law.
Whenever you need to send, spend, or receive payments internationally, you need Wise. Send money abroad with the mid-market exchange rate and low, transparent fees, which can be up to 14x cheaper than Japanese banks.
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There you have it - the full guide to getting and renewing your spousal visa in Japan. Immigration processes can be a headache, and do change from time to time, so make sure you get all the up to date details before you start your application. And when it’s time to send or receive payments in a foreign currency, get Wise to cut the costs and get your payment where it needs to be, fast.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan - Spouse visa
- Application for issuance of a Certificate of Eligibility (spouse of a Japanese national)
- Spouse/Dependent of a Japanese National (for stay of over 90 days up to three years)
- Application for extension of period of stay (spouse of a Japanese national)
- Immigration Services Ahency of Japan - Guidelines for Permanent Residency
- Sendai Forest Visa & Law office - When a Japanese national and their spouse get divorced
This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.
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