How to get a spouse visa after international marriage with an international student
Mr. K (23 years old) is an international student from Korea and got married to a Japanese woman, Ms. J (23 years old). Mr. K studies at a Japanese language school, but he gradually became unable to keep up with the class and has hardly attended class for the past 6 months.
Initially, the couple were thinking of applying for the change from a student visa to a spouse visa after graduation. However, as Mr. K became unsure about whether he could graduate from the Japanese language school, they accelerated the initial plan and decided to get married earlier.
Is it possible to change from a student visa to a spouse visa even in such situation?
In this article, we will describe how to marry an international student and obtain a spouse visa, along with the case example.
1. The number of international marriages with international students is increasing
In 2008, Mr. Yasuo Fukuda, the then-Prime Minister of Japan, announced the “Plan of 300,000 International Students.” The number of international students has been increasing so quickly that the target number was achieved before 2020. And as the number of international students increases, the number of people who are getting married with international students is also increasing.
In this article, we will focus on the points which need special attention in case of international marriage with an international student.
2. Check before changing to a spouse visa! What is a student visa?
To put it simply, a student visa is a visa for “activities to engage in study at a designated educational institution in Japan.” Therefore, if you are not engaged in educational activities, you will not meet the requirements for a student visa.
When you change from a student visa to another visa, you will be examined if you were engaging in the activities that correspond to your student visa. For this reason, it is very important to find out whether the married international student has been properly studying, when applying for the change from a student visa to a spouse visa.
Then, how does the immigration bureau examine “activities to engage in study”?
3. Attendance rate, grades, and part-time jobs during school years under a student visa will be subject to examination when changing to a spouse visa
The major things that cause problem in connection with student visas are:
(1) Attendance rate;
(2) Grades; and
(3) Part-time job.
If an international student is not attending school or repeating the year before applying for a change from a student visa to a spouse visa, the immigration authority may consider, “He’s got married just to stay in Japan!” or “She wants to quit school and work. That’s why she is changing to a spouse visa!”
To prevent such judgement, we check how many credits are needed for promotion or graduation and how many credits has been earned. In addition to the attendance certificate and transcript, we occasionally attach a written explanation of poor performance.
At first glance, the attendance rate (above (1)) and the grade (above (2)) do not seem to be directly related to spouse visas, but they are essential points when applying for the change from a student visa to a spouse visa.
Next, the part-time job (above (3)) has important meaning in recent years.
International students recognize part-time jobs as a means of earning tuition and living expenses.
However, if they are focused too much on part-time jobs and neglect their studies, that defeats the purpose of having a part-time job. Therefore, the Immigration Act imposes certain restrictions on part-time job so that international students can balance their studies and work.
As a general rule, student visas do not allow any work activities. Only if you obtain permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted, you can work part-time within the legally permitted hours (28 hours per week in principle).
Nevertheless, we see cases of working part-time without obtaining the said permission, and cases of working part-time for much more than legally permitted hours after receiving such permission.
Therefore, it is checked whether the applicant has obtained permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted and whether the applicant has complied with the legally permitted hours for part-time work in the examination concerning the change from a student visa to a spouse visa.
4. You need to make plans to proceed! Tips for changing from a student visa to a spouse visa
There is an additional point to pay attention when changing from a student visa to a spouse visa.
The point is whether or not you are enrolled in an educational institution. If you have already dropped out of school and have not been enrolled in an educational institution for a certain period of time, your spouse visa examination will be tough.
The above contents are related to the grounds for revocation of status of residence stipulated in Article 22-4 of the Immigration Act. For cases of student visas, the Immigration Act stipulates that the Minister of Justice may revoke the status of residence if activities related to the status of residence of student are not conducted for 3 months or longer.
In other words, if you have not been to school for more than 3 months, your student visa may be revoked. Even if your student visa has not been revoked, the fact that you fall under the grounds for visa revocation will be a big negative factor when applying for a spouse visa.
Therefore, it is important to carefully plan and prepare for the change from a student visa to a spouse visa, so that you will not face such situation.
5. The conclusion of the case example
In the case example, Mr. K fell under the grounds for revocation of a student visa, so he carefully explained to the immigration bureau why he was unable to attend school. In addition, he showed the details of the activities he engaged in during the period along with supporting materials and a written explanation.
Moreover, he presented all information necessary for immigration examination regarding his part-time job situation.
On the other hand, Ms. J was a new graduate, so she was worried about demonstration of her income stability since she was exempted from taxation in the most recent year. Therefore, in addition to the income tax certificate, we submitted a document showing Ms. J’s stable income situation at the time of spouse visa application.
Within 1 month after application, Mr. K was able to receive a letter of permission for the change from a student visa to a spouse visa.
6. Summary of how to get a spouse visa after international marriage with an international student
In this article, we focused on how to get a spouse visa after an international student has international marriage.
As mentioned above, there are many points to consider in such international marriage case.
These points are all important for decision as to permission for a spouse visa.
We recommend those who are marrying an international student, or those who are considering to apply for the change from a student visa to a spouse visa to first check the above points to see if there are any risks.
If you are considering to change to a spouse visa, but uncertain about how to proceed, please feel free to contact us.
We will listen to you carefully and propose the best solution.