Minami-Odori Bldg. 5F, Odori Nishi 10-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan 060-0042


Visa and Immigration News


Changes to the points system for highly skilled professionals and residency requirements for Permanent Resident from 26th April 2017


Highly skilled professionals who score 70 points or more in the points based system are now eligible for permanent residency after 3 years of living in Japan. The period will be shortened to only one year for those who score 80 points or more. But note that residency requirement is only part of several other requirements and you should meet all the other requirements, just same as those can apply after 10 years. 


Also, under the revised points calculation table, those who have additional achievements such as bachelor’s degree from one top 300 universities, multiple masters or doctors degree, or investment of 100 million yen in their business in Japan will receive 5 to 10 points respectively. This will make it easy to score 70 or 80 points to be eligible as highly skilled professionals.


Currently, details are only available in Japanese. The immigration will provide necessary information in other languages shortly.



Changes to immigration branch offices in Hokkaido from 6th Oct 2014

Asahikawa branch office will be open in Asahikawa city. Residents in the region can apply for Status of Residence applications such as Certificate of Eligibility, Change of Status, Extension of Period or Permanent Residency.


Otaru branch office will be downsized. It will not handle Status of Residence applications. Residents in the region should apply at Sapporo immigration office.



CHANGES TO IMMIGRATION LAWS                                         June 2014


Bills to change the immigration laws to let foreign nationals with advanced skills to stay in Japan indefinitely after three years of residency on a highly skilled status of residence passed the Diet in June 2014. The details will be decided and announced later. The change will come into force in April 2015.


CHANGES TO IMMIGRATION LAWS                                         July 2012


Resident Card will be issued instead of Alien Registration Card


From July 9, 2012, Resident Cards (RC/zairyu-card) are issued instead of the old Alien Registration Cards (ARC/gaikokujin card).  


Under the old ARC system you had to register yourself at a local government office (yakuba) within 90 days after you came to Japan, and then your ARC was issued. The new RC is now issued at the airport when you arrive in Japan. Then you have to report your address in Japan to a municipal office within two weeks, not 90 days. If you are processed through a local airport, your card will be sent to you after you register your address at a municipal office. 


Your RC will be issued by Immigration (not the local yakuba) every time you extend or change your Status of Residence, so now the validity of your visa (Status of Residency) and your RC will be the same.



Temporary Leaving Japan without Re-entry Permit


As of July 9, 2012, you do not need to acquire a "Re-entry Permit" (sainyuu koku kyoka) beforehand at a local immigration office if you are returning within one year. To be eligible for this, make sure to check "Departure with Special Re-entry Permission." on your Embarkation Card For Reentrant (ED card) at the airport before you leave Japan. By checking the item you will be granted a "deemed/presumed re-entry permit" upon departure.


If you are leaving more than a year, you will need to acquire the permit. Apply for a Re-entry Permit at a local immigration office before you leave. Single Re-entry Permit costs \3,000.



Resident Registration for Foreign Nationals


In Japan, a resident management system called the Basic Resident Register (Juumin kihon daichou) is used to provide administrative services such as education, health care and pension.  Under the system, a Resident Registration Certificate (juminhyo) is created for every individual and filed for each household.  Originally the system was for Japanese nationals only, and administrative services were provided for Non-Japanese by using the information of a separate Alien Registration System. 


From July 9, 2012, the Alien Registration System was abolished and Non-Japanese are now also integrated within the Basic Resident Register system.  As a Non-Japanese resident you will be able to receive the same administrative services as Japanese nationals.  Also, you do not have to register your Japanese spouse as the Head of Household (setai nushi) in the resident registration if you are actually the head of the household.



Extension or Change of visa will not be stamped or sealed on your passport


Your SOR will be stamped or sealed in your passport the first time you come to Japan. But when you extend or change your (Status of Residence) at Immigration, your new SOR will not be stamped or sealed on your passport.  Instead, you will receive an Resident Card showing your new SOR and its validity.  This means the Resident Card, not the passport, will be the only document you will need to prove that you can legally stay or work in Japan.


ID sized photo will be required to extend or change your visa


As a new Resident Card will be issued by Immigration every time you apply for an extension or change, you will have to submit an ID sized photo (4cm X 3cm) for the application. As of September 2012, there is no passport photo booth in the building of Sapporo Immigration. Take your photo beforehand or go to near by photo booth. West 11 station (Subway Tozai Line) and Chuo-ku ward office has a passport photo booth. 




