So you’ve gotten your student or working VISA and you’re ready to move to Japan. But what about the procedures after you arrive? Basically, there are three key documents you’ll need to acquire:
1. Certificate of Residence (Juuminhyo)
2. My Number Card (Mai Numbaa / Kojin Bango)
3. Residency Card for a foreign national (Zairyu Kaado)
You will need to apply for these documents promptly upon your arrival, and they are crucial to starting your life in Japan.
For those unfamiliar, it can seem like a confusing system, but it’s actually not so complicated if you have the right information. So in this article, I will explain simply about each of the three and how to go about getting them.
This is acquired at your local council office or kuyakusho. It is a document that is required for both citizens and non-citizens and should be applied for within two weeks of moving into your new residence.
The process is quick, with the certificate being issued on the same day of application, for a small fee of around three hundred yen. Also, remember to bring your passport with your VISA inside.
As standard the Certificate of Residence is issued with your basic information written on it: full name, date of birth, gender, address and other people living in the same residence. However, if you wish, you can select the option to have additional information displayed, such as VISA type and nationality.
The My Number or Individual Number is part of a centralized system for administrative bodies, such as local and prefectural governments, to ascertain each’s level of income, tax payments, receipt of benefits, etc.
It is a combined social security and tax number, which is assigned to each person and issued in the form of a My Number Card. This can be applied for online or at your local council office, at the same time as your Certificate of Residency.
For more detailed information in English about the application as well as frequently asked questions, I recommend visiting the official government site from here .
Step 3: Residency Card (Zairyu Kaado)
This is the registration card required for foreign residents in Japan and is not to be confused with the Certificate of Residence. After acquiring your Certificate of Residence from your local council, you will need to apply for a Residency Card for foreign nationals at your nearest regional immigration office (nyukoku kanri kyoku).
This card will effectively become your main form of ID in Japan and will also be necessary for re-entry when leaving temporarily. You will not require any kind of special re-entry permit, so long as you return within one year of your departure.
Another important thing to remember is that if you lose your Residency Card, or if your name, gender, nationality or residential address changes, you are obliged to report to the regional immigration office within two weeks for re-issuance.
These are the three most important documents for every day life in Japan. The process is surprisingly simple and won’t take up too much time.
Get these things sorted first thing when you arrive and your life in Japan will run a lot smoother.