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5 Proven Tips for Navigating the PR Process in Japan: Learn from My Experience

Applying for Permanent Residency (PR) in Japan can be a daunting task, but with the right guidance and preparation, it is possible to navigate the process successfully. I recently obtained my PR status in Japan in December 2022, and I am excited to share my experience and tips with others who are also seeking PR in Japan. In this blog, I will be sharing my personal experience with the application process and providing 5 proven tips that I found helpful during my own journey. It is important to note that I am not a legal professional or expert in PR applications, but I hope my experience can assist others in their own PR application process. Remember to conduct your own research and seek professional advice to ensure you have accurate and up-to-date information.

1.My Journey to Japan: A Brief Background on My Experience

In this session, I will be sharing a brief background of my journey to Japan. I first came to Japan in 2013 to work as a software engineer, and later switched my career to business development. I worked for the same company for 4 years and was even appointed as the CEO of the United States Branch. However, in 2017, I moved to the USA and withdrew my resident status in Japan, thinking that I would not return. But in 2020, I came back to Japan and had to start the process of obtaining resident status all over again.

Normally, it takes more than 10 years of resident status to be eligible to apply for Permanent Residency (PR) in Japan. However, with a Highly Skilled Foreign Professional Visa (高度人材ビザ), you can apply for PR within 1 or 3 years based on points. I was lucky enough to reach over 90 points for a Highly Skilled Foreign Professional Visa (高度人材ビザ) and decided to apply for PR without waiting for 3 years of resident status. If you're curious about my background, you can check out my LinkedIn profile.

2. The Advantages of Holding Permanent Residency in Japan

If you become a Permanent Resident of Japan, you will have many more benefits than those living on temporary residence status, such as:

  • You no longer have to renew or extend your visa. The status of Japan Permanent Residency is valid indefinitely. You still have to renew your Residence Card every seven years and get a Japan Re-Entry Permit if you will leave the country for longer than 1 year, but those are just formalities.

  • You can work for any employer you want, and you don’t have to apply for a change of residency status if you will engage in different activities. In short, you can do any activity you like (as long as it is legal, of course).

  • You can get a loan from a Japanese bank for buying a house, etc. If you are highly skilled, you can still get it but interest is more expensive than PR status person

  • You can also establish the company with 1 yen capital like a Japanese citizen while it usually requires a minimum of 5 million yen for non-PR or non-Japanese citizens.

3. Who is eligible to apply for PR in Japan

You are qualified for a Permanent Resident visa in Japan if you meet one of the following categories.

  • If you are the holder of a Highly Skilled Professional Visa, it is possible to apply for the visa if an applicant scores 70 points on the Highly Skill Visa Point Calculation Table for the 3 years leading up to the application, or 80 points for the past year leading up to the application.

  • If you've been married for at least three years and are the spouse of a Japanese citizen or permanent resident, you can apply for Japan Permanent Residency after living there for one year.

  • If you've lived in Japan for a year and are the child of a Japanese citizen or permanent resident, you can apply for Japan Permanent Residency.

  • If you had a different kind of visa (not one of the ones listed above), you couldn't apply for permanent residency in Japan until you had lived there for ten years straight. You must have held a Japan Work Visa for at least five years straight during this time.

4. Do you need a lawyer to apply for PR

Applying for Permanent Residency (PR) in Japan can be a complex process, but it is possible to do it yourself if you meet the eligibility requirements and have all the necessary documents in order. It is important to note that if you have any doubts or concerns about your application, it is best to seek the advice of a lawyer. They can give you a free consultation on your case and help you avoid any potential risks or mistakes.

One common reason for PR application rejection is related to the applicant's spouse. If the spouse is working part-time and paying income tax but not paying the pension, it may lead to rejection. This is why it is important to ensure that you and your spouse are fulfilling all the necessary requirements before submitting your application.

A lawyer can help you prepare your application and ensure that everything is in order, but it can come at a cost, usually around 100,000 to 150,000 yen. The alternative way of getting consultation other than a lawyer is the Permanent Resident Counseling counter (永住権相談窓口) at the Immigration Service Agency of Japan (出入国在留管理局). They offer free consultations and can guide you through the process.

In my case, I got a consultation first with the lawyer and did not need to pay for the first session. The lawyer suggested me to apply myself because I am the holder of a highly skilled visa and my Japanese level. You can do it yourself too by following the guidelines.

5. What documents do you need to apply for PR in Japan

Depending on what category you are in above, you can find the latest requirements in this link from the Immigration Service Agency of Japan. I will also put the link as follow for your convenience.

