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Renewing Your Visa In-person and Online in Japan

A straightforward guide to renewing your visa in Japan. 

By 5 min read 2

Whether you are an expatriate working in Tokyo, a student pursuing your dream career in Kyoto, or someone who fell in love with Japan, renewing your visa is crucial. In this article, we guide you through the steps and requirements for renewing your visa in Japan to make the process as simple as possible.

Remember, timing is crucial. Although applying for a visa allows an extension (typically 60 days) during processing, starting the renewal process at least three months before your current visa expires is recommended. Sometimes up to six months before in some cases. This allows for any potential delays, ensures that you can continue your work/studies without any interruptions and allows you lots of time if you need to find more work or similar requirements to fulfill visa requirements.

Renew At The Immigration Office

A long process, but everyone has to do it.

First, proceed to the nearest immigration office (出入国在留管理局, shutsunyuukoku zairyuu kanri-kyoku) or apply online. For those living in Tokyo, you will likely have to register at Shinagawa, although don’t forget about the Tachikawa office, which is often less crowded.

Generally speaking, you will need a sponsor, a Japanese national working for the same company or at your school willing to take responsibility for you in Japan. However, for people earning solid, steady wages from several companies in the same industry or those self-employed at a successful company, you can be your “own sponsor.”

Paperwork You (Typically) Need

  • Passport (with a validity of at least six months)
  • Visa application form
  • Residence card (for renewal)
  • Passport-sized photos (taken within the last six months)
  • Company details and contracts (from your employer).
  • A resident taxation certificate and tax payment certificate (at least one year’s total income and tax payment status) from your ward office (区役所, kuyakusho)
  • Your sponsor’s details and possibly a written statement from your sponsor.

Once at the immigration office, you will submit your visa renewal application and all the required documents. Filling out the application form accurately and legibly is crucial, or you could have delays or rejections because of missing or incorrect information. Some visas will also require some additional documentation. For example, a spousal visa may require photos of you and your significant other, or a student visa might require an enrolment certificate. Ask the immigration office if in doubt.

Renewing Your Visa Online

You’ll need one of these before you start.

Renewing your visa online can be a convenient alternative to visiting the immigration office, but navigating the online procedure might take some time.

Things You Need to Renew Online

  • An IC card reader that can read MyNumber cards.
  • A PC or a decent laptop; the online platform may not work on smartphones.
  • A MyNumber card with a chip, photo and associated password.
  • Convert all supporting documents into a single PDF, considering file size limits. You will also need to include online-only documents such as the Residence Application Online System Usage Application Form (在留申請オンラインシステム利用申出書) and Form 19, which are available on the government site.
  • Download the JPKI application and, if needed, use Locale Emulator for language support.
  • Ensure Chrome is up to date and temporarily disable Adblocker to prevent interference.

Application Process

  1. Download and open the JPKI app, fill in supporting information and validate with your MyNumber password.
  2. Visit the Immigration Service Agency of Japan (ISA) website, register as a new user (Foreign National/Other) and follow instructions with your card reader and MyNumber card. This will give you a unique username that you can use for the next step.
  3. Return to the ISA site with your unique username, log in and use your card reader to proceed with the visa application.
  4. Complete the application by providing personal details and uploading supporting documents and a photo.

Confirmation and Follow-up

  • Upon receiving a confirmation email, wait for a response (positive or negative) through the online system.
  • While the online process can save time and money, be prepared for potential challenges during the application.

Getting Your New Visa

All the red might look scary, but this means you’re good to go.

If you submit in person, once you hand in all the documents, you will be given a small postcard with a space to write your name and address. If you submit online, the process is similar, except that you will complete the address digitally. Ensure you write your address correctly because the card will be sent in the post to inform you whether your visa is accepted or rejected. This typically takes two to three weeks but can take longer, so be patient.

Instead of a postcard, you may receive a letter telling you to attend an interview or provide more information. Look out for these letters, as they often have strict time limits, and failure to attend will likely result in the rejection of your application.

Things You Need to Collect Your Visa

  • Your Passport: This is a crucial document often overlooked, so double-check to have it with you.
  • Your Old Registration Card: Immigration will invalidate it by punching a hole.
  • Postcard From Immigration: Bring the notification received during the application process.
  • Revenue Stamp: Obtainable at the convenience store within the Tokyo Immigration Office in Shinagawa, Nagoya or Osaka. The renewal fee, typically ¥4,000, varies based on visa type and extension duration.

After completing the necessary steps, you will be issued a new residence card reflecting your updated visa status. Remember, you are legally required to always carry this card as proof of your legal status in Japan. You do not want to be randomly stopped by police without it.

Renewing a visa in Japan is complicated but manageable with proper planning. If confused, consult immigration lawyers for guidance in filing your application correctly. Whether using a lawyer or not, track your application, respond promptly to officials and prepare well.

Have you renewed your visa online? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Hendrik says:

    Hi Matthew, I’m due to renew my work visa, and based on the following articles, in order to extend work visa it seems other documents are required:

    1. The “certificate of registered matters” for the employer (登記事項証明書) and other relevant registration documents such as the employer’s certificate of registry (登記簿謄本)
    2. The employer’s latest financial statements (including profit and loss statements and balance sheets) and statement of income tax payable (法定調書合計表)

    But you haven’t mentioned above documents, are these no longer required?

    • Aaron Baggett says:

      Hi Hendrik. The above is mostly just in general. Most people suggest you bring whatever you can. It doesn’t hurt. It will also depend on the type of visa you have and are renewing.



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