Thorough explanation of seven conditions for Naturalization application
A Naturalization application is a procedure for changing nationality.
As long as it is a procedure to change nationality, a strict examination will be conducted in order to obtain permission to change nationality.
In this column, we will thoroughly explain the seven conditions that are necessary as conditions for applying for Naturalization.
We will try to mention the exceptional cases as much as possible, so please read to the end.
1. What is a Naturalization application?
A Naturalization application is a procedure for changing nationality.
In other words, it is “procedures to become Japanese”.
If the Naturalization application is approved, you will become a Japanese national, so you will have a Japanese family register and can continue to live in Japan without renewing your visa.
You can also have a Japanese passport, which boasts top-class creditworthiness in the world.
On the other hand, Japan does not recognize dual citizenship, so by applying for Naturalization, you will lose the nationality of your home country.
2. Seven conditions for Naturalization application
The conditions for applying for Naturalization are specified in the Nationality Law, and there are six conditions in the article.
However, there is one condition that is not specified in the article.
It is a condition of Japanese language proficiency.
To become Japanese, it is considered necessary to be able to write and communicate in Japanese.
Therefore, seven conditions are actually required for Naturalization applications.
First, let’s take a look at the seven basic conditions.
① Address requirements (Article 5, Paragraph 1, Item 1 of the Nationality Act)
The first condition is that you must have lived in Japan for at least 5 years continuously at the time of application.
This condition is necessary because it is necessary to have a strong connection with Japan in order to become Japanese.
The key word here is the “continuously” .
If you leave the country for a long period of time without a valid reason, or if your status of residence expires, your current status of residence will be reset.
A specific example of a long-term departure without a rational reason is private overseas travel.
On the other hand, a specific example of a long-term departure with a rational reason is overseas business trips for work.
In this case, a business trip certificate from the company is often required to prove that the departure was reasonable.
In addition, those who have a status of residence for work must have been working for at least 3 years.
Employment here is not determined by the type of employment, such as regular employees or contract employees, but whether or not the person is working full-time is important.
Therefore, part-time jobs are not included.
As a condition of residence, it is necessary to continue living in Japan for 5 years or more, and those who have a status of residence for work must have been working for 3 years or more.
However, there are actually exceptions to the address requirements.
Therefore, it is still too early to give up, saying, “I haven’t passed 5 years since I came to Japan, so I can’t naturalize yet.”
Below No.3. Please see the 5 exception patterns for Naturalization application conditions.
Even if you do not meet the address conditions in principle, you may be able to apply for Naturalization if you meet the pattern of exceptions.
② Ability conditions (Article 5, Paragraph 1, Item 2 of the Nationality Act)
The second condition is called the ability condition, and the applicant who applies for the Naturalization must have the ability to act.
The word “ability to act” is an unfamiliar word, but in simple terms, it can be explained as the ability to independently and deterministically perform legal acts.
What is important here is that you must be of legal age not only in Japan but also in your home country.
For example, let’s consider the case where an 18-year-old Korean tries to apply for Naturalization.
In Japan, 18 years old is the age of adulthood due to the revision of the Civil Code that has been in effect since April 1, 2022, so it is an adult in Japan.
However, since the age of adulthood in South Korea is 19, he is not an adult under the laws of his home country and does not meet the ability condition requirements.
As a result, in order for this person to apply for Naturalization alone, it is necessary to wait until he or she turns 19.
Did you understand the point that not only in Japan but also in the laws of your home country, you must come of age?
When I talk about this, some people may think that the fact that you cannot apply for Naturalization unless you are an adult in both countries means that you cannot apply for Naturalization if you are a minor.
However, there are exceptions for Naturalization applications for minors.
For example, even if you are a minor, you can apply for Naturalization with your parents, or follow below No3. you can apply if you meet the five exception patterns of the Naturalization application conditions.
③Conduct conditions (Article 5, Paragraph 1, Item 3 of the Nationality Law)
The third condition is the conduct requirement, which requires good conduct.
