How to Set Up Business in Japan Section 2. Visas and Status of Residence
2.7 Residence card and residence management system

Under the residence management system for foreign nationals in Japan, "residence card" is issued to foreign nationals. For details of the residence management system and a residence card, please see the following website:
To All Foreign Nationals Residing in Japan (Immigration Bureau of Japan) PDF file(External site: a new window will open.)(78KB)

2.7.1 What is a residence card?

A residence card is a card issued to foreign nationals residing legally in Japan for the mid to long-term who have resident status under the Immigration Control Act ("mid to long-term residents") when they are granted a residence-related permit, such as landing permission, permission for change of status of residence, and permission for extension of period of stay. Mid to long-term residents carry a resident card while living in Japan, and are included in the Basic Resident Register like Japanese nationals. In addition to a photograph of the bearer (excluding those cards which expire by the bearers' 16th birthdays), the residence card contains information such as the bearer's identity, address, and status of residence. Should any of these details change, the bearer is required to notify the authorities.

2.7.2 Who are issued a residence card?

A residence card is issued to mid- to long-term residents who do not come under any of 1. through 6. below:

  1. Persons granted permission to stay for 3 months or less
  2. Persons granted "Temporary Visitor" status
  3. Persons granted "Diplomat" or "Official" status
  4. Persons recognized by Ministry of Justice ordinance as equivalent to foreign nationals coming under any of (1) to (3) above
  5. Special permanent residents
  6. Persons with no resident status

2.7.3 Information recorded on a residence card

The following information is included on a residence card:

  1. Name, date of birth, sex, and nationality or region
  2. Place of residence (address of main residence in Japan)
  3. Status of residence, period of stay, and date of expiration of period of stay
  4. Type and date of permission
  5. Number, date of issue, and date of expiration of resident card
  6. Working restrictions (if any)
  7. Details of permission to engage in activities other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted (if any)

2.7.4 Period of validity of a residence card

Resident cards are valid for certain periods. These are as follows.

Table 2-2
Age Permanent residents,
Highly Skilled Professional(ii)
Non-permanent residents,
Non-highly Skilled Professional(ii)
16 or older 7 years from date of issue Expiration date of period of stay
Under 16 Until 16th birthday Earlier of expiration date of period of stay or 16th birthday

2.7.5 Notification requirements regarding a residence card

Mid- to long-term residents are required to notify the authorities in the event of any change in the details entered in the residence card and certain other matters during the period of stay. These notifications regarding a residence card are of the following types: 1. notification of place of residence and, 2. notification of item other than place of residence.

  1. Notification of place of residence (performed at municipal office)
    • Foreign nationals newly arriving in Japan (mid- to long-term residents)
      Mid- to long-term residents must visit the municipal office where they live with their residence card (or passport if a resident card was not issued at the time of entry to Japan) to file notification of place of residence within 14 days of establishing a place of residence.
    • Foreign nationals moving into a new address (mid- to long-term residents)
      Mid- to long-term residents who have changed their place of residence must visit their new municipal office with their residence card to file notification of their place of residence within 14 days of moving to the new residence.
  2. Notification of items other than place of residence (performed at a regional immigration bureau)
    When filing any of the following notifications or applications, foreign nationals are required to bring their passport, photo, and residence card. A new residence card will as a rule be issued on the day of notification or application.
    • Notification of change of name, date of birth, gender, nationality/region
      Notification must be filed within 14 days of the change of name, date of birth, gender, or nationality/region.
    • Application to update period of validity of resident card
      A permanent resident or a Highly Skilled Professional(ii) or a foreign resident of Japan younger than 16 years old whose resident card expires on his/her 16th birthday is required to apply to renew the period of validity of the residence card before it expires.
    • Application for re-issuance of a residence card
      In case of loss or theft of a residence card, foreign residents must apply for re-issuance within 14 days of noticing this (or the day of reentry to Japan if noticed outside Japan).

The above notifications and applications must be made in person at a regional immigration bureau by the individual concerned. However, if that person is under the age of 16 or unable to do so because of illness, etc., a co-resident family member must file the notification or application on his/her behalf. If approved by the director of a regional immigration bureau, a legal representative or any of the following persons requested by the individual may submit documents or complete other procedures related to notifications and applications on his/her behalf:

  • An employee of a host institution or charitable corporation approved by the director of a regional immigration bureau
  • An attorney or an administrative scrivener (gyoseishoshi lawyer) who files a notification regarding documents submission with the director of a regional immigration bureau by way of the bar association or administrative scrivener association to the attorney or administrative scrivener belongs

In certain cases, family members, cohabitants, and persons equivalent to cohabitants of the individual who have been approved by the director of a regional immigration bureau may also complete procedures related to notifications and applications on behalf of the individual.

2.7.6 Notification of address under the Basic Resident Registration Act

When a person who is issued a residence card takes up residence, it is necessary for him/her to complete procedures for moving in and create a residence certificate in compliance with the Basic Resident Registration Act. For details of the procedures, including the necessary documents, please contact your local municipality.

2.7.7 My Numbers

When a residence certificate has been created for the first time in Japan, a notification card with a My Number will be delivered by registered mail to the address on the certificate in about two to three weeks. A My Number is a 12-digit number used for social security, tax, and disaster countermeasure purposes in Japan. Therefore, the number should be kept by the person without disclosing it to others with no good reason. A detailed explanation of My Numbers is available at the link below.

2.7.8 Notifications required by the residence management system

Notification concerning organization to which foreign resident belongs (submitted to a regional immigration bureau)

  1. Notification regarding organization to which foreign resident belongs
    In the case that a mid- to long-term foreign resident with "Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services" or another working status (excluding "Artist", "Religious Activities", and "Journalist"), or "Student" or another learning status, leaves the organization (employer or educational institution) to which he/she belongs (due to termination of contract) or moves to another organization (on a new contract), or such an organization changes its name, location, or ceases to exist, he/she must notify the incident to the Ministry of Justice within 14 days by any of the following: visiting a regional immigration bureau (bringing his/her resident card with him/her), posting notification to the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau (enclosing a photocopy of his/her resident card), or submitting notification online using the "Immigration Bureau's Electronic Notification System"External site: a new window will open..
  2. Notification regarding spouse
    A mid- to long-term foreign resident who is married, has resident status of "Dependent" or similar, and loses his/her spouse by death or divorce, must notify the Ministry of Justice of the event within 14 days by visiting a regional immigration bureau (bringing his/her resident card with him/her), posting notification to the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau (enclosing a photocopy of his/her resident card), or submitting notification online using the"Immigration Bureau's Electronic Notification System"External site: a new window will open..

Section2: Contents & Reference

Section2: Table of Contents


Section2. Samples of documents businesses are required to submit to authorities

These materials contain samples of documents regarding registration, visa, taxation, personnel and labor matters that are necessary when a foreign company establishes a corporation or other entity in Japan as well as descriptive examples of how to fill them out. A portion of the English content has been updated through a provisional translation. These documents are not published by competent authorities and therefore are not official. For those who are going through the official procedures, please download the latest official documents from the competent authorities and related bodies or consult a person who specializes in advising on such information and procedures.

The information contained in this documents should be used at the reader’s independent discretion. While JETRO makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information it provides, no responsibility is accepted by JETRO for any loss or damage incurred as a result of actions based on the information provided in these documents or provided by the external links listed on these pages.