Temporary Residence Permits in Japan: A Simple Guide

Stepping into the Land of the Rising Sun, with its rich tapestry of culture, technology, and natural beauty, is a dream for many.

If you’re planning to make this dream a reality, even if just for a short while, navigating the process of obtaining a temporary residence permit in Japan is your first step.

This guide will serve as your lantern, illuminating the path through the often-complex process of securing your stay in Japan, ensuring your adventure starts on the right foot.

Let’s dive in!

What Are The Types Of Temporary Residence Permits In Japan?

Japan has several types of temporary residence permits, otherwise known as “statuses of residence”:

1. Temporary visitor

Tourists, business travelers, and those staying in Japan for up to 90 days for purposes such as sightseeing, sports, visiting relatives, or attending business meetings.

2. Student

For individuals enrolled in educational institutions in Japan. 

The specific period of stay is determined by the Minister of Justice for each applicant. This period is between 4 years and 3 months.

You will first apply for a COE at a Regional Immigration Services Bureau in Japan. You may ask the school you are enrolling in to serve as your proxy.

You may be asked for proof that you can cover your expenses while studying in Japan. 

In this scenario, you may present your savings balance certificate and/or income certificate covering the past several years or the taxation certificate of the person wishing to study in Japan (or their guarantor), 

A residence card will be issued if you plan to reside in Japan for more than three months.

You will also receive your My Number Card which can be used as an official identification card.

3. Spouse or child of a Japanese national

The temporary residence permit for family reunification is known as the “spouse or child of a Japanese national” visa. It is for foreign nationals who are married to a Japanese national or have a Japanese child and want to join them in Japan.

The necessary documents include:

  • Certificate of Eligibility
  • Japan spouse visa application form
  • Original and copy of each family member’s passport
  • Original and copy of the sponsor’s passport or residence card
  • Certificate of enrollment or employment
  • Marriage certificate 
  • Proof of residence in Japan

Apply for a visa at a Japanese embassy or consulate in your country. Keep in mind that you will need to enter Japan and report your stay at one of the local municipal offices (also known as ward offices) within 14 days of setting up residence in Japan.

4. Dependent

For family members of individuals who are working or studying in Japan.

The period of stay is individually designated by the Minister of Justice and is typically for five years or less

Dependent visas are usually granted for the same duration as the primary visa holder’s visa. If the primary visa holder extends their stay, the dependents may also need to apply for an extension of their dependent visa.

Dependents on a dependent visa are generally not allowed to work in Japan. 

5. Trainee 

This permit is for individuals undergoing training in Japanese companies or organizations. You must confirm that you satisfy the requirements for obtaining this permit. These requirements include that you must be at least 18 years of age etc.

The training must be conducted under the guidance of a person who is a full-time employee of the organization that accepts the applicant.  The trainer should have at least five years’ experience in the technology, skills, or knowledge that the applicant intends to learn.

You will also receive your residence card.

6. Cultural activities

For those engaging in specific cultural activities in Japan such as people studying judo, kyudo (Japanese archery), ikebana, tea ceremony, Japanese dance, Japanese architecture, Japanese painting, etc.

The period of stay is either 3 years, 1 year, 6 months, or 3 months.

It is important in the immigration examination to show that you can support your lifestyle in Japan without working. This may include proof of accommodation and proof of finances.

This allows Japanese cultural researchers and practitioners of Japanese traditional skills to come to Japan from overseas.

7. Designated activities 

For individuals engaged in specific activities as designated by the Minister of Justice in Japan such as internship programs, technical intern training, cultural activities, research activities, business management, etc.

The period of stay for this visa can vary, with a maximum of 5 years

Spouses or children of foreign nationals who have been granted the “designated activities” status can also stay in Japan, but they must meet certain conditions and requirements

Temporary Residence Permits In Japan For EU Blue Card

The EU blue card is a special residence permit issued to highly qualified foreign workers who meet certain conditions. It is a permit issued by European Union (EU) member states to allow non-EU citizens to work and live in an EU country. 

