How a married couple living abroad can obtain Japanese spouse visa?
Since the pandemic of novel coronavirus, we have more inquiries from married couples living abroad concerning how to return to Japan.
In such cases, spouse visas are necessary to return to Japan, but our impression is that such couples often do not fulfill the requirements for spouse visas as the recent pandemic situation was unexpected and they did not plan to return or prepare in advance.
In such case, FAQs are:
– Do we need to be in Japan to apply for a spouse visa?
– Who can represent an applicant to apply for a spouse visa?
– How should we handle if we cannot submit an income certificate as we live outside of Japan?
– Can a spouse visa be obtained without finding a job in Japan?
– Is it possible to receive a spouse visa before our child enters school?
– Which procedures can Daiichi-Sogo Group support?
Thus, we expect that married couples who plan to obtain a spouse visa in Japan have many questions and worries.
To reduce such worries, we would like to explain the tips for married couples living abroad to obtain a spouse visa in Japan.
1．Questions frequently asked by married couples living abroad when they are to apply for a spouse visa
In this section, we have listed questions often asked by married couples living abroad when they wish to apply for a spouse visa.
1) Do we need to be in Japan to apply for a spouse visa?
Many people may think that married couples living abroad must go to Japan to apply for a Japanese spouse visa.
In fact, in case of a married couple living abroad, a spouse does not need to go to Japan to apply for a visa.
In such case, “applicant’s agent” provided in an ordinance of the Ministry of Justice will submit application on behalf of the spouse.
Moreover, many people think that if they appoint a administrative scrivener, they do not need an agent, but it is wrong. An applicant’s agent is still needed even if a administrative scrivener is appointed.
In conclusion, a married couple living abroad do not have to go to Japan to apply for a visa, as long as they have an agent who submits application for them.
2) In case of a couple living abroad, who can represent the applicant to apply for a spouse visa?
As we’ve seen in 1) above, married couples living abroad need agents for application for a spouse visa, but who are eligible as an applicant’s agent?
In the Appended Table IV (Re. Art. 6-2) of the Ordinance for Enforcement of the Immigration Act, it is stated that applicant’s agent for spouse visa must be a “relative of the foreign national residing in Japan.”
The range of relatives is provided for in the Japanese Civil Code.
In Article 725 of the Civil Code, it is set forth that relatives are limited to a relative by blood within the sixth degree, a spouse, and a relative by affinity within the third degree.
In other words. a relative by blood within the sixth degree, a spouse, and a relative by affinity within the third degree residing in Japan are qualified as an applicant’s agent.
The range of people who are qualified as an applicant’s agent is probably wider than you expected.
Please see “The range of applicant’s agents for application for visas” for more details of applicant’s agent.
3) Even if we cannot submit an income certificate in Japan, can we still obtain a spouse visa?
If you see the website of the Immigration Services Agency, “a document which demonstrates the ability to bear costs of staying in Japan” is listed as a document required to be submitted.
Generally, income taxation certificate is submitted to the immigration office when applying for a spouse visa, but married couples living abroad often do not have income in Japan.
In such case, it is required to submit to the immigration office a copy of bankbook, certificate of expected employment or offer letter, or any other document equivalent to them.
Having said that, in case of application for a spouse visa, there is a tendency that financial stability by periodic income is more valued than the amount of savings in the immigration examinations.
Please see “【Case Study】A married couple living abroad apply for a spouse visa” if you would like to know about an actual case.
4) Can a spouse visa be obtained without finding a job in Japan?
When married couples living abroad apply for a spouse visa, they often do not have a job in Japan.
It is not easy to find a job, have an interview, and get a job offer while living abroad, but if they apply for a spouse visa without taking any measures, they may not be granted a spouse visa in the worst case scenario, as immigration officers may consider the lack of their living base in Japan as an issue.
To avoid such situation, it is significant to collect materials that show their living foundation in Japan.
For more details, please read “Reasons why spouse visas are not granted: a case where the dating period is short.”
The important matters when a married couple living abroad applies for a spouse visa are:
– Income in Japan tends to be considered to be more trustworthy than income abroad; and
– Examination standard concerning a spouse visa is hardly fulfilled by income of applicant’s family alone if the family does not live with the applicant.
