What is "Status of Stay" or "Visa" in Japan ?

The legal systems on immigration and administration of foreigners with "status of stay" in Japan are constituted by Immigration Controls and Refugee Recognition Act ("ICRRA", hereafter), 「出入国管理及び難民認定法」, or the immigration law of Japan and the related regulations. 

Actually, ICRRA regulates not only "immigration", which is strictly defined as moving into a country other than the home country and living there for more than one year, but also procedures of entering or departing from Japan, short term visa like tourist visa, which is usually distinguished from "immigration", and procedures on refugee recognition.   

"Status of stay" is often called as "visa" or "visa status" by foreigners in Japan, as it is called popularly in other countries, while "visa" might be defined as "authorization by a government for a foreigner to enter a country which is governed by the government.

We hereby mainly describe the legal systems especially on "status of stay" in Japan in accordance with ICRRA and the related regulations in the following contents.

We also let you know what are the merits which you can get by hiring an immigration lawyer or visa lawyer like us for the legal process related visas in Japan.

I. Immigration or Visa Systems in Japan

A "foreigner", which is defined in ICRRA as "individual who does not have citizenship of Japan", should principally stay in Japan with a "status of stay" which has been obtained by the foreigner or with the "status of stay" which has been changed after the obtaining, unless another law admit the stay.

ICRRA also defines that a "status of stay" should be determined together with the term of stay by an immigration examiner at the same time when the immigration examiner permits for landing to a foreigner arriving in Japan, except for a foreigner who has permitted for a "status of stay" and return from abroad as a permitted re-entry, while a foreigner should legally carry the passport with a visa issued by a consular officer or others of Japan, in order to apply for landing. 

It is thought that the immigration examiner shall practically permit for status of stay in accordance with the visa carried by the applicant for landing, so a "status of stay" is popularly called as a "visa".

It is principally necessary to apply at a diplomatic office of Japan in the country where the foreigner or the applicant lives, in order to get a visa before arriving in or landing Japan. 

Currently, it is common to get a certificate of eligibility from a regional immigration services bureau in Japan before applying for a visa at the diplomatic office of Japan in the country where the applicant lives, if the foreigner or the applicant is willing to stay not for a short term within 3 months. 

Please see "Certificate of Eligibility" page of ours.

ICRRA defines thirty types of statuses of stay or visas and the types of visas can be divided into two groups.

The visa with which you are permitted to live in Japan may restrict the activities or the jobs of yours in Japan.

These types of visas are the first groups of the types of visas, called as "activities visa"s .

Otherwise, it might be possible to apply for a visa based on the family relations in Japan.

These types of visas are the second group of the types of visas, called as "resident visa"s.

It is basically possible to choose its jobs in Japan freely, if you are permitted for a resident visa. 

Please see "Type of Visa" page of ours.

You might need to be permitted for change of the visa for which is permitted when you started living in Japan, in such a case that you are starting working, changing your job or marrying with a citizen of Japan and so on.

Moreover, if you bear or have a baby in Japan, your baby also needs to be permitted for acquisition of a visa.

As almost all types of visas, except for two visas, should be permitted with conditions of durations.

If you are willing to continue the current living in Japan beyond the maturity of the visa for which you are permitted, it is basically necessary to be permitted for extension of the visa for which you have been permitted.  

In order to permitted for a certificate of eligibility, change of a visa, acquisition of a visa or extension of a visa, you need to apply formally to the minister of justice in accordance with procedures regulated in ICRRA and related regulations made by the ministry of justice.

Immigration Services Agency of Japan ("ISAJ", hereafter) is an external bureau of the ministry of justice, which is responsible for immigration and administration on stays of foreigners in Japan. 

It is actually necessary to apply to a regional immigration bureau or its branch office under ISAJ, when you are willing to have visa processing. 

ISAJ currently has eight regional immigration services bureaus, which are defined by ICRRA, Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Takamatsu, Hiroshima and Fukuoka.

Those regional immigration services bureaus have several branch offices. 

II. How to Apply for Visa and "Immigration Lawyer" / "Visa Lawyer"

In order to apply for visa processing, the applicant or its legal representative, such as a mother or a father of a child, is principally required to attend a regional immigration services bureau or its branch office and to file the visa application, there.

The applicant for a certificate of eligibility or regulated agent defined by the ministry of justice is also principally required to attend a regional immigration services bureau or its branch offices and to file the application for a certificate of eligibility. 

The applicant for visa processing or a certificate of eligibility or the legal representative just can apply to the regional immigration services bureau or its branch office, which governs the place where the applicant lives or is planned to live, not to any other regional immigration services bureau far from the place of the living.

It is principally required by ICRRA and related regulations that the applicant or its legal representative should attend a regional immigration services bureau and file a signed application form in a regulated format with supplemental documents required by regulations made by the ministry of justice, when applying for visa processing or a certificate of eligibility.

Please refer to each visa page through our "Types of Visas" page, which shows required documents by regulations made by the ministry of justice, for each visa status. 

It is our thought that it is difficult to prepare the application form and supplemental documents for visas, even for Japanese people, much more difficult for people from overseas.

It is also thought to be difficult to negotiate or to communicate with officials of a regional immigration bureau without knowledge on legal or governmental practices in Japan.

ICRRA admits that a registered legal specialist such as a registered "gyoseishoshi" lawyer (we call it as an immigration lawyer or a visa lawyer here) or a registered attorney at law("bengoshi"), can attend a regional immigration services bureau or its branch office and can file an application form with regulated supplemental documents in place of the applicant or the legal representative for many types of visa application or application for a certificate of eligibility.

We, Nihonbashi Prime Legal Office, as an immigration or visa lawyer office registered by Tokyo Immigration Services Bureau, can any visa application form or application form for a certificate of eligibility and documents to be attached to the application form.

We can also submit the prepared visa application form and attached documents to a regional immigration services bureau on behalf of the applicant.

You don't need to go to or negotiate with the immigration bureau by yourself, if you hire us. 

From March 2022, it has come to be possible for us, immigration visa lawyers or visa lawyers, to file several types of visa applications via internet, without attending a regional immigration services bureau.

We, Nihonbashi Prime Legal Office can accept requests of visa application from clients throughout Japan, not only living in Tokyo area but also living any places other than Tokyo, as long as it is possible to apply via internet. 

Please refer to "Online Visa Application" page of ours for more details.

III. How to Contact Us

If you need any supports or have any problem or trouble on your visa or certificate of eligibility, please feel free to 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 !  You can contact us either in English or in Japanese.

Mobile : 090-6188-1648

Email : nihonbashiprime@gmail.com