To put it simply, good behavior means that a person “obeys the rules and lives a serious life”, not only does not commit negative acts such as criminal acts and traffic violations, but you also does not neglect your tax obligations, whether you have not paid your pension, whether you have fulfilled the obligation to notify within 14 days of changing your resident card, whether you have committed adultery, and so on.
However, bad behavior does not mean that you will lose the chance of Naturalization permission forever.
Compare to socially accepted ideas (as general sense), in some cases it is possible to proceed with the application without setting a period of time, but after a certain period of time has passed, the Naturalization will be permitted after showing the rehabilitation situation and remorse.
④Living conditions (Article 5, Paragraph 1, Item 4 of the Nationality Law)
The fourth condition is called “living condition”, and it is a condition that you can live in Japan without worrying about money.
This condition is judged not only by the person applying for Naturalization, but also by family members, lovers or friends living together.
Please note that there are many misunderstandings about the fact that not only the person who applies for Naturalization is examined.
Conversely, even if you don’t have any income, if your family has stable income and assets, you can meet this condition.
⑤ Dual nationality prevention conditions (Article 5, Paragraph 1, Item 5 of the Nationality Act)
The fifth condition is the “Condition for preventing dual nationality”. Japan does not allow dual nationality, so if you are permitted to apply for Naturalization, you must lose the nationality of your home country.
If there is a problem with this condition, it is that depending on the nationality laws of each country, you may not be able to lose your nationality if you have not completed military service or have tax obligations.
In such cases, even if it is almost certain that Naturalization will be permitted after the examination, Naturalization to Japan will not be permitted unless the nationality is lost.
Therefore, it is necessary to confirm in advance in your home country before proceeding with the Naturalization application.
⑥Constitutional compliance conditions (Article 5, Paragraph 1, Item 6 of the Nationality Law)
The sixth condition is the constitutional compliance condition.
Simply put, the highest level of Japanese law is the Constitution, and other laws are enforced according to the contents of the Constitution.
Therefore, it is a condition to pledge to observe the Constitution, which is the highest legal norm in Japan, as well as the civil law and criminal law.
Therefore, it is said that people who belong to groups with dangerous ideas for Japan, such as riots by coup d’etat and attacks on the Diet, cannot be naturalized in Japan.
However, in practice, I get the impression that most people have nothing to do with it.
⑦Japanese proficiency condition (+ α condition)
Finally, although it is not stipulated in the Nationality Act, there is a condition that has been established in practice, namely, Japanese language proficiency.
This is a condition that is necessary as a result of the fact that it is necessary to have Japanese language skills (reading, writing, speaking) that do not interfere with daily life as long as one becomes Japanese, In general, it is said that vocabulary at the level of 3rd grade elementary school students is required.
There are cases where the application for Naturalization is rejected for only one person, even though the whole family has applied, but the Japanese language proficiency is not recognized as sufficient, so do not underestimate the Japanese language proficiency requirements.
The Japanese language proficiency test is not conducted for all applicants, but only for those who are deemed necessary by the examiner.
In recent years, there has been a tendency to favorably judge the Japanese language proficiency requirements if you have a qualification related to the Japanese language such as the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N1.
3. Five exception patterns for Naturalization application conditions
From here, we will introduce exception patterns for Naturalization application conditions stipulated for foreigners who have a special relationship with Japan.
It is okay if you can only see the items that match your actual situation.
①Those born in Japan (relaxed address conditions)
The first pattern I would like to introduce is “persons born in Japan”.
For those born in Japan, Article 6, Paragraph 1, Item 2 of the Nationality Act stipulates the following.
If you were born in Japan and either ” stayed in Japan for more than 3 years continuously” or ”your real father or mother was born in Japan’’, there is a possibility of Naturalization permission even if the period of stay in Japan is less than 5 years.
What is not particularly well known is the pattern of being born in Japan and having a father or mother born in Japan.
For example, even if a foreigner born in Japan has just returned from overseas assignment and has not continued to stay in Japan for more than 3 years, if one of your biological parents was born in Japan, in theory, it is possible to apply for Naturalization even if you have been in Japan for 0 years.
