Required procedures after entering the country
When you arrive in Japan, you will undergo an immigration inspection before you collect your luggage. When you present your Certificate of Eligibility, passport and visa to the immigration officer, you will be issued a resident card (the photo on the resident card is the photo used for the Certificate of Eligibility, so be sure to choose a beautiful photo when you submit it). The card will look like this.
Reprinted from Japan Immigration Bureau
A resident card is a permission to stay in Japan for a medium to long period of time, which means that the resident has obtained permission for the new entry, change of status, and renewal of the period of stay, etc. (quoted from the Immigration Bureau of Japan). A resident card is a kind of ID card for foreigners in Japan. It is required to open an account at a bank or post office, to apply for a cell phone, to use the Internet, to apply for health insurance, or anywhere else where you need to verify your identity.
If you are entering Japan from Narita Airport, Haneda Airport, Chubu International Airport, or Kansai International Airport, you can obtain a resident card directly at the airport’s immigration check; if you are entering Japan from other airports, Japan Customs will stamp your passport with a permission stamp and mail you a resident card.
Within 14 days (2 weeks) after entering Japan, you need to take your resident card to the ward office or city office of your place of residence and submit your residential address to apply for a resident registration card. If you are unable to register your address within 90 days, your visa may be canceled. In addition, you will need your resident card to open an account at a bank or post office, to apply for a cell phone or internet service, to apply for health insurance, or for any other identification.
When you go to the city office to register your address, you need to bring the following documents.
- Residence card
- Resident’s Alien Registration Form
The seal can be prepared before you go to Japan, and the resident visa can be collected and filled out on the spot at the city hall. After waiting for a number at the window, an address record will appear on the back of the resident card, which officially completes the address registration on the resident card and allows the issuance of a resident ticket.
Those who stay in Japan for more than three months (i.e., mid-to long-term residents) are obligated to apply for health insurance. If you have a regular job in Japan, you can join the company’s health insurance, while as a student in Japan, you can choose the national health insurance. If you join this insurance, you will receive a “National Health Insurance Card” (hereinafter referred to as “Insurance Card”). When receiving treatment in hospitals and other places, 70% of the medical expenses of the insured person will be waived by showing the insurance card.
National Health Insurance requires a monthly premium, which is usually mailed to your home mailbox, so you can take it directly to a convenience store and pay for it. The normal insurance fee is about 5,000~6,000 yen per month, but international students can apply for a waiver (those with an annual income below a certain amount can apply for a waiver of the national health insurance fee) by bringing their resident card and student ID card to the city office in their area and filling out an application form stating that they are students and need a waiver.
However, since it takes some time to complete the waiver process, it is recommended that you pay the premiums according to the health insurance policy sent to you first and then wait for the difference to be refunded after the waiver. If you do not pay your insurance premiums, your credit may be affected, and in Japanese society, personal credit is a very important factor.
The national insurance policy will send you a total annual remittance and many separate smaller bills (for each month), so if you are recently getting a remission or are planning to move, it is recommended that you pay monthly.
Choosing procedures after entering the country
My Number Card (マインバーカード)
My Number Card is another personal identification system recently introduced in Japan, where everyone gets a number card with a 12-digit number on it. The number remains the same for life and is different for each person.
This card can be used to apply for various administrative procedures online, as an official identification document, to file personal income tax returns online, and as a health insurance card to check all medical and pharmaceutical costs online, and to file medical expense control reports.
We recommend that you do the same after you register your address.
Permission to Engage in Activity Outside of Eligibility
If you are entering Japan as a foreign student and plan to earn a living by working in Japan, you should remember to submit an application for permission to engage in activities other than those for which you are qualified when you submit the relevant documents at the immigration examination.
So that the back of your resident card will have an additional line of seals: 「許可：原則週28時間以内・風俗営業等の従事を除く (Permission: in principle, the working hours are limited to 28 hours per week, and not allowed to engage in adult entertainment businesses.)」. In this way, you can choose the part-time job you wish to engage in within the limit of 28 hours per week.
Two important points are specified after the permission is granted: part-time or part-time jobs for international students cannot exceed 28 hours per week, and during special periods such as long school vacations, they are not allowed to exceed 40 hours per week, and they must submit a vacation certificate from their school to the place where they are working. Also, it is strictly forbidden for international students to work in the customary industry, gambling and other related jobs, even if they are just washing dishes.
If you are caught violating these two rules, you will not only have your permission to work outside of your status revoked, but you will also be deported to your home country.
In addition, if you do not submit an application for a permit at the airport, you can apply to the Immigration Bureau directly afterwards. However, it may take about a month to process the application later than if it is issued on the spot at the airport.
Extension of the validity period of the resident card
The card has a validity period, which varies depending on the status of residence.
For example, work visas (such as the common “Technology, Humanities, and International Business”) are generally valid for 1 year/3 years/5 years, while study visas may be valid for 6 months/1 year/2 years/2 years/6 months, depending on the school and academic structure.
However, regardless of the type of visa, when the validity period is about to expire, you will need to go to the Immigration Bureau for an extension of the validity period of your resident card.
Generally, you can start the procedure three months before the expiration date.
However, only student visas, employment/work visas, spouse visas, and visas for specified activities can extend the validity period of the resident card, but not working vacation visas.
Deemed Re-entry Permit (Minato Re-entry Permit)
If you need to leave Japan temporarily, don’t forget to apply for a re-entry permit. You will get a re-entry entry/exit record at the airport (below), so be sure to check the box “1. This column.
However, this form is only valid for one year. If you do not return to Japan within one year of leaving Japan, you will need to re-apply for a re-entry permit, which means you will lose your status of residence in Japan. You must pay special attention to this.
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