 【北海道内の入国管理局の開設と業務内容の変更  2014年10月6日~】



旭川出張所:北海道旭川市宮前通4155番31 旭川合同庁舎





【入管法改正法案が成立しました】                   2014年6月





 【改正入管法のが施行されました】                2012年7月







































The Ministry of Justice announced that it would introduce a points based system to attract more highly skilled workers. The professions will be classified into three categories: academic, highly specialized knowledge/engineering and investment/management.


Under the newly proposed system, points will be awarded to doctoral/masters degrees, work experience or higher income. Those who score 70 points or higher will be eligible for preferential treatments such as shorter residence requirements for permanent residency, and spouses will be allowed to work.


The date of the introduction of the system is yet to be announced but the Ministry says it will be some time (and as soon as possible) in FY 2012 which starts in April.





Reform bills to change the current immigration laws have passed the Diet in July 2009. 


The changes below will take place within three years:


 - Residence cards (zairyu-ka-d) with IC chip will be introduced to replace alien registration cards (gaikokujin touroku shoumeisho).


 - Maximum period for most visas (status of residence) will be extended to five years from current three.


- No reentry permit application will be required to leave Japan for less than 12 months.



The changes below will take place within one year:


 -"College student" and "Pre-college student" visa will be unified to "College student" visa.


 - Two month residency visa will be automatically granted for those who made an extension application in time. 


More information is available at the immigration's web site:


Changes to the Immigration Act




 [CHANGES TO IMMIGRATION LAW]                 April  2006


Tighter regulations on Teijusha (long term resident) status. The immigration now requires police clearance for both entry and extension


  - Applies to Japanese descent (nikkei-jin) except for Japanese

      war orphans left in China


  - Applies to both entry and extension


  - Brazil: Police clearance by Police Federal and Policia Civil


    Peru: Police clearance by Policia Nacional de Peru, Direccion 

             de Criminalistica, Division de Identificacion Criminalistica, 

             Departamento de Expedicion de Certificados 

             de Antecedentes Policiales


    Philippine: PNP DI Clearance by The Philippine National Police

                     and NBI Clearance by National Bureau of 




 [NEWS] Recent Immigration Law Changes ( 2004 - 2005 )


1. Cancellation of Visa



     You could quit your job (+stay for a while without a job,) and get a job just before the expiration of your visa.



     If you do not work for more than three months on a work visa, your visa may be cancelled before it's expiration




2. "Deportation Order " for overstayers



     If you overstayed your visa, you could not come back to Japan for five years.



     If you overstay your visa (and have no other violations) and present yourself to immigration before they find you, you can com 


    can come back in one year.



3. Maximum fine for working without a work visa



     Up to 300,000 yen



     Up to 3,000,000 yen



4. Changes to refusal of re-entry period



     5 years for any overstayers



     1 year if you leave on a "Deportation Order"

     10 years if you have overstayed repeatedly

     5 years for others







The followings are some examples of procedures you will need to take at the immigration.    




“Changing your job”

  If your new job is different from your current job, you need to apply for “Change of Status” along with corporate profile.


If your job falls in the same category of your current visa, you don’t have to apply for a “Change of Status.”  However, that doesn’t guarantee that you can extend your visa. When the Immigration considers your new company(employer) doesn’t meet the standard for hiring foreigners, they will not give you permission when you apply for the renewal (the criteria is not officially published). To avoid this you can apply for a  “Certificate of Authorized Employment.” This certificate means that the Immigration indirectly admits that you will be able to work at your prospective work place on the visa you currently hold, thus, you can extend your visa as long as other conditions remain the same. 


Usually, your prospective company will submit the documents for a “Change of Status” on your behalf.



 “Starting a business”

      You will need an “Investor/Business Manager” visa. To acquire this visa, you have to submit documents that prove your “business” is well established. At least you need to have an independent office and two full time employees. In addition, there are some other requirements. Usually, Immigration conducts on site inspection without advance notice. So, the documents you submit must be based on facts (and also meets the required standards). If you submit exaggerated or false information to Immigration and it finds it to be untrue after the inspection, you will not obtain the visa. Reapplication will be more difficult as the Immigration will become more skeptical about any application by the applicant. 


On the other hand, there are some other visas on which you can start a business such as Spouse visa and Permanent visa. These visas are cost saving for your business as you are not required to have an independent office nor two employees.



“Marrying with a Japanese National”

   You have to submit a notice of the marriage with the municipal office and apply for a Spouse Visa at Immigration.


 1. Submitting the notice


You have to know which country’s law is applicable for your marriage. Horei (Act on the Application of Laws) decides the applicable law. Then based on the law which is applicable, you must make sure both of you fulfill the requirements to marry. You will need submit documents which certify that you meet the personal requirements for an effective marriage in your country (Koninyoukengubishoumeisho.)


