Q&A: Detailed Questions

1  New System of Residence Management

Residence Card

Q1-1
What is the residence card?

A

A residence card will be issued, in accordance with the introduction of the new system of residence management, to foreign nationals who are staying in Japan for a medium to long term in addition to the landing permission, permission for change of status of residence, permission for extension of the period of stay, etc. Information such as the name, date of birth, sex, status of residence and existence or absence of a working permit will be included on the residence card along with a photograph (See Q1-2).

Q1-2
What kind of information will be included on the residence card?

A

The following information will be included on the residence card along with a photograph under the amended law:

  1. (1) Name in full, date of birth, sex, nationality or region provided for by a Cabinet order as stipulated in Article 2, item 5, sub-item 2 of the Immigration Control Act;
  2. (2) Address of the main residence in Japan (hereinafter referred to as gplace of residenceh);
  3. (3) Status of residence, period of stay, date of expiration;
  4. (4) Type of permission, date of permission;
  5. (5) Number of the residence card, date of issue, date of expiration;
  6. (6) Existence or absence of a working permit; and
  7. (7) Existence of permission to engage in an activity other than those permitted under the status of residence previously granted.
Q1-3
Is the residence card to be equipped with an IC chip? What kind of information will be recorded in the chip?

A

All or part of the information included on the residence card will be recorded in an IC chip. No other information will be recorded.

Q1-4
Will fingerprint information be recorded in the IC chip of the residence card?

A

Fingerprint information will not be recorded in the chip.

Q1-5
How long is the validity period of the residence card?

A

The validity period of the residence card is seven years from the date of issuance in cases of a person aged 16 or over with the status of residence of gPermanent Residenth. For persons aged 16 or over with a status of residence other than that of gPermanent Residenth, the validity period will expire upon the expiration date of the status of residence.

For a person under the age of 16 years with the status of residence of gPermanent Residenth, the validity period of the residence card will expire on his/her sixteenth birthday, thus requiring an application for renewal of the residence card before such day.

For a person under the age of 16 years with a status of residence other than that of gPermanent Residenth, the validity period will expire on the expiration date of the status of residence or his/her sixteenth birthday, whichever comes earlier. If the sixteenth birthday comes earlier, an application for renewal of the residence card must be made before that day.

Q1-6
When will I receive my residence card?

A

The actual date of enforcement of this new system of residence management shall be determined by a Cabinet order within three years from July 15, 2009, the promulgation date of the amended law (More specifically, it is planned that the date would be around July 2012). Therefore, the residence card will be issued to medium to long-term foreign residents (See Q2 of the General Questions) who enter Japan after the enforcement of the amended law and to foreign nationals who received permission such as a change in the status of residence and extension of the period of stay, etc., after the enforcement. For foreign nationals with the status of residence of gPermanent Residenth, it is necessary to apply for the issuance of a residence card within three years from the enforcement of the amended law.

Plans are also under consideration to commence acceptance of reservations for issuance of the residence card from those foreign nationals who wish to make a reservation from the date within two years and six months from the promulgation of the amended law on July 15, 2009 (More specifically, it is planned that the date would be around January 2012). Even in such cases, the residence card will not be issued until after the enforcement of the new system of residence management.

Q1-7
Can I get the residence card at any port of entry?

A

Basically, it is planned that the residence card will be issued at the airport or seaport where the medium to long-term foreign resident (See Q2 of the General Questions) is granted permission for landing.

If a foreign national arrives at an airport or seaport which does not have the equipment for issuance of the residence card, as a temporary measure, the residence card shall be posted to his/her place of residence after the foreign national has registered his/her place of residence at the office of the city, ward, town or village.

If a foreign national has been staying in Japan since before enforcement of the amended law, the residence card will be issued at the regional immigration bureau in exchange for the alien registration certificate which he/she currently possesses.

Q1-8
Do I need to immediately replace my alien registration certificate with a new residence card?

A

Although you may do so if you so wish, you are not required to replace your alien registration certificate with a new residence card upon the introduction of the new system of residence management. If you are a person to whom the new system of residence management applies and you possess a valid alien registration certificate as of the effective date of the amended law (More specifically, it is planned that the date would be around July 2012), your alien registration certificate will for the present time be deemed to be your residence card.

Unless you are a permanent resident, you will receive your new residence card when you take the procedure such as applying for an extension of the period of stay.