In my case, I am No 4 category, so I need the following documents. I will write documents in both Japanese and English because it is easy to ask the document in Japanese in a government office.

1. Permanent residence permit application form (永住許可申請書)

Please download from the above link based on your category.

2.Photo(4 cm long x 3 cm wide)

You can take the photo in the application office. They do have a photo booth.

3. Statement of the reason why you apply PR (理由書)

I write separate details more about it in the next session. Most people think that it is quite difficult.

4. Certificate of residence of all family members (申請人を含む家族全員(世帯)の住民票)

5. Employment Certificate (職証明書)

6. Proof you have paid your Residence Taxes (非課税証明書, 納税照明書 ) for 3 years

7. Proof of you have paid pension(年金ネット)

In my case, I do not have 年金ネット document that they are asking for. So I went to the pension office and ask the alternatives documents

8. Your bank statements that show your saving amount (預貯金通帳の写し (or) 残高証明書)

9. Proof of your annual income (源泉徴収票送付) for 3 years

10. Insurance card copy( 健康保険被保険者証) including your family members

11. Highly-skilled professional point calculation table (高度専門職ポイント計算表)

Please check out the table here

12. Explanatory materials for each item of point calculation of the above table

eg. if you mark you have a master's degree, you need to provide the certification copy for that as evidence

13. Passport or Certificate of Eligibility for Resident Status (申請人のパスポート(旅券)又は在留資格証明書)

You need to bring with you

14. Resident card ID (在留カード) 

You need to bring with you

15. A completed and signed Letter of Guarantee (身元保証に関する資料)

You can download 身元保証書 from the page, get filled and sign from your guarantor who is a Japanese Citizen or has a permanent resident (PR)

16. Documents from your Guarantor (Driving license or passport)

17. Filled and Sign Understanding document (了解書)

you can download it from the site

18. Documents related to contributions to Japan if you have any.

If you have any document that you are contributing to Japanese society, it would be plus

6. Statement of the reason why you apply PR

When I made researching to apply PR, I found this Samurai Law website about how to write a statement of the reason with a proper example. If you know Japanese really well, take a look. I also take references from that website and rewrite my version. I will also mention a little bit in this session in English by referencing what Samurai Law website says.

  1. Statement of the reason should have A4 two pages.

  2. it's important to include the following key elements:

    1. A brief background on your journey from your arrival in Japan to the present day.

    2. A description of your current work or life situation in Japan.

    3. An explanation of your reasons for wanting to live in Japan permanently and how you plan to contribute to the country in the future. This will provide a clear and well-rounded picture of your motivations and qualifications for seeking permanent residence in Japan.

  3. Make sure you give attention when you write this not just copy-paste other people's stories. If you do not feel confident about Japanese, you can get help from a Japanese friend or translating service. However, you can do it yourself by using the tools like deepl or Google Translate. They do a pretty decent job.

7. Other Useful information about Applying PR in Japan

7.1.How long does it take to apply PR in Japan

The official website says around 4 months. But it will take around 4 to 6 months. For my case, around 5 months.

7.2.Where to Apply PR in Japan

I already mention multiple places above. It is the Immigration Service Agency of Japan (出入国在留管理局). If you are living in Tokyo, 東京出入国在留管理局 is 108-8255

東京都港区港南5-5-30. Depending on which part of japan you are living, please make research which location is the closest to you.

7.3.How much does it cost to apply PR in Japan

8,000 yen. If you got the notification card which includes asking to bring 8,000 yen stamp. It means you got PR. congratulations.

8. Top 5 Tips from my experiences for Applying PR in Japan

If you plan to live in Japan longer and apply for PR, I highly recommend you think of the following top 5 tips

1. Plan in advance not after 10 years of waiting such as trying to understand who is eligible to apply for PR and the requirements. So you can understand which category you are in to make action in advance. Otherwise, you might end up losing time.

2. If you are high skilled worker, please check out that you are eligible to apply Highly-skilled professional visa (高度人材ビザ). If you are qualified for that visa, you do not need to wait 10 years. You can apply within 1 or 3 years depending on your points

3. Building up the history of paying tax, pension, and health insurance depending on requirements. If possible, try to make history that you are contributing to Japanese society.

4. Make a strategy and develop a relationship with Guarantor (Japanese citizen or PR holder). Nobody is going to give you a Guarantee if you do not have a certain amount of time for a relationship

5. Please make sure that you are living in Japan by following Japan's regulations and living good manner.

Hope you find this blog useful and safe time when you apply for PR in Japan. I like to share my experiences in Japan, entrepreneurship, economics, politics, and career development topics. If you want to read more from me, please subscribe and follow me on Linkedin and Facebook.


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