My Number Card in Japan: Your Questions Answered | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
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My Number Card in Japan: Your Questions Answered

By Margherita Jul 27, 2022

We have put together some of the most asked questions to help you navigate the “My Number” or “individual number system” (共通番号制度, kyotsuu bango seido) and implementation of the My Number Card, introduced in Japan in 2015 to help simplify identification for social security and taxation purposes.

Q: What is a My Number Card?

A: An individual number card—or My Number Card—is an official identification card with a unique 12-digit code issued to all citizens and foreign residents of Japan.

It is an official means of photographic identification that takes the form of a plastic card with an IC chip, the bearer’s name, address, date of birth, sex, and photo.

This card can be used as an identification card for identity verification as well as to receive a wide range of services, including municipality services and electronic applications such as electronic certificates, taxes etc.

Q: How Do I Apply?

A: A document called an “individual number notice” (共通番号の通知, kyotsuu bango no tsuuchi) is delivered to every resident when registering a new address within a ward. This document contains a QR code that states the addressee’s name, date of birth, and a unique 12-digit number. 

Once you receive this notification by Post, you can then apply for a My Number Card in one of three different ways:

1) Smartphone

Scan the QR code on your notification letter, access the website that will be launched, and register your mail address. 

Then take a picture of yourself with the smartphone, fill in the required fields, and complete the procedure.

2) Personal Computer

Access the online application website (jp only), and enter the 23-digit code printed on your notification letter. 

Then register your mail address, take a picture of yourself with your smartphone or upload a photo in passport format, fill in the required fields, and complete the procedure.

3) By Post

If you wish to apply by Post (jp only), fill in the form attached to your notification letter, or you can also download it here (jp only)

Next, fill in the required fields and attach a picture to the specific field before finally downloading the pre-paid envelope and sending it to the designated office.

a photo of a person filling out a form

Image credit: Canva

Q: Is it Easy to Get Approved For a My Number Card?

A: Once the application is complete, the information will be checked, and the photo will be reviewed and approved before the card is issued and sent to your address.

To help smooth out this verification process, when taking a picture, either with your smartphone or at a photo booth, keep in mind these important points:

  1. The picture was taken within the last six months.
  2. You are facing straight ahead.
  3. Remove glasses, hats, or any other accessories that the camera cannot identify.
  4. Have a clear and clean background.

Q: I Already Have A Residence Card Which is my Primary-ID in Japan. Why Should I Apply For a My Number Card?

A: A resident card is an important and essential document for every foreign resident living in Japan, but ultimately it is just an ID. With a My Number Card, you can do much more!

We can point out six advantages of having a My Number Card (for both Japanese citizens and foreign residents):

  1. My Number Card represents an additional official identification document that can be used in various situations, such as opening an account at a financial institution or issuing a new passport.
  2. It can be used for online applications for a wide range of administrative procedures.
  3. It can be used for online transactions (such as online banking).
  4. You can request and print out official certificates such as resident record (jyuminhyo, 住民票) certificates and seal registration certificates at convenience stores.
  5. Different services at your local municipality or ward, which require multiple cards for each service, can be merged and integrated within a My Number Card.
  6. Since October 2021, My Number Card can be used as public health insurance (but make sure to check in advance since only 17% of medical institutions currently accept it).
  7. Online identification to register for electronic payment services such as Line Pay or PayPay.

a photo of a bank card, my number card and five thousand yen note next to the word "point" spelled out

Image credit: Canva

Q: How Long Will it Take to Get Your My Number Card

A: The application process can take up to 3 or 4 weeks before the physical copy of the card is sent out to the municipality and then via mail to your address.

Q: What Else Do I Need to Know About My Number Card?

A: If you register for the “my number points” system (maina pointo, マイナポイント) and participate in the campaign, you can accumulate points by just using your My Number Card! Points can then be redeemed in combination with cashless payment methods such as Suica, Pasmo, PayPay, and Line Pay, for a maximum of 20,000 yen worth of points.

Something else to know is that your My Number Card will expire with your residence card, so you’ll have to renew it.

Why Not Apply For A My Number Card!

If you have not received your individual number notice or you have not applied yet, we encourage you to also check the website of your ward to check out what services are available to use through My Number Card. 

Application is easy and smooth—in most cases—and we cannot really think about any downside of getting a My Number Card in Japan!

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Loyalty Cards in Japan: What You Need To Know

Featured image credit: Canva