If you are a permanent resident, you will be required to apply for your new residence card within three years from the implementation of the new system of residence management.

Q1-9
Do I need to always carry my residence card with me? If I do not have my residence card on my person, will there be any problems (penalties)?

A

You are required to always carry your residence card with you and to present it to an immigration inspector, immigration control officer, police official or other officials if such official asks you to present your residence card.

If you do not have your residence card on your person or do not present it, a certain penalty may be imposed.

Q1-10
If I carry my passport instead of my residence card, will that suffice?

A

Regardless of whether or not you are carrying your passport, you are required to always carry your residence card.

Q1-11
Do my children also need to always carry their residence cards?

A

Those who are under the age of 16 years are exempt from the obligation to always carry the residence card. Therefore, such children do not need to carry their residence card.

Q1-12
If I do not need to immediately replace my alien registration certificate with a residence card after the introduction of the new system of residence management, then do I still need to carry my alien registration certificate?

A

If you are a person to whom the new system of residence management applies (See Q2 of the General Questions) and you possess an alien registration certificate, the certificate will be deemed to be your residence card until the expiration of the period of stay at the time of enforcement of the amended law (within three years from the enforcement in the case of a permanent resident). Therefore, you are required to always carry your alien registration certificate in the same manner as the residence card. If you are a person to whom the new system does not apply, you are not required to carry your alien registration certificate although you are required to carry your passport (except for cases such as with crew members where you are required to always carry a permit in accordance with the Immigration Control Act. See Q9-1).

Q1-13
What should I do if I have lost or damaged my residence card?

A

If you have lost or damaged your residence card, you follow the required procedures at the nearest regional immigration bureau. After the completion of which, you will be issued with a new residence card.

Even if your residence card has not been damaged, if you wish to replace your residence card with a new one, you must go in person to the nearest regional immigration bureau and follow the required procedures. In this case, you will be required to pay a service charge equivalent to the actual expense, the amount of which will be determined by a Cabinet order.

Registration, report and notification procedures

Q1-14
When and where do I need to take the procedures of registration, report and notification?

A

  1.  
    • (1) In cases of a change in your name, nationality, date of birth, or sex:
      • You are required to appear in person to in order to report to the nearest regional immigration bureau within 14 days from the date of such change.
    • (2) In cases of any changes in the organization to which you belong:
      • ¨ If the existence of the organization to which you belong is the basis for your status of residence, such as the status of residence of gEngineerh or gCollege Studenth, you are required to notify the regional immigration bureau of any changes in the organization to which you belong including a change in the name or address of such organization within 14 days from the date of such change. However, if your status of residence is gArtisth, gReligious Activitiesh or gJournalisth then such notification is not required since the existence of such organization does not necessarily form the basis for these statuses of residence and there are no problems with regard to the residence management of these statuses. If your status of residence is based on your personal status or position such as gSpouse or Child of Japanese Nationalh, etc., you are not required to give notification of the change in the organization to which you belong.
    • (3) In cases of any changes in your personal status or position such as divorce from a spouse:
      • ¨ If you are staying in Japan with the status of residence of gSpouse or Child of Japanese Nationalh, gSpouse or Child of Permanent Residenth or gDependenth, and your personal status as a spouse is the basis for your status of residence then you are required to notify the regional immigration bureau of any changes in your personal status or position such as divorce from your spouse or your spousefs passing away within 14 days from the date of such change.
  2. In cases where a new place of residence is determined or the place of residence has changed:
    • ¨ If you are a medium to long-term foreign resident who has newly entered Japan, you are required to register your place of residence within 14 days of settlement in your residence at the office of the city, ward, town or village where you reside. The same procedure will apply if you change your place of residence.
    • The details of methods of registration will be decided at a later date. Further, there are plans to allow registration via a personal representative or messenger; a procedure not allowed under the alien registration system.
Q1-15
Will there be any penalties if the necessary procedures of registration, report or notification are not taken or if a false registration etc., is made?

A

A person who fails to fulfill duties such as submission of a notification required of medium to long-term residents may face a fine not exceeding 200,000 yen. A person, who has submitted a false notification etc., may face imprisonment with work for not more than 1 year or a fine not exceeding 200,000 yen. If you fail to register your place of residence within 90 days after newly entering or leaving a former place of residence in Japan (except for cases with justifiable reason for not registering the place of residence), or register a false place of residence, your status of residence may be revoked.

