Questions about VISA


I am planning to go back to my home country for vacation. I heard something about some special permission for leaving Japan.
Do you know anything about this?

Yes, it is called a "re-entry permit" and you do need to get one before leaving Japan. Without this permit, your visa will be cancelled when you depart Japan and you must apply all over again for a new visa. If you are from a country which has visa exemption arrangements with Japan, you may be able to enter back into Japan but your visa will then be a "Temporary Visitor" visa and will only be valid for 3 or 6 months (depending on your nationality). Especially troublesome is that you can not change your visa back to "Researcher" or "Professor" again from a "Temporary Visitor".

My advice would be to get a re-entry as soon as possible even if you do not have any specific plans to leave Japan. Something may happen at home which requires you to depart quickly and you may not have time to go to the immigration office and get a re-entry permit in time.

It is said that you can get it at the airport if it is an emergency but it is not a sure thing, I have heard of people being refused. So why take the risk? Get you re-entry and be safe!

The re-entry permit will be valid as long as your current period of stay (but not more than three years). It is either "single" or "multiple" re-entry. "Single" means it is only valid for one trip while "multiple" re-entry permit allows multiple trips abroad. Single cost 3,000 yen, multiple 6,000 yen. You can of course apply for more than one "single re-entry" during your stay but getting a multiple one at the beginning will save you time and hassle.

Please remember to get a re-entry permit when traveling outside Japan.

I forgot to extend my visa and it is now already one week late! What should I do?

You should go to the immigration office immediately and apply for an extension. I would strongly suggest that you bring your host researcher or other Japanese colleague with you. Legally speaking you are "overstaying" and this is quite a serious offence. Explaining why you forgot to extend and a lot of apologizing together with the appeal of your Japanese host/colleague may result in you getting away with just a warning. However this is not at all sure, everything is "case by case" when it comes to the immigration office.

Immigration Bureau of Japan

Please remember to keep your visa in order. Japanese immigration is being though on people who overstay. This is your responsibility. Take it seriously.


I brought my wife with me to Japan. She would like to get a part time job. Is it possible for her to do so? She has "dependent" visa.

It is possible for someone with a dependent status to work part time. She can apply to get a special permission "Shikaku-gai katsudo (資格外活動)", permission to engage in paid activity other than that permitted by the status of residence.

First, she needs to find a job.
When she has an agreement with an employer she will need to bring the following documents to the immigration office in person;

  • Application form (2 copies, available at the immigration office)
  • Passport
  • Alien registration card
  • Materials indicating the nature of the work (employment contract, brochure describing the company, etc)
  • Fee ........ free

Usually part time work is considered 28 hours a week or less.

The application form will ask a few details about the work. She is recommended to use common sense in determining whether or not the position she is considering is appropriate.
Please notice that she can not start working until she gets the permission, and that the permit will be for that particular work and if she changes work she will have to apply again at the immigration office.

She can accept also payment for the following activities without getting the special permission. However, these activities can not be performed regularly, (like every day or every week).

  • Lecturing, debating or similar activities.
  • Advising judging, consulting or similar activities.
  • Creating novels, theses, art works, photographs or similar activities.
  • Participating in events, movies, TV shows or other similar activities.
  • Helping with household work for relatives or friends.

We are having our first baby here in Japan. What do I need to do regarding my child's visa?

First contact your embassy and find out what you need to do to get your child's passport. It is important that you try and get a passport as soon as possible.
Without a passport it would be complicated if you suddenly should have to travel abroad for some family emergency.

As for the visa (or correctly; status of residence), First register your child at the local city office. (see Anna Hotline-Having a Baby in Japan) and then apply for a passport. If you get the passport within 30 days of the birth, take the passport and go to the nearest immigration office and get a "dependent" visa (status of residence).
If you can't get the passport within the 30 days, please go to the immigration office anyhow with your child's birth certificate and Alien registration. They will give you a temporary document until the passport arrives.

Lately the immigration office has become quite strict with the "within 30 day" rule and you may have trouble if you are late in appearing at the immigration office.