As such, the EU blue card does not apply to Japan. If you are interested in working in Japan, you would need to explore the specific work visa and residence permit options available in Japan as stated above.

What Is The Application Procedure For Temporary Residence Permit In Japan?

English-Speaking Lawyers In Japan

The general steps include:

1. Determine the type of permit

Identify the specific category under which you qualify for a temporary residence permit. This could be for purposes such as work, study, training, or cultural activities.

2. Prepare Necessary Documents

Documents required for this permit generally include:

  • A valid passport (at least 2 blank pages for visa)
  • Application form, photograph
  • Finnish residence permit
  • Copy of the residence permit
  • Documents to prove sufficient financial capacity
  • A letter of explanation stating the reason for applying for the multiple-entry temporary visa

3. Certificate Of Eligibility

Before applying, you will need to obtain a certificate of eligibility. This is typically applied for by a sponsor (employer, school, etc.) in Japan on your behalf.

4. Visa Application

Submit your visa application to the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country. The application form can usually be downloaded from the official website of the Japanese embassy or consulate.

5. Wait For Processing

You should wait for processing time once you have submitted your visa application.

6. Receive Visa

If your application is approved, you will receive a visa sticker on your passport. Check the details on the visa carefully to ensure they are accurate.

  • After receiving the visa, you can travel to Japan. Upon arrival, you will need to undergo an immigration inspection at the port of entry.
  • After arriving in Japan, you will need to apply for a residence card at your local municipal office. This card serves as proof of your residence status and is an important document in Japan.

Can You Obtain Permanent Residence In Japan With A Temporary Residence Permit?

Yes, to do so you must fulfill the stated conditions:

1. Complete the required years of residence

To be eligible for permanent residence, you need to have 10 years of residence in Japan. However, there are exceptions, such as for highly skilled professionals, where the requirement may be shorter.

2. Continuous residence

Maintain continuous and legal residence in Japan.

3. Financial stability

You need to have a stable financial position to support yourself and your dependents during the period of residence.

4. Submit required documents

Prepare and submit the necessary documents, which may include tax certificates, proof of income, etc.

5. Language proficiency (optional)

It is not generally an obligation, however, proficiency in the Japanese language can enhance your application.

6. Submit application

Submit your permanent residence application to the immigration office in Japan.  The application form and requirements can be obtained from the immigration office or their official website.

7. Wait for a decision

Wait for the respective committee to assess your application and inform you about the result. 

A permanent residence status allows you to live and work in Japan without the restrictions associated with a temporary residence permit.

Can You Obtain Japanese Citizenship With A Temporary Residence Permit?

This is possible only after you have obtained your permanent residence permit. You must fulfill the following conditions for your Japanese citizenship:

1. Meet eligibility criteria

This includes having resided in Japan for a minimum of five years, demonstrating good conduct, having the ability to secure a livelihood, and a willingness to renounce other citizenships.

2. Submit naturalization application

Prepare and submit the necessary documents for naturalization. The application process is usually done through the local legal affairs bureau.

3. Naturalization interview

You may be called for an interview as part of the naturalization process. This interview is conducted to examine your knowledge of the Japanese language, and customs, and your commitment to becoming a Japanese citizen.

4. Wait for decision

The naturalization process can take several months. You’ll be made aware of the final decision by the Ministry of Justice.

5. Take The Oath

If your application is approved, you will be required to attend a ceremony where you take the oath of being a good citizen of Japan.

After completing the process, you will be granted Japanese citizenship.

You will also receive a new Japanese family register (koseki) and a certificate of nationality.


With the final brushstrokes applied to our guide on obtaining a temporary residence permit in Japan, you’re now equipped with the knowledge to navigate this critical step towards your Japanese journey.

Remember, while the process may seem daunting at first, like mastering the art of sushi-making, precision, patience, and careful preparation will lead to success.

Welcome to Japan, where your new experiences await just beyond the threshold of bureaucracy. Embrace the adventure with confidence and curiosity.

Happy exploring!

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