The advantages of a permanent resident visa
Many of the foreigners who stay in Japan plan to eventually apply for a permanent visa, but it seems that many people do not precisely understand the advantages of a permanent visa.
So, we would like to explain about the advantages of having a permanent resident visa.
１．You do not need to keep extending your visa if you obtain a permanent resident visa.
The biggest advantage of obtaining a permanent visa is that there is no need to extend the period of stay.
The law provides specific periods of stay for each status of residence, maximum of which is 5 years. The permanent resident visa (the formal term is the status of residence of “permanent resident”） is a type of status of residence, but the period of stay under permanent resident visa is unlimited. If you obtain a permanent resident visa, there will be no need to apply for extension and you don’t need to worry about period of stay any more.
For foreigners, it is said that visa is the second most important thing next to their lives. The processes of extension of visa can be very nerve-racking. One of the biggest advantages therefore is probably the release from such anxiety about the extension of visa.
２．There is no limitation on activities for those who have permanent resident visas.
Each status of residence designates specific activities to be performed. You must follow such designation and continue to perform the activities. If you haven’t performed such specific activities for a certain period of time, there is a risk that your status of residence will be canceled.
For example, if you have a work visa and leave your company, you have to find a new job which fits your status of visa as soon as possible. If you have a spouse type of visa and get divorced or your spouse passes away, you have to get married again or change to a different type of visa. Otherwise, you will be forced to go back to your country eventually.
Unlike those visas, there is no limitation on activities for holders of a permanent resident visa. If you obtain a permanent resident visa, you can choose any kind of job, and your permanent resident visa will not be canceled even if you get divorced.
Because of such unlimited activities, you will have more choices in your life after receiving a permanent resident visa.
３．The possession of a permanent resident visa makes it easier for you to receive a special permission to stay in Japan (zairyu-tokubetsu-kyoka)
This is not a well-known fact, but holders of a permanent resident visa have more chance to be granted a special permission to stay in Japan (zairyu-tokubetsu-kyoka).
A “special permission to stay in Japan” means a special permission granted based on a decision made by the Minister of Justice in case that a person falls under any of the grounds of deportation such as committing crime and is to be deported in principle.
The possession of a permanent resident visa is regarded as a positive element in the judgement as to such special permission to stay in Japan (Article 50, paragraph 1, item (1) of the Immigration Act).
It is because the fact that the person has already obtained a permanent resident visa shows that the person is settled in Japan stably, which leads to a conclusion that there is necessity to permit continuous stay in Japan.
Should a holder of a permanent resident visa violate law, there is less possibility to be deported to his or her country.
４．Comparison between a permanent resident visa and naturalization
We are often asked as to naturalization or permanent residency, and which one is more preferable.
So, to answer to those questions, we would like to explain the differences between naturalization and permanent residency.
Naturalization means that you acquire Japanese nationality, which is the same as you becoming Japanese. Since you will not be treated as a foreigner under Japanese law, you can choose any job and there is no need to leave Japan even after divorce. Moreover, even if you commit a crime, you will definitely not be deported.
Moreover, as you become Japanese, you will obtain a Japanese passport. Japan has concluded treaties relating to mutually exempting their citizens from visa requirements with 68 countries. You don’t need visas when you are going to these countries. Besides, Japanese passports are said to be the most trustable public document in the world, and therefore the possession of a Japanese passport gives you high credibility when you go abroad. If you often travel abroad, you may feel this is a very advantageous point.
By reading the above explanations, you may think naturalization is the better choice. Japan, however, does not recognize dual nationality caused by naturalization, so you lose your original nationality when you become naturalized as Japanese. The country where you are originally from will treat you as a foreigner, so you may need to apply for a visa every time you go there unless the country and Japan have concluded the treaty to mutually exempt from visa requirements.
On the other hand, your nationality won’t be changed by obtaining a permanent resident visa, so you will continue to be treated as a foreigner under Japanese law. There are of course some disadvantages of being treated as a foreigner, but you will not need to obtain a visa when you return to your home country since your nationality will not be changed.
Naturalization and permanent resident visa – they both have their own advantages. Your nationality is an essential element of who you are, so please decide whether to change your nationality after deep deliberation.
５．Summary of the advantages of a permanent resident visa
The advantages of a permanent resident visa introduced above are just legal advantages.
Other than that, as an advantage in real life, your social credibility becomes higher by obtaining a permanent resident visa, which means that it becomes easier to pass a screening of loan and the interest rate becomes lower, and you become one step closer to buy your own dream house.
Additionally, since there is no limitation on work for permanent residents, it will be easier to change occupation since companies can hire permanent residents without paying attention to the contents of work.
In conclusion, a permanent resident visa gives you many advantages legally as well as in real life. If you plan to continue staying in Japan, we recommend you to apply for a permanent resident visa as soon as possible.
We can advise you on how to obtain a permanent resident visa as quickly as possible, so should you have any question, please contact us!