Q1-16
There is no regional immigration bureau near my place of residence. Do I still need to visit the regional immigration bureau in person in cases of a change in my employment, etc.?

A

In cases of a change in the organization to which you belong or divorce from your spouse etc., you are required to notify the regional immigration bureau of such. Regarding the method of notification, plans are being considered to allow notification via mail.

Notification by the organization to which the foreign national belongs

Q1-17
Do organizations to which foreign nationals belong such as schools need to provide information concerning those individuals to the regional immigration bureau? If so, when will this take effect?

A

Schools and institutions which accept foreign students, trainees and interns currently provide necessary information concerning those individuals to the regional immigration bureau without being expressly obliged to do so under the current Act; however, the amended law expressly stipulates such cooperation from the aforementioned institutions. It is important that organizations to which the foreign nationals belong provide necessary information for validation and analysis of the information provided by the foreign nationals, in order for us to be able to secure the accuracy of such information and to implement fair residence management. Full cooperation in this regard would be highly appreciated.

The actual date of enforcement of this new provision shall be determined by a Cabinet order within three years from July 15, 2009, the promulgation date of the amended law (More specifically, it is planned that the date would be around July 2012).

Q1-18
What kind of information will organizations to which the foreign nationals belong be required to provide? Will there be any penalty if organizations fail to provide such information?

A

The details regarding which institutions will be required to provide a report to the regional immigration bureau and what shall be reported will be defined by a ministerial ordinance at a later date. Institutions considered subject to the requirement of making reports are to include such as educational institutions that accept foreign students.

There will be no penalty in cases where an institution does not provide such a report. However, in such case, a stricter examination may be conducted, including confirmation of the facts concerning foreign nationals who belong to the institution, when one of the foreign nationals applies for extension of the period of stay, etc.

Q1-19
If there is no regional immigration bureau in the neighborhood, do employers, etc., of organizations need to visit the regional immigration bureau in person for the provision of reports?

A

The report is to be provided to the regional immigration bureau that has jurisdiction over the location of each organization providing the report. However, it is important not to place an excessive burden on the organizations to which foreign nationals belong with regard to the provision of reports. Therefore, plans are being considered for methods that enable employers, etc., of organizations to provide reports without visiting the regional immigration bureau in person.

Revocation of the status of residence

Q1-20
In what kinds of cases will the status of residence be newly revoked? When will this take effect?

A

The following are the new conditions for the revocation of status of residence:

  1. (1) Foreign nationals have received, by deceit or other wrongful means, special permission to stay;
  2. (2) Failing to continue to engage in activities as a spouse while residing in Japan for six months or more (except in cases where the foreign national has justifiable reason for not engaging in the activities while residing in Japan); and
  3. (3) Failing to register the place of residence within 90 days after newly entering or leaving a former place of residence in Japan (except in cases with justifiable reason for not registering the place of residence), or registering a false place of residence.
  4. The actual date of enforcement of this new system shall be determined by a Cabinet order within three years from July 15, 2009, the promulgation date of the amended law (More specifically, it is planned that the date would be around July 2012).
Q1-21
Will the status of residence be revoked even in cases such as when a victim of domestic violence does not register a change in his/her place of residence because the victim does not want the victimizer to know his/her whereabouts?

A

In principle, when a victim of domestic violence does not register a change in his/her place of residence because the victim does not want the victimizer to know his/her whereabouts, such a situation is deemed to come under gcases with justifiable reason for not registering the place of residenceh as stipulated in Article 22-4, paragraph 1, item 9 of the Immigration Control Act. In this case, the status of residence will not be revoked.

Similarly, even in cases where a victim of domestic violence does not engage in activities as a spouse, if the victim is engaging in activities such as mediation over the custody of a child, then it is to be deemed to come under gcases where the foreign national has justifiable reason for not engaging in the activities while residing in Japanh stipulated under Article 22-4, paragraph 1, item 7. Even when a gjustifiable reasonh is not recognized, an opportunity for an application to change his/her status of residence is to be provided in cases where it is possible to change the status to another status such as gLong-Term Residenth. Once the application is approved, the person may continue to reside in Japan.

As described above, within the procedure of revocation of status of residence, careful attention will be paid to victims of domestic violence.