However, in practice, there is a high possibility that you will be asked to apply for Naturalization after making a record of residence in Japan. In addition, since it is necessary to submit materials related to livelihood, it is not possible to apply on the day you return to Japan, it is a common practice to apply for Naturalization after about 6 months since returning to Japan.
② Japanese spouse (relaxation of residence conditions + ability conditions)
The second pattern I would like to introduce is the “spouse of a Japanese national.”
Please check the details on the following page for this pattern.
>> Click here for Japanese spouse Naturalization application
Just to be sure, I will also briefly explain in this column that foreigners who actually have an address in Japan, “have lived in Japan for more than 3 years and are married to a Japanese national,” or ” those who have been married to a Japanese person for 3 years or more and have lived in Japan for 1 year or more” are not required to stay in Japan for 5 years (relaxation of address conditions).
In addition, you can apply for Naturalization even if you have not reached the age of majority (relaxation of ability conditions).
By the way, even if you are a foreign couple, if one spouse is eligible for Naturalization, the other spouse can apply for Naturalization at the same time as a “(deemed) Japanese spouse”.
③Japanese children (relaxation of residence conditions + ability conditions + living conditions)
The third exception pattern that I would like to introduce is “a biological child of a Japanese person”.
This is stipulated in Article 8, Paragraph 1, Item 1 of the Nationality Act,
”Children of Japanese national (excluding adopted children) who have a domicile in Japan” can be granted Naturalization even if they do not meet the ”address conditions”, ”ability conditions” and ”living conditions”.
In other words, if you are a child of a Japanese national and currently live in Japan (relaxation of address conditions), even if you are a minor (relaxation of ability conditions), or even if your income is low as a household (relaxation of living conditions), it means that Naturalization may be allowed.
However, there is a limit to mitigation in terms of livelihood conditions.
For example, if your living expenses are covered by public assistance, and it is simply because you do not want to work and you do not have the desire to get out of it, it will be difficult to obtain permission for Naturalization.
④ Japanese adopted children (relaxation of address conditions + ability conditions + living conditions)
The fourth pattern I would like to introduce is “Japanese adopted children”.
The conditions for Naturalization to be relaxed are the same as those for the “a biological child of a Japanese person” above explained, but the conditions for application are different from those for the “a biological child of a Japanese person”.
As for the specific differences, one is that while it would have been fine if the “a biological child of a Japanese person” lived in Japan, but the “Japanese adopted child” had to stay in Japan for at least 1 year.
Secondly, in the case of a “a biological child of a Japanese person” there are no specific regulations regarding age, but in the case of a “Japanese adopted child”, the child must have been a minor under the law of your home country at the time of adoption.
A specific example of this pattern is the following case.
A Japanese man working as an expatriate in Vietnam married a Vietnamese woman and at the same time adopted the Vietnamese woman’s stepchild (age 6 at the time).
After that, the three of his family members moved to Japan, and his adopted son from Vietnam began to stay in Japan with the status of residence of a “Long-Term Resident.”
And then he applied for Naturalization permission after 1 year has passed from the start of his stay in Japan.
⑤ Those who have been in Japan since they were international students (relaxation of address conditions)
The fifth pattern is international students residing in Japan with a status of residence of “Student”.
If you are an international student, there are many who first entered a Japanese language school as an international student, then entered and graduated from a university in the fourth year, and in some cases advanced to graduate school, and have stayed in Japan as an international student for more than 5 years.
In conclusion, for such people, staying with a status of residence as a Student will not be counted as an address conditions.
The reason is that the status of residence of Student is a status of residence that assumes that you will return to your home country after graduating from the educational institution to which you belong.
However, in practice, even if you have a Student status of residence, if you continue to stay in Japan for a total of 5 years (2 years of study + 3 years of work status) , then the year is counted as an address condition.