The fact that income is earned abroad is not the reason for non-permission for a spouse visa, but income earned abroad is relatively unstable, comparing to income in Japan, and the process of proving such income is often difficult; therefore, careful explanation and demonstration to the immigration authority are essential when the applicants try to use their income earned abroad as the foundation of their life in Japan.
When a married couple living abroad are going to be supported by their relatives in Japan, the feasibility of such support, history of such supports, etc. are also tend to be valued during examination concerning a spouse visa.
Please contact us for consultation before you apply for a spouse visa if you are unsure about your income status, so we can hear details from you and plan a strategy together as every applicant has different situation.
5) Is it possible to receive a spouse visa before our child enters school?
Many people wish to obtain a spouse visa and move to Japan with their family before their children’s entrance to school.
Then, how long before such entrance should they start preparing for application for a spouse visa?
Some of our clients appoint us about 1 year before the date on which they wish to enter Japan.
Why do they start preparing so early?
Let’s find out the reasons!
The following is the timeline for acquisition of a spouse visa in Japan by a married couple living abroad:
– About 1-2 months for collecting and preparing documents;
– 1-3 month for the examination period after submitting application for a spouse visa to the immigration office; and
– 1-2 weeks after applying for a visa at a government office abroad (a consulate or embassy).
Generally, it takes 3 to 6 months at most to obtain a spouse visa, including time for delivery, etc. Even if you intend to return to Japan, it takes time for everyone in your family to return together because of the procedures.
People who prepare in advance for application for spouse visa usually seem to understand the schedule above.
In connection with the above schedule, you can submit a document stating your request for immediate examination to the immigration office if you are in a hurry to get a visa.
Nevertheless, the number of visa applications at immigration offices is increasing each year, and examination may not be conducted as early as you expect even if you submit your request for immediate examination.
Therefore, to obtain a visa for sure by the expected date, it is better to make schedule plans, counting backward from the date you wish to enter Japan.
From above reasons, we recommend you to make application plans early if you wish to enter Japan on a specific date for your child’s entrance to school, etc.
2．Our services for application for spouse visa for married couples living abroad
Regarding our services related to a spouse visa for married couples living abroad, we recently have more inquiries as to the details of services we provide.
We would like to answer such FAQs.
Q Can you contact directly with applicant’s agent?
A Yes, we can.
It can be troublesome for applicants living abroad to contact with applicant’s agents in Japan.
Our personnel in charge contacts directly with applicant’s agent and exchange documents, etc., so please do not be concerned.
Q The applicant’s agent is my parent who is very old. I don’t want to impose her too much burden, so is it possible to ask you to collect documents?
A Yes, we can collect documents.
We do not ask our clients to collect documents which can be obtained by us.
Fees for collecting documents are included in our basic fee, so please do not be concerned.
Q Can I request you to handle submission of application to the immigration office and additional document requirements?
A Yes, we can do both.
They are both included in our basic fee, so please do not be concerned.
Q I’m having trouble finding a job in Japan. Can you introduce a job in Japan?
A We do not provide employment placement services, so we cannot introduce a job.
Q For consultation using Zoom or Skype, do we need to make a reservation?
A Our free consultation is reservation-only.
Please make a reservation from our inquiry page (https://dsg.or.jp/inquiry/).
If you would like to use Zoom or Skype for consultation, please read “Online Consultation.”
3．Summary of “How a married couple living abroad can obtain Japanese spouse visa?”
In this article, we have focused on questions often asked by married couples living abroad when they wish to apply for Japanese spouse visa.
We have seen many cases where families are forced to live apart by limitation of entry to Japan based on the current Covid-19 pandemic situation.
We therefore recommend our clients to enter Japan together with their families when they are returning to Japan.
We provide consultation services through Zoom and Skype as we’ve heard that it is difficult for people living abroad to contact administrative scriveners for consultation.
Should you have any issues or questions as to how a married couple living abroad can obtain a spouse visa, please contact Daiichi-Sogo Group.