Legal Procedures for your stay in Japan

Upon entering Japan at Narita, Haneda, Kansai or Chubu Airports, all new foreign residents with medium- to long-term residence status are issued a residence card. New residents arriving through different ports can get their cards at their municipal offices.

The Residence Card (Zairyu Card; 在留カード) replaced the previous alien registration card (gaikokujin tōroku shōmeisho; 外国人登録証明書). It includes details such as date of birth, nationality, address, the status of residence, period of stay.

The residence card system covers foreign nationals who do not come under any of the following:

  • (1) Persons granted permission to stay for 3 months or less
  • (2) Persons granted “Temporary Visitor” status
  • (3) Persons granted “Diplomat” or “Official” status
  • (4) Persons recognized by Ministry of Justice ordinance as equivalent to the foreign nationals in the aforementioned (1) to (3)
  • (5) Special permanent residents
  • (6) Persons with no resident status

For most services, such as opening a bank account, money remittances, etc., the residence card is required. And also, it is required for all foreign residents in Japan to carry their residence card with them all the times.

For those who received Residence Card

You are instructed to carefully check if there are any error regarding your identification in your residence card granted.

  1. Regarding Residential Status
    The residential status indicated on your residence card should be the same with your immigration status indicated on your visa.
    Period of your residence granted and the term validity for your residence card should also be checked once the card is issued at the port of entry.
  2. Registration Residence
    You are requested to bring your Resident Card or your passport with an indication of “issuance for another day” in the Passport and register your residence with the Ward Office in your municipality within a period of 14 days after you have had a fixed residence.
  3. Obligation to carry your Resident Card at any time
    You are under an obligation to carry your Resident Card at any time and show it if / when an Immigration Inspector(s), Immigration Control Officer(s) and Policemen etc. ask you. Furthermore, in case you don’t have your Resident Card in your possession, you might be subject to a fine in the amount of 200,000 Japanese Yen or less, in case you do not comply with their request, you might be liable to imprisonment for less than one year or a fine in the amount of 200,000 Japanese Yen or less. Incidentally you leave from the country with a Special Re-Entry Permit, it is necessary for you to show your Resident Card.
  4. Notification Concerning your Resident Card
    It is necessary for you to notify your nearby Local Immigration Office regarding the matters mentioned below from item (1) to (3) and in reference to item (4), you are requested to notify the Ward Office in your municipality within a period of 14 days after you have changed the matters. Please make inquiries to your nearby Local Immigration Branch Office

    1. Change of your name, nationality /region, date of birth, sex
    2. Change of your affiliated organization
    3. Divorced / breavement from your spouse
    4. Change of residence

An Individual Number (kojin bangō; 個人番号), popularly known as My Number (mai ambā; マイナンバー ), is a 12-digit ID number issued to all residents and citizens of Japan (including foreign residents in Japan). Its purpose is for taxation, social security and disaster response.

My number notification card will be mailed to you by your local ward office. In case you need the number while My number notification card is not yet sent, you can go to your local ward office to get a residence certicficate (jūmin-hyō; 住民票). It includes the my number. The fee for juuminhyou is 300yen per copy.

Every Japanese owns their personally made Personal Seal (判子) it serves as one’s own signature for signing legal documents, bank documents and sometimes for receiving mail.

Getting your Own Personal Seal (判子)

  1. Finding a store to get your Personal Seal (判子) is not hard. Anywhere you can find a store that makes Personal Seal (判子). You can usually find these stores with a collection of Personal Seals displayed on the store window or outside.
  2. For foreign nationals, usually you can use the Kana version of your name or the Kanji version if there is a valid translation for your name.
  3. How much does it cost to get a hanko?
    Japanese spends 3,000 JPY and above for their own hanko. Prices vary depending on the size and quality of materials that will be used for your hanko.
  4. Sample Personal Seal Character for Foreign names.

Immigration Bureau of Japan

For information on entry and stay for foreign nationals and other immigration procedures.

Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines, Tokyo Japan

For information on OFW assistance and renewal of passports.