Q1-22
When a foreign national is not engaging in the activities as a spouse, in what kinds of cases will an application for a change in the status of residence be permitted?

A

A typical example of a case for which a change in the status of residence to that of gLong-Term Residenth will be allowed is when a victim of spousal abuse (domestic violence) is taking care of or raising a biological child with Japanese nationality.

Q1-23
In what kinds of cases will it be deemed that there is gjustifiable reasonh in not registering a place of residence?

A

For example, if the company for which you have been working suddenly goes bankrupt and you have lost your residence, or if you have failed to register your place of residence because you were hospitalized for a long period, your status of residence will normally not be revoked as there is gjustifiable reasonh.

Conditions for Deportation

Q1-24
What are the new additional conditions for deportation? When will they take effect?

A

The following conditions for deportation are to be added. The actual date of enforcement of conditions (1) to (3) is July 1, 2010. Conditions (4) and (5) shall be determined by a Cabinet order within three years from July 15, 2009, the promulgation date of the amended law (More specifically, it is planned that the date would be around July 2012).

  1. (1) Aiding and abetting the making of a falsified or altered document for the purpose of allowing another foreign national to receive permission including landing permission illegally;
  2. (2) Engaging in activities that encourage illegal employment;
  3. (3) Being sentenced to imprisonment without work or a heavier punishment for activities other than those permitted under the status of residence previously granted;
  4. (4) Engaging in forgery or alteration of a residence card or a special permanent resident certificate; or
  5. (5) Being sentenced to imprisonment with work for submitting a false notification or failure to fulfill duties such as applications required of medium to long-term residents.

Penalties

Q1-25
What are the new additional penalties in relation to the new system of residence management?

A

In accordance with the introduction of the new system of residence management, the following are to be established:

  1. (1) A revision of encouragement of illegal employment; and
  2. (2) A penalty for activities such as forgery or alteration of the residence card.
  3. (3) A penalty for the submission of a false notification or failure to fulfill duties such as submission of a notification required of medium to long-term residents, or violation of the rules concerning receipt, carrying, and mandatory presentation of the residence card;

Extension of the Period of Stay

Q1-26
Will the maximum period of stay be 5 years? For which type of status of residence will the period of stay be extended to 5 years? When will this take effect?

A

A new period of stay depending on each status of residence will be determined by a Ministry of Justice ordinance. The details are now under consideration, and it is basically planned that with regard to the status of residence with a period of stay of g3 yearsh under the present system, this will be extended to g5 yearsh.

As for the status of residence of gCollege Studenth, it is planned that the maximum period of stay will be extended to g4 years and 3 monthsh from the current g2 years and 3 monthsh considering the education period of universities and other educational institutions.

The actual date of enforcement of this new system shall be determined by a Cabinet order within three years from July 15, 2009, the promulgation date of the amended law (More specifically, it is planned that the date would be around July 2012).

System Equivalent to Permit of Re-entry

Q1-27
I understand that I wonft be required to obtain a re-entry permit at the regional immigration bureau every time I go out of the country as before. What kind of revision is being made to the re-entry permit system? When will it take effect?

A

A foreign national with a valid passport and a residence card (a special permanent resident certificate in the case of a special permanent resident) will basically be exempt from applying for a re-entry permit in cases where he/she re-enters Japan within one year (two years in the case of a special permanent resident) from his/her departure. Exceptional cases which will require a re-entry permit will be stipulated by a Ministry of Justice ordinance. When a foreign national re-enters Japan after more than one year (two years in the case of a special permanent resident) from his/her departure, a re-entry permit will be required as before.

The actual date of enforcement of this new system shall be determined by a Cabinet order within three years from July 15, 2009, the promulgation date of the amended law (More specifically, it is planned that the date would be around July 2012).

Q1-28
In what kinds of cases do I need to obtain a re-entry permit after the enforcement of the amended law? How long is the maximum term of validity of the re-entry permit?

A

For example, if a foreign national re-enters Japan after more than one year (two years in the case of a special permanent resident) from his/her departure, he/she should, in advance of departure, obtain a re-entry permit as before. The maximum term of validity for such re-entry permit is to be five years (six years in the case of a special permanent resident).

Exceptional cases which require a re-entry permit will be stipulated by a Ministry of Justice ordinance.