I. Who can be Permitted for a Spouse Visa
A. What is a "Spouse Visa" ?
When an eligible foreigner living in Japan with an activities visa, like a working visa has married in Japan, is it possible to apply for change of the visa status ?
If an activities visa holder has married with another foreigner other than a permanent resident in Japan, it will not affect the visa status, while the new husband or wife might be able to apply for a "dependent" visa. Please see "Live with Your Family" page.
If an eligible foreigner living in Japan with an activities visa has married with a Japanese citizen or a permanent resident in Japan, the eligible foreigner can apply for a so called "spouse visa".
A spouse of a Japanese citizen can apply for a "Spouse or Child of Japanese National"「日本人の配偶者等」visa.
A spouse of a permanent resident can apply for a " Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident"「永住者の配偶者等」visa.
If a foreigner living in the outside of Japan marry with a Japanese citizen or a permanent resident in Japan, the foreigner can also apply for a "spouse visa".
If you have a spouse visa in Japan, it is principally able to choose your job freely. You can change your job or start your own business in Japan without changing your visa or getting permission from the minister of justice or the other immigrational authority in Japan.
B. How to Apply for a Spouse Visa
If another visa holder in Japan apply for a "spouse visa", it is required to submit an application in a regulated form(“application for change of status of residence”「在留資格変更許可申請書」) and regulatorily required supplemental documents.
Please see the "Changing Job" page of ours on details of procedures, duration charges and fees, because the procedures are basically similar,
while the required documents to be attached with the application are different from working visas.
If a foreigner living in the outside of Japan apply for a "spouse visa", it is generally necessary to get a certificate of eligibility before applying to an embassy or a consulate general in its country.
In order to get a certificate of eligibility, its spouse living in Japan is required to submit an application in a regulated form(“application for certificate of eligibility"「在留資格認定証明書交付申請書」) and regulatorily required supplemental documents.
Please see the "Starting Life in Japan" page of ours on details of procedures, duration charges and fees.
Please also refer to each visa page through our "Types of Visas" page, on what kinds of documents are required by the regulations made by the ministry of justice for each visa, while it might be difficult to prepare required documents adequately by the applicant.
If you hire us, Nihonbashi Prime Legal Office, we shall help you to prepare all of the required documents.
C. Conditions of Spouse Visa
As a spouse visa is one of the most popular visa in Japan which makes its holder be able to work freely, many foreign people opt to apply for spouse visas.
Once there were some criminal cases that foreigners applied for spouse visas showing their fake marriages.
Those case has made the immigration bureau strict on examining spouse visa application.
It is necessary to pay attention to the following:
a) The marriage should be regarded as legally valid both in the country of the applicant and in Japan.
b) The couple should live together principally. They cannot live separately without any rational reason such as job transfer.
c) It is necessary to show details on backgrounds of the marriage.
II. What Should You Do, If You have Divorced
A. How does a Divorce Affect on Visa Status ?
If a spouse visa holder has divorced, can he or she keep its spouse visa ?
Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act("ICRRA") defines as follows:
a) If a spouse visa holder has divorced or if its wife or husband has died, he or she needs to report the fact to the regional immigration services bureau within 14 days from the divorce or the dead.
b) If a spouse visa holder has ceased its activities as a spouse of a Japanese citizen or a permanent resident for more than 6 months, the minister of justice can revoke the spouse visa status.
It can be understood that a spouse visa should face a risk to be revoked after 6 months has passed since its divorce.
B. Case of Separation
If a spouse visa holder lives separately from its spouse, can he or she keep its spouse visa ?
In a case of separation, the spouse visa holder doesn't need to report the separation to the immigration bureau.
However, if the spouse visa holder cannot submit a personal guarantee letter from its spouse on applying for visa extension, the immigration bureau might recognize the separation or the crisis of the marriage.
If a spouse visa holder lives separately from its spouse, he or she cannot be deemed as continuing its activities as a spouse of a Japanese citizen or a permanent resident required by ICRRA.
This means that a spouse visa holder living separately from its spouse faces a risk to be revoked after six months has passed since its separation.
C. How to Continue Living in Japan after its Divorce
If a spouse visa holder wish to continue living in Japan after its divorce, it is necessary to change its spouse visa to another visa.
It can be said that there are three options for the spouse visa holder who has divorced.
a) a working visa
If a spouse visa holder has a job in Japan and can meet the criteria of the applicable working visa, it should be able to apply for change to the applicable visa.
b) a permanent resident visa
If a spouse visa holder can meet the criteria of a permanent resident visa, it should be able to apply for a permanent resident.
Of course, this case is the most difficult to get permission.
c) a long term resident visa
A long term resident visa might be the last resort for a spouse visa holder who has divorced.
ICRRA or the related regulations don't define anything on this type of a long term resident visa.
However, it is recognized in the practice of visa application that a long term resident visa might be permitted if a spouse visa holder applies for change its visa after its divorce.
Actual criteria of permission on a lon term resident visa in a case of divorce are not clear or not disclosed.
If you hire us , Nihonbashi Prime Legal Office, we shall make advises precisely in accordance with actual cases of yours, even if you have not divorced yet, while you are no longer living with your wife or husband.
III. How to Contact Us
If you need any assistance or have any questions, please send your request or inquiry to us via "contact us" page.
You can also contact us via instant messaging service, WhatsApp or Telegram.
@ +81 90 6188 1648
Otherwise please contact us by phone or by email !
Chuo-Ku District, Tokyo , Japan
Postal Code: 〒103-0012
TEL : 090-6188-1648