The current Foreign Registration System will discontinue and a new “Visa Control System” has been in effect as of July 9th, 2012.
Current Foreign Registration System
- All foreign residents have to register for a foreign residential registration at the local administrative office once the residence in Japan is decided. Upon the completion of the registration, an Alien Card is issued.
- Foreign residents are asked to apply for “Re-Entry Permits” at the Immigration Office. The Re-Entry Permit will be placed in the applicant’s passport.
New Visa Control System effective as of July 9th, 2012
- At the time of arrival, foreigners will receive a “Residence Card”.
It will be issued only for those who are planning to stay 3 months or longer.
The Residence Card you receive at the airport does not indicate the residential address.
- ¨ Once your home address is set in Japan, you need to complete “residential registration” at the local administrative office (within 14 days once the residence is determined.)
You will receive a Certificate of Residence and the address will be added to your Residence Card at the same time. In order to register members as a “family”, you must provide proof of the relationship by showing original marriage or birth certificates, for spouse and children respectively.
- ¨ If you are planning to return Japan within 1 year after leaving Japan, you will not be required to get a Re-entry Permit.
Note: If you have resided in Japan less than 1 year and are to leave Japan, you will be required to re-enter Japan prior to the visa expiry date. You will need to make sure to indicate the Residence Card whenever you leave Japan.
When buying a mobile phone and opening a bank account:
It is necessary to buy a mobile phone or to open a bank account to live in Japan. With the new system, you will be asked to produce the Residence Card with your current address on it or Certificate of Residence instead of the Alien Card that was required previously.
Anyone with an authorization letter can complete the residential registration on behalf of a foreign resident. However, any applications at the Immigration Office including the re-entry permit application, etc. must be done by administrative scriveners.
What about the currently valid Alien Card? :
The current Alien Card will be considered as a Residence Card for a certain period of time, so it is not necessary for you to rush to switch to the Residence Card immediately.
Moving within Japan:
When a foreigner moves within Japan, he needs to submit “転入届(notification of moving in)“and “転出届(notification of moving out)” at the local administrative office, which is the same as Japanese nationals.
For more details, please see the Immigration Bureau under Minister of Justice at