 2. Spouse Visa


    Even if you hold a working visa, changing your visa to Spouse Visa is a great advantage, as there will be basically no restriction on your activities. With a working visa, as a Specialist in Humanities/International Services for example, you are not allowed to start a business or get a job which doesn’t fall into “Specialist Humanities/International Services”


  Please note that you do not automatically acquire Japanese nationality by getting married to a Japanese national. There is another procedures required at Legal Affairs Bureau (Homukyoku,) not at the Immigration(Nyukokukanrikyoku”)



“Bringing over your family”

  You will need to apply for the “Dependent” visa on your family’s behalf. If one of your family wishes to get a job as a part time worker in Japan, he or she can get  permission without changing from a “Dependent” visa. To work on a full time basis however, an application for a working visa is necessary.



“Acquiring a Permanent Visa”

Permanent visa is the most advantageous visa for non Japanese. 


Advantages to having this visa or Eijuken are as follows;


1. There will be no restrictions on your activities, so you can be involved in any types of work or even start your own business without having a separate office and two employees.


2. You do not have to go through periodical visa renewal at Immigration.


3. You can divorce without losing your visa. 


4. You can get a credit card or take out a housing loan.


5. You do not have to lose your nationality (see “Naturalization.”)


To acquire the visa,  you need to stay at least ten straight years. However, the required period will be shortened to three years if you have been married to a Japanese national. There are some other circumstances under which you may be eligible to acquire a permanent visa if you have not lived in Japan for ten years. In any case, your visa must be of a longest validity (i.e. three years for a working visa or Spouse visa) at the time of application. 




Procedures for Naturalization are within the jurisdiction of The Legal Affairs Bureau(Homukyoku,) and have no relevance to a Permanent visa which is issued by the  Immigration (Nyukokukanrikyoku.)  This means, unlike some countries where the applicant is required to be a permanent visa holder, you are eligible for the application of Naturalization even you are staying in Japan on a working visa.


 The disadvantage of Naturalization is that you will be asked to lose your original nationality, as Japanese government has a no dual nationality policy.



The permission on which you are allowed to stay in Japan is called “Status of Residence” or “Zairyushikaku.” However, the term “visa” is used in the text as it is more easily understood.







There are several types of corporations and organizations under Japanese laws. 



     ・Kabushiki-gaisha (Public Company or Corporation) 


     ・Yugengaisha (Private Limited Company)


     ・Goshi Gaishya (Limited Partnership)


     ・Goumei Gaisya (Unlimited Partnership)


     ・NPO Hojin (Nonprofit Organization)




Kabushikigaisha is the most well founded organization and you will be trusted by your clients. The minimum initial capital required is ten million yen. For Yugengaisha you need three million yen. However, a new law has been introduced, and now you can now set up these companies without the minimum three or ten million yen. To take the advantage of this new law, you have to submit the document which proves that “you have not running a business at present.” Also, no minimum initial capital is required for NPO.


While there are a variety of differences among these companies, you are required to set up a Yugen Gaisha or Kabushiki Gaisha to acquire an Investor/Business Manager visa.


With some of the businesses, you will also need authorization by the government (e.g. restaurant, antique shop, travel agency, temporal employment agency)





















   ・Altering business incorporation status.


   ・Increasing or decreasing capital of corporation


   ・Amending the articles of corporation


   ・Opening a foreign branch office in Japan






Sapporo Immigration Bureau

Sapporo Government Building No.3, Odori, Nishi 12-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo 060-0042

Tel: 011-261-7502 


Otaru Port Branch Office 

Otaru Port Government Building, Minato-machi 5-3,Otaru 047-0007

Tel: 0134-33-9238


Hakodate Port Branch Office 

Hakodate Port Government Building, Kaigan-cho 24-4,Hakodate 040-0061

Tel: 0138-41-6922


Kushiro Port Branch Office 

Kushiro Port Government Building, Minamihama-cho 5-9,Kushiro 085-0022



Chitose Tomakomai Branch Office   

Sapporo Regional Immigration Bureau Terminal for International flights C/O 

Shin Chitose Air Terminal Building Bibi, Chitose 066-0012  



Chitose Tomakomai Branch Office 

Tomakomai Port Government Building, Minato-machi 1-6-15,Tomakomai 053-0004



Wakkanai Port Branch Office 

Wakkanai Port Government Building, Kaiun-cho, Wakkanai 097-0023





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