- Q1 : What is visa?
Visa is issued at a diplomatic mission abroad. Visa "confirms" the validity of an foreign national's passport and also "suggests" that a visa holder would not pose any problem as long as the visa holder enters a nation in accordance with the conditions specified on the visa.
- Q2 : What do the status of residence and period of stay mean?
The status of residence categorizes legally clarifies activities that foreign nationals who enter and stay in Japan can engage in or statuses or positions which allow foreign nationals to enter and stay in Japan. There are 30 types of status of residence at present.
The period of stay refers to the period during which foreign nationals with any of the status of residence can stay in Japan. The permitted period is specified for each status of residence. A foreign national may engage in activities within the scope of the status of residence and period of stay permitted to him/her. The list of Status of residence and term of residence is as follows.
- Q3 : What is the Certificate of Eligibility?
A certificate of eligibility proves that the relevant foreign national conforms to 2 out of the conditions for landing listed in 1 to 4 of A8. By presenting this certificate at the time of the examination for landing, the examination procedures will be smoothly carried out. The status of residence of "Temporary Visitor," for such purposes as sightseeing, visiting relatives, and short-term business, is not covered by this system.
- Q4 : Who may apply for the Certificate of Eligibility?
An application for issuance of a certificate of eligibility may be filed by a foreign national who intends to enter Japan by him/herself or via his/her agent.
For example, an agent for a foreign national who intends to work in Japan shall be a staff member of the organization wishing to accept the foreign national, and an agent for a foreign national who has married a Japanese national and intends to enter Japan shall be the Japanese national who is the spouse of the foreign national.
- Q5 : Where should I apply for the Certificate of Eligibility?
In principle, an application for issuance of a certificate of eligibility should be filed at a regional bureau or a branch that has the jurisdiction over the location of the organization accepting the foreign national or the domicile of his/her relative who will serve as his/her agent, or at a regional immigration bureau that has the jurisdiction over the location of the organization accepting the foreign national or the domicile of his/her relative who will serve as his/her agent.
- Q6 : Can I enter Japan if I possess a Certificate of Eligibility?
You cannot enter Japan only with a certificate of eligibility. You need to receive the issuance of visa at a diplomatic mission abroad by presenting your certificate of eligibility. The Certificate does not always guarantee your entering Japan. You might be denied landing Japan if the landing examination has revealed that you obviously fail to satisfy the landing permission standards as your circumstances have changed.
- Q7 : Will the Certificate of Eligibility expire?
The Certificate of Eligibility is effective for three months. In this sense, if you fail to apply for landing Japan within three months after receiving the certificate, the certificate will naturally expire. (Note) It should be noted that the effective period of the Certificate of Eligibility is different from that of your visa.
- Q8 : What are applicable requirements if a newly-arrived foreign national wishes to get permission for landing Japan?
A foreign national must, in principle, satisfy the following conditions for landing in Japan (Article 7, Paragraph 1 of the Immigration Control Act) before he is permitted to enter the country with the status of residence and period of stay authorized.
- The foreign national must hold a valid passport with a valid visa if necessary;
- The activities that the foreign national will be engaged in while in Japan as stated in the application must be true and must fall under one of the status of residence categories. (For some of the status of residence categories, the foreign national must, in addition, satisfy the landing permission requirements stipulated by the Ministerial Ordinance to Provide for Criteria pursuant to Article 7, Paragraph 1 (2) of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.)
- The period of stay as requested in the application must comply with the provisions of the Ministry of Justice Ordinance.
- The foreign national must not fall under any of the grounds for denial of landing
- Q9 : What is the landing permission requirement?
A foreign national wishing to enter Japan must fall under one of the statuses of residence as stipulated in the Immigration Control Act. Detailed landing permission requirement is stipulated by Ministerial Ordinance to Provide for Criteria pursuant to Article 7, Paragraph 1(2) of Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. These criteria are referred to as " Landing permission requirement." These criteria are very important because noncompliant foreign nationals may not enter Japan in principle. List of the criteria is as follows.
- Q10: What are "Grounds for Denial of landing"? What kind of foreign nationals will be denied landing Japan?
A foreign national will be denied entering or landing Japan if he/she falls under the "Grounds for Denial of landing," which classifies foreign nationals who would pose negative impacts on Japan's public health, public order or domestic security. To be more specific, a foreign national will be denied entering Japan if:
- The foreign national will be denied landing Japan from health/sanitary perspectives;
- The foreign national will be denied landing Japan because he/she has an antisocial nature;
- The foreign national will be denied landing Japan because he/she has been deported from Japan;
- The foreign national will be denied landing Japan because he/she would pose negative impacts on Japan's public interests or public security; or
- The foreign national will be denied landing Japan in accordance with the reciprocity principle.
- Q11: What will happen if a foreign national is denied landing Japan?
If a foreign national is denied entry to Japan and then is deported from Japan, the foreign national must immediately leave Japan. According to Article 59, Paragraph 1 of the Immigration Control Act, the captain of a vessel or aircraft or the carrier who operates a vessel or aircraft (or the carriers of such foreign national, or, in most cases, air carrier, if the foreign national boards an airplane) shall assume the cost and responsibility for the foreign national's deportation from Japan.
If a foreign flight passenger is denied landing Japan, he/she will usually face difficulty in boarding the same aircraft to leave Japan. In this case, such foreign passenger will need to stay in Japan for a couple of days until the most immediate flight is available to leave Japan.
In this sense, according to Article 13-2 of the Immigration Control Act, special inquiry officers or supervising immigration inspectors may authorize such flight passenger to stay in a hotel or any other accommodation near the port/airport for a limited duration. As the foreign passenger is not authorized to land Japan in this case, his/her going out from designated accommodation will constitute illegal entry or illegal landing.
- Q12: Will a foreign national suffer difficulty in visiting Japan in the future if he/she has been ordered exclusion from Japan so far?
Any foreign national will not face such difficulty just because he/she has been ordered exclusion from Japan so far. However, his/her past record of exclusion from Japan will suggest that the foreign national did not satisfy the "Landing Requirements" in the past. Such foreign national must sufficiently prove that he/she satisfies the "Landing Requirements" next time he/she visits Japan.
A foreign national who is deported from Japan may not enter Japan for five years after his/her deportation; However, this rule is not applicable to foreign nationals ordered exclusion because "Exclusion Order" is different from the deportation procedures. (However, it should be noted that a foreign national who is ordered exclusion from Japan may not enter Japan for one year if he/she illegally has narcotic, marijuana, stimulants, firearms, sword, gunpowder, etc. [Article 5, Paragraph 1, Item 9 (i) of the Immigration Control Act])