4. Q&A about Naturalization application conditions
A. If there is a rational reason for leaving the country, the condition of “continuously” will be met exceptionally.
However, in practice, it is said that if you leave the country for 3 months or more at a time and the total number of days you leave the country for a year is 180 days or more, you will not be able to meet the “continuously” requirement.
This departure is for an overseas business trip for the convenience of the company, so there is a rational reason for leaving the country, but since the departure will be for more than 4 months, there is also risk that the Naturalization application will not be permitted without documents such as a business trip certificate from the company.
A. As a general rule, pensions can be paid retroactively up to the past 2 years.
Therefore, even if there is an unpaid pension, if there is no unpaid payment during the period that can be paid retroactively, it is possible to apply for Naturalization.
A. Considering of the examination standards for Naturalization in practice in recent years, if it is about once or twice in 5 years, it will not be that big of a risk.
However, even minor traffic offenses that are repeated year after year may result in disapproval.
Therefore, in terms of obtaining permission for Naturalization application, I would recommend that you try not to commit any violations such as not driving for a year or 2.
A. Even if you are a friend, if you live together, your friend’s income will also be examined in your Naturalization application.
Therefore, if the applicant and one friend live together, whether they can live with the total income of the two will be examined in the Naturalization application.
A. We recommend that you take the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and solve past questions to confirm that you have at least N2 level Japanese language proficiency.
Another method is to visit the Legal Affairs Bureau that has jurisdiction over the area in which you live and talk to the Legal Affairs Bureau personnel.
Depending on the Legal Affairs Bureau, there are places where you can take a Japanese language test in advance.
If you do not have time to go to the Legal Affairs Bureau, when you contact us, our Japanese staff will conduct a hearing in Japanese according to the conditions of the naturalization application.
At that time, it is also possible to tell you whether your Japanese language ability is at the permission level for Naturalization application.
5. Naturalization application procedure flow
The flow of the Naturalization application procedure is as follows.
②Collect required documents and prepare application forms
③ Document confirmation at the Legal Affairs Bureau
④ Acceptance of Naturalization application at the Legal Affairs Bureau
(Submit a set of Naturalization application documents)
⑤Interview at the Legal Affairs Bureau
⑥ Results of Naturalization application
Generally, it would be said, it takes 3 months from ④ to ⑤, and 6 to 8 months from ⑤ to ⑥, so that takes about a year to come out.
However, in terms of the total period required for the Naturalization application, there is a preparation period from ① to ③, so it will definitely take more than a year from the start of the preparation for the Naturalization application to the results.
Therefore, in order to finish the Naturalization application in a short period of time, it is important to shorten the preparation period from ① to ③.
In this regard, if you are preparing to apply for Naturalization by yourself, you will need to visit the Legal Affairs Bureau many times to confirm the contents of the application documents and the collected documents.
In addition, the Legal Affairs Bureau only operates on weekdays, and currently all Legal Affairs Bureaus have adopted a reservation system, so if you are working during the day, you may not have enough time to apply for Naturalization, would make you some difficulties such as the preparation period is not good enough, such as the need to re-acquire the acquired documents, all it will take more than a year, that I have heard.
However, if you leave it to us Daiichi Sogo Office, you will only have to go to the Legal Affairs Bureau twice when ④ Receipt of naturalization application at the Legal Affairs Bureau and ⑤ Interview at the Legal Affairs Bureau.
In addition, we handles all negotiations with the Legal Affairs Bureau, which is also a great advantage for you.
6. Summary of conditions for Naturalization application
In this column, I explained the seven conditions for applying for Naturalization.
Applying for Naturalization seems easy when you look at each condition, but when you actually collect the documents that meet the conditions, we often face various problems that you did not file a final tax return or did not submit your certificate of residence within the legal period. etc.
We Administrative scrivener corporation Daiichi Sogo Office can propose and support the route for you to obtain Naturalization permission in the shortest time from abundant knowledge and experience.
Therefore, if you want to apply for Naturalization as soon as possible, or if you want to get Naturalization permission surely, please contact us to consult free of charge.