Tips for extension of a spouse visa!
Those who are in Japan with a spouse visa must go through procedures to extend the spouse visa before expiration of the visa.
What are the procedures for extension of a spouse visa?
In this article, we will focus on the procedures for extension of a spouse visa and the points to be checked during examination concerning extension of a spouse visa.
1. What is a spouse visa?
A spouse visa is a general term and means any visa obtained based on international marriage.
For examples, spouse visas include “Spouse or Child of Japanese National” obtained by foreigners who are married to a Japanese, and “Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident” obtained by foreigners who are married to a permanent resident (or a special permanent resident).
There are other types of spouse visa. For more details, please refer to“What are differences between a marriage visa and a spouse visa?”
In this article, we will explain about the procedures for extension of period of stay in connection with mainly the statuses of“Spouse or Child of Japanese National” and “Spouse or Child of Permanent Resident.”
2. Procedures for extension of a spouse visa
Regarding the procedures for extension of a spouse visa, you can start applying about 3 months before the expiration of your visa. You can apply to the regional immigration bureau having jurisdiction over the area of your address; provided, however that, there are cases where you can apply earlier than 3 months before the expiration based on special grounds such as hospitalization and long business trip.
Generally, examination concerning extension of period of stay takes about 2 weeks to 1 month, and the applicants are granted extension of either “6 months,” “1 year,” “3 years,” or “5 years.”
6-month extension is granted to those who are in the middle of divorce mediation or suit, so 1-year extension is usually granted for those who apply for extension for the first time. On the other hand, there are some cases where 3 or 5-year extension is given as the first extension, based on comprehensive judgement of all documents submitted.
People who are subject to such 3 or 5-year extension for the first extension are the people whose substance of marriage is stable and continuing, as they have lived with his/her spouse for more than 3 years after marriage, or have a child going to elementary or middle school, or for other reasons.
3. Points to be checked during examination concerning extension of a spouse visa
Extension of a spouse visa is not always allowed even if the marriage still exists. In this section, we will explain about the points that are checked during examination on extension of a spouse visa.
1) Marriage life is stable and continuing
It is required that the husband and wife live together, cooperate with each other, provide mutual assistance, and gain livelihood together.
Despite that, in some cases, extension of a spouse visa is permitted even when the husband and wife stay together only once a week, or the foreign spouse has not been in Japan for a long period of time.
What are the grounds that enable such exceptional permission for extension of a spouse visa? The answer includes illness, nursing of a parent in home country, and business such as temporary transfer of work.
However, please note that even if you have reasonable grounds like the ones listed above, you are not granted extension of a spouse visa unless you prove such facts to immigration officers.
For example, from the aspect of examination by immigration officers, it is important to submit the following materials along with required documents; any materials showing that the spouse is going back and forth between home and the destination of the temporary transfer (e.g. receipts of highway, tickets or receipts of Shinkansen), any documents clearly showing that the parent needs nursing care (e.g. diagnosis written by a doctor), and so on.
2) The behavior and conduct must be good
No history of violating laws and performance of public duties such as tax payments are required.
Sometimes we see cases where the applicant has not paid taxes such as resident tax after due date.
Please make sure to check the situation of your payments of public duties before applying for extension of the spouse visa as it’s a critical point of examination.
3) The couple has sufficient assets or skills to make an independent living.
You need to be careful if the income of the person supporting the family is too low, or both the husband and wife are without job.
If you are financially supported by your parents or relatives in Japan or if you or your spouse has found a job and stable income is expected, you need to submit materials showing that you are financially supported or the employment agreement with the workplace or the notice of tentative job offer with other necessary documents before applying for extension of a spouse visa.
4) Duties under the Immigration Act such as notification duties are performed
Residents of medium and long terms must perform duties such as duties of notification concerning matters to be entered in residency card, and notification concerning organization, etc. which the resident belongs to (Article 19-7 through 19-13 and 19-15 and 19-16 of the Immigration Act).
A holder of a spouse visa falls under residents of medium and long terms, so if the address changes due to moving, etc., notification of moving-out must be submitted to the public office which has jurisdiction over the old address, and notification of moving-in also needs to be submitted to the public office which has jurisdiction over the new address within 14 days from the date on which new address is decided.
Above are the points to be examined for extension of a spouse visa.
４．Changing from a spouse visa to a permanent resident visa
We have explained as to application for extension of a spouse visa. By extending a spouse visa, new period of stay is granted. Therefore, extension must be repeated, and some people may be worried about getting rejected every time when they apply for extension.
If you wish to stay in Japan continuously with your family without being worried, we recommend you to apply for a permanent visa.
The biggest advantage of obtaining a permanent resident visa is that you do not need to go through procedures for extension any more.
What are the requirements for application for a permanent visa?
In order to apply for a permanent visa, you must have a 5-year spouse visa, which is one of the requirements, so if you have a 3-year spouse visa, it looks like it does not fulfill the requirement.
According to “Guidelines for Permission for Permanent Residence,” however, if you have a 3-year visa, you are deemed to have a visa with the longest period of stay, for the time-being.
Therefore, if you have a 3-year spouse visa, you can start considering to obtain a permanent resident visa.
If you wish to continue to stay in Japan without feeling anxious about being rejected each time when you apply for extension, applying for permanent residence is worth consideration.
There are various requirements for application for permanent residence other than period of stay. Should you have any inquiry as to a permanent visa, please feel free to contact us for our free consultation.
５．Summary of “Tips for extension of a spouse visa!”
In this article, we focused on the procedures for extension of a spouse visa.
If you don’t fulfill the examination points as you were separated from your spouse for a period of time or your income is low, your application may be rejected unless you prepare evidence well. Please do not give up and thoroughly prepare to proceed if you clash with examination points but there is a rational explanation to it.
The extension of a spouse visa may seem easy, but there are many points you have to check before submitting an application.
Please check all the points we talked about concerning extension for a spouse visa and submit documents without contradiction or lack of explanation.
We hope that this article will help you for the extension of your spouse visa!